Coming into tonight’s game, the Red Sox have a chance to set a new MLB consecutive sell-out mark with their 456 sold out event since May 15th, 2003. They will pass the previous record held by the Cleveland Indians at 7:05 P.M. tonight. The overall major sports sellout record is still a distance off for the Red Sox. The Portland Trailblazers of the NBA sold out 744 straight games from 1977-1995.
To say that Rays starter Edwin Jackson will be pitching in the game of his life is a true understatement here. Jackson, who is 11-9 is pitching in one of the most important games of the Rays season tonight. Right now the seasonal series is deadlocked at 6-6, with each team winning the homestand games coming into tonight’s contest. The Rays have not played the Red Sox since they swept them at the Trop from June 29th-July 2, 2008.
The Rays come into Fenway having lost their last 8 stright games since September 10th, 2007. On that night, Scott Kazmir defeated Curt Shilling 1-0 for the last Rays win in Fenway Park. The 8 game losing streak matched the Rays prevoius record at Fenway set from July 19, 2005 to April 19, 2006. The Rays have been outscored 45-16 in their 6 losses at Fenway this season. This is also the 30th series against Boston at Fenway, and the Rays have only won 2 series in that time period, both in 1999. The Rays are currently on a 25 series losing streak against the Red Sox at home (0-21-4).
Jon Lester is currently 13-5, with a 3.35 ERA for the Red Sox. Against the Rays this season, he is 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA. He has allowed only 2 earned runs in the last 12.1 innings against the Rays. And in his carreer, Lester is 3-0 with a 4.11 ERA with 16 ER in 35 innings against Tampa Bay. He is undefeated in his last 6 starts against the Rays, and had won the last 2 straight starts against them. In his last 4 starts against Tampa Bay, Lester is 3-0 with a 4.64 ERA and 11 ER in 21.1 innings.
Akinora Iwamura has gone 3-14 against Lester with 1 homer this season.
B J Upton has gone 4-16 against him with 1 homer.
Carlos Pena is batting .333 against Lester with 2 homers and 2 strikeouts.
Cliff Floyd is 0-2 against him, with 2 strikeouts.
Willy Aybar is 2-3 against Lester, with 2 doubles and a run scored against him.
Eric Hinske is 0-3 against him this season.
Dioner Navarro is 1-3 with 1 strikeout against him this year.
Jason Bartlett is batting .400 against him this season, with 1 strikeout.
Edwin Jackson is currently 11-9, with a 4.07 ERA for the Rays. In his 3 starts against the Red Sox this season, Jackson is 0-2, with a 6.19 ERA. Red Sox opponents are hitting .308 against him this year. He is 0-3 lifetime at Fenway Park with a 8.18 ERA in 5 (4 starts) career appearances. The Last time faced the Red Sox was on June 4, 2008 in Fenway and lost a 5-1 decision to John Beckett.
But recently Jackson has been pitching better than he has his entire career for the Rays. His road 3.16 ERA is the 9th best in the AL this season, and he is 6-3 on the road this year for the Rays. In fact, he has pitched to a 2.99 ERA since July 1st, the 2nd best road ERA in the AL, just behind Cleveland’s Cliff Lee. And he has allowed 1 Earned Runs or less in 11 starts this season.
Coco Crisp has hit .357 against Jackson, with 1 RBI.
Jacob Ellsbury has hit .429, with 3 RBI’s ans 2 runs scored.
Mike Lowell has batted .278, with a double and a strikeout against Jackson.
David Ortiz has hit .455, with an RBI against Jackson.
Dustin Pedroria is hitting .364, with 3 RBI’s and a double and a strikeout.
Jason Varitek is hitting .154 with 2 strikeouts against Jackson.
Kevin Youkilis is hitting .143, with 2 strikeouts and a run scored against Jackson.
Jason Bay is hitting .200 against Jackson.
Sean Casey is hitting .142 against Jackson.
This is a “MUST WIN” situation for the Rays to keep Boston at least 2 back in the standings. If the Rays can take this series, they can leave Boston with a minimum of a 2 1/2 game lead going into the Bronx against the Yankees. But I truly think the division will be decided in the Trop. with the 3 game there next Mon-Wed. But this series could take alot of the excitement out of that homestand if the Red Sox again sweep the Rays at home.