Tampa Bay at Boston Red Sox (3 games)

The Sox enter this series 2nd in the AL East as the Rays sit in 4th. Just one game separates these teams so this series will factor the standings quite a bit being three games. Ortiz played for the AAA team last night and hit 2 for 3 with 2 singles and will hopefully be back to Boston before the end of April. The Sox are coming off of two losses by their bullpen so having the starters go further and giving their bullpen a rest to recuperate will be key for a win in the series. Game 1 will be the battle of the aces as the Rays send David Price to the mound to face Jon Lester. Former Cy Young winner, David Price has been off to a somewhat rough start after pitching 11.0 innings in his first two games allowing 10 runs and 17 hits. Jon Lester on the other hand has had a great start in his first two games starting at 2-0 as he has given up 2 runs in his 12.0 innings of work with just 10 hits allowed. So far his location and control has been golden against the batters he has faced and hopes to continue that on Saturday. Hopefully this will be the night the bullpen gets their rest as long as Lester is himself. Game 2 will see Clay Buchholz who has thrown 14 innings and allowed one run to score in 2013. In 14 games against the Rays, Buchholz has thrown 88 innings, owns a 2.76 ERA, and has struck out 8.3 batters per nine. I would love to see these stats continue versus Tampa! The Rays will send Jeremy Hellickson who has had a bad start to the season going 11.1 innings walking more than he's struck out and earning a 6.35 ERA. If Buchholz continues his dominance maybe the bullpen will get another rest as they set up for the upcoming week. Finally, game 3 will see Rays number four Roberto Hernandez take on Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster. You would not expect to see Hernandez in the rotation but due to Fausto Carmona rough start they have taken him out for this series. For the Sox Dempster has looked great in the strikeout column as he has set down 15 through his 10 innings of work but otherwise he will need to work on keeping the ball on the ground. The Rays are looking good on offense for this series with Zobrist, Longoria and Joyce but hopefully the Sox pitchers can silence their bats. The Sox will be watching the shortstop spot carefully as they decide who should hold the duties there. Jackie Bradley Jr. will also be another player to watch hoping that he can show off the power he did in Spring Training. He will need to hit some long balls to show that he is right up there with Nava and Gomes throughout this series. The rain will come this weekend as it has all around the majors this past week but hopefully the Sox can get a few games in. Go Sox Go!

 

Predictions

Game 1: David Price vs. Jon Lester Red Sox win 6-1

Game 2: Jeremy Hellickson vs. Clay Buchholz Red Sox win 4-1

Game 3: Roberto Hernandez vs. Ryan Dempster Rays win 5-3

 

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*UPDATE*