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  W: J. Oviedo (1-0)   L: A. Miller (1-3)
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Red Sox-Rays Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays

  1. The Red Sox have gone 11-7 at Tropicana Field over the last two seasons after going 12-24 there from 2008-11. Tampa Bay's 60-52 record against Boston since 2008 is the second best in the AL (Texas, 32-27).
  2. Boston has lost seven straight games, tied for its second-longest losing streak in the last 10 years (eight-game streak to end the 2012 season). The Red Sox have scored just 16 runs over the seven games (2.3 rpg).
  3. Since recording 10 runs and a season-high 20 hits on May 2, Tampa Bay has gone 6-12 in its last 18 games, scoring 3.1 runs per game while hitting .235 (both worst in the AL).
  4. From 2002-08, John Lackey went 9-1 with a 2.36 ERA (21 ER/80.0 IP) against Tampa Bay. Since 2009, Lackey is just 4-6 with a 6.75 ERA (46/61.1) vs. the Rays, but he won his lone start against them this season, tossing eight innings of two-run ball on April 29.
  5. Chris Archer is 1-2 with a 6.38 ERA (13/18.1) in four career starts against Boston. Archer has gone five innings or fewer in all four starts, but he has tallied 21 strikeouts in those 18.1 innings. His 10.31 K/9 against Boston is the highest among all pitchers that have made four or more starts against the Red Sox since 2012.
  6. Sean Rodriguez hit a three-run walkoff home run in the 11th inning yesterday to snap a four-game losing streak. Rodriguez leads the Rays with five home runs despite having only 68 at-bats on the season. He is the only player with fewer than 110 at-bats to lead his team in homers this season.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 5/23/2014 thru 5/25/2014

By JEFF BARTL

STATS Writer

(AP) -- The Boston Red Sox aren't lighting up the scoreboard during their losing streak, but their struggling pitching staff is putting even more pressure on the lineup to produce.

John Lackey takes the mound Friday night looking to help Boston avoid an eighth straight defeat as it visits the Tampa Bay Rays, who hope to have put their own offensive woes behind them.

The Red Sox (20-26) are in the midst of their longest skid since dropping the final eight of 2012 and have been outscored 37-16 during this slump. They've scored more than three runs twice in that stretch, and the starting rotation has an 8.89 ERA over the last five after Jon Lester gave up all the runs in Thursday's 7-2 loss to Toronto that completed an 0-6 homestand.

"We're in a stretch of games here where we're giving up too many runs early and we're scuffling to score runs," manager John Farrell said. "That's a dangerous combination."

Lackey (5-3, 4.01 ERA) will look to help the Red Sox end their slide with another solid outing against the Rays. He was in the midst of a four-start stretch that saw him go 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA when he allowed two runs in eight innings of a 7-4 win over Tampa Bay on April 29.

That run ended Saturday, though, when he gave up six runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-1 loss to Detroit. It marked the third time Lackey has allowed six runs this season.

"It is a rarity, because he's done so well," Farrell said. "The consistent fastball location wasn't the same as we've seen for just about every start this season for John."

The right-hander will look to get back on track, just as he did against the Rays last month. Lackey went 1-2 with an 8.84 ERA in his previous four starts versus Tampa Bay, including the playoffs, before scattering six hits in the last outing.

The Rays (20-28) were headed toward another low-scoring effort Thursday before rallying for four runs in the 11th inning of a 5-2 victory over Oakland, capped by Sean Rodriguez's walkoff three-run homer.

They scored four runs while being shut out twice during a four-game losing streak prior to the win.

Tampa Bay, which won two of three at Fenway Park from April 29-May 1, will look to beat the Red Sox for only the third time in nine regular-season home meetings as Chris Archer takes the mound.

Archer (3-2, 4.59) gave up two hits and struck out five in 5 2-3 innings of last Friday's 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels after going 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA in his previous four starts.

The right-hander walked five, though, and has issued 15 in his last 20 1-3 innings.

"I'm not going to sit here and complain about it. I felt good with my delivery," Archer said. "I scuffled my last four games, but there's only been positiveness sent my way."

Archer also walked five while allowing five runs in 4 2-3 innings of Tampa's 6-5 win over Boston in the second game of a doubleheader May 1. He's 1-2 with a 5.85 ERA in four starts and two relief appearances - which came in last season's Division Series - against the Red Sox.

Updated May 22, 2014

w4 © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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