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Preview: Rays at Sox 8/14

Fenway will erupt on Tuesday when players are announced. Not because it’s Dice-K, Beckett, or Schilling running out from the bullpen but because John Lester has finally come home. His first four starts have all been on the road. When he returns to Fenway it will be the first start Lester has had since recovering from cancer.

Lester has struggled so far accumulating a 6.43 ERA. Although all of Fenway will be behind him, he’ll have a battle on Tuesday against Tampa.
Game 1 was a 3-0 shutout for the Sox. But Sox batters were held to one run in six innings by the Tampa Bay second best starter James Shields. Game 2 will feature Tampa’s best pitcher, Scott Kazmir. Kazmir has always been trouble for the Red Sox. In 13 starts Kazmirs had a 2.55 ERA. Even worse for the fans who wish Lester to return home with a win, is Kazmir since the All-Star Break is 4-1 with a 1.16 ERA.

All the peripherals of the pitching show Lester will have a tough time outperforming Kazmir. It wouldn’t be a magical moment unless there was some tough adversity. Depending on how Lester does, Tuesday could be one of those games you remember a long time after its done.

Notes:

– The hitter with the best success against Kazmir (min 10 AB) is Mike Lowell with a .286/.412/.500

– Kazmir’s last start against BOS was 6ip, 8k’s, 0 ER. Lester’s last start against TAM (7/28) was 6.2 IP, 3K’s, 4 ER.

– Coco may still have a virus and miss tuesdays game

– –In 1978 the Yankees were 7 1/2 games out at this time

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