Pregame Notes

Interesting notes from last night’s Rays Dramatic Win:

The Tampa Bay Rays were the first team to record three XBH off Jonathan Papelbon in one inning in his MLB career.

The Rays recorded their 39th come from behind win and 18th win in their final at bat of the season. The Rays are also 69-27 in games in which they hit a home run. They are also 58-28 in games which they do not commit an error.

It was only the second loss for the Red Sox after leading going into the 9th inning this season. They are 75-2 when leading after 8 innings.

The game was the Red Sox’ 457th consecutive sellout extending the MLB record, after passing the Cleveland Indians streak of 455 between 1995 and 2001 on Monday.

Kevin Cueballis continued his consecutive game streak of reaching base safely for his 43rd straight game with a double and a walk. It’s the longest such streak of any MLB player this season – passing Albert Pujols’ 42 game streak earlier this season - and longest Red Sox streak since Wade Boggs went 57 games on base in 1985.

The Rays left 8 runners in scoring position and batted 3-19 with RISP last night.

Interesting notes for today’s game:

If the Rays lose today, it will mark the first time in the 2008 season that they would have lost three consecutive series. (They lost the last 4 series of 2007. But went 12-0-1 in 13 straight series earlier this summer, longest in the majors. )


Greg Maddux-lite goes for win number 14 tonight against those dastardly Red Sox!

Rays' starter Andy Sonnanstine is attempting to become the Rays second 14 game winner in franchise history, joining the legendary Rolando Arrojo. No Red Sox batter has had more than 10 career AB against Sonnanstine (Ortiz 3-10, Pedroia 1-10).

Akinori Iwamura leads all active Rays in career HR versus the Red Sox with three; two of which were hit at Fenway. David Ortiz leads all Red Sox with 31 career HR against Tampa Bay – that is the most by any opponent against the Rays.

The Rays are 18-10 in Sonnanstine’s starts this season and giving him only 3.39 runs of support – second highest on the team behind Scott Kazmir’s 3.5 runs.


Curt Schilling gets "I Heart Myself" inked in Memory of the Patriots 2008 season.

Boston starter Josh Beckett has recorded at least 6.0 innings pitched in all 8 of his career starts against the Rays. He is 5-3 lifetime with a 3.59 ERA against the Rays. Tonight’s game is his 4th start against them this season. He is getting 5.3 runs of support per start in 2008.

The Rays are undefeated this season in games that [{Eric Hinske]] starts at third base (4-0).

This sounds familiar to me:

I’ve been saying since March 2007 the Rays are trying to be the new Atlanta Braves

The Braves were a paltry 65-97 in 1990 and then improved to 94-68 in 1991.

The Rays were a lowly 66-96 last year… what will they finish this year?

“Worst” and “Best” are so subjective:

The Rays are within reach of being the first MLB team to finish with the baseball’s best record a year after having the worst record since batters could request “high” or “low” pitches, home plate was square and 4 strikes equaled a strikeout.

But let’s look a little closer – last year’s Rays team had the BEST record ever by a team with the game’s worst record (66-96, tying the 1984 San Francisco Giants) and it seems likely no MLB team will surpass the 100 win plateau this season. So it sounds more impressive than it really is… but it’s still impressive.

Then again, even the 2001 Phillies were in first place on this date a year after having baseball’s worst record.

Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Innings:

Here’s a trend – Inning by inning, the Rays have outscored their opponents in every inning but the 1st (56-60) and 9th (48-47) and tied in the 4th (76 apiece) and most of the innings are close (none have a difference of more than 7 runs), but in the 5th inning the difference is 83-73, the 6th inning the Rays have outscored their opponents 74-48 and in the seventh 79-36. That’s the sign of quality starts getting turned over to a solid middle relief corps. That’s a HUGE difference from last year. The relievers have a 3.56 this year compared to the 6.16 ERA last year.

If you are going to beat the Rays, you better shut them down during innings 5-7.

Home and Away:

The Red Sox have batted .329 at home against the Rays and .206 at the Trop this season. Their ERA at Fenway is 2.00 and 3.96 at Tropicana Field.


Rays Lineup

1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
2. Dan Johnson, LF
3. Carlos Pena, 1B
4. Cliff Floyd, DH
5. Willy Aybar, 3B
6. Eric Hinske, RF
7. Dioner Navarro, C
8. Gabe Gross, CF
9. Jason Bartlett, SS
Andy Sonnanstine, SP

Red Sox Lineup

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Mike Lowell, 3B
7. Mark Kotsay, RF
8. Jed Lowrie, SS
9. Jason Varitek, C
Josh Beckett, SP

Weather Report

Boston - 68 degrees, Partly Cloudy, NNW Wind at 9mph

Tonight's forecast: Mostly Clear, winds light and variable, Low of 46 degrees, 10% chance of precipitation.

So there’s the pre-game report.

The Running Game Blog/Red Sox whoopin'/Erin Andrews bashing starts around gametime... 7 EDT on ESPN.

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