Entering June 14 4.5 games back in the AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays are in need of a pick-me-up after having treaded water over much of the past month. No surprise, then, that they've put extra focus on this week's series against the Boston Red Sox.
Need proof? Look no further than their probable pitchers. While Joe Maddon has had to deal with inconsistent results from the back end of his rotation, the same cannot be said about his front three, who have stood out as some of the best hurlers thus far this season.
Guess who the Rays have going this week against the Red Sox? None other than their 1-2-3 guys in James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, and David Price.
Where Joe Maddon has lined up his best, the Red Sox are only one man off. Jon Lester will not be going this series, with Tim Wakefield starting game one, but both Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz will.
Here's how the upcoming schedule looks for Boston:
Boston Red Sox (39-26) at Tampa Bay Rays (35-31)
Tuesday, June 14, 7:10 p.m.
Tim Wakefield (3-1, 4.84 ERA) vs. James Shields (5-4, 2.85 ERA)
Wednesday, June 15, 7:10 p.m.
Josh Beckett (5-2, 2.06 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (7-4, 3.03 ERA)
Thursday, June 16, 7:10 p.m.
Clay Buchholz (5-3, 3.59 ERA) vs. David Price (7-5, 3.51 ERA)