Red Sox-Rays Preview
Boston (40-25) improved to 6-1 against Tampa Bay (34-29) with Monday's 10-8, 14-inning victory to open this three-game set. The Red Sox, winners of eight of 11, have won four times in their final at-bat against the Rays.
There was plenty of drama Monday, beginning with a brief benches-clearing scrum in the sixth inning after the Rays' Matt Joyce was hit by a pitch from John Lackey with two outs and Boston leading 6-4.
Joyce took several steps toward the mound and shouted at Lackey. Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia got in between the two and restrained Joyce.
The Rays insisted Lackey was intentionally trying to hit Joyce.
"There's no question in my mind he did," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "And the sad part is I've always considered Lackey a good teammate, but right there he could get one of his own players hurt."
The Red Sox had a different opinion.
"He was trying to throw the ball in, off the plate, obviously. There was no intent to hit him," manager John Farrell said.
The Rays rallied from a 6-0 deficit to force extra innings, and each team scored twice in the 10th. Daniel Nava hit a tiebreaking single in the 14th, and Saltalamacchia singled in another run with his fourth hit of the night as the Red Sox finally went ahead for good.
Boston needed seven relievers to work 8 1-3 innings while Tampa Bay used seven to pitch 10.
That leaves plenty of the onus Tuesday on Lester (6-2, 2.60 ERA) and Hernandez to provide some relief to their respective bullpens, which have pitched a combined 33 2-3 innings over the past three days.
Lester is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA over his last four starts, but he's 5-1 with a 3.38 ERA in eight career outings at Tropicana Field including his 9-2 victory May 15 in which he allowed two runs over seven innings.
Hernandez (3-6, 5.03) doesn't appear to be a formidable opponent as he owns the Rays' most losses, but he is 2-2 with a 2.68 ERA in seven starts against Boston.
Hernandez last pitched Thursday, and all of his victories have come on regular rest. He is 0-4 when he has at least five days between starts.
Farrell indicated that Mike Napoli will be back in the lineup Tuesday after the slugger was rested Monday.