Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup and notes

143385.jpg

Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup and notes

BOSTON -- Today's Red Sox lineup, courtesy of Sean McAdam, and pregame notes, courtesy of the Red Sox' P.R. department:

THURSDAY'S LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Kevin Youkilis3B
Josh Reddick RF
Carl Crawford LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Marco Scutaro SS

Kyle Weiland P

VS. THE RAYS
Boston opens its sixth and final series against Tampa Bay in 2011, a four-game set . . . The Sox have lost 9 of 14 against the Rays this year, going 1-4 at Fenway Park and 4-5 while taking 4 of 9 in St. Pete . . . Since the start of 2010, the Sox are just 4-10 against the Rays in Boston . . . The Sox have dropped their last five games with the Rays by a combined 33-13 score, beginning with the second game of an Aug. 16 doubleheader . . . The current five-game drought is the Sox' longest ever against Tampa Bay . . . Since 2002, Bostons only longer single-season slide vs. any team was an 0-8 stretch vs. LAA, (April 23-July 30, 2008) . . . The Sox havent won a season series against the Rays overall since taking seven straight series from 2001-07.

EAST BEASTS
All of Bostons final 24 games, beginning Sept. 5, come vs. A.L. East rivals (2-7 thus far) . . . The Sox lead the A.L. with a 34-23 (.586) mark vs. the A.L. East in 2011, but are 3-11 in their last 14 . . . . Of Jacoby Ellsburys 27 homers, 17 have come against A.L. East rivals, the most for any player this year against that division . . . He also leads the majors in RBI (50) and batting average (.376) against the A.L. East (min. 10 games against the division).

STREAKING AGAIN
Jacoby Ellsbury tripled on Wednesday and has hit safely in his last 18 games, going 29-for-77 (.377) with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers, 13 RBI, 16 runs, 9 walks and a steal during the stretch . . . The 18-game hit streak is tied for the longest active run in the majors with Texas' Adrian Beltre . . . This is Ellsburys fourth career hit streak of 18 or more games . . . Since 1919, the only other Red Sox with at least four single-season hit streaks of at least 18 games was Nomar Garciaparra.

SEPTEMBER MOMENTS
Marco Scutaro leads the majors (min. 50 PA) with a .429 average (18-for-42) in September and ranks second with 16 RBI in the month, trailing only Detroits Victor Martinez (17) . . . He has driven in at least one run in seven of his last eight games . . . Ellsbury is 22-for-56 (.393) since Sept. 1, leading the majors with 11 XBH (7 2B, 3B, 3 HR) and 29 times on base (tied) . . . He is batting .339 (120-for-354) in 88 career September tgames, his best mark in any month and the best career clip by a Sox in September (min. 250 PA) since Wade Boggs, 1982-92 (.349).

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.