Red Sox ready for familiar Rays

Red Sox ready for familiar Rays
October 3, 2013, 3:30 pm
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BOSTON – After 19 regular season games, along with six spring training games, the Red Sox will face the Rays at least three more times this season in their American League Division Series, which begins Friday afternoon at Fenway Park. The Sox are as familiar with the Rays as they are with any team.
 
“Well, first of all they come in playing a very good brand of baseball, consistent with what we've experienced against them, strong starting pitching, very good defense,” said manager John Farrell. “They have a way of some timely hitting with an improved offense this year over recent years.

“We do have familiarity of 19 regular season games against them this year.  This should be an exciting series.”
 
Left-hander Jon Lester will face the Rays in Game 1 – as he has done in four starts already this season. In those games, he was 2-1, while the Sox were 3-1, with a 4.32 ERA.  Of those four games, he had one subpar outing, on June 11, when he gave up seven earned runs on eight hits, tying a career high with seven walks with three home runs in 4 2/3 innings. Taking that  start out of the equation, Lester had a 2.21 ERA against Tampa Bay this season.
 
“Obviously, they're playing pretty good baseball right now,” Lester said.  They've won three very important games for themselves.”
 
Familiarity aside, Lester said, it comes down to execution.

“Really it's the same stuff,” he said. “It wouldn't have mattered if it was the Rays or Cleveland or Texas or whatever. It comes down to you figure out your game plan against them, whatever it may be, and you need to go out and try to execute your pitches. Be down in the zone, especially here at Fenway. With a right‑handed lineup you've got to be down in the zone. You can't let the Monster play a factor or anything like that. You aren't worried about shadows or anything. You just have to execute pitches, try to keep the guys within reach, especially with their pitching staff.  We know what kind of caliber pitching staff they have.  And that's really it.  You've got to keep them within reach.  We'll score some runs, and hopefully be on top at the end.”