The Rays come to Boston today, clinging to a 1 1/2 game lead over the Red Sox, to play "hopefully some of the most exciting baseball of the year," Sox manager Terry Francona said yesterday. The Red Sox, 10-3 in their last 13 games, are playing perhaps their best all season. The Rays, just swept in Toronto, have given their detractors reason to puff their chest for the first time all year.
Both teams are six-for-six at home against the other, and if the Red Sox continue that trend, they'll be in first place by the time they go to bed Tuesday night. Here's a look at the state of the Rays from the beat writers who cover them:
David Singh writes the first portion of the most important road trip in Rays history began on a bad note. Marc Lancaster writes that the Rays wasted another great start from Matt Garza. At the end of this Lancaster story, Joe Maddon calls the series “uncharted territory” for the franchise. Marc Topkin writes that the Rays aren’t worried about the pennant race affecting their play, despite the sweep at Toronto. Topkin’s notebook has Maddon sticking with Troy Percival as his closer. Topkin also has three important questions for the Rays.
What's your prediction for this series? Are the Rays fading, or was the Toronto series a blip? Will Jon Lester keep Boston's momentum rolling?