The Showdown in St. Pete? The Rumble Under the Roof? The Last Gasp Among The Geezers? Here are the lineups:
RED SOX (73-55)
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (13-8, 3.26)
Pitching: LHP David Price (15-5, 2.97)
Game time: 7:10 p.m.
State of the Sox: The Sox have won four of their last five games but remain 5.5 games behind the Rays and Yankees, who are tied for first in the AL East. There are only 33 games left to play but there are six against the Rays and six against the Yankees.
Times have changed: The Red Sox were 111-58 (.657) against the Rays from 1998-2007. They are 21-27 (438) in the last three seasons including 5-19 at Tampa.
Lester’s up: Jon Lester, who was supposed to pitch on Wednesday, was bumped to tonight after scheduled starter Daisuke Matsuzaka supposedly came down with a sore back. Lester is 7-3 with a 4.18 ERA in 14 career starts against the Rays.
Price is right: The lefty is 2-1. 3.79 in three career starts against the Sox. That includes a strong game on July 7 that saw him allow two runs on eight hits over 7.2 innings at Tampa Bay. He struck out 10 with one walk.
Pitching in: Sox hurlers have a 2.30 ERA in the last five games. The bullpen has not allowed a run in its last 12 innings.
Road warriors: The Sox are a respectable 33-29 on the road with wins in 13 of their last 23 games away from Fenway.
Prince Felix: Lefty Felix Doubront has sparkled in seven relief appearances. Over 7.1 innings he has allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out nine.
Other stuff: Joe West must be happy, the Sox have played their last four games under three hours. … Ryan Kalish has three hits in his last 30 at-bats. … Jonathan Papelbon has thrown five scoreless innings and allowed one hit in his last five appearances.
On the iPod right now: Gatman and Robbin by 50 Cent.
Back with more later including an in-game blog.