Good morning. Here is a preview of the game:
RED SOX (44-44)
Pitching: RHP Josh Beckett (4-7, 4.43)
Pitching: RHP James Shields (8-5, 4.17)
Game time: 1:40 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN / WEEI
Red Sox vs. Shields: Ortiz 16-55, Ellsbury 10-46, Sweeney 9-23, Gonzalez 6-20, Punto 4-14, Ross 6-17, Aviles 4-15, Salty 0-12, Nava 1-6, Shoppach 0-6.
Rays vs. Beckett: Matsui 9-40, Pena 6-39, Upton 9-38, Scott 11-27, Molina 5-28, Zobrist 2-24, Jennings 3-7, Keppinger 3-7, Rodriguez 0-6, Lobaton 0-3, Johnson 0-2
Stat of the Day: Ortiz has drawn a walk in eight consecutive games, the longest streak for a Red Sox player since Kevin Youkilis walked in 10 straight games from May 6-15, 2010.
Notes: Beckett last pitched on July 6 against the Yankees, giving up six runs on eight hits over five innings in a 10-8 loss. He is 10-4 with a 2.82 earned run average in 21 career starts against Tampa Bay. He has been particularly successful since the start of the 2011 season, going 3-0 with a 1.18 ERA in five starts. Beckett has faced the Rays twice this season, giving up three earned runs over 15 innings. … Shields is 8-12 with a 4.34 ERA in 22 starts against the Red Sox, 7-3, 3.08 at Tropicana Field. Shields faced the Sox on April 16 at Fenway Park and went 8.1 scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory against Daniel Bard. Shields has allowed 135 hits, the most in the majors. Opponents are .281 against him. Shields has allowed 50 hits in his last 34.1 innings over five starts and at least 10 hits in each of his last three starts. … The Sox end their brief road trip today then start the four-game Youkapalooza series against the White Sox on Monday. … The Sox have dropped seven of nine and 11 of the last 15. They have scored three or fewer runs in nine of the last 11 games. … Middlebrooks has 11 homers and 39 RBIs in his first 50 games. A Red Sox player hasn’t done that since Walt Dropo had 14 homers and 57 RBIs in his first 50 games in 1950. … Daniel Nava’s 7-for-60 slump has dropped him from .339 with a .969 OPS to .264 with a .789 OPS. … Rays closer Fernando Rodney is 26 of 27 in save chances. The one he missed came on May 26 when Saltalamacchia hit a two-run walk-off homer. Rodney has allowed one earned run in 23.1 innings at home.
Song of the Day: “I Don’t Really Care” by Waka Flocka Flame (featuring Trey Songz).