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Rays, Sox Meet in Rubber Game

Tampa Bay was left with a bitter taste in the mouth as starting pitcher David Price (strained tricep) left the game.

Tampa Bay was left with a bitter taste in the mouth as starting pitcher David Price (strained triceps) left the game.

The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays will each look to pick up a series-winning victory Thursday night in the rubber game of a three-game set at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. First pitch is scheduled for shortly after 7:10 pm ET.

The American League East rivals have split a pair this week, with the Rays taking the opener 5-3 on Tuesday before Boston posted a 9-2 win on Wednesday.

Wednesday night’s result saw Boston (23-17, 10-7 road) win for only the third time in 12 games. The Red Sox had opened the season with a 20-8 record but are slumping, particularly offensively, of late. It also saw John Farrell’s side move to 5-1 against their division rivals this season.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay (20-19, 14-7 home) found itself on the losing end for the first time in seven games. The Rays had a six-game winning streak snapped after giving up eight runs in the third inning. But the prime time game may have resulted in more than just a loss for the Rays on the field.

The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Rays’ starter David Price strained his left triceps during the game. Price (1-4, 5.24 ERA) departed in the third inning after feeling tightness in his throwing arm. A stint on the disabled list looks likely.

While the Tampa Bay starter was having a rough time of it, the Boston starter was moving on up. Jon Lester moved into fifth on the all-time list of Red Sox strikeouts. Lester (6-0, 2.72 ERA) fanned five on the night and now has 1,100 total strikeouts with the Sox He trails only Cy Young, Pedro Martinez, Tim Wakefield, and Roger Clemens.

With very different fortunes on Wednesday, the two sides will now look to win the rubber game.

Boston's Felix Doubront will look to bounce back from a couple of brutal outings.

Boston’s Felix Doubront will look to bounce back from a couple of brutal outings.

Starting Pitchers

Felix Doubront (3-1, 6.40 ERA) will go for the Red Sox.

After beginning the season 3-0 in his first four games, the leftie has been roughed up in his last two starts, giving up six runs on 12 hits against the Texas Rangers in Arlington (May 3) before allowing another six runs on 11 hits against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park (May 8).

Doubront is 2-1 in his career against the Rays, including a 2-0 record last season.

Alex Cobb (4-2, 3.09 ERA) will take to the mound for Tampa Bay.

Cobb had picked up a win in three of his last four games before recording a no decision against San Diego last Friday. That game saw the right-hander strike out an impressive 13 batters in just 4 2/3 innings, but gave up three runs on five hits in that short span. The Rays ultimately picked up the victory following the bizarre scenario.

Cobb – who is 2-2 all-time against Boston – faced the Red Sox for the first time this season last month (Apr. 14). He managed 6 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits whist walking two and striking out six. The Rays lost that game 5-0 and Cobb recorded his first loss of the season.

Betting Lines

Tampa Bay (-152) opened as the favorite over Boston (+152) on the moneyline. They remain between -155 and -142 with most sportsbooks at this time.

Tampa Bay has put together a 17-10 record this season when beginning the game as the favorite. Boston is 5-6 as the underdog.

For those that like to bet the over/under, Thursday’s game opens at 8 1/2. Both games so far this series have seen the total go over, while the Rays have actually seen the over in 15 of the last 16 games.

For more analysis and updated Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays odds for 5/16/13, BettingSports.com has you covered.

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Upon completion of the series, Boston heads north to Minnesota to play a three-game set with the Twins starting Friday, followed by a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox from Monday.

After 10 straight at Tropicana Field, the Rays will begin a six-game road trip with visits to the Baltimore Orioles beginning Friday, and Toronto Blue Jays commencing Monday.

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