For starters, Rays at Red Sox
UPDATE, 3:44: SS Sean Rodriguez said his stiff back felt better - "good enough" - to return to the lineup. ... RHP Kyle Farnsworth came through Friday's limited throwing session well and is set to play catch Sunday and further test his tender elbow on Tuesday by throwing off the mound. He and OF Sam Fuld (strained tendon right wrist) will be seen today by Dr. Koco Eaton, who was in the Boston area on personal business and coming to the game. Fuld remains limited to pinch-running and defense. ... LHP Matt Moore is available to pitch in relief today, Maddon said. ... No decision has been made yet on the starter who will make the open start next weekend as the Rays plan to use James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson in Wednesday's doubleheader.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are preparing for what is essentially a must-win game against the Red Sox this afternoon if they are to stay in the wild-card race.
Their lineup will have a different look against Sox lefty Jon Lester, with Sean Rodriguez (who has been fighting a stiff back) at shortstop, Brandon Guyer in rightfield and Jose Lobaton catching. It is basically the same lineup the Rays used to beat Lester last Sunday, knocking him out after four innings - and 111 pitches.
The Rays will have RHP Jeff Niemann - who threw a complete game last time he faced the Red Sox here - on the mound, for the nationally televised affair. The Red Sox have their ace on the hill, though will again be without 3B Kevin Youkilis.
Having lost Friday night, the Rays are four games out with 12 to play. They came into the four-game series saying they had to win three, thus the emphasis on today.
But history shows there could still be some hope: the 1951 Giants were six games out with 12 left and came back to win the pennant, and the 1964 Cardinals were 6.5 back with 12 left and did the same. But for that to happen the Red Sox would have to lose a lot, and seven of their final 10 are against the Orioles.
Red Sox lineup: