Rays-Red Sox preview

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vs. Red Sox

Tonight-Thursday

What's new: The Sox have been pounding opponents, flexing the muscle of the majors' most prolific offense, averaging 5.22 runs per game and posting a .795 on-base plus slugging percentage. DH David Ortiz and 2B Dustin Pedroia still lead the way, but 1B Mike Napoli and RF Shane Victorino have been tremendous additions. There is legitimate concern over how long CF Jacoby Ellsbury (fractured foot) will be out. The rotation has been solid, and RHP Clay Buchholz returns from the DL tonight. RHP Koji Uehara has been huge in taking over the closer's role. Speedy OF Quintin Berry and flashy INF Xander Bogaerts are interesting callups.

Key stat: The Sox scored 54 runs over a four-game span Wednesday-Saturday; the Rays have scored 54 over their past 18 games.

Connections: OF Jonny Gomes is a former Rays favorite, 3B coach Brian Butterfield a former Eckerd College assistant. … Rays 1B James Loney was briefly a Red Sox last year.

Series history: Sox lead 10-6 this season, 160-115 overall, 71-65 at the Trop.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Rays-Red Sox preview 09/09/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 9, 2013 9:55pm]

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