BOSTON — RHP Wade Davis wants to turn the Boston cheers to boos.
In his first visit, on Sept. 12, Davis got a standing ovation from the Fenway faithful after a brutal performance in his second big-league start, eight runs in 22/3 innings.
He returns tonight a better and wiser pitcher, although still a 24-year-old rookie, and determined he won't give the home fans anything to cheer about.
"I'd rather get booed this time," he said.
The poor showing — a result, Davis said, of his pitching and lack of confidence to disagree with C Dioner Navarro's calls — now serves as motivation.
"I want to get after them a little bit," he said. "I want to go out there and get them — especially get a W there."
Manager Joe Maddon expects good things.
"I know he remembers what happened last year, and I think he'll definitely channel it in the right way as a motivational situation," Maddon said. "I'm eager to see him because I think that was a growth moment for him last year, and he responded to it well."
Davis wasn't sharp in his season debut against the Yankees on Saturday, saying he "didn't feel that crispness" he typically does and didn't have his usual "put-away stuff," evidenced by two walks after 0-and-2 counts.
BOSTON'S BEST: The Rays come to Boston off to a franchise-best 6-3 start and with confidence from their recent success against the Sox. In their past 34 games, including the 2008 ALCS, the Rays are 20-14 after going 43-98 before that.
But Fenway Park remains a challenge as the Rays are 28-74 (plus 2-1 in the postseason) inside the green walls.
"I think the most important thing is that we've never really played well there," SS Jason Bartlett said. "No matter what time of year it is, if we prove to ourselves we can win ball games there — I think Joe said it a couple years ago — if we want to go to where we want to be, we're going to have to go through there."
MISCELLANY: All of the Rays will wear No. 42 tonight in honor of Jackie Robinson. Thursday marked the 63rd anniversary of him breaking baseball's color barrier. … The forecast for tonight's game is a 70 percent chance of rain and temperatures in the low 40s. … The Rays caught a bit of a scheduling break with Thursday off in Boston while the Sox played a day game in Minnesota. … This is the Rays' fourth straight intradivisional series to start the season.