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QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I think it's great, retrospectively."

Manager Joe Maddon, revisiting how the Rays' last game at Fenway Park, the ALCS Game 5 meltdown, turned out

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Watch for

Big-game James: Rays starter James Shields, who beat Baltimore in last year's opener, has never won in Boston, and it has been ugly, with an 0-3 record and 10.12 ERA. This is his first appearance at Fenway since the June 5 brawl he and Coco Crisp started.

No Joshin': Sox starter Josh Beckett is 5-3 with a 3.11 ERA in 10 starts against the Rays, with 75 strikeouts in 662/3 innings.

Pat's bat: New Rays DH Pat Burrell might have a tough time making a good first impression; not only does he have to get used to his new job, but he has hit only .171 against Beckett, with 10 strikeouts in 35 at-bats.

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Deja vu all over again

Having just played two exhibitions against the World Series opponent Phillies, the Rays open the season against the Red Sox team they beat for the AL pennant. It's the fifth time ALCS opponents have met the next opening day:

Brewers-Angels, 1983

O's-White Sox, 1984

Jays-White Sox, 1994

Yanks-Red Sox, 2005

Rays-Red Sox, 2009

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Did you know?

April 6 is the latest the Rays have ever opened a season; they opened on April 5 in 1999.

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Pomp and circumstance

Seal is singing the national anthem and members of the Boston Pops are slated to perform God Bless America and Take Me Out to the Ballgame. But the big question is whether longtime Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, who has been battling brain cancer, will be well enough to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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For openers

The Rays are 6-5 in openers:

Date..........Opponent...........Result

3/31/98......Tigers...............L 11-6

4/5/99.......at Orioles...........L 10-7

4/3/00.......at Twins.............W 7-0

4/3/01.......Jays..................W 8-1

4/2/02.......Tigers................W 9-5

3/31/03.....Red Sox.............W 6-4

3/30/04.....Yankees*...........W 8-3

4/4/05.......Jays...................L 5-2

4/3/06......at Orioles............L 9-6

4/2/07......at Yankees..........L 9-5

3/31/08....at Orioles............W 6-2

* at Tokyo Dome

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Number of the day

88 Percent rain chance at game time, according to National Weather Service.

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Rays opening day roster

Pitchers (12): Grant Balfour, Lance Cormier, Matt Garza, J.P. Howell, Scott Kazmir, Joe Nelson, Jeff Niemann, Troy Percival, James Shields, Brian Shouse, Andy Sonnanstine, Dan Wheeler

Catchers (2): Dioner Navarro, Shawn Riggans

Infielders (6): Willy Aybar, Jason Bartlett, Akinori Iwamura, Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, Ben Zobrist

Outfielders (5): Pat Burrell, Carl Crawford, Gabe Gross, Matt Joyce, Gabe Kapler

DL (4): Chad Bradford, Jason Isringhausen, Fernando Perez, B.J. Upton

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Today's starters

Expected lineups for today's game:

RAYS

Iwamura, 2b

Crawford, lf

Longoria, 3b

Pena, 1b

Burrell, dh

Joyce, cf

Navarro, c

Gross, rf

Bartlett, ss

Shields, p

RED SOX

Ellsbury, cf

Pedroia, 2b

Ortiz, dh

Youkilis, 1b

Drew, rf

Bay, lf

Lowell, 3b

Lowrie, ss

Varitek, c

Beckett, p

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