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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's only hit .171 against Beckett, with 10 strikeouts in 35 at-bats.

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Motivational gimmickof the day

Coming soon are T-shirts with this year's slogan, '09 > '08, but with a twist. The "greater than" sign will have the team sunburst over it, thus becoming a Rays-ized "better than" sign that manager Joe Maddon preferred.

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Roster by the numbers

11Players not with the Rays last opening day

8 Players who were first-round picks

6 Players new to the organization in '09

5 Players having first opening day in big leagues

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Did you know? Updated edition

April 7 is now the latest the Rays have ever opened a season; they opened on April 5 in 1999.

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Changing places

Pat Burrell, above, will become the fifth player since 1970 to play against a team in the World Series then play for that team in its opener the following season. The list:

Don Gullett: '76 Reds, '77 Yanks

Tommy John: '78 Dodgers, '79 Yanks

Gary Thomasson: '78 Dodgers, '79 Yanks

Edgar Renteria: '04 Cards, '05 Red Sox

Burrell: '08 Phillies, '09 Rays

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Quote of the day

"I don't think we've ever been at home opening day. So it's not really a surprise to me, no. We've got to win more to get that honor."

Rays starter James Shields, on opening on the road despite being AL champs.

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Number of the day

29.26 Average age of Rays' 25-man roster (including 39-year-old Troy Percival and 40-year-old Brian Shouse), tied for 14th youngest of 30 MLB teams.

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For 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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