Rays Vs. Red Sox: Jeremy Hellickson Goes To The Hill Against Boston

May 5, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Tampa Bay Rays open a two-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on Wednesday. Can the Rays regain the lead in AL East in this series?

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson is currently undefeated in the 2012 season. He puts that record on the line on Wednesday night as the Rays open up a two game series with the Boston Red Sox. Hellickson goes up against the only team to score more than three runs against him this season. His start against the Red Sox on April 14 lasted five innings with five runs allowed on seven hits with three home runs allowed.

Other than that, Hellickson has been a terrific starter for the Rays this season. He is 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA with 29 strikeouts in seven starts. However, Hellickson has not factored into the decision in his last three starts, the Rays losing the last two including his last start against the Baltimore Orioles on May 11. In that start, Hellickson went six and two-thirds innings with three runs allowed on five hits while striking out six.

The Red Sox on the other hand send Clay Buchholz to the hill on Wednesday. Buchholz is currently 4-1, but has an ERA very unbecoming for a starter at 8.31. His last start, a win over the Cleveland Indians on May 11, was his best of the season, but he still allowed four runs, three of them earned with eight hits and three walks over six and two-thirds innings. Buchholz certainly doesn't hope for a repeat of his last start against the Rays on April 14, where despite getting credit for the win, Buchholz allowed five runs on six hits in seven innings with three walks.

Regardless of the pitcher, the Rays will have to compensate for the injury bug, which has claimed such players as Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria.

The game is scheduled for a 7:10 first pitch with a national telecast on ESPN. Local television coverage will be provided by Sunshine Sports and radio coverage will be provided by WDAE 620 AM and WGES 680 AM.

For more news and updates from around the league, be sure to drop by Baseball Nation or the Rays blog DRaysBay. For more on the Red Sox visit SB Nation's Red Sox blog Over The Monster. And for a peak at the analysis behind the numbers, head over to Beyond the Box Score.

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