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Rays Vs. Red Sox Preview: Jeremy Hellickson Starts 2nd Half For Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Rays begin the second half of the season against the rival Red Sox. Jeremy Hellickson will take the hill on Friday night as they try to get off on the right foot.

ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 15:  :  Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Tropicana Field on June 15, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 15: : Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Tropicana Field on June 15, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
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The Tampa Bay Rays begin the second half of the season with a three-game weekend series against division rival Boston. The Rays are seven and a half games back of the red hot Yankees, but they're just a half game out in the AL Wild Card race. Joe Maddon will stress the fundamentals and put the team through some individual drills as they start the second half at home and he tries to prepare them for a stretch run where they should be right in the thick of things.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, stumbled into the break as losers of six of seven games and tied for last place with the Blue Jays. Tampa has a golden opportunity to pounce on the Sox and get off on the right foot. Jeremy Hellickson will get the start for Maddon on Friday. Hellickson was a tough-luck loser in his final start before the break, but he's pitched well in his last two appearances after an injury interruption during the month of June. He'll be opposed by Franklin Morales in Game 1.

Stay with this StoryStream throughout the weekend for more updates on the Rays series against Boston. For more on the Rays as they start the second half of the season, visit DRaysBay. For more on the Red Sox, visit Over The Monster. And for all your baseball news coming out of the All-Star break, visit Baseball Nation.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.