At this point in the season, when the Rays have a pitching matchup that they like (e.g. Jeremy Hellickson vs Kyle Weiland) they have to win those games to stay in the post-season hunt. While last night’s walk-off win turned out to be both heart-wrenching and exciting for Rays fans, this afternoon’s matchup features two of the better pitchers in the American League.
For the home team, James Shields makes his 30th start and is having the best season of his career. He has thrown a Major League-leading 11 complete games and has struck out a career-high 205 batters. His ERA is a 4th-best-in-the-AL 2.77.
But the man toeing the rubber for Boston on the 10 year anniversary of September 11th is also one of the elite pitchers in the league. Jon Lester’s ERA is 2.93, 6th best in the American League. This should be an exciting game, and if the Rays win this one, they will be a mere 3.5 games back in the wild card race.