Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays 2008 ALCS

The Boston Red Sox will look to end a 3-game home losing streak to the Tampa Bay Rays tonight in Game 4 of the ALCS. The Red Sox had won the first 7 games of 2008 against the Rays at the Fens before dropping the final 2 in the regular season series and Game 3 last night.

For the Red Sox, a loss tonight could be devastating to their chances of returning to the World Series as they trail 2-1. While recent history dictates, the Red Sox can come back from any deficit, given their lack of success at Tropicana Field this season, Games 4 and 5 are must win games before heading back to Tampa for a potential Game 6 and 7. I’m pretty sure the Red Sox would rather be up 3-2 rather than down 3-2. No matter what though, the Red Sox will have to win this series at the Trop.

If the Red Sox are to tie this series up tonight, it will have to come on the knuckleball of Tim Wakefield. While Wake has had a great career against the Rays (19-5, 3.32 ERA in 41 games, 31 starts), the results haven’t so great as of late. In 2008, he is 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in 3 starts and was knocked around for 6 runs on 6 hits in 2 1/3 innings in his last start against the Rays.

Andy Sonnanstine gets the ball for the Rays as he looks to give Joe Maddon’s squad a commanding 3-1 lead. Sonnanstine has faced the Red Sox twice this season and has not given up an earned run or received a decision in 13 innings of work. The 13 innings without an earned run is most for a starter against the Red Sox this season. He has faced the Red Sox 6 times in his career and is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA.

Mike Lowell is officially done for the 2008 season as he will undergo surgery to repair the torn labrum in his hip. Lowell

Adam Kilgore of the Boston Globe gives us a history lesson about being down in a playoff series.

The Rays will increase capacity for the remaining games at Tropicana Field by removing the tarps at the top of the stadium.

Ken Rosenthal of stopped by WEEI to talk about race and the Red Sox.

If you missed the chat over at with Tony Massarotti, don’t forget to check out the transcript.

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe has his Game 4 video preview.

Extra Bases has the pregame press conference transcripts.

Lineups and batter/pitcher matchups after the jump.

Terry Francona explained the lineup changes for the Red Sox during his press conference this afternoon.

Tampa Bay Rays 2-1

1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
2. B.J. Upton, CF
3. Carlos Pena, 1B
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Carl Crawford, LF
6. Willy Aybar, DH
7. Dioner Navarro, C
8. Fernando Perez, RF
9. Jason Bartlett, SS

– Andy Sonnanstine, SP

Red Sox 1-2

1. J.D. Drew, RF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Mark Kotsay, 1B
7. Coco Crisp, CF
8. Kevin Cash, C
9. Jed Lowrie, SS

– Tim Wakefield, SP

And here is a look at how the hitters have fared against tonight’s starting pitchers in the regular season for their careers.

Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays 2008 ALCS