Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays game preview

TV: Sun Sports

TIME: Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.

Barring an abrupt end to his power surge, David Ortiz probably won't hit his 500th home run in front of Boston Red Sox fans.

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That milestone moment will instead more likely occur during a nine-game trip that begins Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays and right-hander Chris Archer, who has proved inconsistent of late.

Ortiz is two homers shy of becoming the 27th player with 500 after hitting his sixth in 12 games Wednesday in a 10-4 victory over Toronto. The Red Sox (66-73) won't return to Fenway Park until Sept. 21 when they open a four-game series against Tampa Bay.

"I know David has a real special bond with the city," interim manager Torey Lovullo said. "I know it would mean a lot to him to have it done here, but he's just so professional and so locked in it might just happen on the road.

"It's going to be a great accomplishment wherever it happens. We're all behind him. We're all excited by what he's done."

Ortiz has 49 homers in 233 games against Tampa Bay (68-71) including playoffs and has hit more against just two opponents, Toronto (59) and the New York Yankees (52). The designated hitter has gone deep twice in 12 games versus the Rays this season while batting .190.

Whether he hits another home run Friday could depend on whether Archer regains his dominant ways -- which recent outings suggest he's on schedule to do.

Archer (12-11, 2.88 ERA) has alternated losses and wins in his last five starts, totaling 15 scoreless innings in the two victories and posting a 7.64 ERA in the three defeats. He gave up five runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 6-4 road loss to the Yankees on Sunday.

"I'm looking forward to getting back on the mound as soon as possible," he said.

Archer has lost his last four starts against Boston -- all at home -- with a 6.24 ERA and dropped six consecutive decisions in the series overall. Ortiz hit one of the Red Sox's three home runs against him in a 5-3 victory June 28.

Archer gave up five runs in six innings in that game but allowed one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings in his first meeting this season, a 1-0 defeat April 21.

Wade Miley (11-10, 4.43) outpitched him in that matchup with 5 2/3 innings of three-hit ball. The left-hander walked none and struck out eight Saturday in his first complete game, a 9-2 win over Philadelphia.

He had allowed nine runs and 22 hits in 12 2/3 innings over his previous two starts.

Miley is 3-1 with a 1.41 ERA in five starts against the Rays and 2-1 with a 0.98 mark in three in Tampa.

He'll face a team that's dropped four of six at home and earned just its second win in seven games overall Wednesday, 8-0 in Detroit.

The Rays and Red Sox have split 12 games this season and the six in Tampa.

Ortiz is 1 for 5 against Archer this season and 7 for 20 with two home runs lifetime. Xander Bogaerts, batting .365 in his last 13 games, has hit .379 in his past seven against Tampa Bay.

Evan Longoria, batting .386 in an 11-game hit streak against the Red Sox, is at .361 with five homers in his last 10 overall contests. He's 1 for 8 with four strikeouts against Miley this season, however.

Asdrubal Cabrera is 3 for 6 off Miley and has posted a .480 average in his last six matchups with Boston. He's 9 for his last 24 overall.