Matt Moore goes after his seventh win of the season and tries to lead the Tampa bay Rays to a sixth consecutive victory in the opener of a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
Moore has been terrific for the Rays in the early going, posting a 6-0 mark to go along with a 2.14 ERA. He picked up his latest win on Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, as he allowed two runs and six hits in five innings. However, he did walk four batters for a second straight start.
"I was fighting a lot of different things tonight, mostly my control," said Moore, who is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA at home.
Moore has won seven straight games dating back to last season and can tie a franchise record set by David Price with another win on Tuesday. Also, only two pitchers in franchise history -- Jeff Niemann and James Shields -- have ever started 6-0, and neither made it to 7-0.
Moore has faced Boston three times (2 starts) and is 0-2 against them with a 5.87 ERA.
Tampa has turned things around after an awful beginning and now finds itself just 1 1/2 games back of the third place Red Sox. A big reason behind the Rays' recent success has been their strong play at home, where they are 13-6 on the year.
Boston, meanwhile, has hit the skids since its terrific start. The Red Sox dropped two of three to the Toronto Blue Jays this past weekend and have lost eight of 10 overall.
"I think we've got a number of guys dealing with frustration right now. There's no question about it," manager John Farrell said. "The key for us is maintaining our level of preparation and our work routine. Those are the two things that we can control."
One of those players is slugger David Ortiz, who is mired in a 1-for-17 slump over his last four games after hitting .414 through his first 15.
Heading to the hill for the Red Sox on Tuesday will be righty John Lackey, who is 1-3, despite a 2.82 ERA. Lackey lost his second straight start on Thursday against Minnesota, as he allowed five runs (1 earned) and six hits in seven innings. He also struck out eight and has fanned 24 batters in 22 1/3 innings this season.
Lackey is 12-6 lifetime versus the Rays with a 4.08 ERA in 19 games.
Boston swept a three-game set from the Rays earlier in the year.