The Tampa Bay Rays have picked a bad time to go into the tank. On Wednesday, the Rays try to put the brakes on a five-game losing streak when they continue a four-game set with the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
Tampa won six of eight to begin September, but was swept in a three-game set by the Baltimore Orioles, lost two of three to the New York Yankees and has dropped the first two games of this series to the hapless Red Sox.
On Tuesday, Ryan Lavarnway hit a key two-run double in the seventh inning and Boston rolled to a 7-5 win. Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, James Loney and Jarrod Saltalamacchia posted an RBI each for the Red Sox, who have won four of five overall.
Felix Doubront (11-9) walked five over six innings, but allowed just one hit and three runs while fanning five.
Ben Zobrist finished with two hits and drove in four runs for the Rays, who are six games back in the AL East lead as well as the wild card.
"We've just really had a hard time over, well not only the last week, but the whole season," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "We have to do better somehow."
Kyle Farnsworth (1-6) was charged with an unearned run in the sixth that was Boston's go-ahead score.
Tampa, though, could get on track against Boston righty Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is 1-5 with a miserable 7.14 ERA. Matsuzaka did not get a decision on Friday in Toronto, but did not pitch well, allowing four runs and three walks in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-5 win.
Matsuzaka hasn't had much success versus the Rays and is 2-7 with a 5.83 ERA in 13 games.
Tampa, meanwhile, will counter with 23-year-old righty Chris Archer, who is 0-3 with a 3.22 ERA. Archer earned a loss in relief on Thursday against Baltimore, as he surrendered a run and three hits in 3 2/3 innings.
"It instilled confidence in me," Archer said of the outing. "The whole team knew I could do it. I was able to compete and keep the team in the game, and that's what it's all about."
Archer has never faced the Red Sox.
Boston is 9-5 versus the Rays this season.