Starting pitchingThe difference between lefthanders Jon Lester (pictured) and Scott Kazmir is Lester has kicked his habit of driving up his pitch count and Kazmir hasn't. Lester, 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA vs. the Rays this season, has emerged as a money pitcher who can work deep into games. Kazmir, 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA against the Sox this season, is comparable to Daisuke Matsuzaka in that high pitch counts tend to force him out before the seventh inning. This is a big series for Josh Beckett (2-1, 2.06 ERA in five starts vs. Rays in 2008). If he can regain his unhittable form, it would give Boston two pitchers capable of shutting down the Rays' lineup.
(Globe Staff Photo / Barry Chin)