In 2008 when these two teams last squared off in the postseason, the Rays outlasted the Red Sox 4 games to 3 in the ALCS, advancing to the World Series where they were vanquished by the Philadelphia Phillies. While only David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia remain from the lineup that faced Matt Garza in the deciding game, Boston's Game 7 starter, Jon Lester, will get the chance to avenge the loss by getting the ball for Boston in Game 1. The man who saved that clincher, David Price, will likely go to the mound for Tampa Bay in Game 2 on Saturday evening.
This season the teams squared off 19 times, with the Red Sox taking 12 of those, six at home and six on the road. Boston clearly has the advantage on offense while the Rays have the edge in pitching—mainly out of the bullpen—and defense. Here's a look at how the two teams compare statistically based on the 2013 regular season:
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He has also authored or made contributions to many books, including the Sports Illustrateds 100 Fenway: A Fascinating First Century.
Now living in Marblehead, hes focusing his attention on the Boston sports scene, specifically delving into the numbers affecting the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, with the goal of informing and entertaining real fans. You can follow him on Twitter at @SabinoSports.