Boston (50-31) at Tampa Bay (37-47)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Wed Jul 5, 2006
  • TV: NESN, FSFL
Preview | Box Score | Recap

As well as Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are hitting, the Boston Red Sox haven’t been able to capitalize this week.

Boston looks to turn around its recent slide when it continues a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Wednesday.

Ramirez is batting .500 (9-for-18) three home runs and 10 RBIs while Ortiz is batting .313 (5-for-16) with four homers and six driven in over the last five games. The Red Sox (50-31) have dropped three of those five following a 12-game winning streak, however, including defeats in the first two games of this series.

Ortiz and Ramirez both homered and had a combined four RBIs, but their performance was overshadowed by Tampa Bay’s Julio Lugo and Dioner Navarro, who each had three hits and four RBIs in the 9-6 victory for the Devil Rays (37-47).

“You can say what you want about being the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but that’s not the expansion Devil Rays any more,” said Curt Schilling, Boston’s starter and losing pitcher on Tuesday.

Ramirez and Ortiz have homered in the same game 38 times since they became teammates in 2003, and Boston has lost only five of those contests.

The Red Sox will hand the ball to Jason Johnson (3-9, 6.22 ERA) as they try and break into the win column for the series. The right-hander is making his second start with Boston, which acquired him from the Cleveland Indians in late June.

Johnson lost his Red Sox debut last Friday against the Florida Marlins, giving up five runs and six hits in four innings while allowing eight of his first 11 batters to reach base in a 5-2 defeat which snapped Boston’s 12-game win streak.

“I had a lot of adrenaline in the first couple innings,” Johnson said. “I was throwing too hard and trying to impress. The last couple of innings I settled down and threw the ball where I wanted to.”

Johnson has lost his last five starts, only one of which was longer than six innings. He is 5-4 with a 4.75 ERA in 14 career appearances against the Devil Rays.

Tampa Bay, which has won four of its last six games, will counter with Tim Corcoran (2-0, 1.17), making his third start of the season. The right-hander has given up seven hits and one run over 12 innings to win both of his starts.

He has struck out eight in seven scoreless innings of Friday’s 11-1 victory over the Washington Nationals, allowing just three hits.

“For as good as I think he is, I was not expecting him to do that tonight,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “(Pitching coach Mike Butcher) came in from the bullpen and said he had really good stuff going on tonight. The first inning, he looked a little bit tentative, but as he got his feet on the ground, the ball was really coming out of his hand well. You could see that from the side.”

Corcoran made two relief appearances against the Red Sox last season, giving up six runs over seven innings of work but not factoring in any decisions.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Johnson NYY vs. T. Corcoran Atl
3-12 Record 5-9
6.10 ERA 4.38
54 K 59
35 BB 48
1.70 WHIP 1.55