Red Sox-Rays Preview

Matt Joyce used his bat to gain a measure of revenge on the Boston Red Sox.

He and the Tampa Bay Rays will next be up against Alfredo Aceves, who was involved in some notable incidents this spring and could add to the intrigue of this series heading into Wednesday night's finale at Tropicana Field.

This AL East rivalry intensified this week during Boston's 10-8, 14-inning victory in Monday's opener when Joyce was hit by a pitch from John Lackey, resulting in a bench-clearing scrum.

The Rays (35-29) continued to insist the pitch was intentional one day later and the Red Sox (40-26) continued to disagree.

On the field, Tampa Bay hit four homers including Joyce's two-run shot in the fifth inning that ended Jon Lester's night in the Rays' 8-3 victory Tuesday. Desmond Jennings went deep twice and Evan Longoria also connected.

"It's a great feeling, especially to help your team win," Joyce said. "I've never really been the type of person to talk a lot of trash, so I wanted, of course, to come out and play a good game. Play the game the right way and win the ballgame."

Boston was originally going to start Franklin Morales on Wednesday, but he was forced into action Monday to result in a change of plans.

"We'll make another move after tonight to get a starter here, and that will be Aceves, who will start (Wednesday) for us," manager John Farrell told the Red Sox' official website. "We're in about a three-day stretch here where we've got some shuffling going on with the pitching staff."

Aceves (2-1, 6.57 ERA) was a key figure in two incidents during the spring in which benches cleared, the first being a March 9 game in the World Baseball Classic. He and several players threw nasty punches when a fierce, full-scale brawl erupted between Mexico and Canada.

Exactly one week later on March 16, Aceves was with the Red Sox when benches cleared after the right-hander hit the Rays' Sean Rodriguez in the shoulder with a pitch in the fifth inning.

Rodriguez was batting for the first time since hitting a two-run homer in the third inning. Aceves said the pitch was a split-finger fastball that got away, and Rodriguez wasn't buying that explanation.

Aceves is 2-1 with a 6.05 ERA as a starter this year in four outings.

He's never started against the Rays, but has enjoyed great success against many of their hitters. Rodriguez is 1 for 9 against him, Longoria, Luke Scott and Ben Zobrist are all 0 for 7 and Joyce is 0 for 6.

Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer (1-1, 4.91) is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three career home starts as opposed to 0-3 with a 5.74 ERA in three on the road.

The right-hander was outstanding in a 2-1 win over Baltimore on Friday, allowing one run and two hits in seven innings.

Archer earned his first career victory Sept. 19 by yielding three runs over five innings in a 13-3 rout of Boston, although Jacoby Ellsbury went 3 for 3 against him.

Ellsbury is batting .447 during a 10-game hitting streak while Jose Iglesias is hitting .440 in his 14-game run. Dustin Pedroia's 14-game hitting streak ended Tuesday.

What to Read Next