BOSTON -- Good morning from the Fens, where it never gets old on Patriots Day, seeing a couple sharing a breakfast of beer, hotdogs and onion rings before Mike and Mike have signed off on ESPN.
Ryan Dempster, the former Cub, has had a lot of practice at day ball, but this will be his first experience with an 11:05 wakeup call. Dempster will be facing Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays, who are becoming regulars at these affairs. The Rays played the morning matinee last season, and this will make three of the last four, and four overall.
The Sox, who are 67-50 all-time on Patriots Day, will be going for their first series sweep at home since last June 19-21, when they took three from the Miami Marlins. A sweep against the Rays would be their first against Tampa Bay since taking three in the Trop in 2010 (May 24-26).
The Rays have scored just one run in two games against Sox aces Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, and have scored a total of eight runs in their last six games, five of which have resulted in losses. They’re trying to avoid tying their club record for most consecutive games without a home run, seven. They’re at six and counting, and are running out a lineup Monday that has hit a cumulative three home runs this season.
While his Sox teammates rolled out of bed early, David Ortiz had the luxury of sleeping in. Ortiz, who was ill Sunday and was a late scratch from the Pawsox lineup, is scheduled to play Monday night in Pawtucket.
Closer Joel Hanrahan, meanwhile, is not available to pitch Monday, as he takes another day to treat lingering soreness in his right hamstring.
Jonny Gomes is drawing the start at DH againt Hellickson, even though he is a right-hander. Gomes has a home run in three career at-bats against Hellickson.