Doubleheader date seems to benefit Red Sox more than Rays

April 30, 2014 - 2:11 pm

The Red Sox have all the incentive in the world to have a day-night doubleheader with the Rays on Thursday. Tampa Bay has every reason to oppose such a notion. The Red Sox would have Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront on the hill. The Rays would likely feature Chris Archer and the more uncertain Cesar Ramos, who has been pressed into duty by the brutal array of injuries to befall the Rays rotation. The Red Sox bullpen has been deep and impressive, with a 3.25 ERA that ranks third in the AL; the Rays have struggled to a 4.25 mark that ranks ninth. The Sox have a pair of off-days looming next week, both on Monday and Thursday. The Rays do have next Monday off, but that's their last off-day for 13 days; a double-header would mean 18 games in 18 days for them. In short, the depth and structure of the two pitching staffs would suggest that Thursday represents a favorable time for the Red Sox to have a double header, while the Rays likely would prefer any games that can be pushed back to subsequent months, where some of their key rotation members will be making their way back and their bullpen might be in a better state. The Rays are scheduled to be back in Boston for a three-game series from May 30 through June 1, but a double-header then, manager John Farrell noted, would give the Red Sox 38 games in 38 days. The Red Sox would prefer to avoid such a fate. "Logistically they'€™re here and we have the ability to play two tomorrow based on the forecast," said Farrell. While the Red Sox announced the double-header on Thursday for 1:05 p.m. and 7:10 p.m., and Major League Baseball has assigned umpiring crews for the two games; the Red Sox are selling tickets for the afternoon game on their website. But acting Rays Players' Association representative Ben Zobrist told reporters at about 5 p.m. -- after the Sox had already announced the doubleheader -- that the union hadn't signed off on the idea of a day/night doubleheader on Thursday. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via twitter), the Rays were concerned about Thursday's forecast and the likelihood of getting in both games, and they saw potential "practical alternatives" to a Thursday doubleheader -- chiefly, either the May series or a common off-day on Sept. 22, immediately prior to a three-game series between the Sox and Rays at Fenway from Sept. 23-25. As of 5:38 p.m., Topkin reported, the Rays were leaving Fenway without knowing when they'd be returning to the park on Thursday.

  UPDATE: Ultimately, the day-night double header on Thursday was confirmed and finalized a bit after 7 p.m. on Wednesday.