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Up next: Red Sox

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 9, 2002


SCOUTING REPORT: Hope of a playoff run is fading fast for the Red Sox, who are 9 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 8 1/2 behind Anaheim in the wild-card standings.

SCOUTING REPORT: Hope of a playoff run is fading fast for the Red Sox, who are 9 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 8 1/2 behind Anaheim in the wild-card standings.

Playoff dreams hinge not only on a potentially potent offense that features Manny Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra, Johnny Damon and now Cliff Floyd but on a pitching staff trying to regain its early form.

Pedro Martinez has missed his past two starts with hip and groin injuries, but he threw Saturday and could start against the Rays on Tuesday.

John Burkett has lost his past four decisions and is winless in his past seven starts. Derek Lowe, who no-hit the Rays on April 27 at Fenway Park, is 6-3 with a 2.41 ERA since pitching in the All-Star Game.

All but three of Boston's remaining games are against teams under .500.

TAMPA BAY CONNECTIONS: Rolando Arrojo was the Rays' first All-Star, signed after defecting from Cuba. He is rehabbing at Class A Sarasota and could rejoin the team this week. ... Burkett was released by the Rays in spring training 2000. ... Rays catcher John Flaherty broke in with the Red Sox and played 79 games for them. ... Rays coach Billy Hatcher played for the Sox in the early '90s.

ALL-TIME SERIES: The Red Sox are 10-2 against the Rays this season. Their losses came the last time the teams played, July 23-25 at Fenway Park. Boston leads the all-time series 43-25.

WHO'S HOT: Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, scheduled to start Wednesday, is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 14 strikeouts in his past 14 innings.

WHO'S NOT: Catcher Jason Varitek is batting .180 since his career-high 16-game hitting streak ended Aug. 1.

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