Facing the Red Sox has been a tough pill to swallow for the Rays this season.
Boston has taken seven of the nine meetings against Tampa Bay and won each of the three series this year.
At 36-33, the Rays sit five games back of Boston for first place in the American League East, but a successful seven-game road trip against the Red Sox and Yankees could put Tampa Bay right in the mix for the division lead.
The Rays kick off the road trip on Tuesday with a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park.
If the Rays are going to reverse their losing ways against Boston, they'll likely have to improve their timely hitting.
The Rays will kick off their road trip on Tuesday with a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park, and they plan to promote their No. 1 prospect, slugger Wil Myers, prior to the twin bill.
If the Rays are going to reverse their losing ways against Boston, they'll likely have to improve their timely hitting, and Myers could help. Myers will play regularly in the Majors, most likely in right field. Skipper Joe Maddon said Myers will bat low in the lineup at first to relieve some pressure.
With a .294 mark, Tampa Bay leads the AL in batting average with runners in scoring position, but the success hasn't translated against Boston pitching.
The Rays have hit just .141 (12-for-85) against the Red Sox in those situations, including .092 in their seven losses to Boston.
"We've not been very good with that," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Why? I don't have a really good reason for that. We just have not."
Four of Tampa Bay's losses to Boston were by just one run. A timely hit here and there and the story could be very different.
"We've just got to get the guys in like we've been doing. But that stuff's all cyclical," Kelly Johnson said. "Our time will come, I hope, against them. As long as we keep doing it against other teams, it'll help, obviously."
With two games on Tuesday, both teams are trying to figure out how they want to order their rotations. Boston knows Felix Doubront will start one of the games and Alfredo Aceves the other, but hasn't determined which pitcher will start which game.
Chris Archer will start one of the games for the Rays, but the club hasn't announced which game he'll start, or who will start the other game.
Aceves and Archer faced off Wednesday in a 2-1 game that saw Boston come out victorious. Aceves bested Archer in the contest as he held Tampa Bay to just one run over six innings.
"He was just great tonight," said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia after the start. "The ball was sharp. The curveball was sharp. We were able to use everything for strikes. He didn't throw a lot of pitches either, so I think he had more in him. He did a great job."
Archer gave up two runs, but a pitch count of 103 forced him to exit after the fourth inning.
Red Sox: Napoli could be back Tuesday
• Boston is hopeful Mike Napoli will return to the lineup Tuesday.
The starting first baseman has missed the last two games with what the club is calling "general illness" and flew back to Boston to get treatment for dizziness and nausea. Manager John Farrell said he was optimistic Napoli will not have to go on the disabled list.
Mike Carp, who left Sunday's game with right hamstring tightness but expects to be ready Tuesday, has replaced Napoli during his absence.
"We're fortunate we have a very good bench, and it speaks to the depth of the team," Farrell said. "Mike Carp has been outstanding."
Rays: Price's rehab start pushed back
• Ace David Price was expected to pitch his first rehab start on Tuesday, but soreness "in the right spots" will derail the plan.
Price, out since May 16 with a left triceps strain, will instead throw a bullpen session Tuesday before the club decides Price's next step.
The soreness stemmed from a simulated game at Tropicana Field on Thursday, his first time facing batters since the injury, followed by a short bullpen session on Saturday afternoon.
"It's not like a setback or anything. It happened," Price said. "Obviously, I didn't want to be as sore as I was, but the way that I feel today, if you would've asked me if I would've felt this good today, I would've been like, 'There was no chance.'
"My entire arm was sore yesterday, and that's just because of getting out there and facing those hitters after not doing it for a month, exerting the type of energy that I was exerting. To feel as good as I do today, it's definitely a big bright spot, so it's good."
• For the first time this season, Dustin Pedroia was not in the Red Sox's starting lineup on Sunday. He started the first 70 games at second base.
• Rays righty Alex Cobb, who was struck in the right ear by a line drive off the bat of the Royals' Eric Hosmer on Saturday, was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list on Sunday morning.
• With a 1-for-4 performance Sunday, Boston's Jose Iglesias extended his hit streak to 17 games.
Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.