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07/04/07 6:03 PM ET

Rays turn to Howell to end skid

Tampa Bay (33-50) at Boston (52-31), 7:05 p.m. ET

The Devil Rays wrap up this season's first trip to Fenway Park with a Thursday night contest against the Red Sox.

J.P. Howell will start for the Rays after a tough outing on Saturday night against the Indians. The left-hander does not have overpowering stuff, but has shown an ability to pitch into the late innings -- except against the Indians, when he allowed five earned runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings. Howell has a 9.21 ERA on the road, as opposed to his 2.25 ERA at Tropicana Field. He is 0-0 with a 7.71 ERA in one career start against the Red Sox.

Josh Beckett will start for the Red Sox and is in the midst of an All-Star season. But he struggled to keep the ball down on Saturday night against the Rangers and was unable to post his 12th win of the season. Even in one of his less impressive outings, Beckett maintained a fastball in the mid-90s. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA in three career starts against the Red Sox.

After finishing with the Red Sox, the Rays will head to Kansas City to finish out the first half of the season with three games against the Royals.

Pitching matchup
TB: LHP J.P. Howell (1-2, 5.19 ERA)
Opposing teams are hitting .294 against Howell.

BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (11-2, 3.38 ERA)
Beckett has 83 strikeouts in 96 innings pitched this season.

Player to watch
Ty Wigginton is hitting .375 (6-for-16) with three home runs and five RBIs against Beckett.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WHNZ 1250, WGES 680 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Devil Rays (James Shields, 6-4, 3.76) at Royals (Odalis Perez, 4-7, 5.56), 8:10 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Devil Rays (Andy Sonnanstine, 1-3, 5.63) at Royals (Gil Meche, 5-6, 3.26), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Devil Rays (Scott Kazmir, 5-5, 4.28) at Royals (Jorge De La Rosa, 6-9, 5.27), 2:10 p.m. ET

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.