Saturday August 28, 2010 | 06:32 AM

This big series between the Red Sox and Rays has people thinking back to 2008 when the two teams met in the ALCS.

Tonight, I will think back to 2008 for another reason.

On April 26, Clay Buchholz started and showed his great promise, working on a one-hit shutout over seven innings. But in the eighth, Buchholz allowed a single and then a two-run Akinori Iwamura home run. Boston lost 2-1. Buchholz beat Tampa Bay in his next start but his season soon unraveled (2-9, 6.75).

Now Buchholz is back in the Rays' dome, more mature, more consistent. And this is no April game, but late August, in a nearly must-win situation.

With Boston's 3-1 win Friday, and the Yankees loss, the AL East reads: New York and Tampa Bay 78-50; Boston 75-55 (4.5 games back).

For another look at Boston's win (or the Rays' loss, if you will), check out Marc Topkin in the St. Petersburg Times.

In the minors, Pawtucket's Josh Reddick and Portland's Ryan Lavarnway remain on fire. Reddick went 3-for-5 with another homer. His five-day total: 14-for-25 (.560), five home runs and 12 RBI.

Lavarnway was 1-for-3 with a home run, his fourth in five games. See the Press Herald story.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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