Wednesday April 06, 2011 | 06:53 AM

At least, the Boston Red Sox are ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays. And by "least," we imply the full meaning of the word.

Boston is not ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East standings. Both are together at the bottom with 0-4 record.

But Boston is ahead of the Rays in team batting - SECOND TO LAST, instead of last in the majors. While the Red Sox are batting .186, Tampa Bay is at .138.

Just a reminder, folks: It's FOUR games. If this little slump happened during four games in June, everyone considers it a bump. If anything, maybe this slow start will get everyone forgetting about winning 100 games - and just win the next game.

If an 0-4 start gets people to re-think the idea of Boston dominating the league, maybe the idea of Daisuke Matsuzaka being the weak link in the rotation will also become a myth. Matsuzaka could play the role of stopper tonight, getting the ball against the Indians and Mitch Talbot.

If there is any good news for Boston fans, it is that the Yankees (3-2) blew a 4-0 lead when set-up man Rafael Soriano gave up four runs in the eighth (1 hit, 3 walks), as the Twins won 5-4 in the 10th. The Daily News has the story.

Here in Portland, we are anticipating the season opener Thursday at 6 p.m. at Hadlock Field. Right-hander Alex Wilson has been named the starter for Thursday, against the Reading Phillies.

Wilson, a second-round draft pick out of Texas A&M in 2009, is a fastball/slider guy. He could see time in the Boston bullpen by the end of the season. He's pictured here in his last spring training start, last Thursday in Fort Myers (a John Ewing photo).

The Sea Dogs also announced their next three starters - Brock Huntzinger, Stolmy Pimentel and Stephen Fife. They did not announce a fifth starter. It was thought to be Michael Lee, but maybe the Red Sox are re-considering the use of Caleb Clay, a starter last year in Salem who was though headed to the bullpen.

See today's story in the Press Herald on the projected rotation.


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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