Since David Price was dealt by the Tampa Bay Rays, a simmering feud with Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has ended.
Now that Dustin Pedroia could be sidelined for an extended time, more bad blood between these AL East rivals is a possibility heading into Sunday's matchup at Tropicana Field.
A feud that began in last year's playoffs between Price and Ortiz carried into this year between clubs with a history of conflict.
Now a fresh incident Saturday could be the impetus for some retaliation by the last-place Red Sox.
Pedroia left a 7-0 loss with concussion-like symptoms. The second baseman was struck in the head by the arm of Logan Forsythe as the Rays infielder was sliding head-first into second while advancing on a fly ball.
Forsythe said the contact was unintentional.
'He's got some symptoms that are consistent with a concussion,' Boston manager John Farrell said. 'He's improved as the night has gone on here; (he's) not as dizzy as he was when he first came off, but we'll take every precaution necessary with Dustin.'
Any kind of unintentional justice could be doled out Sunday by starters Clay Buchholz and Alex Cobb, who take the mound in the third game of this four-game set.
These right-handers last met in Game 3 of a division series last year, with Tampa Bay (66-70) needing a victory to stay alive. The Rays won 5-4 as each pitcher gave up three runs and didn't factor into the decision, with Cobb (9-6, 3.06 ERA) pitching five innings and Buchholz six.
Cobb is enjoying a terrific stretch since his last defeat June 23, going 7-0 with a 2.14 ERA in his last 11 starts. No Rays pitcher has won eight straight decisions since Matt Moore began 8-0 last year.
He extended his franchise record streak of allowing two runs or fewer to nine straight starts Tuesday when he was charged with two over a season-low four innings in a 92-pitch effort in a 4-2 loss at Baltimore.
Cobb hasn't faced the Red Sox (59-76) since last year's postseason. The Boston native is 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA in seven regular-season outings against them, and he has limited slugger Yoenis Cespedes to a single in 13 at_bats.
He is tied for the best ERA in baseball since the All-Star break with Kyle Hendricks of the Chicago Cubs at 1.42.
Buchholz (5-8, 5.77), meanwhile, has one of baseball's worst ERAs in that span at 6.31. He is 0-3 with a 6.35 ERA in his last seven starts, although he surrendered three runs in 8 1-3 innings and did not get a decision in Monday's 4-3 win at Toronto.
Buchholz has thrown 13 consecutive scoreless innings in the regular season against the Rays. He has enjoyed regular season and playoff success against Ben Zobrist (4 for 38), Evan Longoria (8 for 37 with 14 strikeouts) and Matt Joyce (6 for 25).
Tampa Bay shortstop Yunel Escobar figures to return after he got Saturday off. He has three errors in his last two games.
"I think it's wise to give him a day off, especially when we have a run where we have no days off," manager Joe Maddon told MLB's official website.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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