Red Sox

MLB Notebook: Rays poised to give Yankees, Red Sox all they can handle in AL East

(Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The Red Sox are, naturally enough, perpetually measured against their rivals, the New York Yankees.

Even in winters in which the Red Sox are the defending champions, coming off a World Series triumph, there's great consternation about what the Yankees did to improve and angst that they have closed the gap, or worse, overtaken the Sox — on paper, at least.

But for now, just over two weeks into the season, it isn't the Yankees that the Red Sox should be most worried about. That's due in part to the injury plague which has struck the Yanks, sending half of their projected lineup to the IL, along with 40 percent of the starting rotation and key bullpen pieces, too.

It's also, however, a reflection of the Tampa Bay Rays, who came into Saturday with the second-best record in baseball and whom the Sox meet for the first time this season next weekend in a three-game weekend set at Tropicana Field.