The Rays and the Red Sox will usher in May with a doubleheader at Fenway Park made necessary by Wednesday night's rainout. Oddly enough, both teams enter the month with losing marks.
The Red Sox (13-14) are trending in the right direction, posting an 8-5 mark in their past 13 games.
"This first month is one of those months where a lot of things happened, but I think it was OK," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "I don't think it was that bad -- it could be worse. We kind of evened things out.
"If you look at this division, pretty much everyone's in the same boat. Everybody got stronger this offseason, everyone has a better team, so it's not like it's going to be easy."
Meanwhile, the Rays (11-16) are heading in the opposite direction, losing six of their past seven games to finish April five games under .500, their lowest point since they were 5-10 on April 18, 2013.
Fortunately for both teams, while they have gotten off to slow starts, the rest of the division has not taken advantage.
"Nobody's really broken away," Maddon said, "so from that perspective we got kind of lucky. ... You look out at the board [at Fenway Park] in left field [where the standings are shown], there's not a huge separation going on. Beyond that, having played everybody in our division already, it is pretty close. I don't see one overwhelming team right now. So I think we're going to kind of beat each other up all season."
Perhaps keeping things close is that all five teams in the AL East have allowed more runs than they have scored. That means that for only the second time since the current divisional format was adopted in 1994, all of the teams within a division will have a negative run differential on May 1.
The Rays will start Cesar Ramos in the first game and Chris Archer in the second. The Red Sox will start Jake Peavy in the first game and Felix Doubront in the nightcap.
"Maybe a little bit more known commodity as far as dependability and getting deeper into the game," Farell said of starting Peavy first. "Not to say it's always a guarantee, but that's what you go by, knowing you've got a guy that can hopefully keep a bullpen from getting overexposed early and look to have guys fresh for Game 2."
Maddon expressed a concern about Thursday's weather forecast that prompted him to make Archer his Game 2 starter. He did not want Archer to face the possibility of having to get up and down in the event of rain delays in the first game.
Rays: Road troubles
The Rays have lost seven of their past eight games on the road and for the second consecutive year are 4-9 overall on the road, matching the Indians for the worst record in the American League.
Rays road wins have been by scores of 1-0, 2-1, 1-0, and 4-0. They have scored a combined 33 runs in the 13 road games, their fewest ever in their first 13 road games.
Only once in 13 road games have the Rays scored more than four runs in a game. They are batting .209 on the road.
Red Sox: Ortiz approaches 2,000
David Ortiz has played in 1,994 regular-season games in his Major League career, six shy of 2,000, and he has 436 home runs.
Only 25 players have recorded more than Ortiz's 436 career homers in their first 2,000 games.
Seventeen of the 25 players to accomplish the feat have been eligible for the Hall of Fame, and 13 of those 17 have been enshrined: Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Frank Robinson, Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.
• The Rays have drawn 100 walks in April for a club record, eclipsing the previous high of 96 in 2010.
• By scoring just 103 runs in April, the Rays accrued their lowest April run total since 2004, when the team scored 63.
• Mike Napoli has reached base safely in 24 of his 25 games this season, including a career-high 22 consecutive games beginning on April 4.
• The Red Sox are 7-3 this season when facing a left-handed starter.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.