Shields has a simple explanation for how he will deal with the early start and the hoopla that annually surrounds one of the biggest sports days in Boston.
The Boston Marathon and an early Red Sox game have long been a Patriots' Day tradition in Boston.
"I'm going to get some rest tonight. I'm good," Shields said Sunday when asked how he plans to prepare for the unusual circumstances surrounding Monday's game.
Shields has established himself as one of the stabilizing forces on a talented Rays pitching staff, coming off a 16-12 record and a 2.82 ERA last season.
Monday will be his third start this season, and he is coming off a strong effort against the Tigers on Wednesday, when he controlled the Tigers for eight innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs to record his first victory.
That was an improvement over his first start against the Yankees on April 6, when he got away with a no-decision despite giving up nine hits and walking three in giving up six earned runs in five innings.
The key is to carry a consistent and methodical approach to the mound each game, Shields said.
"If I just execute my pitches and try to get the first out of every inning, I'll be good," Shields said. "If you can get ahead of these guys and really be methodical with your pitches and put guys away early, I think you're going to be successful."
After he spent three years in the Red Sox's bullpen, the Red Sox made the decision to make Bard a starter this season.
He had a so-so outing in his starting debut Tuesday against Toronto, pitching into the sixth inning and giving up eight hits and five earned runs in a 7-3 loss to the Blue Jays.
Two of the runs scored after Bard departed in the sixth, and he was encouraged after his first start.
"Just they hit it where we weren't," he said. "I just kind of try to focus on how it felt and how the ball was coming out of my hand, which I felt was really good, and try to ignore the bad results."
The start against the Blue Jays was Bard's first since 2007 with Class A Greenville.
Rays: Tough schedule to start season
After Monday's game, the Rays move on to Toronto for a three-game series after opening the season with 10 games against the Yankees, Tigers and Red Sox.
Red Sox: Aviles back in leadoff spot
Shortstop Mike Aviles replaced Jacoby Ellsbury, who suffered a right shoulder injury Friday and was placed on the disabled list, as the leadoff hitter Sunday for the second straight game.
Jason Repko was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday and started in center field.
The Red Sox have been scheduled to play at home on Patriots' Day every year since 1959. The games were postponed due to bad weather in 1959, '61, '65, '67 and 84, and canceled in '95 because of the players' strike. Since '68 the games have started in the morning. Weather shouldn't be an issue Monday, as meteorologists are predicting temperatures to be in the high 80s.