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Rays Get Healthy At Sox Expense

5/4/09
Rays Get Healthy At Sox Expense
Paul Chick

What a difference a week makes. Last Monday morning we awake to the joy of a 3 game sweep of our Hated Rivals and a 10 game win streak. This morning? An ugly series loss to the Rays which opened with a Sox outfielder (Jonathan Van Every) taking the mound after Josh Beckett was pounded again. The Sox mustered one hit as Matt Garza flirted with perfection. Next night, an Evan Longoria grand slam off Justin Masterson which sent the Sox to a 6-2 loss. Masterson had pitched well through the first four innings allowing just one hit. He came apart in the 5th allowing a Carlos Pena blast just 2 pitches after the meatball to Longoria. Saturday night the Sox staked Tim Wakefield to a 6-1 lead but he struggled as well. Wake departed after walking the leadoff man in the 6th with a 6-5 lead. Wakefield is either typically somewhere between unhittable and awful. He’s been the Sox best starter in 2009 so he can be excused on this night as the Boston bats came alive for a 10-6 win. OK now a chance for a series split on Sunday afternoon at The Trop! Brad Penny took the hill and gave the Sox their first quality start in nearly a week. He allowed 3 runs and had 8 K’s in 6 innings but the Boston bats slumbered en route to a 5-3 loss. And Carl Crawford stole 6 bases…SIX STOLEN BASES!! That equaled the MLB record if you don’t include the 2 guys with 7 in 1881 and 1894.

So what in the wide, wide world of sports is goin’ on here! The Rays have the Sox number. When the Sox need a win against Tampa they have not delivered. Remember the series last September at Fenway? The Rays took the final 2 games of a 3 game series and we said, “ah no problem it’s just the Rays”. Then in mid September at The Trop with the AL East hanging in the balance? Same result. Sox roll in Game 1 and the Rays come back to take the final 2 games including a 10-3 rout to go 2 games up in the division. So you said to yourself, “they’ll be sorry if they meet up with us in the playoffs!”. I’m sure you don’t need to be reminded of the 2008 ALCS. The 2009 season opener at Fenway mirrored those forementioned regular season matchups. Sox grab the opener but drop the last 2 of the series.

Can’t remember the last time the Sox are relieved to leave Tampa and head for NYC. At least I’m relieved! Yes we overreact to adversity in The Nation. We’re Red Sox fans! It’s early May but time for our starting pitching to get it going. Jon Lester (1-2, 5.40 ERA) takes the mound tonight as the Sox visit the new Yankee Stadium for the first time in the opener of a 2 game series. Boston returns home to face Cleveland Wednesday and Thursday night. Friday night? The Big, Bad Rays are in for a 3 game series including an ESPN Sunday night affair.

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