Tuesday, July 01, 2008
SOX FALL TO RAYS...AGAIN
The Red Sox lineup has struggled all year to really click all at once. At the moment, Dustin Pedroia is scorching hot (20 for his last 36 or .556), Mike Lowell is also hot (17 for his last 32 or .531), and Youkilis is hitting well (.337 average in June). On the other side of the spectrum; JD Drew has cooled off a bit, Manny Ramirez is cold (.205 in the last two weeks), and Jason Varitek has officially frozen over (.127 in June).
This disparity between extremely hot and extremely cold results in an inconsistent offense, with runners left in scoring position, rallies killed right as they start, and quick 1-2-3 innings for opposing pitchers. And that was the case last night as the Sox fell to the Rays 5-4.
Masterson once again had a decent - not good, not bad - start, going 6 innings and allowing 4 runs. But he was up against James Shields, who is pretty much untouchable in Tropicana Field (coming into the game, 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA at home). The Sox got 2 off of Shields, and managed to get him out after 6.1 innings. But these aren't your older brother's (Devil) Rays. This Tampa team has a bullpen that doesn't moonlight as a slapstick comedy troupe.
Speaking of bullpens, Chris Smith started the 7th for the Red Sox, but only got 1 out and walked the bases loaded. Javier Lopez did a good job of minimizing the damage, holding the Rays to 1 run in the inning. But that run would turn out to be the game winner.
The Sox rallied against Troy Percival in the 9th. Lowell and Brandy Moss had big doubles, with a Youkilis single sandwiched in between. Varitek hit a sac-fly to make it 5-4. But Julio Lugo failed to deliver with a man on 3rd and 2 outs.
The Rays now hold a 1.5 game lead over the Red Sox. It feels odd saying that on July 1st. And guess what, it's a 3 game lead in the loss column. The Sox are 6-4 against the rays this season, which isn't bad, but they were 13-5 against Tampa in '07.
Tim Wakefield goes against Matt Garza tonight. Garza is coming off a complete game, 1 hit, 1 run performance against the Marlins. I'm just glad Kevin Cash gets to bat tonight.
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara