Sox Split Series with Rays
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Saturday, September 22, 2012 00:09
If there was one thing that the Red Sox wanted to do during the series with Tampa Bay, it was to knock the Rays further out of the playoff hunt. However, the Red Sox were only able to split the series with the Rays, and the Rays remain 6.5 games out of first place in the AL East.
Here’s a breakdown of the series:
Game 1: Monday’s game featured the pitching matchup of Aaron Cook and Alex Cobb. Both Cobb and Cook pitched well, making it through most of the game with little trouble.
The Rays were the first to score in the game, however their run didn’t come until the bottom of the fifth inning. Ryan Roberts put down a safety squeeze on the first base line, scoring Luke Scott. At the time, the Rays took a 1-0 lead.
Jacoby Ellsbury was the difference maker in the game, giving the Red Sox the lead with a two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning. Ellsbury’s home run was also the first hit given up by Cobb in the game.
The Sox then exploded, getting three runs after knocking Cobb out of the game in the seventh. With the bases loaded, pinch hitter Mauro Gomez singled to left, scoring two runs. Jose Iglesias then put down a sacrifice bunt to move along the runners, and after an intentional walk to Pedro Ciriaco, Ellsbury hit a bloop single to left to score the fifth run for the Sox.
The Sox went on to win the game 5-2.
Positives: Ellsbury had himself a nice night, going 3-5 with a home run and three RBI. Ellsbury has been hitting well in September and finally looks to be on track after coming back from his shoulder injury.
Cook was also a bright spot for the Sox, pitching well enough to allow the Red Sox to mount a comeback on a night where it seemed the Sox offense would be silenced.
Negatives: The Red Sox remain in last place in the AL East. They’ll have to keep winning games if they want to finish in fourth place, rather than last.
Game 2: The second game of the four game set, featured the pitching matchup of lefty Felix Doubront and right-handed Jeremy Hellickson. Doubront earned his first win in two months and gave up only one hit in six innings of work.
In the third inning, Doubront walked three straight batters, all of which scored in the inning. The Rays scored two runs on an RBI single by Ben Zobrist and then scored their third run on a sacrifice fly by Evan Longoria. Doubront did not look confident at all in the third inning, but seemed to regain his composure after that.
The Sox immediately chipped away at the Rays lead in the fourth inning. To start off the inning, Cody Ross hit his 32nd double of the season and James Loney then followed up with a single to right, cutting the lead to 3-1.
Boston went on to tie the game in the fifth with a hit from Jacoby Ellsbury that scored Jose Iglesias, and a sacrifice fly from Dustin Pedroia, that drove in Pedro Ciriaco.
After taking the lead in the sixth inning, the Sox added three more runs to their lead. With two outs in the seventh inning, Rays reliever Wade Davis walked two straight batters. Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed up with a single to left, driving in one run. Ryan Lavarnway then hit a double to center, allowing two more runs to score.
The Sox won the game 7-5.
Positives: Lavarnway had a good night, going 2-3, with two RBI and one run scored. For Lavarnway, hopefully it’s a step in the right direction, as he has only been hitting .165 since being called up.
Negatives: Red Sox pitching gave up eight walks to Tampa, which proved to be detrimental during the game. The pitching staff has to limit walks and make the Rays earn their runs—not give them free passes.
Game 3: Wednesday night marked another milestone for the Sox in this miserable season. Losing 13-3, the Red Sox officially have their first losing season since 1997, and own a disappointing 68-82 record.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, who made the start for the Sox, only lasted three-plus innings and was pulled in the fourth after allowing two home runs, a single and a double. At the time, the Rays took a 5-3 lead.
Alfredo Aceves came on to pitch in relief of Matsuzaka and looked good until the sixth inning. It was the first time Aceves pitched in a week, and the rust showed as he gave up four runs to Tampa, before Daniel Bard came in and gave up three more.
All in all, it was a rough night for the Sox, as the six pitchers who came into the game gave up 15 hits and 10 walks. It was a night the Sox surely want to forget.
Positives: Jacoby Ellsbury continues to be a bright spot with his offense. Ellsbury went 3-3 and had two RBI singles.
Negatives: The Red Sox once again displayed poor pitching, which has been the theme this season. A losing season was officially served to the Sox with the loss, which only makes fans more eager for next season.