The Boston Red Sox began their important 3 game series with the Tampa Bay Rays last night, hoping to get back on the winning path. Instead it was more of the same for the Red Sox, who dropped their third straight, losing to the Rays 7-2.
I’m sure Boston was uneasy from the beginning, as it sent underwhelming starting pitcher John Lackey to the mound Friday night. Lackey went on to last only 3 innings, surrendering 5 earned runs on 5 hits and 3 walks.
The Rays struck early and often against Lackey. A big chunk of the damage came off the bat of catcher John Jaso, who’s 3 run shot in the 2nd inning proved to be all the offensive support Tampa Bay would need.
Former Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon and Matthew Joyce added run scoring singles in the 3rd.
Boston finally broke through against Rays starter Wade Davis in the 6th inning, scoring a pair of runs on a Jacoby Ellsbury single and Marco Scutaro sac fly.
But that was all Davis would allow, as the big right-hander went the distance. Davis allowed only the 2 earned runs on 6 hits and no walks while striking out 8 on the evening.
Tampa quickly erased Boston’s comeback attempt in the bottom of the 6th, as Reid Brignac and Evan Longoria contributed RBI doubles.
With the loss, the Red Sox have now dropped 7 of their last 9 games. The New York Yankees haven’t been able to take advantage, dropping 3 straight as well, but it’s been a different story for the Rays. Tampa Bay has now won 5 of 6 to pull within 5.5 games of the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card race.
Tampa has a favorable pitching matchup today, as they send young stud Jeremy Hellickson to the mound to take on rotation fill-in Kyle Weiland. Even when Boston sends Jon Lester, their best available starter, to the mound Sunday, the Rays will counter with “Big Game” James Shields, who’s been lights out this year.
Beyond this weekend set, the Rays have 4 more games against the Red Sox. While it looked like the race was ultimately decided a week ago, injuries and inconsistencies have dropped Boston to within the Rays reach.
Tags: Boston Red Sox Evan Longoria Jacoby Ellsbury James Shields Jeremy Hellickson John Jaso John Lackey Johnny Damon Jon Lester Kyle Weiland Marco Scutaro Matt Joyce MLB New York Yankees Reid Brignac Tampa Bay Rays Wade Davis Wild Card