Editor’s Note: This post comes to you from Justin Klugh, our Philadelphia Phillies lead writer on That Balls Outta Here.
Sitting in Philadelphia right now, I can identify with the Rays. They were cruising, so smoothly, in fact, that they still have the best record in baseball, even after getting swept. Everything was going according to ESPN pre-season predictions, and though of course you’re going to lose a game here and there, when you’re accustomed to the opposing team being merely a speed bump on your way to a locker room celebration, a sweep is a surreal thing. Especially at the hands of someone you only just swept last month. [...]
But if Tampa Bay is the over confident fan hopping onto the field, waving their rally towel, than Boston is the cop who shoots 1200 volts into his torso. Party’s over, guys. Should have listened to dad.
Red Sox 11, Rays 3
Matt Garza must have been more than a little unnerved when David Ortiz stared at him from the on deck circle like he was a stuffed pig. Ortiz devoured the Tampa starter with a 400 foot message of solidarity, sandwiched between two similar messages off the bat of Adrian Beltre (who also tripled). The Sox abused this guy. They grabbed him by the back of the shirt and tossed him down the bar. They punched out each one of his teeth in front of his kids. They made it so that years from now, Matt Garza can’t even look at a baseball without lapsing into another bout with post traumatic stress disorder with a side of night terrors.
So, it might be fair to say the Sox are back, or at the very least, self-aware (Though this sweep wasn’t without its fair share of complaints from the other side). With even the Blue Jays hanging on–which is like Drew Barrymore making it out of the first scene of Scream, somehow–it was time to make a statement, and Boston has made it effectively.
“We’re letting everybody know we’re not going anywhere,” Dustin Pedroia was kind enough to inform the press as a gaggle of sandblasted dudes in Celtic jerseys shuffled wearily home from the bars behind him.
John Lackey also kept the Rays bats from wrapping their tentacles around him, and he didn’t even have to get emotional. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE ACTUAL RUN SUPPORT, RIGHT PHILLIES–sorry, sorry. I swore I wasn’t going to do… exactly that.
Lackey’s line wasn’t very ace-like: 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 4 BB, 1 K–but like I just shrieked at you, he didn’t have to chuck magic spells when Ortiz and for some reason Beltre were turning Matt Garza’s night into the first scene of a “Law and Order: SVU” episode.
Do you realize the Sox went 7-1 on this road trip, against three teams who started monumentally better0ff (Twins, Phillies, and Rays)? Now they go home to face the Royals for four days. As hot of a streak as this is, it is perfect timing for the dinner bell to start ringing in Fenway.