If ever a late season game summed up a team’s infuriatingly poor 2012 campaign, it was the Red Sox/Ray’s series finale at the Trop on Wednesday night. An early Boston lead gave way to some spectacularly bad pitching middle inning pitching as the Rays walked away in a laugher 13-3. All the Rays bats had hits in them and the ones that didn’t weren’t needed. Boston pitchers walked 11 Rays, mostly with disastrous results.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5, 7.14 ERA), poster child for all that’s wrong with Boston’s pitching staff, squared off against 23-year old Chris Archer (0-3, 3.91 ERA) in a nearly meaningless game for Boston and a getting less relevant game for the Rays as their September losses pile up.
The Sox jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when the hot hitting Jacoby Ellsbury singled in the first to score Pedro Ciriaco. In the second it started to look like it might be a typical Dice-K night. Matsuzaka walked Matt Joyce with the bases loaded to force in Evan Longoria after giving up three straight singles. Dice managed to hold the line, striking out Carlos Pena (4th in the majors with 170 Ks) and getting Jose Molina to ground into a double play to end the inning. Sox 1, Rays 1.
Ellsbury and the Sox were back in business it the third. Jose Eglesias walked, Pedro Ciriaco singled (ever notice how much Ciriaco’s name get mentioned when Boston is scoring?) and Ells singled up the middle to score Iglesias. Dustin Pedroia grounded into a force out at second, allowing Ciriaco to score on the failed Rays attempt to double up Pedey. Sox 3, Rays 1. That’s as good as it would get all night for the Old Towne Team.
Remember earlier in the post when I said it looked like it was going to be a typical Dice-K night, meaning he was going to get hammered? Well, his usual slim odds caught up with him.
In the bottom of the third Ben Zobrist singled to score Desmond Jennings to make it 3-2 Sox and in the fourth the Topicana Field roof fell in on Matsuzaka. Jeff Keppinger solo homered to left field to knot the score at 3-3. Matt Joyce followed with a single and Pena, yeah that guy who strikes out so much, shattered a Matsuzaka fastball for a two-run homer and a 5-3 Rays lead. After Molina doubled Bobby V had seen enough and Dice-K was predictably gone after just 4 innings of work. Sox fans should look forward to the 2013 season if for no other reason then to never hear Matsuzaka’s name called in a Red Sox game again except as an opponent.
With men on first and third Bard gave up a single to allow Tampa’s 10th run. Bard threw 16 pitches, four for strikes. Gone.
Andrew Miller came in to spell Bard and promptly walked in two Tampa base runners in a row for their 11th and 12th runs.
Ultimately, Boston chewed through six pitchers and gave up 13 runs, an unlucky number indeed. This game was so bad it warrants a musical twofer:
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.
- Send in the Clowns, Judy Collins
Now don’t be sad (Don’t be sad)
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad
- Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, Meatloaf