The current dust up with the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston requires three victories and not the two currently in the book. You know, that book that has a section entitled “We just got our *** kicked.” The series is a surprise for me so far. A very pleasant surprise.
As affectionatos of the Boston baseball scene will quickly point out: “2004.…2004.…2004.” Toss in all the clichés about robust women singing or ain’t over and the picture is clear. TB may appear baseball road kill, but until the highway department comes along with the shovel, they still have a pulse.
What has really surprised me is the across the board breakdown of the Rays. I honestly felt the two games would result in a low scoring split. Obviously that was as valid as my buying Lehman Brothers as the market collapsed. This Rays team appeared to have changed uniforms with Houston. The Rays are flat out one of the premier teams in baseball who just managed to take a baseball funk at the worse time possible. Bottom line is this was a total “team effort” in getting hammered. And, of course, a significant reason is the Sox.
The beauty of the game is the baseball Gods can magically turn things around. The Rays stumbled around defensively, their hitting tanked and the biggie was the combined melt down of Matt Moore – pitching like Michael Moore – and David Price. That fickle of fate could do a U turn in TB.
The Boston aggressiveness should be of no shock to TB. That is also Joe Maddon’s style. The Sox and Rays know each other intimately – in a baseball way – from being division rivals, and the Rays know Fenway, so the triple by Stephen Drew should not have happened. Never. Just one very visual example of a solid defensive team going in the tank.
For Boston it was the hitting. They took it to TB in a way I never expected, and I doubt many other denizens of RSN did. The aggressiveness has been there all season, so that had zero shock value, but handing the head to two of the best pitchers in the game? Certainly a wow factor for me.
Can the Rays turn this mess around? Game three will certainly tell all. It will be a character game for the Rays. It may also be a game in which Joe Maddon becomes a Dusty Baker – no brass ring after multiple tries. All I know is the Rays dug themselves a surprising hole and the Sox gleefully supplied the shovel.