Burrell’d By Rays Twice in One Night
Saturday was a great day for Boston’s playoff teams, the Bruins and Celtics, who both pulled off come-from-behind victories. The Sox came close to being the third of the day, but fell short against the Tampa Bay Rays in both contests last night. The first was the continuation of the suspended game from Friday, where they picked up in the bottom of the 9th and the second was the regularly scheduled affair, game two of the Rays series at Fenway. In both games, the Sox got Burrell’d by the Rays.
Coming into Friday’s (continued on Saturday’s) contest, Pat Burrell had been awful at the plate. He struck out four times in Friday’s and Saturday’s games, but had one huge hit in each game. In the 11th inning of game one, Burrell hit his first home run of the season and got his first 2 RBI’s to break the 1-1 tie. Burrell’s home run put the Rays up for good, as the Sox could not muster any offense in the bottom of the 11th.
In game two of the series, early on in the late starting game, Burrell struck again. In the top of the first inning, after a bad error by Mike Cameron (one of two Boston errors), Burrell took advantage of the bases loaded opportunity and ripped a three-run double down the right field line to give the Rays a commanding lead early and killed whatever energy the Fenway crowd had after the heartbreaking finish to game one. The Sox eventually made a comeback with four runs in the 7th inning to close within one run, but could not climb over the hurdle of a five-run deficit.
Burrell only has seven hits in 33 ABs this season with 12 Ks. His only home run and all five RBIs came last night in both games. The Sox will be looking to neutralize Burrell in games three and four, because he apparently steps up his game against the Sox in clutch situations. Even for the most patient fan, this Sox team is frustrating this season with the inability of the bullpen to shut down teams and defensive errors by Marco Scutaro and Mike Cameron, two players added this off-season for their defensive prowess.
There are 151 games left for the Sox to turnaround their season, but if they want to contend with the Yankees and Rays in the AL East, they need to improve quickly. A 4-7 record is unacceptable in the Boston and sitting four games behind the Yankees and Rays and two and a half games behind the Blue Jays is pathetic, early season or not. Now is the time to develop a team identity and prove to the league that Theo’s off-season strategy was a smart one. With two afternoon games to wrap-up the series (1:30pm Sunday and 11am Monday) the Sox need to make a statement against their division foe.