Victor secures Victory


Editor’s Note:  This post comes to you from Justin Klugh, our Philadelphia Phillies lead writer over at That Balls Outta Here.  Brian Phair will be returning shortly.

Boy, the Rays sure getting a little attitude.  Like a preteen hitting puberty, they are just acting out in a whole mess of unfortunate ways, and pretty soon we are going to have to take away that Nintendo, Mr. Attitude.

First there’s this little Joe Maddon-arranged stunt to send a bunch (more) bad mojo up to Philly.  For a guy who seems to have a grasp of baseball the way the killer from Saw has a grip on “revenge,” I would almost expect… more.  Like a Rube Goldberg machine going from Tampa to Philly that ends with a pie hitting Michael Nutter in the face during a press conference.  […]

And then, and this is really where the relevance kicks in, there’s this little person screaming his drunken face off in a Rays jersey at a poor, innocent Red Sox fan.  Did the Sox guy probably say something stupid/racist/stereotypical/stupid/drunk/stupid just prior to his outburst?  Yeah, definitely.  But that’s not the point.  Sox fans are like that.  It’s part of you… not charm… I guess personality.  And that’s not an insult.  We in Philly carry a particular stigma attached to our fandom as well, and with all the puking and tasering going on in Citizens Bank Park this year, we live up to it.  But boy, Rays fans not only… exist… but they’re snarky and mad, too.

Good luck, Sox.  Our Florida rep in the NL East has a stadium that hasn’t been even half full since 1997, so I can’t really relate.

Red Sox 9, Athletics 4


So, it is my understanding that the AL West doesn’t have a truly dominant force to be reckoned with just yet.  I picked the Mariners to win it, and I’m starting to think I only did that because I literally assumed Cliff Lee would pick up the entire team and carry them 162 games to the finish line.  Don’t act like it didn’t cross your mind even a single time.

Anyway, The Red Sox–Victor Martinez, mostly–took down the Athletics from their first place in the West last night with a 9-4 victory that ought to have garnered V-Mart a spot on Mt. Rushmore.  The guy goes 5-for-5 with four doubles and a home run.  He was too good to hit just a single last night.  And this after John Lackey did his best to make everybody slap their foreheads and groan.

Fortunately, Lackey, even though he pitched all four of the A’s runs across the plate, put in six innings, and then the decidedly more lights-out bullpen stepped in, put a hand on his shoulder, and in a dulcet, soothing tone, said “We’ll handle the rest, John.”

And he was gone.

So were the A’s, lying down for the Sox to pick up their 11th win in 14 games.  Adrian Beltre, of course, was not to be outdone by the murderous Martinez (Who had all kinds of wild stats after his 1.000 BA for the night–most hits in one night by a catcher since Sandy Alomar in ’97, and a bunch of other shit that stathounds were researching wild-eyed with only one hand on the keyboard), and continued his “I’m-not-just-here-for-defense” campaign that started I can’t remember when and looks to continue until we come back around to autumn.

The deficit went from three runs to one when Beltre shotgunned a Gio Gonzalez curve right over the Monster.  It’s hard to lose with offense like this.

Not if you’re the Rays, though, as uppity as they seem to have become.  Now tied with the Evil Empire, they’re only two games up on the Blue Jays and two and a half on the Sox, turning the division from Tampa’s personal smörgåsbord to an everybody’s-invited-all-you-can-eat buffet.

This division is literally anyone’s, except for one, noticeable, black and orange exception.  There will be no running away this year, and as unbelievably scary as the Rays started, it’s hard to accept that they are now not even the only team in first place.

So, as a sign of things to come for Boston–maybe not the Celtics–perhaps everyone in Beantown should be tucking their children into bed for the remainder of the season to the words of Victor Martinez to John Lackey last night:

"“He told me to hang in there, and he was going to take care of me,” Lackey said. “He did.”"