Trop ’til You Drop. Sox Spoil Rays’ Homecoming With 5-2 Win.


Would it not be delicious if Monday’s 5-2 Red Sox win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa was a tune up for their upcoming series’ with Baltimore and again with the Rays. Delicious indeed if Boston still has something to say about splitting the AL wild card race wide open, which if they play well over the next two weeks, could decidedly happen.

"I can only imagine that there is nothing worse than watching a Tampa Bay Rays games at the end of the season. Over the past five years the Rays have been in it to win it down the stretch. This is essentially a competitive club with a good manager and front office who has made the most of their deals."

September 17, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder

Jacoby Ellsbury

(2) is congratulated by third base coach

Jerry Royster

(43) as he runs around the base after he hit a 2-run home run in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

This year’s edition of the Rays is only four games back in the AL Wild Card race yet they still can’t even get close to filling up the park. If the Red Sox were four out The Nation would be foaming at the mouth. Instead, at 17.5 games out, Sox fans are drowning their sorrows in something else foamy but not at all inspiring. The funereal atmosphere at the Trop punctuated by a stray vocalization and insipid cowbell ringing continues to underscore just how much this team deserves a better fate and better fans.

The Tropicana morgue was the scene for last night’s matchup between the under appreciated Rays and the under performing Red Sox. Aaron Cook (3-10, 5.18) squared off against Tampa’s Alex Cobb (9-8, 4.26)

Boston was hitless through five innings. Tampa Bay had only two hits until the fifth but strung together two singles by Luke Scott and Carlos Pena and a sacrifice safety squeeze bunt that scored Scott to put the Rays up 1-0. It was starting to feel like one of those nights when the snake bit Sox were going to produce next to nothing in a nothing situation and go down with a whimper.

"It wasn’t exactly fireworks but Boston did come to life in the top of the sixth when Jose Iglesias was hit by a pitch – regrettably about the only way the slick fielding .069 hitting shortstop can get on base – and Jacoby Ellsbury cracked a two-run homer to put Boston on top 2-1."

The good play continued in the bottom of the inning when Ben Zobrist grounded into a tough and well-executed 1-6-3 double play and Matt Joyce grounded out to Iglesias, who made a difficult play up the middle look all too easy.

In an ironic role reversal, Boston gained steam and the Rays simply ran out of gas. In the seventh inning James Loney singled and Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked. Rays manager Joe Maddon had seen enough, and pulled Cobb, who 1/2 inning earlier had gotten into it with his catcher Jose Molina in the Rays dugout. I did say role reversal, right? A throwing error, single, sac bunt, walk and single later and Boston was up for good 5-1, ultimately going on to win the game 5-2.

Thirteen days and 11 games – all of them with Tampa Bay and Baltimore. One last chance to give either or both opponents a splitting headache. Party like it’s 2004 guys.

It’s a fine line, a very fine line
Split decision
It’s a fine line, a very fine line
– Split Decision, Steve Winwood