Rays 3 - Red Sox 4
Carl Crawford: Is it me, or is this guy always up here? Carl went 2-5 with yet another stolen base, an RBI, and run scored. I've gotta say, my second favorite thing about watching C.C. slide across home plate was seeing him bowl over Tek. As a bonus, Crawford made a great throw on a ball off the Monster to catch Bay at 2nd trying to leg out a double. I do have to voice a note of complaint here, though. Once again, in a big situation (9th inning, two outs, two RISP) C.C. whiffed to end the game. It's not enough to cut him out of the Cheese section, but it was freaking frustrating.
Matt Garza: 7 innings, 2 walks, 7 hits, 6 strikeouts, 3 earned runs (one of which was merely "earned," but more on that later) ought to be enough for a win. Unfortunately, no such luck for Garza, who (crossing fingers) looks like he might be in the process of putting together the kind of very good season of which he's capable. We like what we see so far, and we hope he can keep his cool all year.
Dropping the Ball: The Sox third run of the game came on a fly ball to shallow right in the 4th with two outs and Veritek on 2nd. It was a ball that was catchable by either Iwamura or Zobrist--and I'm pretty sure that it ought to have been Benzo calling for it--but, alas, it fell between them, and Tek, who was "running" on contact, scored. Bay was thrown out at 2nd by a good, heads-up throw from Zobrist, but the outfield assist with which he was credited is misleading. Had he caught the freaking ball in the first place, the throw would've been unnecessary, and the Rays would have come into the 5th down one instead of two.
Clutch Offense: After Aki walked and Bartlett singled in the 9th, moving Iwamura to 3rd and thereby giving the Rays an excellent shot at tying the game or even taking the lead, Carlos Peña, Melvin Upton, and C.C. all struck out to end the game. If just ONE of them had made a productive out, it would, at the very least, have extended the game. Granted, Papelbon is no pushover, and there ought not be any shame in losing a split series at Fenway. But this game was definitely winable. All in all, the team was 2-8 with RISP, not terrible, but not great either.
The Rays have nearly three weeks worth of games coming up against the Orioles, Indians, Marlins, and Twins. The ought to be able to make up some ground. Here's hoping Papa Joe has the boys playing up to their potential and not down to the competition.
The matchup tonight is Sonnanstine vs. ex-Devil Ray Mark Hendrickson in Baltimore.
P.S. Today's (5/11) Baseball Today Podcast features an interview with Evan Longoria, right around the 9 minute mark. Check it out here.