Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Game 81: Outgunned

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 6, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 9

“Say what you want about the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but those are not the expansion Devil Rays any more. They have a very good lineup top to bottom, an AL offense that can hit. I would put that lineup against a lot of lineups in this league. When they get pitching they're going to win games.”
- Curt Schilling after yesterday’s loss

Ooooh, that was ugly. Like as ugly as any other loss I’ve seen from this team in the past few years; a loss where hitting – brutal power hitting, not finessed singles and daring base running – made the difference between the winner and the loser. The Red Sox lost yesterday because the Devil Rays put more of a hurtin’ on Boston pitching (especially Timlin) than the Sox put on Tampa Bay pitching. If Kazmir had been on the mound, it would have been a blowout. You know, like what happened in Cleveland yesterday.

However, instead of Kazmir, we had “The Blade” Fossum, throwing Eephus pitches and one-run ball for five innings. We had Gabe Kapler, subbing for a slumping Coco Crisp, going deep off of Fossum, Ortiz crushing one in seventh to start a rally to tie the game and Manny doing his best to add another come-from-behind victory to the resume of 2006 Sox with a three-run dinger in the ninth. Ortiz, by the way, is currently on pace to break Jimmy Foxx’s club record of 54 home runs. We had Schilling giving up three home runs of his own, but keeping the Sox in the game for seven innings and Timlin having a bad day, surrendering five runs over a third of an inning and taking Boston out for the duration. Schilling, by the way, picked up what is only his third loss and his first loss since facing the Yankees on May 10. On any other day, he would have picked up another no decision.

Overall, though, I think Schilling’s point about Tampa Bay’s hitting is correct – they’ve got a good hitting team and in a few years, may finally get the pitching to make them yet another contender in the AL East. They’re certainly not a team Red Sox fans can expect to beat like a rented mule anymore. Whether or not tonight will bear out that point in the form of a sweep is a good question: Corcoran, the pitcher Boston faces tonight, is a converted reliever who has two very solid starts under his belt, but then again, they’re against the NL East. He’s facing Johnson, who’s trying to avoid doing his best impression of a drowning man and also had his most recent (ill-stared) start against the NL East. Anything could happen, but if there’s another tough loss tonight look for this site to start petitioning to move Boston to the National League. GO SOX!!!