It’s easy to forget how bad things were for the Boston Red Sox only a year ago, but it doesn’t really matter as they dump the Tampa Bay Rays with a 3-1 win in a 3-1 series, thanks to some fantastic pitching, as their bats went quiet for a second consecutive game.
After five scoreless innings, the Tampa Bay Rays took the lead on a David DeJesus single, driving home Yunel Escobar. But the Rays took the approach of using a pitcher per inning, and eventually, in that kind of Roulette move, you sometimes fail.
Jacoby Ellsbury stole second, and Xander Bogaertz scored on the play, while Ellsubry managed to move up to third on a wild pitch. Shane Victorino was next getting an infield single, while Ellsbury scored on the play, giving the Red Sox the lead, and eventually the win, as Dustin Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly that Bogaertz scored on.
There was the impressive relieving performance by Craigh Breslow, staying in for 1.2 innings, allowing one hit and striking out four batters. In 419 career regular-season games (and two previous postseason games), he only struck out four batters once.
As the Rays used nine pitchers, a postseason record for a nine-inning game, David Price almost took to the mound at some point, warming up for the 10th. But the Rays couldn’t get anything going offensively besides the DeJesus hit, going 6-for-31 on the day, not walking once and not getting a hit in the final three innings.
The way it was working at the beginning there, I could see it was just not going to work and we had to do something differently. We became a little bit more extemporaneous at that point. They didn’t make any mistakes. You could see their grit. They’ve got a bunch of gamers over there. On the other side, I think our guys were equally as tough. We have had a hard time hitting their pitching staff.
It was the fourth playoff appearance for the Rays over the last six years, but they haven’t made it past the divisional series since making it to the World Series in 2008.
The Red Sox are about the turnaround. The best hitting team in baseball had a rough time in a game with only one extra base hit, as the Rays did a pretty good job in curbing down their power hitting. However, this unit is so deep and loaded, the sheer momentum from turning around the boat from a 69-93 season last year is enough to always have them finding someone to get the score, making them the favorites to make the World Series out of the AL, especially if they’re up against the A’s.