Watching the May 2013 version of the Boston Red Sox is not dissimilar to a root canal without Novocaine. The dental work hurts less. What started out as encouraging beginning Tuesday night soon morphed into the cringing pain that Sox fans have been experiencing since flipping the calendar ahead from opening month.
David Ortiz opened the traveling roadshow at the Tropicana with a three run blast in the Boston first inning, giving rise to some hope that Matt Moore’s bid for a Rays record seventh (opening) win would not be realized. Moore and his colleagues had other ideas. Big Papi’s long ball to right field was the sum total of the offensive output that Boston could muster. Moore soon dialed in and the visitors watched the scoreboard post consecutive zeros on their behalf for the following eight innings.
Red Sox starter John Lackey held tough through the first four innings but hell broke lose in the Rays fifth. Evan Longoria and James Loney started the inning with singles that were followed by a check swing double by Luke Scott. Between the energizer-bunny offensive punch and a series of miscues, most notably an infield fly that dropped harmlessly between Dustin Pedrioa and Mike Napoli, the Rays ended the inning with a five-spot and the Red Sox never recovered.
In interviews following the game, both Pedrioa and Napoli appeared magnanimous when speaking of the fly ball that was apparently lost in the (color) of the Tropicana dome:
“It was up there a while,” Pedroia said. “I’ve played a lot of games at this field. I ran to it and took my eye off it and tried to find it again, and I couldn’t find it. It’s probably an easier play for me than Nap because it’s a left-handed hitter and I had a better angle. I just took my eye off it. I know better than to do that. We lose it. It just drops.”
“That’s a play I should’ve made and I didn’t. Felt bad, because [John Lackey’s] out there, he got the guy to pop up, and if it’s a tie ball game, he probably would’ve pitched a little longer. Just overran the ball and didn’t make the play.”
The Red Sox have dropped three games in a row and nine of the last eleven. They are now three full games behind the New York Yankees who outlasted “King” Felix Hernandez on Tuesday evening.
- Rays’ Moore handcuffs Red Sox for 7th win (scores.espn.go.com)
- Red Sox-Rays Live: Sox Look to Snap Streak of Uninspired Play With John Lackey on Mound in Tampa (nesn.com)