Sox Win Rubber Game...Rays Are Next, Then Toronto...Boston 7 Texas 2
Paul Byrd and the Boston Red Sox won a huge game Sunday afternoon in Arlington, Texas on a day that the Tampa Bay Rays and the now out of it New York Yankees lost. The final score was Boston 7 Texas 2, with Byrd pitching his best game in a Boston uniform. He went 6 2/3 strong innings, allowing zero runs and just 3 hits while walking 3 and striking out 4. He was in complete control right up until his last pitch, and his acquisition seems like a stroke of genius now. He came when Boston desperately needed another arm for their rotation. The Sox are only 1 1/2 games behind the Rays, who have not won a single game at Fenway Park this year. Let's hope that trend continues. As recently as September 1st, the Rays had a somewhat comfortable 5 1/2 game lead, but that has dissolved much like an Alka Selzer in a glass of water. And the Yankees proudly occupy 4th place in the AL East. My goodness, they're out of it!
The bullpen was a tad shaky, with Manny Delcarmen and Chris Smith both giving up a run, but Paps came in to record the final two outs, with a little nervousness because he gave up 2 base hits. The batting stars were many..the Sox had 12 hits. Jason Bay had a tater and a total of 2 base hits. Big Papi and the increasingly hot Coco Crisp also collected 2 base hits each. Mike Lowell had the day off. Shortstop Alex Cora, who also had a clutch hit, and manager Tito Francona had this to say before the jet ride home to Boston...
"We're playing great baseball, that's the fun part of it," Alex Cora said. "It's not that we struggle, but I think after that win in Toronto [Aug. 24, in 11 innings], I think we kind of found ourselves. Obviously we're in September, obviously it seems like we're playing with more emotion, we're showing it. It's fun, man, especially when you win. That's the fun part of it. You watch games, and you know where everybody's at."
"We played two good games, one kind of a clunker," manager Terry Francona said about the series. "Now we get to go home and play, hopefully, some of the most exciting baseball of the year. We've played ourselves into a position where these games are really important. It's exciting."
When the Sox do go home, the white hot Toronto Blue Jays will be in for a 4 game, 3 day set beginning Friday, so it's not just Tampa Bay who's coming to town. Here are the all important pitching matchups for the three game set with the first place (for now) Tampa Bay Rays...
Edwin Jackson (11-9 4.07) vs. Jon Lester (13-5 3.57)
Scott Kazmir (11-6 2.99) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (16-2 2.88)
Andy Sonnanstine (13-7 4.66) vs. Josh Beckett (12-9 4.20)
**ALL GAMES AT START AT 7:05...All Games On NESN and Red Sox Radio Network**
Edwin Jackson has had a tough time lately, so I like our chances tonight. Kazmir/Daisuke? It all depends on Daisuke's control. If he's on, this game is a toss up. And I have to go with Beckett over Sonnanstine just because he looked so very good in Texas. Hey, if you'd like, click on the title of this post for more on last night's series-clenching win over the Rangers and a full preview of the upcoming Tampa Bay set. Thanks for popping in once again, your comments are always welcome, and as always, BE WELL.