The Red Sox came into town for a three game series after the All-Star break.
The Rays David Price faked an injury to avoid playing in the All-Star game, thus insuring he would be able to start game one of the series. This being the second time this season manager Joe Maddon tweaked his rotation to insure his top three starters were facing the Sox.
Meanwhile, the Sox rolled in with the bottom of their line-up: workhorse Andrew Miller, the struggling John Lackey and back to the top with recovering Josh Beckett.
The Rays won the first game 9-6, but lost game two 9-5 as Lackey recovered from a rough first inning to shut the door on the Rays often anemic bats.
Last night's game was the crown jewel as the teams went 16 innings, the Sox winning 1-0 as Dustin "Muddy Chicken" Pedroia knocked in the winning run. Beckett and Neimann had a storybook pitcher's duel throwing one shutout inning after another. It should have been a classic. But this is the Rays I'm talking about here.
Last time we had SpikeGate and this time it is BatGate.
As Marco Scutaro slams his bat to the ground in disgust after popping up again, the bat skitters towards Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach as he tries to make the catch. With Joe Maddon already ejected, bench coach Dave Martinez bursts out of the duggout to complain and gets run as well.
What he was complaining about, I cannot figure. Scutaro didn't throw the bat deliberately at Shoppach. At worst he should have gotten a warning from the ump, so what was Martinez after? My guess, he was hoping to get Scutaro run to bugger up the Sox line-up. Yet another bush league maneuver from a team that keeps doing more and more of this.
The papers couldn't get to press due to the late finish of the game, so I'm dying to see their spin on what happened. After trying to portray Kevin Youklis as a cheap shot player, I'm sure they'll be trying to pin the same label on Scutaro and probably the entire Red Sox team. And I would not be surprised to see Scutaro get drilled, probably by Price, next time they meet. That is beginning to look like the s.o.p. for this team these days.
It gets tiresome watching the papers try to gin up controversy where none exists. Instead of enjoying what was a thrilling series, though a losing one for the Rays, we get childish whining and threats of "wait til next time" from the papers and the fans who willingly get duped into the false narrative.