Mired in a ghastly slump, losing 9 of their last 11, the Red Sox got a solid 9-2 victory over the Rays last night.
A huge third inning where the guys batted around was capped by a grand slam by Stephen Drew. They didn't get much else going offensively until the eighth when Will Middlebrooks got a solo homer. The announcers were going on about just that, the hitting being held in check for most of the game. But that's the way games go. Had the Rays put together a monster inning like that, the announcers would have been lauding how they did what they had to to win.
Sort of forgotten in all this is another fine performance by Jon Lester who is undefeated in his first nine starts this season. 6-0 with an ERA in the mid-two's, Lester is now number five all-time on the Sox strikeout list.
After last night's heartbreaking 5-3 loss, due mostly because Mike Napoli couldn't judge a high pop-up against the Trop's odd ceiling, the win keeps the Sox at just two games behind the Yankees, who are still winning despite half their team being on the DL. Wild!
Anyway, tonight's game has Clay Buchholz going for his 7th win. So hopefully we'll get a series sweep here with some good hitting and more excellent starting pitching. Correction: it appears Felix Doubront has the start, not Buccholz. I'm not nuts about this as Doubront's been a bit of a disappointment this season coming into camp out of shape and not delivering on the mound. Hopefully he'll have his A-game back after a stint in the minors.
Also of note -- David Price left the game in the third inning with (airquote)triceps tightness(/airquote). Last year's Cy Young winner has struggled mightily this season with lack of command and an obvious loss of velocity. Reports surfaced yesterday that Price is suffering from an allergic reaction to the chemicals used in the clubhouse for cleaning. Saying he can't see, and has been using eye drops, etc. Funny how we're just hearing that now. Even the guys on Baseball Tonight last night were going on about Price belly-aching about not getting strikes. Won't be surprised to see Price go on the 15-day DL for his arm but more accurately for him to get his head together.