Battle of the Titans: Sox-Rays Gamer X

The beasts of the East — the rivals whose blood feud extends to a previous century — face off for a three-game series in the heat of the summer with first place on the line. It’s another epic chapter in the bitter rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Hmm, something doesn’t seem quite right. Yet here we are tonight, the Sox and the Rays facing off with less than a game separating them. Two players will be absent because they’re serving suspensions incurred during the last time these teams played each other. And it’s not like these clubs have no history. We’ll never forget Pedro’s near no-hitter during a game in which the Rays lost a half-dozen or more personnel in an epic beanball war.

If the storyline of the Sox and Yanks until 2004 was akin to the fabled rivalry between hammer and nail, so too has that of the Sox and Rays — with the Sox finally playing the hammer. Even this season, the Rays have twice now entered Fenway Park for a series with the Sox in first place and left in second.

Of course, tonight’s game won’t be played in Fenway. It will be in Tropicana Field, where the Sox in April dropped three straight in maddening fashion, losing by a grand total of five runs. Overall, the Sox lead the season series so far, 6-3, and they’ve outscored Tampa 50-26. Yes, these are a different group of Rays than the Devils who scared no one except an opposing hitter or two when one of those wild fastballs sailed too close to the head. But they are still a group that has yet to show it can beat the Red Sox when the games matter most.

Tonight, the Sox look to regain first place the old-fashioned way — by wresting it directly from the team they’re playing. Justin Masterson, the phenom who has stepped up tremendously thus far, faces James Shields, who shut down the Sox back in that April series, but imploded in two meetings since.

Extra security is on hand in Tampa tonight (and, no, it doesn’t matter that it has nothing to do with the actual game being played. It’s all about atmosphere, dang it), and at YFSF headquarters, debate rages on whether to register a new domain: RFSF.org.

It’s almost time for the epic showdown to commence. Comment. Away.

Lineps courtesy the Globe:

Red Sox

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. J.D. Drew, RF
4. Manny Ramirez, DH
5. Mike Lowell, 3B
6. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
7. Brandon Moss, LF
8. Jason Varitek, C
9. Julio Lugo, SS

Justin Masterson, SP

Rays

1. B.J. Upton, CF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Willy Aybar, 2B
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Evan Longoria, 3B
6. Eric Hinske, DH
7. Dioner Navarro, C
8. Gabe Gross, RF
9. Jason Bartlett, SS

James Shields, SP

55 comments… add one

  • getting on a plane home now bummed to be missing this one. Love seeing the debuts of young kids. Go yanks!

    sam-YF June 30, 2008, 6:38 pm
  • > RFSF.org
    Ramirez Fan / Secretary Fan?

    attackgerbil June 30, 2008, 6:41 pm
  • sorry posted on the wrong thread!

    sam-YF June 30, 2008, 7:00 pm
  • Did the HBP look intentional?

    dknyc June 30, 2008, 7:22 pm
  • Hello? Anybody there?

    rootbeerfloat June 30, 2008, 7:25 pm
  • Ugh, nothing worse than coming in on a game early and already being down… Well, except for coming in after the game is over and having already lost…

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 7:27 pm
  • They scored on the first pitch of the bottom of the first but Masterson shook it off so that’s good news.

    rootbeerfloat June 30, 2008, 7:31 pm
  • Masterson having some control issues, but he’s got the sinker working so far.

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 7:37 pm
  • Can someone tell me if Masterson’s hbp looked intentional?

    dknyc June 30, 2008, 7:41 pm
  • didn’t look intentional dk; seemed like he didn’t finish cleanly and dragged the ball, hit the batter near the ankle on the 1-2.

    minomni SF June 30, 2008, 7:46 pm
  • Thanks…

    dknyc June 30, 2008, 7:50 pm
  • Wow, Tek is down to .224

    SF June 30, 2008, 8:00 pm
  • Two on, two out. Need some clutch hitting here…

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 8:00 pm
  • All right, Lowell! Tie game!

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 8:03 pm
  • *sigh* Well, that sinker didn’t sink.
    The way Shields is pitching, a two-run deficit feels enormous.

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 8:17 pm
  • crap!

    rootbeerfloat June 30, 2008, 8:23 pm
  • Come on, Masterson. Finish the job,

    I'mBillMcNeal June 30, 2008, 8:55 pm
  • Shields starts the 7th on the verge of 100 pitches. We’ll see how far he goes.

    I'mBillMcNeal June 30, 2008, 8:58 pm
  • Lowell singles to center on a 3-2 pitch. Tying run at the plate in Yooks.

    I'mBillMcNeal June 30, 2008, 9:01 pm
  • Am I imagining things, or did the Rays homer announcer just say that Youk’s last out would “put him into a whining session”? (whatever the f that’s supposed to mean).

    mp June 30, 2008, 9:06 pm
  • mp, is that the radio guy?

    I'mBillMcNeal June 30, 2008, 9:06 pm
  • It was the Ray’s TV color analyst (i.e., NOT the guy who sounds like Bill Brasky’s drunk pederast uncle). I’m forced to watch mlb.com’s stream at the moment…

    mp June 30, 2008, 9:15 pm
  • I think I’m going to shoot myself if I hear, “live and on demand, live and on demand, on MLB.TV, MLB.TV, MLB.TV, MLB.TV, MLB.TV…..”
    I can see advertising to those who don’t have MLB.TV, but to repeat the darn thing 50 times every 10 minutes is going to drive me batty!
    Oh, and GO SOX!

    chazkawaii June 30, 2008, 9:20 pm
  • Is anyone hearing an echo on MLB.TV?

    chazkawaii June 30, 2008, 9:22 pm
  • Hey Bill – here’s one for you:
    Jose Molina – .229/.257/.319
    Jason Varitek – .223/.307/.375
    Is THAT “surprising”!?

    A YF June 30, 2008, 9:25 pm
  • I thought it might be Dave Wills, the TB radio guy who used to do the studio work for the White Sox. He’s brutal.

    I'mBillMcNeal June 30, 2008, 9:28 pm
  • Ass YF, it’s about as surprising as you coming over here to bait me.

    I'mBillMcNeal June 30, 2008, 9:29 pm
  • Oh, I’m just pointing that out – as you would say. I mean, isn’t THAT surprising? There’s no baiting intended – at all.

    A YF June 30, 2008, 9:32 pm
  • Oh, yeah, and like I said – opposite directions:
    Jeter – .284 .344 .393
    Lugo – .274 .364 .343

    A YF June 30, 2008, 9:34 pm
  • A – not sure I’ve ever seen any comp on this site from any SF between Lugo and Jeter, I think it’s fair to say that most SFs wouldn’t mind trading the two.

    BillsBurgSF June 30, 2008, 9:39 pm
  • Bill’s speechless.
    Heh.
    BB – Ask Bill.

    A YF June 30, 2008, 9:42 pm
  • Sorry SFs to intrude, but I must come in here with the update that Jose Veras just threw a 90 mph+ fastball when Molina had called for a curveball and the pitch hit Molina directly in the penis. I mean, directly. You could here it collide with Molina’s cup and he rolled around for a while but had the sense/carjones to hobble over to pick up the ball as the runner was advancing from 2nd to 3rd.
    Then he stayed in the game.
    Jose Molina just won the tough cuy of the century award as far as I am concerned. I feel semi-nauseous just typing the summary here.
    OK – that’s my contribution for the night. Take care.

    IronHorse (yf) June 30, 2008, 9:51 pm
  • OUCH!!!

    BillsBurgSF June 30, 2008, 9:56 pm
  • Mini golf saves Boston! Moss’ popup hits a structure and falls in for a double! Tying run on second, 1 out!

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 9:56 pm
  • All on Lugo now, with the tying run at third and two out.

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 9:58 pm
  • A – must have missed that discourse (thankfully), I’m with the head SF about Lugo being my LFRS!
    On another note, anyone check out MLB gameday, sorry if I’m late on it, I’ve been without computer at night since the end of last week, the 3D is interesting. Too bad they couldn’t make the graphics like Nintendo RBI baseball, that would have been sweet!

    BillsBurgSF June 30, 2008, 10:00 pm
  • and the pitch hit Molina directly in the penis
    God, I have a wonderful follow-up to this comment (low-hanging fruit, pun intended), but I just can’t bring myself to post it. That’s about all I can say.

    SF June 30, 2008, 10:01 pm
  • The new MLB gameday pitching change graphics look a little like the mid 80s!

    BillsBurgSF June 30, 2008, 10:01 pm
  • So Percival out with an injury. Suicide squeeze?

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 10:02 pm
  • I must confess I’d rather have Jed Lowrie up in this situation.

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 10:04 pm
  • The Rays announcer just called this “the championship season…” Uhhh…

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 10:05 pm
  • I must confess I’d rather have Jed Lowrie up in this situation.
    I must confess that I’d rather have Julio Iglesias up in this situation.

    SF June 30, 2008, 10:05 pm
  • Full count on Lugo.

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 10:06 pm
  • “Suicide squeeze?”
    Don’t you need less than two outs for that to work?

    A YF June 30, 2008, 10:06 pm
  • Gameday “in play Out(s)” I’m gonna take Julio down by the school yard and kick his a$$ is what I’m going to do!

    BillsBurgSF June 30, 2008, 10:07 pm
  • Well, he hit a line drive, but caught by the shortstop. Dang. Another one-run game in which the margin of defeat is provided by the bullpen. Very frustrating.

    Paul SF June 30, 2008, 10:08 pm
  • “Suicide squeeze?”
    Maybe if Ells was on third..

    BillsBurgSF June 30, 2008, 10:08 pm
  • Tough loss SFs. At least no one got hit in the penis.
    That is my new consolation for everything. Hallmark should make a card.

    IronHorse (yf) June 30, 2008, 10:08 pm
  • LOL, IH. – I’m going to try to stop by these threads. They’re GREAT fun!

    A YF June 30, 2008, 10:10 pm
  • Paul, on your post about the bullpen, I know the Sox pen has been hit or miss over the last few years, but has there really been a consistent pen in the AL that has put together multi year runs?

    BillsBurgSF June 30, 2008, 10:11 pm
  • “has there really been a consistent pen in the AL that has put together multi year runs?”
    The Angels come immediately to mind – but only with how consistently they make me feel crappy.
    Good night, all.

    A YF June 30, 2008, 10:14 pm
  • I wouldn’t mind if K-Rod got hit in the penis.

    IronHorse (yf) June 30, 2008, 10:23 pm
  • Four of the five runs the Rays scored got on base via BB. Glad I missed this game.

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 8:52 am
  • Tough loss SFs. At least no one got hit in the penis.
    I missed the game–both games–because I had my company softball championship last night. Playing shortstop I got hit in the shin, and MIGHT have a fracture. But hey, at least I didn’t get hit in the penis!
    I wish there was a replay of it I could see somewhere.

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 9:01 am
  • Nm, just saw the video in the most recent post.

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 9:03 am

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