The Last Big Push: Sox-Rays Gamer XVI

As I discuss briefly here, the Red Sox were just a few lucky bounces — or maybe a couple better calls — away from sweeping the Rays out of Fenway Park last week. Instead, they lost two of three. Still, they find themselves just one game out first heading into the last road trip of the season. They hope to exact a measure of revenge against the Rays in St. Pete, where the Sox are winless this season.

I predict a good series for the Sox. Why? Well, this doesn’t matter for them. If they get swept, they’re still heading to the playoffs and can begin resting starters and preparing for the postseason. If they don’t, all the better. The Rays, on the other hand, are looking to make a statement. They’re starting Matt Garza on short rest. They’re hoping to avoid losing a 5.5-game lead on Sept. 1.

Though neither team really has anything to lose, this series matters more for Tampa, I think. That might be why the Sox have a good time of it this week.

Comment away!

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  • Kazmir doing his best Daisuke impression… starts the game off with 8 straight balls.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 7:14 pm
  • Looks like there’s a little hometown strikezone in effect

    walein September 15, 2008, 7:16 pm
  • Who says Ortiz sucks against Kazmir? 3-0 Sox!

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 7:17 pm
  • PAPIIIIII!!!!!!
    Takes Kazmir’s second strike of the game for a three-run homer!!!!

    Paul SF September 15, 2008, 7:17 pm
  • What do you mean walein? They’re playing in Tampa, and if anything Kazmir is getting squeezed.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 7:17 pm
  • Big Papi, 3 run home run

    Polf September 15, 2008, 7:18 pm
  • Man. Take away a guys strike zone…tell him he can’t throw it anywhere but belt high and imagine that?

    walein September 15, 2008, 7:18 pm
  • That’s what I’m saying…Kazmir’s got screwed.

    walein September 15, 2008, 7:18 pm
  • 4-0 Sox on the Mike Lowell shot!

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 7:19 pm
  • But how is it a “hometown strikezone” since the Rays are at home? Doesn’t that imply that the hometeam is getting an advantage?

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 7:20 pm
  • Turns out Jerry Meals is notoriously cheap with strikes.

    walein September 15, 2008, 7:23 pm
  • Perfect umpire for these two pitchers, but I think Meals came out particularly tight and reluctant to say strike; he’s loosened up since the David Ortiz homerun. (Which means the 20 bucks I slipped him the other day was worth every cent.)
    Now Daisuke just needs to attack the zone and the Rays will swing enough to get themselves out.

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 7:30 pm
  • Wow, Daisuke getting squeezed too now. Threw it right down the middle and started walking towards the dugout.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 7:32 pm
  • That two-seamer Matsuzaka just threw was a strike 4 out of 5 cataract patients could identify as a strike. If the lucky Pena bloop that resulted from the extra opportunity becomes something, Meals will be giving me 10 of my 20 bucks back.

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 7:33 pm
  • Floyd went. Daisuke hasn’t gotten the 3rd out yet, but he’s already struck out three men by my count.

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 7:38 pm
  • What should have been a 15 pitch inning ends up taking 28 pitches. Sigh.
    At least we’re up 4-0.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 7:39 pm
  • Kazmir is also getting screwed for calling out Cousins (also a notoriously cheap Ump) earlier in the year. Umpires need to remember that they aren’t the stars of the show.

    walein September 15, 2008, 7:41 pm
  • High cheese to Varitek, who glares at Kazmir the entire way down. Meals immediate issues warnings, which Francona and Maddon both object to.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 7:42 pm
  • One hit pitch and Meals is warning both dugouts? There’s a history between these teams, but there is no history in this game to issue a warning. I’d say he’s smoking crack, but in Tampa, meth is far cheaper.

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 7:43 pm
  • Ellsbury picked off. Looked like a borderline balk though… he stepped more towards home than first.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 7:47 pm
  • Calling that particular borderline balk would be a Edward Hopper, if not Picasso, sort of skill move. This umpiring team has yet to show themselves worthy to paint my apartment.
    Daisuke is still going to have to pitch well. These 4 runs could still very well be all we get with even a not entirely sharp Kazmir on the mound. (However many innings that lasts.)

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 7:50 pm
  • Kazmir came off the mound poorly on that last pitch that missed by like 3 feet. He shuffled around for a few seconds afterwards as if he’s injured.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 8:07 pm
  • What an atrocious ballpark.

    Brownie September 15, 2008, 8:19 pm
  • Phew. I was so afraid that the ball off the catwalk was going to be called a single like that shot Mo Vaughn hit early in the stadium’s existence.
    That being said, every time a hit is being called off a fucking catwalk, everyone playing baseball on that field is embarassed. (Except maybe Jason Bay, since he hit a BLAST.)

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 8:20 pm
  • Where’s Scott Kazmir and who is this pretender in his uniform? Casey Fossum?

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 8:26 pm
  • 7-1 Sox!

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 8:27 pm
  • nice of tek to choose september to resurrect his career.

    sf rod September 15, 2008, 8:28 pm
  • Wow Kazmir is a noob. Though Pena should have tagged 1st himself.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 8:29 pm
  • Seriously, Rod. And congrats due to Tek now as well for passing Carlton Fisk for most home runs as a catcher in franchise history. It’s been a hell of a run, and I sure hope he doesn’t Boras his way out of town this winter.

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 8:30 pm
  • Kazmir losing his shit out there. Maddon pulls him.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 8:31 pm
  • Man, talk about a best case scenario for this game so far.

    stuck working September 15, 2008, 8:32 pm
  • Where’s coco crisp and who is this pretender in his uniform? carl yastrzemski?

    sf rod September 15, 2008, 8:33 pm
  • 50 bucks to anyone who thought this game would go anything like this. (It doesn’t qualify if you thought it might be 7-1 Rays with Daisuke losing his shit.) I thought there were plenty of signs in the 2nd and 3rd that Kazmir was fighting his way out of a somewhat umpire-created hole, but wow, what an awful start that was.

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 8:33 pm
  • Meanwhile, Manny is 3-for-3 with 2 RBI and a run scored in Pittsburgh off of ex-Yank Ohlendorf.
    Anyone else surprised that a Dodgers/Red Sox World Series is now within the realm of possibility?

    stuck working September 15, 2008, 8:36 pm
  • Laser Show adds another run. 8-1 Sox, runners at the corners. Then Ortiz grounds out but runs out the DP, and gets an RBI for his hustle.
    A quick look at BR tells me that that’s Kazmir’s shortest outing since he went 2.1 innings in 2005, giving up 8 runs (4 earned). In 2004 he went 2 innings and gave up 7 runs. So pretty much, tonight is the worst game of his career. Couldn’t have come at a better time!

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 8:39 pm
  • If I had any respect for the National League overall, stuck, I might be surprised. But Manny being enough to get Los Angeles past the fading Diamondbacks, thus putting them into the lottery that is the National League playoffs? Not at all surprising, not at all.
    Man, this game is an embarassment of riches, eh? I think I have a toothache.

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 8:40 pm
  • sw- manny can’t pitch, and neither can the dodgers. it’s a possibility but a stretch.
    welcome to the bigs mitch…and an era.

    sf rod September 15, 2008, 8:40 pm
  • It’s like we’re playing the Devil Rays

    Brownie September 15, 2008, 8:40 pm
  • Holy tapdancing jesus, Youk homers to make it 11-1. Save some for tomorrow boys!

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 8:40 pm
  • Yikes, now things are to the point that I’m getting worried about the Sox shooting their proverbial wad entirely tonight, which would mean the inevitable 2-0 loss tomorrow or something. Save some for the rest of the series, boys!

    stuck working September 15, 2008, 8:41 pm

  • It’s like we’re playing the Devil Rays
    Posted by: Brownie | Monday, September 15, 2008 at 08:40 PM

    Truer words were never spoken. And by the way Rod, the Dodgers pitching has been tremendous lately.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 8:41 pm
  • I spend all afternoon in meetings, finally get a minute to myself to check the baseball game, expect to see a low-scoring, high pitch count struggle… and walk in on THIS?!
    What the hell? We were facing Scott Kazmir today, right? I… I am confused.
    Happy. But confused.

    Micah-SF September 15, 2008, 8:41 pm
  • Whether we were actually facing Kazmir is still in dispute, Micah. Some say it was Kazmir, unlikely as that is. I say Casey Fossum, some even say it Kazmir possessed by the ghost of Rolando Arrojo.
    All agree on this: he surely did suck.

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 8:44 pm
  • You can say a lot of things about the dodgers, sf rod, but “can’t pitch” is a weird one to pick. They have the lowest team ERA in the National League! See here for more.

    stuck working September 15, 2008, 8:44 pm
  • a Dodgers-Red Sox world series would bum me out. I wish Manny well in general but I felt like he left a contending team to play for a team that didn’t have much of a chance in order to increase his contract value over the next four years. It would be him having his cake and eating it too. Yes, I’m petty.

    rootbeerfloat September 15, 2008, 8:45 pm
  • “Dodgers pitching has been tremendous lately.”
    tremendously national league. face someone other than the padres and giants every fourth day and we’ll see. kershaw’s not a guy i’d want my team depending on going into the post season.

    sf rod September 15, 2008, 8:45 pm
  • Longoria HBP on the first pitch. Surprised they didn’t toss Daisuke there, lol.
    Glad to see you happy Micah! In all fairness though this is a high pitch count struggle on Daisuke’s end.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 8:46 pm
  • Hey stuck, is that website you linked yours? Whoever runs it abbreviated the Dodgers “LAN” instead of “LAD”

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 8:50 pm
  • penny and lowe are basically like wake. you never know what your gonna get from start to start. going into october the tribe was the pitching heavy favorite until cc and carmona got exposed. you can’t tell the postseason makeup of a guy until he’s neck deep in it. penny and lowe have been there before but it’s been a while.

    sf rod September 15, 2008, 8:52 pm
  • ath- LA (National) vs. LA (American)

    sf rod September 15, 2008, 8:53 pm
  • Yes, Ath. He has thrown 75 pitches through four innings despite giving up only two hits and one walk. It is truly amazing to watch, in a sick, twisted kind of way.
    But, again, he’s only given up one run. So I will suffer it gladly tonight.

    Micah-SF September 15, 2008, 8:54 pm
  • We need a laugher like this.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 8:55 pm
  • With the addition of Masterson to the ‘pen, I’m okay with Daisuke lasting only 5 innings if he only allows 0 or 1 run.
    TOUCHDOWN COWBOYS! And Homerun Ellsbury! Yeah!

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 8:57 pm
  • Holy crap this is awesome!

    LocklandSF September 15, 2008, 8:57 pm
  • Buh… wha… Jacoby homered? In the same game that Tek homered?

    Micah-SF September 15, 2008, 8:58 pm
  • God bless Coco! On base 4 times tonight already. We’re going to be very tough to beat in the playoffs if he stays hot through October.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 9:00 pm
  • Micah, this is obviously proof that God/Yahweh/Tom Cruise does not want the Rays to win the division. Kazmir giving up 9 ER in 3+ innings? Never in a million years would have expected that.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 9:01 pm
  • Holy Crap!
    What’s the ML record for the most players from one team to homer in a game?

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 9:01 pm
  • Yeah, at this rate I’ll be having this conversation in twenty years:
    “Micah, you were an atheist for so long, what made you decide to become religious?”
    “Well, there was this night back in 2008 where Scott Kazmir got his ass kicked…”
    Aaaand Dice-K starts the inning off with a walk. I’d plead for him to throw strikes but I know damn well he’s not going to listen to me.

    Micah-SF September 15, 2008, 9:05 pm
  • A feew years ago the Rangers had 8 homers in one inning, but according to Baseball Almanac it’s 13 homers by the Yankees against the Phillies in 1939.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 9:05 pm
  • Kazmir’s ERA goes up .51, from 2.99 to 3.50.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 9:05 pm
  • Watch Dice-K not make it through five with an 11-run lead.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 9:06 pm
  • Sorry, stepped away for a second. Anyway, to answer Ath’s earlier question, I am not in any way affiliated with The Hardball Times, but I know those are reliable stats.
    I still think you’re being awfully irrational about the Dodgers, sf rod. They’re inarguably one of the Top 3 teams in the NL, pitching-wise, and a plausible case can even be made that they’ve got the best staff in the league. Maybe you don’t think Lowe has playoff-caliber stuff, but since they’d be going against other NL teams, I don’t really buy it. Penny’s a different story, since he’s coming back from an injury.

    stuck working September 15, 2008, 9:08 pm
    Come on Daisuke, get through 5 please.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 9:12 pm
  • Twenty years from now, our kids will look back on this season and say “Wow, a sub-3.00 ERA and an 18-2 (or however he finishes) record? Dice-K was really good!”
    And we will grab them by the shoulders and shake them and go “YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW PAINFUL IT WAS TO WATCH THAT MAN PITCH”.

    Micah-SF September 15, 2008, 9:16 pm
  • Ath, question was most DIFFERENT players to homer in a game from one yeam. Your link provided me with the answer, though.
    8, by cincy vs. Philly in 1999. AL record is 7, by Balt ’67, Oakland 96, Det 00.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 9:19 pm
  • That made me chuckle Micah ;-)
    Ortiz doubles. Can we let our B team get some practice now? Ortiz does not need to be running the bases.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 9:19 pm
  • Maddon replaces his entire lineup with the Durham Bulls.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 9:20 pm
  • All these changes have brough Gameday to a complete standstill.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 9:21 pm
  • Sorry Bill, my bad for not reading it more carefully.
    Youk HBP. Considering there have been 3 players hit since the warnings, I’m shocked there hasn’t been an ejection yet. I’m glad there haven’t been, though.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 9:22 pm
  • call off the dogs.

    sf rod September 15, 2008, 9:23 pm
  • what is going on? gameday completely frozen

    rootbeerfloat September 15, 2008, 9:28 pm
  • bay = gidp
    jed = BB
    tek = swinging k

    sf rod September 15, 2008, 9:31 pm
  • Gameday still frozen at the top of the sixth.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 9:37 pm
  • No sweat, Ath.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 9:38 pm
  • Is Gameday behind or is it really only the middle of the 6th?

    rootbeerfloat September 15, 2008, 9:49 pm
  • Think this means we won’t see Paps tonight?

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 9:50 pm
  • Still way behind, RBF.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 9:51 pm
  • Joe and Obie talking about the Discovery Channel and Deadliest Catch.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 9:58 pm
  • Kevin Cash is playing third base.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 10:07 pm
  • who is catching? Didn’t tek come out?

    rootbeerfloat September 15, 2008, 10:12 pm
  • Kevin Cash is seriously playing 3B? Wtf?

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 10:18 pm
  • David Ross is catching.

    Timmy is in.
    I believe this game is not only Timlin proof, it also is Gagne proof.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 10:18 pm
  • David Ross is behind the plate, For the record, it’s:
    C: Ross
    1B: Bailey
    2B: Cora
    SS: Lowrie
    3B: Cash
    LF: Ellsbury
    CF: Crisp
    RF: Van Every
    DH: Carter
    We’ll never see that again.

    Paul SF September 15, 2008, 10:19 pm
  • Gagne-proof? Personally, I’m hoping that Coco pitches the 9th.

    stuck working September 15, 2008, 10:23 pm
  • David Pauley in to close out the 8 run lead.

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 10:23 pm
  • But is the lead Pauley proof?

    Paul SF September 15, 2008, 10:25 pm
  • Remember when Johnny Gomes was the next big thing? Yeahhh, I bet he does, too.

    Paul SF September 15, 2008, 10:25 pm
  • Is it wrong for me to want to see a fight here in the 9th?

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 10:26 pm
  • Gomes thinks of it every night, Paul. Then he eats a pint of Haagen Dazs and slowly cries himself to sleep.

    Hit Dog September 15, 2008, 10:27 pm
  • Yes, ath, because it’ll be one of our guys who gets hurt.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 10:29 pm
  • Paul, remember that rain I was asking you about? Well, we got it here.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 10:29 pm
  • Yeah, I guess this game is so anticlimactic that I feel it needs to be punctuated by something. In any case, we’re one out away from being only .001% back in the standings!

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 10:31 pm
  • Ballgame!

    Atheose September 15, 2008, 10:32 pm
  • “But is the lead Pauley proof?”
    That’s still TBD.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 10:32 pm
  • Yeah, Bill, for a while it looked like we might be right in the path, but it kept tracking farther north and east. A cold front moved through over the weekend, too, and there was some thought they might collide right over us. Some predictions had us getting 20-30 inches of rain. We ended up partly cloudy, no precip. Meh. Hope your valuables are OK…

    Paul SF September 15, 2008, 10:37 pm
  • tied up for the divisional lead.
    2 games back from going .500 on the road this season.
    21 runs back of the cubs from having the best run differential in all of baseball.

    sf rod September 15, 2008, 10:49 pm
  • There is a chance, however slight, that the Red Sox could catch and pass Texas for most runs scored on the season.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 15, 2008, 10:52 pm
  • The Sox almost scored two touchdowns tonight.
    Hope this doesn’t mean a drought tomorrow.

    Hudson September 15, 2008, 10:56 pm

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