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Sox Gamers/Postmortems

Worth the Wait: Rays-Sox Gamer I

In 1999, the playoff-bound Red Sox, led by Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra, somehow lost nine of 13 games to the hapless last-place Tampa Bay Devil Rays, led by Jose Canseco and Fred McGriff.

Over the next nine seasons, the Red Sox avenged that humiliation, winning 98 games against the Devil Rays and losing just 46.

But this is a new era, one in which the "Devil" is no longer in the details, in which the team from Tampa is the defending American League Champion, and in which even the postseason magic of the Boston Red Sox could not keep us from losing in seven games to the upstart devil-less Rays.

The Rays have won 14 of these teams' last 25 meetings. When last we saw these clubs, Matt Garza and David Price were shutting down an injury-plagued and listless Red Sox lineup. Though efforts to boost the lineup fell short in the offseason, the Sox are looking at a healthy David Ortiz, Mike Lowell and Jed Lowrie all in the lineup together for the first time, with a healthy Josh Beckett on the mound.

With the Yankees idle, the Sox have an opportunity to move one game up on both their likely challengers for the AL East crown. Is it too early to track the standings? Naw. There's only 162 games left!

Lineups post-jump, with 2008 line and OPS+.

Rays
1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B — .274/.349/.380, 92
2. Carl Crawford, LF — .273/.319/.400, 87
3. Evan Longoria, 3B — .272/.343/.531, 125
4. Carlos Pena, 1B — .247/.377/.494, 127
5. Pat Burrell, DH — .250/.367/.507, 125
6. Matt Joyce, CF — .252/.339/.492, 116
7. Dioner Navarro, C — .295/.349/.407, 98
8. Gabe Gross, RF — .242/.333/.434, 100
9. Jason Bartlett, SS — .286/.329/.361, 82
— James Shields, SP — 3.56/1.15/.254, 125

Red Sox
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF — .280/.336/.394, 87
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B — .326/.376/.493, 122
3. David Ortiz, DH — .265/.369/.507, 123
4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B — .312/.390/.569, 143
5. J.D. Drew, RF — .280/.408/.519, 137
6. Jason Bay, LF — .293/.370/.527, 128
7. Mike Lowell, 3B — .274/.338/.461, 103
8. Jed Lowrie, SS — .258/.339/.400, 90
9. Jason Varitek, C — .220/.313/.359, 73
— Josh Beckett, SP — 4.03/1.19/.256, 115

171 replies on “Worth the Wait: Rays-Sox Gamer I”

The postponement means I actually get to watch this game live, as opposed to staring at Gameday at work. I’ve got my Beckett jersey on, my lucky torn-up jeans (that I’ve worn for every major sporting event I’ve attended in the last 5 years), some hotdogs ready to be grilled and some cold beer. It may be cold and windy in Boston but it’s warm here in VA, and that’s good enough for me.
Happy Opening Day, everyone!

Alas, it’s Gameday for me, and I have to bail for class from 2:30-4. But still, baseball! :D Keep me apprised as to the introductions, etc.?

Gameday for me for the first two hours, and if it’s a close game, I won’t want to leave work. If that doesn’t suck, I don’t know what does.

since canseco was referenced in the post, is anybody else interested that he’s naming manny as a PED user? the man has dead on about everyone else.

This is an atrocity. I have mlb.tv streaming in HD, Beckett is on the mound, and the sound isn’t working for this game? Fuck that noise.

In the past, Canseco has at least implied that he had direct knowledge that certain people were users. In this case, he is speculating that Manny is on the list of 104 positive tests because no teams were showing any interest in him as a free agent. It’s not an unreasonable conclusion to draw but it’s also possible that teams consider Manny more of a pain in the ass than he’s worth.

Great (lucky) no-look scoop by Lowrie; the ball took a weird hop.
Beckett just hit 97 on that first fastball to Longoria. Hells yeah.

Oh my god that curveball to strikeout Longoria was beautiful. Perfect location, tons of movement… I know it’s only been one inning, but Beckett looks fantastic.

Beckett’s thrown the fastball mid 90s for strikes and also just got a looking and swinging strike on consecutive curveballs to Longoria. Very good signs.

My fantasy team and I are very pleased with Beckett so far. (And also Gil Meche, but that is a different story.) Great to see his velocity up and his curve curving.

That last pitch to Ellsbury was really low, surprised it got called a strike. He didn’t argue it though.
Now instead of no sound there’s just a high-pitch beeping noise.

I was reading Rod’s LAT link. Blast you, Rod! Youk with the weak fly out for the second out.
Good to have that first run on the board. Scoring first in Fenway, I wonder what the Sox’ winning pct was last year.

//Can you imagine how much Pedroia is jawing in the dugout right now?
I told you guys I was shredded and jacked. Did you see me crush that motherfucker? Yeah that’s right.

uhg. that’s normally a pitch lowell handles. youk to third and carter at first everyday. let it be tito.

I told you guys I was shredded and jacked. Did you see me crush that motherfucker? Yeah that’s right.
Laughing really hard now.

Pena tries bunting on the first pitch. Beckett promptly says “STFU Pena” by striking him out.

Holy jesus the bat got destroyed on that last pop-up, it went ROCKETING into the crowd. There’s a blonde woman who looks hurt.

Yeah, I would assume the 7-1 guys are not going to get on base at all this season, based on the first two innings. ;)

Beckett’s lost the zone in the third a little bit. Walked Gross after running the count to 3-1, and now it’s 3-1 to Bartlett. These are the hitters he needs to be blowing away.

for iPhone users….
the MLB At Bat app comes with mobile gameday audio. you can choose between home and away broadcasts as well. it’s pretty damn sweet.

Pedroia: “Oh, I’m sorry, I was polishing my MVP trophy…how many MVP’s do you know that don’t hit opening day HR’s?

And that lead was short lived. I hate squanders anyway, but leaving the bases loaded in the first just galls me.
Beckett entered this inning having thrown just three balls in 16 pitches. He’s now thrown 21 pitches this inning, of which 12 have missed the zone.
Another 2-0 count.

Well, only one run. Thank God. I had visions of Beckett after the game talking about “failure to execute” on one pitch to Longoria in a 4-1 loss.

I was talking about the ball 4 during the first walk. My internet’s lagging so I’ve got about 2-minutes of buffered video behind you guys.

over/under on Price making his first start for the Rays…. May 1st.
i’ll take the under.

I have zero minutes of lagging internet as the State of Connecticut has officially blocked MLB on our computers.

Thome w/a three-run bomb off “Crazy” Kyle Farnsworth in the bottom of the 8th, wasting a nice start by Meche. White Sox recover to beat KC, 4-2.
Farnsy’s line today: 1IP, 4H, 3ER, 0BB, 1K.
I’m gonna miss Head Case Kyle on the Yanks this year.

Wow, I can’t read you guys anymore cause you’re actually about FOUR minutes ahead of my mlb.tv video. Im still in a commercial break and you guys already know that Pedro walked!

Drew ahead 2-0, and Pena makes a GREAT stab, diving down the right field line, touches the bag, but Pedroia broke home and there was no chance for Youk, 2-1 Sox.

Ah, that’s the one thing you miss with GameDay is whether a play was routine or exceptional. Definitely changes the tenor of how you feel about a play.

And Shields leaves one over the plate, and Bay slaps it to right past Pena and a hard shift towards the middle! 3-1 Sox. Superb hitting by Bay.

dw – apparently the ump had warned Shields about putting his hand to his mouth and he did it again. So they give him a ball.

ok mike. we’ll hold off on giving carter your spot in the lineup for a week or two.

Lowrie singles, but Shields is being a bit victimized here, Jed hit it about 115 feet off his hands over the shortstop. Not that I care.

//Lowell’s “hit” was the proverbial “popout in any other stadium”
Isn’t that true for at least 2/3 of his Fenway doubles?

I fervently hope that if Tek shows nothing for a month, we’ll start seeing Kottaras a lot more often than just when Wakefield pitches and the seventh inning on.

rough day for pena. not sure you can trade 200+ strikeouts for 40 dingers, but the rays seem to love him.

I even have confidence in Ells. Just not Tek.
After a brief hiccup, Beckett is back to strike out Pena, who has seen six pitches and struck out twice.

Ells? nothing against him – I’m wondering if he’s able to fill in the hole in his swing.

Youk forced at third by CRAWFORD, as he plays it safe on a sinking liner from Bay that the LFer can’t scoop. Should be plugged and nobody out. Damn.

Paul, you’ve got to read my uber-descriptive PbP!
I did! That’s why I corrected. :-) Another walk, this time to Iwamura. Three walks from Beckett, and they’re all to some of the lowest-OBP guys in baseball.

SF-Mom at the game, reports that Varitek struck out…as if we didn’t know! Tried sending a photo from her phone, to no avail.

That’s the last straw for the Tampa coaches.
The 95 pitches entering the inning? Not a problem. Give up a home run to Jason Varitek? He’s done.

Watching the GameDay video highlight, Varitek really crushed that ball. Right down the line. Good to see him turn on an inside fastball like that, too.

pretty stoked josh isn’t one of those aces that doesn’t throw well in april or in october. no excuses, just a horse. what’s he making again?

um, mr. okajima have you met mr. saito, mr. rameriz, and mr. tawanza. they’ll be watching your every move.

Ellsbury and Oki are worrisome, but aside from that everything’s lookin good. Great first game.

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