Behind an offense that continues to be relentless, the Red Sox scored in 4 of the first 5 innings against Rays ace David Price. Despite post game whining by Price and to some degree Rays skipper, Joe Maddon, about bloops, bleeders, and "305 foot fly balls", the Sox offense was bookended by first and eighth inning solo home runs by David Ortiz, both off Price. The Red Sox now lead the best of five series 2-0 going to Tampa Bay. Some thoughts on tonight's game:
* The Red Sox in Game One had every batter get a hit and score a run ( which had been done only two times before in MLB post season history, the last time by the 1936 Yankees in Joe DiMaggio's rookie year.) Also every batter except Pedroia and Ortiz had Game One RBI. So in Game Two, of course, the Red Sox scored two first inning runs and they were driven in by Pedroia and Ortiz. In Game Two, every batter except Napoli had at least one hit. The offense, in addition to Papi's two blasts, was paced by Jacoby Ellsbury who had two singles, a double( one of the bloops Price whined about...it hit on the infield dirt) and he scored three runs.
* The refrain during the year was the Red Sox cannot beat good pitching. I am not sure I bought that anyway ( I need to check the stats sometime), but they have begun this series by raking 17-4 Matt Moore and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, Price. Price, by the way, in what was overlooked in his build up in this series, still has never won a post season game. Of course, if the Sox move beyond this series, lots of other great pitchers are lurking ahead. Especially if they get the Tigers and then the Dodgers.
* John Lackey with the extended rest did not come to the mound with the performance I expected. But he battled into the sixth, and may be debatable if he out pitched David Price as I predicted, but Lackey sure as hell has the W behind his name and Price the L behind his.
* The first foray into the Red Sox bullpen in 2013's post season went well ( thanks to a pair of sweet double plays turned by Pedey and Stephen Drew. Breslow for 1 2/3, Tazawa got through the 8th and of course, Koji Uehara did the ninth with 11 pitches, all strikes.
* In the post game, Joe Maddon said he thought Wil Myers was lost at the plate ( in so many words), and seemed to imply the Red Sox crowd taunting Myers had a big part in it. I would love to credit the Fenway crowd, but Wil Myers looked terrible at the plate in Cleveland for the Wild Card game, striking out weakly three times. Whatever the reason, let's hope it continues. Subtracting even one batter from this all ready mediocre offense can only help the Sox end this series.
* Now the Rays need to win three in a row. In recent years, the Rays have gone down hard, and the Red Sox need to go into Game Three with the same focus as the first two. But here is a tidbit about the three in a row the Rays need. In a bad 12 day stretch from May 3-14, the Red Sox had three losing streaks of three. ( Of course, the Red Sox had NO losing streaks of four or more all year). Setting aside the 11 games played in that 12 day stretch, in the other 151 games played by Boston they had only TWO other three games losing streaks. And neither at the hands of one team. The Rays are not dead but they are on life support.
* Adding to the Rays dilemma, they are going home but awaiting them is maybe the Red Sox best pitcher, Clay Buchholz. He of the 12-1 W-L record to go along with a 1.74 ERA. If Clay is on his A game, the Rays have no chance. With the way the Sox are hitting, base running, and playing defense, only a 80% effort from Buchholz would likely suffice.
Good luck to the Red Sox in their efforts to end this series in Game Three!