Fenway Park's 456th Consecutive Sellout...An MLB Record! Boston Red Sox 3 Tampa Bay Rays 0
The sellout crowd at Fenway Park had much to cheer about. They helped set the MLB record for consecutive sellouts at that little old bandbox called Fenway Park. The mark now stands at 456 games (and counting). What an amazing accomplishment. And the 38,000 plus fans were treated to a 3-0 Red Sox win over the first place (for now) Tampa Bay Rays, who are having a very tough September. Boston must take advantage of that and get a team when they're down. Last night, they did just that. Jon Lester was able to go 7 2/3 innings, giving up zero runs and only 6 hits while walking 3 and striking out a mighty 9. Except for a couple minor jams, he was in complete control, using both sides of the plate with varying velocity. It was a treat just to be able to watch him. Here's what he and his manager had to say after Jonathon Papelbon, the "other" Jon, nailed down the win with a 4 out save...
"It was important, I think a little bit more important than a normal start," Lester said. "Obviously they're ahead of us right now, and we're trying to get back in first place. It was a good atmosphere tonight in the ballpark. It almost felt like we're in the playoffs."
"I thought all his stuff was good," said manager Terry Francona. "Two-seamer. Had some explosion on his fastball. Cutter. Again, when you start throwing 94, 95 with some movement on both sides, then you throw a breaking ball, that gives you a little different look. He's got a lot of ways to expand the plate."
The Red Sox collected 9 hits and scored all 3 of their runs in the very first inning. But Rays' starter Edwin Jackson settled down and was great after his rough beginning. Coco Crisp continued his quiet hot streak with 3 more base hits, bringing his average all the way up to .291. He's been remarkable. Jason Bay had a first inning home run and a two hit game. Base running gaffes prevented Boston from scoring more runs, but this time, 3 were enough. Now only half a game separates the 2 teams (one in the loss column) and the Sox can vault into first place with a win tonight. It'll be the always tough lefty Scott Kazmir facing the up and down Daisuke Matsuzaka. I've said this before and I'll say it again, right now...if Daisuke has his control and can avoid bases on balls, he will have a greater chance of pulling out a victory. For tonight, the Boston bullpen is fresh-only Paps pitched last night, and he needed just 18 pitches to secure the victory and his 36th save. Everyone in the 'pen is available but hopefully will not be needed. It would be nice to have Daisuke go 7 innings (more...please!) and let Okie and Paps take over from there. At some point, Scott Kazmir will have to give up some runs. I still can't believe the Mets traded him! But they did. Bad move...super bad move. An EPIC bad move.
Thanks for stopping in once again. I hope you had as good a time as I did watching Lester pitch his way to a victory. He has been an utter joy to watch. Aren't we all glad the Red Sox didn't include him in any kind of trade for Johan Santana? He's every bit as good from the left side as Santana, and his entire future is in front of him. Sweet. Sugar and butter corn sweet.
Click on the title of this post for more on last night's 456th straight Fenway Park sellout, and congratulations to go out to team owners Larry, Tom and John for putting out a winning product, year after year after year. As always, BE WELL.