Goodbye Trop, Hello Stadium...Tampa Bay 6 Boston 4
The Tampa Bay Rays smashed four home runs, three off eventual loser Brad Penny, and beat up the Boston Red Sox by a score of 6-4. Penny, who has looked awful at the back end of the Boston rotation lately, gave up 5 runs, most of 'em early, on 6 hits in his 6 innings. He walked 2 and struck out 5. He threw 117 pitches. It was 4-1 Rays after three innings and it never got much closer. Rocco Baldelli, who has spent many an hour at the Trop, had this to say before he and the team jetted to the Bronx...
“I don’t think any team likes coming in here, to be honest with you,” said Rocco Baldelli, a former Rays outfielder. “I haven’t talked to too many guys around the league who say, ‘Oh, I like playing in Tropicana Field.’ No one says that. Maybe it’s an uncomfortable place for people when they’re not used to it. It used to be all red in the stands,” Baldelli said. “You’d come out here when Tampa was playing the Sox and the streets would be flooded with Red Sox people. Three-quarters of the stands would be Red Sox people. It didn’t seem like there were many Red Sox fans out there tonight. I guess when you win that happens.”
Teammate Mikey Lowell had some similiar words for the media...
“Their team’s gotten a lot better,” third baseman Mike Lowell said. “This is a pretty good atmosphere for a game, compared to what it used to be.”
It's on to the the Bronx for four of the remaining 10 games against the New York Yankees. At exactly the wrong time, the Sox will be without a key player. This time it's Jason Bay, who re-agravated a right hamstring injury, an aliment that affected him earlier. His status is still being evaluated but he will NOT be in the lineup tonight. Speaking of tonight and the weekend, here are the starting lineups for the Yankees and the two and a half games behind Red Sox...
Thu. 7:05 PM ET NESN Smoltz (2-4) vs. Chamberlain (7-2)
Fri. 7:05 PM ET NESN Beckett (13-4) vs. Burnett (10-5)
Sat. 4:10 PM ET FOX Buchholz (1-1) vs. Sabathia (11-7)
Sun. 8:05 PM ET ESPN Lester (9-7) vs. Pettitte (9-6)
Looking at those pairings, it's hard to imagine anything better than a four game split, but we'll take it one game at a time and hope John Smoltz can get his act together and give his team six quality innings. Joba Chamberlain is well rested with a couple extra days off but he better not try to plunk Youk or anyone else. He has a nasty history when it comes to throwing at Sox players. "F" him.
Have a great Thursday as the weather here (and in New York City) has turned less humid and just plain old nice. The same goes for tomorrow. Click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and as always, BE WELL. GO SOX. GO Smoltzie.