For one brief, shining moment in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox’ struggles at the plate were a thing of the past.
Left behind were the days of multiple runners left on base, replaced by Jacoby Ellsbury, moved over by a Dustin Pedroia double and Big Papi clearing the bases with one swing…
Suddenly, wonderful things started happening: Hot dogs were wrapped in $100 bills, the FDA finally admitted that bacon is good for you and dogs and cats started working together to end the hate between their species.
and then the stars aligned.
Dogs and cats hated each other again (except bacon-wrapped cats, which dogs love), hot dogs were five bucks, wrapped in ordinary paper and the Red Sox’ light hitting ways returned with a vengeance…
…Rays’ starter Matt Moore went five strong innings after giving up the right field park job to David Ortiz and the white ceiling at Tropicana Field provided an added bonus as Tampa Bay shut down the floundering Red Sox by a score of 5-3.
Papi went deep to right in the first inning, plating Ellsbury and Pedroia in the process – and then the next hit the Sox were able to touch the undefeated Morris for was a double off the right field wall by shortstop Stephen Drew in the fifth inning, a drive that also signaled the end of any Sox offense for the evening.
Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays was a microcosm of what we all see going on with the Sox, as their starting pitching is almost always good enough if the batters could take advantage of runners in scoring position.
The three runs scored is about average for what the Sox have been plating lately. Since a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on May 2nd, the Sox’ 36 runs scored is only half as many as their opponents have scored as they have been swept by the Rangers in Arlington, lost three of four to the Twins and two of three to the ‘Jays at Fenway.
Boston starter John Lackey pitched well to start the game – and even well enough to win the game had the Sox been able to plate any more runs, and the white-painted roof above the maze of support beams and catwalks at the Trop was at least partially to blame for what turned out to be the winning runs…
…not that the Red Sox are looking for any excuses as to their abysmal performance at the plate and equally lamented fielding woes of late, but when you’ve just lost for the ninth time in eleven tries, the tendency is to start looking for any angle you can find.
With the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth, Rays’ Matt Joyce launched a pop fly that flirted with the catwalks above the field, but both Mike Napoli and Pedroia lost track of the ball in against the white backdrop of the dome, both then watching helplessly as the ball came back into view and hit the field just inside the first base line.
Pedroia followed the ball to the line, hoping it would roll foul, but the ball came to a stop about 6 inches inside fair territory – meanwhile two runs had scored and the Rays had taken the lead.
“We needed the wind to blow or something,” Pedroia said.
Right now, the Red Sox will take any help they can get, even a phantom breeze inside a domed stadium.