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Posts Tagged ‘Tampa Bay Rays’

Ladies and gentlemen, we are officially American League Division Champions! One series down, two more to go! We are a strong team.  We are a really strong team, and we should feel very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.  But I have to say, I’m still hungry, so I’m psyched to keep it going.

Peavy was an absolute master.  The game was tied at zero until the sixth inning.  Peavy was just mowing right through the Rays’ lineup like they were minor leaguers.  It was awesome.

Except for the fact that it was Peavy who cracked first.  It was a double-single combination.  And we didn’t have answer for it.  I just can’t believe we actually lost a playoff game with a final score of 1-0.  That’s rough.  And the series could have been tied.

Breslow came on for the inning’s last out. If it were not for the seventh inning, during which Gomes flied out, Bogaerts walked, Middlebrooks struck out, Ellsbury singled, and between a steal, a wild pitch, and a single, Bogaerts and Ellsbury both scored.  And we took the lead.  Just like that.

Tazawa replaced Breslow one out and one single into the eighth.  We added insurance in the ninth thanks to two walks, a hit batsman, and a sac fly.

And so the final score was 3-1.  Think about how close we were to having the series tied at two.  And then think about how the relief corps and the offense rallied to keep that from happening.  Now the Rays are eliminated and we’re moving on to the ALCS.  Life is good.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis
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Okay.  It’s no big deal.  I mean, it better not turn into a big deal.  Just because the Rays managed to stave off elimination doesn’t mean that this whole thing is going to be a disaster.  Granted, I really would have liked to wrap this up already, but the extra playing time can’t hurt.  Still, I want to get this done.

This was just a close game all around.  We scored first; Ellsbury led off the game with a single and came home when Pedroia batted into a force out.  Then both teams went one-two-three in the second and third, and both teams had opportunities to score in the fourth, of which they did not take advantage.  Ellsbury doubled in the fifth and scored on a wild pitch to make it two-zip.

Buchholz gave up his first run in the bottom of the fifth; en route to securing the inning’s first two outs, he gave up a single and a double, and then he made a mistake that resulted in a three-run home run.  In total, Buchholz gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings while walking three and striking out five.  So that was really the only blemish of his performance, and it tied the game at three.

Neither team scored again until the eighth.  The sixth had been Buchholz’s last inning; Breslow and Tazawa pitched the seventh, and Morales and Workman pitched the eighth, during which the Rays edged ahead by one run.  This should not have been the case, because we had plenty of opportunities ourselves to score, but Morales opened the inning with a walk that turned into a run two singles and a popout later on a groundout.

Things were looking up in the ninth, when Pedroia managed to tie the game at four; Middlebrooks led off the inning with a walk, and Bogaerts came in to pinch-run.  Bogaerts scored when Pedroia grounded out, which at the time was critically important.

I thought we would hold out and settle it in extras.  Instead, Uehara came on for the ninth, and with the Rays two strikes away from playoff elimination, they came back to win it with a walkoff solo shot.  It was absolutely awful.  It was really crushing.  I mean, we were so close.  We were so close to putting them away, or at least to setting the stage for us putting them away.  The Rays are still down to elimination, but it was just really awful to see them come back like that.  The final score was 5-4.

In other news, the Pats dropped one to the Bengals, 13-6.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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Cue win number two! We’ve cornered the Rays to elimination already! I must say that this series is proceeding quite swimmingly thus far.  We are taking the field and dominating every aspect of the game, and that is a wonderful site to see.  It’s good to be back.

Lackey’s performance was probably the downside of Game Two.  He lasted only five and one-third innings and gave up four runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out six.  Lots of hits and lots of runs.  That would have been really bad news had the offense not stepped it up.

He gave up a walk that turned into a run after a single and sac fly in the second.  En route to securing the first two outs of the fifth, he gave up a double and hit a batter, and both turned into runs on another double.  And he gave up his last run in the sixth on a single-single combination before he was lifted.

We scored first.  Ellsbury singled in the first, stole second, advanced to third on the throw, and scored on a sac fly by Pedroia.  And then Papi went yard on his second pitch of the game to right center field.  No big deal.  Just Papi doing what Papi does during the playoffs.  Yeah.  Back indeed.

Ross and Ellsbury hit back-to-back doubles to lead off the third, thereby scoring a run.  Then Victorino singled, and Ellsbury scored on a force out by Pedroia.  Napoli walked to lead off the fourth and scored on a triple by Drew.  Ellsbury led off the fifth with a single and scored on a double by Pedroia.

And then Papi did in the eighth what he did in the second: he homered on the second pitch of his at-bat, this one straight up to right field.  Yes.

Breslow finished the sixth and pitched the seventh, Tazawa pitched the eighth, and Uehara took care of the ninth.  And then we won, 7-4.  Let’s get this done.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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Soxtober has officially begun! And the beginning is good! We’ve got our first win very much in the bag; it was a slugfest.  That’s what I call starting the playoffs off right!

We got to play the Rays, and we really put them in their place.  Lester got the nod to start this one, as we knew he would, and he delivered an absolutely excellent performance.  He pitched seven and two-thirds innings and gave up two runs on three hits while walking three and striking out seven.  His two runs were the results of two mistakes; in other words, he gave up two solo shots, the first one with two out in the second and the second one leading off the fourth.  Other than that, he was a master.

Tazawa pitched the rest of the eighth, and Dempster pitched the ninth.

And that brings us to the offense.  Both of Lester’s home runs occurred before we got on the board, so I’m sure the Rays thought they had a real shot at winning this one.  Man, were they sadly, sadly mistaken.

We didn’t waste time; we scored our first runs, but certainly not our last, in the bottom of the fourth.  Pedroia singled, Papi doubled, and both scored on a double by Gomes.  After Salty struck out, Gomes scored on a single by Drew, who scored on a double by Middlebrooks, who scored on a single by Victorino.

With one out in the fifth, Napoli doubled, Gomes walked intentionally, and both scored on a double by Salty.  After Drew struck out, Middlebrooks walked intentionally, and Salty scored on a single by Ellsbury, with a little help from a deflection.

We put on the finishing touch in the eighth.  Ellsbury singled, stole second, and scored on a single by Victorino.  Then Pedroia singled and Papi walked to load the bases.  Then Napoli walked in a run.  Pedroia scored when Gomes grounded into a double play, and Papi scored on a single by Salty.

And that’s how we won our first playoff game, 12-2.  Done.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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Well, that’s a wrap! That, my friends, is officially a wrap.  The 2013 regular baseball season is now over.  That’s it.  We finish with a record of ninety-seven and sixty-five.  That’s good for a winning percentage of .599, which is the best in the American League and tied with the Cards for the best in the Majors.

Look at how far we’ve come.  New manager, new players, new team.  And new record.  Better record.  Look at how far we’ve come.  Look at all the changes we’ve made and the transitions we’ve gone through.  And we made it on the other side.  Not to say I told you so, but I knew good things were in store for us from the very beginning.  And in this particular case I’m so psyched I’m right.

We ended the season, unfortunately, with a loss.  But the pitching staff got some last-minute work in while Lackey got the day off, which is good.  Webster pitched three shutout innings to start us off.  Doubront took over in the fourth but got into trouble in the fifth.  He gave up two singles followed by a strikeout and a walk to load the bases.  A double, a single, a walk, and a single ended up scoring five runs.

Then it was De La Rosa’s turn.  He ended the inning and gave up a single in the sixth.  Dempster took over and gave up a double, a wild pitch that scored a run, and a groundout.  Dempster came on and, while ending the inning, also gave up an RBI double.  Breslow pitched the seventh, and Uehara pitched the eighth.

The game started very nicely with a solo shot on the fourth pitch, courtesy of Ellsbury.  It was his third cutter of the at-bat, and all four pitches were about the same speed.  But he hit this one beyond the fence in right center field.  And he looked comfortable doing it, too.  It’s his third leadoff shot this year and tenth of his career, which is a new club record!

After Bogaerts struck out, Papi singled and then scored on a groundout by Carp.  With one out in the second, John McDonald singled, and Quintin Berry went yard on a changeup to right.  So the pitchers were taking this opportunity to get their work in, and so was the bench.  Which, as we all know, is very important.  Salty singled and scored on a single by Ellsbury in the fourth.  And Papi singled and scored on a single by Napoli in the ninth.

So we lost, 7-6.  But that’s so opposite of everything we’ve accomplished this year.  I’m so proud of us.  Now, this moment is really all about us.  But I want to say one thing.  The New York Yankees will be missing the playoffs this year.  Wow.  Life is good.

Okay.  So.  The whole team gets the day off on Monday, when the Rays and Rangers play for the final Wild Card spot.  Whoever wins will play Cleveland.  Then the division series will start on Friday.  The first two games will be at home, followed by a day off, then two games away, and then the last game would be back at home.

Oh, man, it’s good to be back.  Let’s get this done.

In other news, the Pats bested the Falcons, 30-23.

AP Photo

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Isn’t it sad when that one reliever ruins it for the rest of us? We were behind, then we fought our way back, then we were behind again.  It’s always awful to lose, but to lose after you’ve given yourself a chance is even worse.

Peavy was solid yet again! He gave up three runs.  He went one-two-three in the first, and then he gave up his first run in the second on a triple-single combination.  In the third, there was a walk-double combination.  And then there was a solo shot in the fourth that could have scored two runs had Salty not caught a runner stealing second that Peavy had put on base initially with a walk.  Despite two consecutive walks to lead off the fifth, he escaped that inning unscathed.

So we had to catch up.  And catch up we did.  Salty homered with one out in the fourth on the sixth pitch of his at-bat, and Papi led off the sixth with a homer on the third pitch of his at-bat.  Then Napoli grounded out, Salty walked, and the Rays made a pitching change.  After Gomes struck out, Salty stole second and scored on a double by Drew to tie it up.

Britton came on for the seventh.  He got the first out of the eighth, and then De La Rosa came on and ruined it.  He gave up a double before securing the inning’s second out.  And that double turned into a run on another double.  And then Thornton relieved him.  We had an opportunity we didn’t take in the ninth, and we lost, 4-3.

EPA Photo

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Oh, the humiliation.  Oh, the complete and utter embarrassment and humiliation.  Most importantly, we won.  But I’d also like to think that the Rays learned a very valuable lesson, namely that they really shouldn’t get to thinking they can win that easily.

Dempster gave up one run, but he only lasted for five innings.  Still, those were five solid innings.  He put us in the position to win a close game.

Both teams scored all their runs in the third, and being that we batted in the top of the inning, we scored first.  After Bradley grounded out to lead it off, Pedroia singled, Victorino doubled, and Papi intentionally walked to load the bases.  Between Napoli’s double and Nava’s groundout, all three scored.

In the bottom of the inning, Dempster gave up two consecutive doubles.  And after the fifth, it was Morales’s turn.  Workman came on for the seventh, and it almost came undone.  Two outs in, he issued a walk followed by a double.  And then it did come undone in the eighth, when Workman gave up a game-tying solo shot.  Uehara came out to close the ninth.

But it was all over soon enough.  Pedroia led off the tenth with a walk.  Victorino hit a sac bunt, Papi walked intentionally, and Napoli walked.  So the bases were loaded thanks to three walks.

And after that it was like a dream.  Carp came in to pinch-hit for Gomes.  And his very first pitch was an eighty-one mile-per-hour slider.  And on that first pitch, he clobbered a massive grand slam all the way out to center field.  Tazawa handled the bottom of the frame.  And that’s how we won, 7-3.  Yeah.  Like a dream.

Reuters Photo

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