Rays and Red Sox Get Ready to Throwdown

       VS       

You surely want to get excited about the series that starts tonight between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox. 

You want to get hyped and break out the good snacks before settling down on the couch for a series between rivals.

You want to go through the ritual of getting mentally prepared for yet another series of insanity between to top-notch teams in the AL East.

You want to, but…

Let’s face it, the Red Sox are a long long long way from contending for the division.  Heck, they have to crawl out of 4th place before they can contend for anything.

———————————————

Sweeps Is Sweeps

You cannot forget the hard-to-watch destruction that was the 4-game series sweep the Rays handed to the Red Sox last month.  On the one hand, you do not want to put too much emphasis on baseball in April, but you can’t discount it too much, either. 

I mean, the Rays outscored the Rouge Sox in that series by a 24-9 score and dominated pretty much every facet of the game.  They outhit the Sox, outpitched the Sox, and outstole the Sox.

Sadly, while that series was simply legendary, you can’t transfer those good times to this series. 

Damn.

———————————————-

Pitching In

The Sox are going to throw 2 of their best in this series (all due respect to Josh Beckett, he simply has not been himself lately).

Clay Buchholz (who is pitching RIGHT NOW!) and Jon Lester are having solid seasons.  Their ERA’s are in the low-3’s and they are a combined 9-5 this year.  They typically have good success against the Rays, which could bode ill for the good guys.

They Rays will throw Wade Davis (who deserves SERIOUS Rookie of the Year consideration) in Game 1, which is not an issue because he has pitched in many pressure-filled games this season.  He will be followed by the stellar James Shields and Cy Young-esque Matt Garza.

The Sox pitching in this series might be good, but the Rays’ should be better.

——————————————–

The Secret?  Stealing

In their series in April, the Rays stole the Red Sox blind.  They took base after base with little resistance. 

Carl Crawford, Jason Bartlett, and BJ Upton could not be stopped.  And that could be acceptable, if you are a Sox fan, if those were the only guys who were swiping bases.  However, the Rays rubbed it in by having Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, and Carlos Pena take bases as well. 

The way the Rays will win this series, and the Sox will lose it, is if the Rays’ stealing success continues.  But if the Sox keep the Rays off of the bases and prevent them from turning singles into doubles we could see another sweep, but this time from the bad guys.

Yikes!

———————————————

Closing Thoughts

Funny, when I started this post I thought of this series as yet another ho-hum series in 2010 a la the Royals or Mariners. 

But when you look at the pitching matchups, the battles between base runner, catcher, and pitcher, and the drama that is Rays/Red Sox, I find myself starting to get more and more amped up.

Game 1 might not be looking so good thus far, but jeez I am starting to feel those competitive juices flow.

The Sox may be 8 1/2 back right now, but I would love to see the Rays bury these guys by the end of the series.

Ok, I’m officially pumped.

7 comments

  1. The Game Above All

    Okay. Hey. Let’s get this straight (haha).
    1. The team the Rays swept before is not the team that they are facing now. This is a more explosive team that’s figured out how to actually hit and pitch at the same time. And that leads into my second point…
    2. Whoa there. As Buchholz just proved, he’s an ace caliber pitcher even without his changeup. He’s struck out EIGHT Rays in 6 innings and just allowed that one homer. Away, he has a 1.86 ERA. Filthy much? And our bullpens are very different. You’re missing JP Howell, just when Okajima decided to shape up.
    3. Victor, Tek, and our pitchers have worked together to effectively shut down the running game, for now. The Rays are fast with BJ, Crawford, and Bartlett, but now you have no chance with your others.
    4. Remember: this is a team coming off a huge stretch of success, making the best team in the NL look like idiots against Dice-K and Wakefield, the bottom of our rotation. We can definitely continue that success if Pedroia steps it up (check, 3-5 today with a double) and if Ellsbury and Cameron can provide a spark.
    -Sun-Ui

  2. mattpeas

    just hearing the Rays mentioned in the same breath as the Yanks and Sox as the best team in the League has me shaking my head and just stopping to take it in. It really is amazing how far they have come as a franchise. No longer cellar dwellers, no longer pretenders they are shaped up to be contenders-for many more years
    http://pittpeas.mlblogs.com

  3. azinneck

    Tough loss for the Rays last night — but hopefully they can bounce back and take the series, albeit against a much improved Sox team from April. The Rays are making people notice — again — and I hope it continues for them!
    ~AZ
    http://azinneck.mlblogs.com

  4. devilabrit

    Here’s the way I see it, the Red Sucks are just riding a high, which they think is due to good baseball, but in reality it’s due to the other team playing badly, the Phillies handed them both games over the weekend, by not playing properly, as was evident behind Halladay, bad player selection by the manager also contributed, the Rays kind of did the same thing last night handed the game to them, the Rays have to beat some reality back into the Red Sucks in the next 2 games… WIN WIN WIN

    -peter
    Phillies Outside

  5. bklyntrolleyblogger

    They’re here! The Sox just reminded everyone they aren’t going to make things easy for anyone. They’ve been quietly slugging away. But in 2008 everyone was waiting for the Rays to fall off and slip away. It never happened. They seem to know how to finish a game. I don’t think they’ll have the fall-off NYY and BOS fans always call for again either. Go Rays.
    mike
    http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.mlblogs.com/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s