Red Sox 0 (15-12), Rays 3 (14-11)
Sorry about the lack of a morning after for Saturday's 2-1 win. NFL Draft + Rays win with an Aki bat flip + 20 beers = No Morning After. Seriously that Aki bat flip was one of the funnest Rays related moments in a really long time. Of course, Aki gets the MVP.
- James Shields pitched the best game of his career and the best game by a Rays pitcher this season. The stage was big and he stepped his game up to a new level. Shields may be the best pitcher on the team even including Kazmir. His fastball was moving all over, his curve was biting, and his change was once again dominant. The quality of his performance can not be overstated. Absolutely awesome.
- Bartlett was good with the glove again and scored the first Rays run. He was on first and Beckett tried to pick him off and the throw was bad. Bartlett took of and made it all the way around to home due to some shoddy throws from the Red Sox after recovering the errant pickoff throw.
- Longoria continues to impress me and the contract he signed continued to looks smarter and smarter for the Rays. After Beckett dominated Longo in his first two at bats, Longo sat on a curve with a 2-2 count in his third at bat and crushed one into the left field seats. I no longer see a ceiling for his career. He has speed, he can field, and he may be the most impressive rookie hitter I have seen since Pujols.
- Carl came through in the 8th with a RBI double that extended the lead to 3-0. It just gave Shields that little bit of extra cushion.
- Beckett was brilliant. He struck out Ray after Ray. I can't really blame the Rays hitters, Beckett was just that good.
What a series! It is the most impressive series I can remember this ball club ever playing. The stage was big and the Rays stepped up. I am the only one who now really believes this team has a legit shot for the playoffs? It sure is nice to be able to watch meaningful, competitive games. In a matter of a couple weeks Kaz and Floyd should be back and there will be no reason this team can't go on a big time run. This team is for real and people all around baseball are starting to believe.
Sweet Caroline! Good times never seemed so good
In case you missed, the Rays played Sweet Caroline after the victory. This song is a staple of Fenway park played in the 8th inning of every game. It was a subtle mockery that did not go unnoticed by Sox fans and probably not by the players. The Rays, the whole organization from the players to the front office, have decided that they will no longer be pushed around. Whether it is a bat flip or a song these subtle gestures are beginning to create a sense of self-confidence and identity that makes me happy to be a Rays fan.