The only thing hotter than the Tampa Bay Rays bats against Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester were the tempers of the coaches of both teams in the 9th inning of the 7-4 win by the visitors.
After Franklin Morales hit Luke Scott in the 9th on the fourth pitch after throwing one behind him, another for a strike and another inside, Scott tried to make his way to the mound only to be stopped by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Those two shared a shove with each other as the benches cleared but must of the jawing came between the coaches.
One of the Rays players, Carlos Pena, was seen having a verbal confrontation with Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure. Most of the rest of it was the coaches of both teams having words with the players trying to keep the coaches from killing each other.
As I said in the post with the video, it was a scene at a baseball game I’ve never seen before.
As for the game, the Rays hit three homers off Lester and those ultimately proved to the difference in the game.
Lester admitted he stunk after the game which he did. He had fallen behind Joyce 3-1 in the count and grooved a fastball for him. Even I probably could have taken that one deep (okay, maybe in my younger days when I took BP in New Haven on semi-regular basis).
The one thing that really seemed to hurt Lester though was the tight strike zone. Two of the runners who came around to score on the grand salami had reached base via walks by Lester. It did look as though he was getting squeezed.
The big problem out of all this though is that when Lester is getting the calls to go his way, he seems to get unnerved a smidge. And when that happens to him, usually bad things happen ie the grand slam last night.
There’s no doubt Lester is a great pitcher. His consistent numbers over the years prove that. But for him to become an elite pitcher, a true “ace”, he needs to be able to put those moments where he doesn’t get the calls behind him. And instead, use that anger in his pitching. So what I am saying here is, he needs to stay focused at the task at hand and that’s to get runners out without letting them cross the plate for a run.
The bullpen for the Red Sox was once again solid after Lester only went four innings. Scott Atchison allowed two hits over three innings while Matt Albers and Morales each went an inning with Morales striking out two.
The Red Sox offense did get the team back in the game scoring a run in the 5th on an Adrian Gonzalez double and two more in the 6th on a Marlon Byrd single and Mike Aviles sacrifice fly. The big problem was that they only managed four hits off of six Rays pitchers.
With today’s game being just the seventh of 18 this season, we’ll see if this bad blood between the two teams lasts. There’s parts of me that wants it to and there’s parts that don’t. The only thing I really don’t want to see is something get hurt.
After that, have at it boys.
We’ll be back later on today with today’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let’s take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.
To open the links up in a new tab or window, use Control+click
Sox square off, but fall to Rays [Boston Globe]
Gonzalez at first; Middlebrooks odd man out [Boston Globe]
Maddon: Scrum was ‘cowardly’ [Boston Globe]
Rays light up Lester [Boston Herald]
Franklin Morales pitch sparks brawl [Boston Herald]
‘Pen pals do their job [Boston Herald]
Pena shows wisdom of unconventional ways [Boston Herald]
Maddon tweets Sox actions ‘idiotic, cowardly’ [Rob Bradford – WEEI.com]
Rays shell Lester, 7-4 [CSN New England]
Tensions boil over between Sox, Rays [CSN New England]
Lester lays egg; home struggles continue [CSN New England]
Rapid Reaction: Rays 7, Red Sox 4 [ESPN Boston]
Dice-K to start second rehab stint Saturday [RedSox.com]
Middlebrooks gets a rest; Adrian back at first [RedSox.com]
Ross feels he’s ahead of schedule [RedSox.com]
Benches clear after Morales drills Scott [RedSox.com]
Lester surrenders three homers in loss to Rays [RedSox.com]
photo credit: AP Photo