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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Turns Out We Might Have Been Overestimating The Rays Just a Tad

Listen, it's not over by any means but oh boy, Red Sox fans have to be thrilled with how things have gone so far vs. the Rays. Tonight, Boston beat Tampa Bay 7-4 to take a commanding 2-0 lead (they've outscored them 19-6) in the ALDS and put the Rays on the brink of elimination. Game 3 is Monday night (6:07, TBS) at Tropicana Field as Clay Buchholz faces Alex Cobb.

David Ortiz hit a pair of solo homers (first time he's done that in his career in a playoff game, crazy right?) and David Price (0-1) was awful in what could have been his last start for Tampa Bay: 7+ innings, 7 earned runs on 9 hits with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks. John Lackey (1-0) wasn't great but unlike in the regular season, his teammates picked him up when he needed it (5.1 innings, 4 earned runs, 7 hits, 6 strikeouts, 3 walks) with some ample run support.

In their first somewhat difficult task, the Red Sox bullpen collectively was superb. Craig Breslow got five outs without allowing a hit, Junichi Tazawa pitched a scoreless eighth and Koji Uehara earned his first save with a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts (all 11 pitches were strikes!).

Boston never trailed in Game 2 as they scored twice in the first inning on Dustin Pedroia's sacrifice fly and Ortiz's first long ball. Delmon Young had a sacrifice fly in the second but the Red Sox answered with two more runs in the third on Jacoby Ellsbury's (3 hits, 3 runs, stolen base) RBI double and a groundout by Pedroia.

Stephen Drew extended the lead to 5-1 with an RBI triple in the fourth but James Loney (2 hits) knocked in a pair of runs in the fifth with an RBI double. Pedroia finished his sneaky big performance with an RBI double in the fifth. Scummy Yunel Escobar (2 hits, run) cut it to 6-4 on an RBI single in the sixth but Ortiz's second homer-in the eighth-gave Boston some breathing room not that the bullpen needed it.

The other three series in MLB are all tied 1-1 after two games so the Red Sox are the only team with a chance to sweep their first round opponent. It would be most excellent if they could knock the Rays out and then watch the Tigers and A's go five games. First things first, take care of business on Monday in Tampa Bay.

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