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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Red Sox Avoid 3-Game Sweep in Tampa Bay

You knew that at some point, the Red Sox (48-57 overall, 22-31 away) would stumble into another win maybe even before July ended. What perfect timing today as Boston beat Tampa Bay (51-54 overall, 24-20 home) 3-2 this afternoon at Tropicana Field in the series finale. The victory snapped Tampa Bay's 9-game win streak and their own five-game skid.

Allen Webster (1-0) made his 2014 Red Sox debut: 5.1 innings, 2 earned runs, 3 hits, 4 strikeouts and 5 walks. His location was off all game but Boston's bullpen bailed him out thanks to the work of Edward Mujica (2 outs), Andrew Miller (scoreless 7th), Junichi Tazawa (scoreless 8th w/2 Ks) and Koji Uehara (scoreless in 9th inning and he struck out of the side for his 21st save).

Tampa Bay's Chris Archer (6-6) was ok except for one big mistake: David Ortiz crushed a three-run bomb of him in the third inning for a 3-0 Red Sox advantage. It seems like every time Ortiz gets a hit, RBI or especially home run these days it's a new record and this was no different: it was his 25th homer of the season. I'm not going to delve too deeply in it since I think it's a moronic argument but I have to acknowledge that after the game, Archer was complaining about Ortiz flipping his bat after the homer. Here's a thought: make a better pitch. I'm so sick of the Rays and how much whining they do which is saying something for a baseball team.

Desmond Jennings hit a two-run double in the home half of the third but that would be the final time that either team scored a run. They combined for only 11 hits but Daniel Nava (2 for 4, walk, run) and Dustin Pedroia (2 for 3, walk, run, stolen base) both had good days at the plate. Oddly enough, the Red Sox won the first game of their just completed road trip and the last; it was those five games in between that proved to be so elusive.

Toronto won three of four vs. Boston to start the trip and now the Blue Jays (56-50 overall, 2nd in AL East) come to Fenway Park for three games (the final series before the trade deadline on Thursday). It's an interesting stretch as Boston then hosts the Yankees for three games and travels to St. Louis and Anaheim (I refuse to say LA)-both serious playoff contenders-for three games apiece.

Tomorrow night (7:10, NESN) it is Clay Buchholz (5-6) vs. R.A. Dickey (8-10), followed by Rubby De La Rosa (3-3) vs. Marcus Stroman (6-2) on Tuesday (7:10, NESN) and Jon Lester (10-7) vs. Mark Buehrle (10-7) on Wednesday (7:10, NESN). Those first two matchups occurred last week and Toronto won in each instance. Odds are that there will be at least one trade involving the Red Sox in the next few days as they continue to shuffle the deck. Reports have surfaced that they're looking at Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp which I'm all on board with. It's a weird position to be in as Boston tries to play spoiler against Toronto and to a lesser extent New York (since I don't think they can sustain a playoff push).

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