What a Night


The Red Sox believe in the power of the Rally Cap! (One of the most fun screen grabs I've taken!)

I didn’t make it.  At 1am I caved.  The last thing I did before passing out was hit “record” on the dvr (and silently pray that Tito didn’t put Papelbon in there with no score).  I woke up about 3am and groggily checked the At-Bat app on my phone and was thrilled to see the final score.  This was one of those games where, had the Red Sox lost, I wouldn’t have taken it all that hard.  It’s difficult to win an extra-inning game on the road, let alone a 16-inning one.  But they held on and they won and they’re going to Baltimore weary and sleep deprived and, hopefully, ready to take on the Baltimore Orioles once again.

Josh Beckett left the game in the 8th having gotten out 22 batters in a row and giving up only one hit.  There was  nothing more he could have done to put the Red Sox in a position to win. That he didn’t set the dugout on fire when he came out of the game is downright miraculous.  It was great to see him actually enjoying himself in the dugout watching the rest of the team take over (see screen grab above.  There were rally caps and Daniel Bard seemed to be bringing the bullpen band to the dugout near the end of the game!).

Joe Maddon wins the “What the hell?” award for the night…twice over.  First, he gets himself thrown out of the game after jawing with the home plate umpire AFTER Josh Reddick strikes out (Joe thought he should have struck out on the previous pitch).  Then, after the game, Joe took to Twitter:

@RaysJoeMaddon Very proud of our guys. My take-away from tonight is that we can beat the Red Sox and the Red Sox know it.

First of all, before this weekend, the Rays were leading the season series with three wins in five games over the Red Sox and they won the first game of this series.  Going into Sunday’s game, they were leading the season series 4-3.  Leaving this season, in 2008, the Rays beat the Red Sox in a seven game ALCS.  No one will argue that the Rays can’t beat the Red Sox.  But last night’s game?  Losing a game in 16 innings does not show the opposing team that you can beat them (and where is this inferiority complex coming from?).  Maddon’s two what the hell moments last night seem to indicate an odd focus on Maddon’s part.  Don’t focus on who the opponent is, focus on doing things to win the game, Joe.  All the Red Sox know from last night is that you got yourself booted from the game for a non-issue and their bullpen outlasted yours.

Eight hits altogether in 16 innings.  The Red Sox had five of those hits and two of the Rays’ three came off of pitchers who were not Josh Beckett.  Dustin Pedroia went  3-7.  Yes, he got three out of the five Red Sox hits last night.  I’m sure he was unbearable on the flight to Baltimore.  What I take away from this game, Mr. Maddon, is that the Red Sox know how to hang in there when it doesn’t look good.  They feed off of their pitching and finally stuck it out long enough to leave an extra-innings game on the road with a “w”.  Seems to me that they showed YOU that they can beat YOU.  Not the other way around, darlin’.

Interesting to note:

It was the longest game in terms of length of time in Rays history and it ended later than any game the Rays have ever played, 2008 postseason included.

Given that information, were I a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, I’d have to agree with B.J. Upton:

“I’d probably say this was the toughest loss of the year,”

For all the men the Red Sox left on base (17?  Did they really leave 17 on base?), the Rays had plenty of opportunities to show the Red Sox they could beat them…and they didn’t.  Most amazing to me is that the Red Sox used six pitchers versus the Rays using nine and the Sox still prevailed.  Once again, I give you Alfredo Aceves as the team’s MVP.  I shudder to think of where the team would be were he not on our side.

Tim Wakefield and Carl Crawford were both in Baltimore while the Red Sox were fighting it out with the Rays…so at least we have two starters tonight who will be well-rested (or at least won’t be jet lagged!).

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