Remember that abysmal finish to the 2011 season in which Boston missed the playoffs while archrival Tampa Bay reaped the benefits of a postseason birth?
Despite the sour taste that the 2011 and 2012 campaigns left in the mouths of the Red Sox nation, those years are now distant memories after Boston’s 12-2 victory over Tampa Bay last night.
After breezing through the first five batters, Rays left fielder Sean Rodriguez drilled a home run on a 3-2 pitch from ace Jon Lester. In the fourth inning another second baseman Ben Zobrist launched another Lester fastball into the Green Monster.
That was all a very versatile Rays lineup could muster against the ace.
Boston was able to catch a break against lefty Matt Moore during the fourth inning courtesy a defensive miscue by rookie Wil Myers. What seemed like a routine fly ball to Myers ended up being a ground rule double. Instead of going for the ball he called for, he gave up on catching it.
After that, it all unraveled for Matt Moore when he was given the hook after 4 2/3 innings.
However, the bullpen could not contain the offensive outburst from the Red Sox with the bullpen giving up five more runs. With a passed ball by Jose Lobaton, 4 runs scored off of reliever Jamey Wright (an RBI singles from Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, and Mike Napoli along with a two run double from Jarrod Saltalamacchia), the Red Sox got quite the cushion. Ryan Dempster then closed out game one for the save.
After an offseason in which they were written off by the baseball world followed by a rewarding pursuit of the AL East title, October baseball has never been more exciting for Red Sox Nation. If John Lackey and the rest of the team keep the momentum alive, Alex Cobb will be the only thing standing between the Red Sox and the ALCS.