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Friday, April 10, 2009
If you think the Rays were a fluke, you're an idiot (that probably calls WEEI every day)
Well what do you know, the Tampa Bay Rays took two of three in the season opening series at Fenway.
Yesterday afternoon, the Rays (2-1) won 4-3 behind three home runs and the strong pitching of Matt Garza (1-0).
The bat-shit crazy but extremely talented righty baffled the Sox (1-2) for seven innings: one run on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
On the other side, the mystery, wrapped inside an enigma, wrapped inside a Fenway Frank that is Daisuke Matsuzaka got his 2009 campaign off to a mediocre start.
Like most Americans, I could care less that the Dice man was the World Baseball Classic MVP for the second time in a row, just a few weeks ago. As much as ESPN will try to convince me otherwise, that competition means nothing. This is Matsuzaka's third season in MLB and I feel like I already know what to expect from him: a high-wire act that's usually successful but ultimately underwhelming long-term.
Dice-K (0-1) lasted 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on nine hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
Matt Joyce hit a solo homer in the second for Tampa Bay. Evan Longoria (3 hits)-who is easily one of the top young players in baseball-blasted a two-run bomb in the third and finally, backup catcher Shawn Riggens hit a solo shot in the fourth.
Once Matsuzaka exited, the Sox bullpen actually did a nice job keeping their team in the game while the bats slightly woke up.
Jason Bay's RBI triple knocked in Kevin Youkilis (3 hits, 2 runs) to make it 4-1 in the sixth.
Mike Lowell doubled home Youk in the eighth to cut the lead to two (4-2).
Without question, the Rays' biggest weakness is at closer where fossilized relic Troy Percival still gets the call (for the next few weeks at least before he breaks a hip or throws out his back). Jason Varitek took him deep in the ninth and David Ortiz walked but Youk flew out to deep center to end it.
The Sox travel to Anaheim to face the Angels in a three game set. No clue what to expect from a team that was just struck by tragedy. Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver on Wednesday night after starting for the team. Their game yesterday against the A's was cancelled.