Red Sox Vs. Rays, The New Red Sox – Yankees Rivalry?
As Boston sports fans are still recovering from the gut wrenching loss the Bruins took last night in Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Red Sox did complete a series with the Tampa Bay Rays last night. In a spot start Alfredo Aceves only gave up one run in six innings of work in a 2-1 Red Sox win while Andrew Bailey got the save. I for one will admit I was wrong when I said two months ago that Aceves pitched his last game in a Red Sox uniform and he has looked good in two spot starts since starting for Pawtucket after his demotions. Aceves has shown he can pitch well against the American League East and is battle tested so maybe now is the time he sticks around.
On Monday night, the first game of this series, we found out that John Lackey and Matt Joyce do not like each other. Joyce took Lackey deep and seemed to flip his bat which Lackey did not like. Joyce in his next at bat his a long foul ball and seemed to do another bat flip and when Lackey retired Joyce, he yelled towards the Rays dugout. Next at bat with two outs Lackey hit Joyce with a pitch and Joyce began walking towards the mound and getting into a shove match with Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Whether Lackey hit him on purpose remains to be seen but Rays manager Joe Maddon believes in was on purpose and thought Lackey should have been tossed. No ejections were made, the benches did clear but after Joyce was hit the game did not escalate into anything else unlike the Dodgers Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. Anytime a player makes his way towards the mound I think he should be ejected from the game. The game is working towards being a pitchers game with offenses hitting less home runs in this steroid tested game we watch now, so they should protect the pitchers. At the same time when a warning is not issued for either team how could they eject a pitcher for plunking a batter?
The Rays and Red Sox have been involved in many brawls since the Rays entered the league in 1998. If you are my age you would remember the Pedro Martinez Gerald Williams brawl. Pedro, even with his small frame was afraid of no one on the mound. More recently Coco Crisp charged the mound after being hit with a pitch from James Shields. Brawls do not always happen between rivals but when you play teams in your division 19 times a year, getting under each others skin is bound to happen at some point.
The Red Sox Yankees rivalry is seen as a huge rivalry. When they play a weekend series it is nearly always the Fox Saturday Game of the Week as well as Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. I feel like the media makes more out of the rivalry than it actually is. Growing up the rivalry was great with Pedro vs. Clemens. Nomar and Jeter. The competitiveness was there. The 1999 ALCS. The 2003 ALCS. The 2004 ALCS. The players seemed to add to the rivalry. Now the players are not really into it I feel. Maybe the rivalry will pick back up if they meet in the playoffs or have a battle for the division to finish the regular season.
The Sox took two out of three in Tampa and now are moving on to Baltimore for four over the weekend. Clay Buchholz looks like he won’t be making his start on Sunday which does not bode well for the Sox as Jon Lester has not looked good in recent starts, recently giving up seven walks on Tuesday alone. Lester might start in Buchholz’s place on Sunday and it is time for him to turn it around. The Red Sox do play three against the Rays after this series in Baltimore but the rotation lines up where Lackey won’t pitch but some tempers could carry over to Yawkey Way. Let us hope that Clay Buchholz can pitch in one of those games and get back on track as the last three weeks have not been kind to him health wise.