89-58: Sox take two of three from the Rays

Papi belts the game winnerBoy is it nice to get Big Papi back around this time of year. David Ortiz looked as good as ever last night, his two home runs leading the Sox to a 5-4 victory. Not only did he hit the walk-off HR with one out in the 9th, but he outran a potential double play in the bottom of the 5th, signaling that his knee might be feeling better. All that talk of Ortiz underproducing just better stop right now, because you haven’t seen what he’s gonna do yet in this last two weeks.

The Red Sox are playing like a first-place team right now, fighting back from deficits (even if it is against the worst bullpen in baseball) and making big plays. Even in that 1-0 loss in the first game, they played good baseball. Things are just falling in their favor, and they’ve got some momentum. This is different than when they swept the White Sox in a laugher of a series before going into the house that Ruth built. This time they are scrapping and playing with intensity, plus they’re in Boston, so let’s see how this thing pans out.

It was disappointing to see Jon Lester struggle so much early, but Tampa Bay is a pretty good offense, and Lester eventually settled down and pitched okay. He did strike out five, but he definitely still struggles with his control at times. Big props to Julian Tavarez for coming in and salvaging the game; he deserves the W in my book.

Kevin Youkilis totally got cheated in the bottom of the 5th; he had an incredible at-bat, fouling off everything Edwin Jackson could throw. You got the feeling that there was nothing he could throw to get Youk out. After falling behind 0-2, he worked a full count and totally earned a walk, but first base ump Larry Vanover said he went around on a checked swing. It wasn’t even close on the replay. Is Vanover Dutch for “Donaughy” or something?

The bullpen is in a bit of disarray right now. Hideki Okajima is facing niggling injuries and fatigue, and Eric Gagne still allowed a run in his comeback appearance.

Jason Varitek looked pretty bad at the plate last night. He just can’t catch up to a 95 mph fastball anymore with that long swing of his, and Jackson and Dioner Navarro knew it. They rung him up twice last night. Just saying.


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