Rays take two of three at Fenway

With B.J. Upton sitting, I expected the Sox to win at least two of these games. After a very promising start to the opening series of 2009, the Red Sox quickly fell into some trouble against Tampa’s starting pitching. Take out James Shield’s start, and Scott Kazmir and Matt Garza had a combined ERA of 1.38 over 13 IP against Boston.

I’m not gonna start panicking about the lineup just yet, but they have to force these guys to throw more pitches and get them out of there quicker! Mike Lowell and Jacoby Ellsbury, in particular, were swinging pretty wildly in this series. Jed Lowrie, too, got fooled pretty badly and missed several pitches in the zone.

Both Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled some in their starts; Lester’s was not so bad, but Dice-K’s command was just horrid, as evidenced by the three HRs he gave up. He was up in and above the zone all night, gave Matt Joyce and Shawn Riggans fastballs over the plate and hung a fat slider belt-high to Evan Longoria. On the bright side, the Sox bullpen showed off some of its glittering promise for this year, Hideki Okajima’s first outing excepted.

It was nice to see Jason Varitek get a hold of a couple in this series. Let’s hope that altering his left-handed approach will rejuvenate his bat this year.

This was a disappointing start, but don’t forget that Tampa is a younger team and will probably have an easier time getting out of the gate. Our Sox will get them next time around.


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