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Home » May 2008 Game CommentsMay 2008 » Ransack


Game 32: May 3, 2008
Rays 4 L: James Shields (3-2)
16-14, 2 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 12 W: Josh Beckett (3-2) 19-13, 2 game winning streak
Highlights: Now this looked more like the Devil Rays we know and love.

All but one of the Rays four pitchers allowed earned runs in their abbreviated appearances. James Shields, who heaved a complete-game shutout against the Red Sox less than a week ago, lasted only three and two-third innings. The local nine scored in every inning he took the hill. The parade of baserunners did not relent with Shields’s departure in the fourth.

When we last saw J.P. Howell on April 25 the left-handed reliever allowed the go-ahead run to score in the sixth with one out but then shut Boston down for the next two and two-third innings. Perhaps he showed a bit too much of his stuff that day because he was no mystery to Red Sox batters. The southpaw loaded the bases on four pitches to J.D. Drew and then plunked Jason Varitek to push in yet another run.

He got through the fifth inning unscathed but the uneventful inning may have given him false confidence. In the sixth he gave a free pass to Manny Ramirez. The pressing slugger advanced to third on Mike Lowell’s cue shot down the left field line and scored on Kevin Youkilis’s seeing-eye single through the hole.

I pictured Howell sipping a martini after the game wearing an ascot and navy blue monogrammed blazer while getting iced. I wished Joe Thurston was still with the team so Howell could pitch to him.

The only homers of the game were launched by Rays and both were off Josh Beckett: Gabe Gross knocked in two runs in the second and Akinori Iwamura rudely hit Ramirez’s home run countup with his eighth-inning four-bagger.

Since there were no longballs by the local nine the loudest the crowd got was in the fourth inning. With the score 5-3 in Boston’s favor, Beckett found himself in a jam. He had already allowed a leadoff double to Eric Hinske and two consecutive singles to plate the utility player. Beckett then walked seven-hole hitter Gross to load the bases, prompting John Farrell to visit his ace.

Together they drew up a plan: induce a fly ball to left field and have Ramirez gun down Carlos Peña at home to end the threat. It worked slightly better than Ramirez’s attempted deke on Hinske’s double.

Obviously Ramirez is spending too much time on defensive schemes to the deficit of his home run hitting.

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