|Game 85: June 30, 2008|
|Red Sox||4||L: Justin Masterson (4-2)||50-35, 3 game losing streak|
|Rays||5||W: James Shields (6-5)
H: Grant Balfour (1)
H: Dan Wheeler (20)
H: Troy Percival (2)
S: J.P. Howell (2)
|50-32, 2 game winning streak|
|Highlights: Perhaps a bit of bad karma followed the Red Sox from the clubhouse to the field yesterday. Manny Ramirez uncharacteristically blew up at traveling secretary Jack McCormick Saturday afternoon in a row about tickets. McCormick was shoved to the ground as a result of the altercation over Ramirez’s request for 16 tickets for a game that evening. If Ramirez were a lesser player or McCormick a higher official, a closed-door apology probably wouldn’t cut the mustard. Just ask Shawn Chacon.|
I am more than a little disappointed in Manny Ramirez’s behavior. The instant one person elevates himself over another just because of assumed superior position is the moment that person needs to be taken down a notch.
I harbored no illusions about Ramirez’s character being immaculate just because of prowess with the bat and his occasional flashes of brilliance on the field. Nor did I believe the portrayals of him by the knights of the keyboard who are all to quick to raise their lances against the spirited outfielder.
With this incident and his run-in with Kevin Youkilis in the dugout Ramirez has provided fodder for reporters and talking heads. He’ll be accused of everything from roid rage to cavalierness.
At first it was difficult for me to get behind the team last night because of Ramirez’s actions. But because of the threats made against African American and Latino players, I felt that despite one player’s undesirable behavior the team as a whole was targeted in a hateful, frightening way and should be supported more strongly than usual.
Justin Masterson turned in six innings but seems to have plateaued in his progress against major league hitters. He struck out five but also gave up the same number of free passes. Surrendering two homers against B.J. Upton and Gabe Gross is also troubling as Masterson is a pitcher is most successful when he is inducing ground ball outs.
Boston surged in the ninth with a gift double off the catwalk blasted by Brandon Moss, who really does seem to enjoy hitting indoors. The scuffling Jason Varitek (.222 BA, .304 OBP, .373 slugging percentage) followed up with a sacrifice fly to pull his squad within a run.
Troy Percival was yanked from the mound when the 38-year old exacerbated his ailing hamstring. The maneuver resulted in what was in theory a favorable match-up between southpaw J.P. Howell and right-handed Julio Lugo.
A lot of those theories don’t play out with Lugo in the box. The shortstop smack the ball into his counterpart’s glove for the final out of the game. The Red Sox have dropped the last three games and all of them have been one-run affairs.