It was like the old days in the Trop last night: Red Sox fans were louder than the Rays supporters and the visiting team came away with the victory. The irony is that Boston devotees are indirectly supporting the Rays. This is because the revenue-sharing scheme in MLB has luxury tax-paying teams like the Red Sox forking over money to small market teams such as the Rays.
Compared to the Marlins and Pirates, the Tampa Bay franchise is the exemplar of how revenue-receiving teams should reinvest the funds they receive to improve on-field performance. As a follower of a team in the Rays’ division, however, I really would prefer that the Rays ownership were more like Bob Nutting and Jeffrey Loria.
Although I was reeling from the news that Dustin Pedroia would probably be out for the year his teammates soldiered on. Jon Lester twirled seven innings, allowed only two hits, and struck out ten. The game was in the balance in the sixth when walked B.J. Upton to start the sixth and then allowed a frozen rope off Jason Bartlett’s bat for a single to center. Upton didn’t go all out around the bases and was surprised to be waved home. Darnell McDonald fired a seed to Victor Martinez, who was in perfect position to block Upton from scoring. Unfortunately the collision wasn’t hard enough to knock off Upton’s cheesy mustache.
Lester’s command was poor throughout the game but he used his guile against the free-swinging Rays. After the out at home Lester uncorked a wild pitch to Carlos Pena that allowed Bartlett to advance to second. Pena worked a free pass but Lester battled back to strike out Evan Longoria and induce a ground out to short from Willy Aybar.
As if he were acutely aware of his battery mate’s extraordinary effort, Martinez came through with two bombs to left field. Prior to launching his second home run Martinez tarried before stepping into the box. David Price countered by taking a stroll around the back of the mound. The showdown reminded me off how another Martinez, Pedro, would toy with batters. The tactic didn’t quite work for Price.
The only other visitor to drive in a run was Pedroia’s replacement, Jed Lowrie, who dropped a single just out of reach of Bartlett in the fourth to plate David Ortiz. Soon Lowrie will be spouting off about his laser shows, except for him that means the laser pointer he uses when he is alter ego: Jed Lowrie, financial analyst.
Four and a half.
|Game 129: August 27, 2010|
|3||W: Jon Lester (14-8)|
H: Daniel Bard (29)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (33)
|2B: David Ortiz (28)|
3B: Darnell McDonald (3)
HR: Victor Martinez – 2 (12)
|1||L: David Price (15-6)|
|No extra base hits.|