A lot of people read my take on Friday night’s yelling match between the Rays and Red Sox coaching staffs, and how I (along with ESPN’s Buster Olney and Mike Greenberg) thought it wasn’t over. It still might not be. But thankfully, last night was not one for fighting, but rather a fine pitching duel between David Price and Josh Beckett, that ended with a unexpected walk-off home run by Jarrod Saltalamacchia that sent the Red Sox from being a 2-under-.500 afterthought in the AL East to another one of the AL East’s five (out of five) teams at or above the .500 mark. Will it change the Red Sox season and send them barreling into the mad fracas that is the main hunt of the AL East? I don’t know. One game usually doesn’t make that much a difference, but it felt like the Red Sox got off the mat last night.
Watching the game on FOX’s “Baseball Night in America” (one of the few weeks of the year where FOX’s Saturday game is in primetime), it felt like it was the Rays’ game. The Red Sox kept messing up: missing cut-off throws, leaving runners in scoring position and making it seem like the Rays were winning by several more runs than they actually were. Which may explain why Dick Stockton took a second to actually say the words that the Red Sox had just won the game after the homer, like he couldn’t believe it himself until he had a few seconds to let it sink in.
They will be playing again today, as Jeremy Hellickson meets up with Clay Buchholz. It will be interesting to see what kind of game will be if. It’s close, it will be more like the Saturday game, unlikely to be too heated in any way but the play on the field. But if one team gets a big lead, I worry that it will end up more like Friday, and we could see some ugliness rear it’s head.