Red Sox vs. Rays: Saturday Nights Aren’t Right for Fighting

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.

Red Sox, Rays, and a Friday Night Fight

So, during the 9th inning of Friday’s game, the Red Sox and Rays had basically the most heated bench-clearing in the history of baseball that did not feature a single ejection.

It all started when longtime Boston enemy Luke Scott, noted by many for his good career splits against the Red Sox (he’d been with the Orioles before this season) and calling Fenway a dump a month or so ago, was clearly targeted during the 9th inning Friday night. The first pitch from Franklin Morales was 97 MPH and behind his back, the next two were inside, and the final pitch finally hit him. This was, as an ESPN article points out, the third time in three games that Scott was hit by a Boston pitcher.

(more after jump)

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East Coast Bias and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Part 3: Who gets ignored

As noted yesterday and the day before, ESPN does indeed have East Coast teams on Sunday Night Baseball more than many teams from other areas. However, it isn’t because ESPN wants teams closer to Bristol, it’s just that teams on the East Coast tend to do well both on the field and in the ratings, so it makes sense to schedule them more.

That said, there are some teams that end up getting the short end of the stick because of this. These are some of those teams.

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