The Red Sox fell into second place yesterday as they lost the series (as well as interleague) finale to Houston, 3-2, as Tampa Bay defeated Pittsburgh, 4-3. The Rays this morning now sit atop the AL East standings by a half game.
It was a discouraging loss yesterday by the Red Sox. The score was tied, 2-2 in the 8th when Terry Francona brought Hideki Okajima into a situation with a man on base for the first time in over a month, as Okie has struggled terribly in that situation. With two outs and a man on second, Mark Loretta once again had a big hit against his old club, a pinch single to give Houston the lead, and eventually the win. It seems as though MLB has finally figured out Okajima, and more and more he seems to be losing his hold on the 8th inning setup situation.
Dustin Pedroia and Manny Ramirez hit home runs (it was Manny's 16th, and 506 overall), but it wasn't enough to aid Josh Beckett, who pitched seven solid innings. The bullpen let yet another one get away.
Who would have thought when the schedule came out earlier this month that tonight's series would be one of the biggest of the season so far. But it is, and those who aren't taking the Rays seriously (certain New York sports radio hosts come to mind) are ignoring this team at the own peril. The Rays are hanging tough, and don't appear to be folding their tents any time soon.
It was revealed also that the Red Sox received a mailed threat from Memphis from someone who threatened at least two players, who were not identified. The person threatened the black and Latin players, and MLB security and the Red Sox have tightened security for the series that starts tonight in St. Petersburg. It has nothing to do with the dustup the clubs had earlier this month, and the FBI does have a suspect in mind, who has not yet been caught.