It was a lousy last couple of games for the Red Sox to complete the Tampa Bay series, especially the last one. It was a night the Red Sox couldn't get the clutch hit in a tie game, especially in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings.
They were brutal in RISP situations, as the Red Sox went 0-for-15. The combo of Ortiz, Bay, Lowell and Youkilis--the heart of the order--went an astounding 0-for-17. This mostly against a pitcher, Andy Sonnanstine, who had a career ERA against the Red Sox over 8.
So now the Sox are 2 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay going into Friday night's game. The Sox open a four-game series tonight (weather permitting) with a hot Toronto Blue Jays club that has won 11 of 12 games. Roy Halladay will pitch Sunday, and AJ Burnett and Jesse Litsch will pitch in the doubleheader Saturday. The Red Sox will have Tim Wakefield going tonight, Bartolo Colon and Paul Byrd on Saturday and Jon Lester Sunday.
The Rays go to New York for three. (Does this mean we REALLY have to begin rooting for the Yankees now?) If the Red Sox can take three of four and the Rays drop two of three, the Sox will be just 1 game out of first going into the other three-game showdown with the Rays on Monday.
It's not going to be easy for the Red Sox from here on, as the Blue Jays are determined to make it difficult for them, pitching both Burnett and Halladay on three days rest. I still think they are too far back to make a serious run (they are six back as I write this), as they are 6 1/2 back in the Wild Card race.
But the Red Sox can't afford to look past them.