Seeing Kevin Youkilis leave last night's game in St. Pete had to put every Red Sox fan's heart in their mouths. This injury bug has been horrific, but not Youk!
Fortunately, it looks like he left because of a cramp in his ankle. He was seen flexing it in the field during the third inning, and left before his at-bat in the fourth. He was replaced by Nuiman Romero (OK, every other writer has done it, so I am obligated to do it too: "Hello Nuiman!") at first base. Youk believes he will play in tonight's Tampa Bay finale.
David Ortiz was intentionally walked three times after Youk left, and it paid off for the Rays every time. Especially in the ninth, when the Red Sox had the tying run on third with two outs. Romero grounded out weakly to second to end a 3-2 loss. Having to use Romero in that situation showed how thin the Red Sox bench is with all the injuries.
Felix Doubront was good again, going 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs while striking out three and walking four. The Red Sox left runners everywhere last night against Jeff Niemann, 11 in total.
It was 2-1 in the 8th, and Hideki Okajima allowed a solo home run to Carl Crawford and that turned out to be the difference in the game, as Eric Patterson tripled in a run with two outs, but ended up stranded at third. Okajima now has a 6.00 ERA for 2010. The Red Sox are the bottom team in the AL in bullpen ERA, and it's approaching 5.00. Not good.
New York won in Oakland last night, so the Red Sox are now 3 1/2 back in third. I was hoping on this six-game road trip before the All-Star break that the Red Sox could split them. They've dropped the first two, so they'll have to win three of the remaining four to accomplish that.