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2013 ALDS Game 1: Red Sox Blast Rays, 12-2

Mark Albano |
October 5, 2013 | 2:16 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Jonny Gomes was an offensive catalyst for the Red Sox in Game 1. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Jonny Gomes was an offensive catalyst for the Red Sox in Game 1. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
On Friday, the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays squared off at Fenway Park for Game 1 of the 2013 AL Division Series. The Rays got on the scoreboard early, hitting two solo shots against Sox pitcher Jon Lester. However, the Red Sox reeled off 12 straight runs for a 12-2 win. A series that has been speculated to be close by many ended in a complete blowout through one game, but don't think that will dictate the rest of the series. 

Recap for Game 1: The Turning Point

Going into the bottom of the fourth, it didn’t look good for the Boston Red Sox’s chances for Game 1. They were hitless, and the defense of the Tampa Bay Rays seemed to be unflappable no matter what the Sox hit at them. First baseman James Loney made a great stop on a hard hit ground ball by Jacoby Ellsbury the inning prior, and the converted third baseman-turned-outfielder Sean Rodriguez laid out in left field to snag Jonny Gomes from getting a hit in the second. 

Not only that, but the bats for Tampa, one of the biggest questions going into the series, were hard at work. Both Ben Zobrist and Rodriguez had homered, and it looked to be one of those nights for Lester, where the entire house of cards would fall down. 

But that’s when everything changed. Thanks to Wil Myers’ misread in right field in the fourth, David Ortiz managed to get a ground rule double on a ball that should have been caught. One out later, Gomes sent Pedroia and Ortiz home on a ball that hit the top of the Green Monster, tying the game at 2. 

Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out, but J.D. Drew sent Gomes home on a single. The Rays were clearly rattled at this point, as Drew should have never beat out that ground ball to first. Then Drew scored after Rodriguez flubbed a ball that Will Middlebrooks hit off the Green Monster. The floodgates were open. 

Fast-forward to the end of the game, and the Red Sox forced Tampa to go through five pitchers.

While it looked more like the Rays collapsing than the Red Sox winning, especially with some awful fielding, credit should be given to the Sox on this win.

Not only did they get the bats moving, but they did against a team whose defense and pitching was supposed to stop them. They scored 12 runs without hitting a single homer, meaning all of their runs came off finding ways to exploit the defense.

But how did they crack Matt Moore on the mound? Pitch count.

Moore threw 106 pitches for the 4.1 innings he pitched when, in comparison, Lester threw 116 for the 7.2 he pitched. At the end of three, even though the Sox hadn’t gotten a hit on him, they had managed to work his number up to 53. Meaning that even if they hadn’t got to him so early, he was on pace to get to 100 by the fifth inning. That type of pace ensures the Sox that Moore will be tired early, and that they will be able to rally against him sooner. It worked.

Prediction From Here

The Rays are now in a position where they have to win. They can’t head back to Florida down two, especially to this Boston team.

That said, if the National League has reminded us anything these last two days, it’s that nothing is ever set after the first game in October. That’s not how playoff baseball works. The Rays have just as much of a chance of winning today as they did during the beginning of the game yesterday. 

But they need to work to not get rattled. DaviddPrice is coming in to pitch for the Rays, and the Southpaw will probably slow down the bats for the Sox. The Rays need to get a jump offensively on Boston early in the game, and not get content and slow down. 

And once the defense does let up a run, they need to tighten up and make sure it never happens again. A defensive mistake should not be an invitation for more runs. The Rays have been amazing this year on defense, and one blowout won’t make a difference.

Expect Tampa’s defense today to be lockdown, at least in the infield. Also, expect the Rays to be on point offensively today. Longoria was pretty quiet yesterday, going 0-2 with one walk, and as the team’s offensive powerhouse he will need to set the pace for Tampa.

This game will be a lot closer than yesterday’s. Lester had a really strong outing yesterday, only letting up two runs and striking out seven, but it's hard to be as confident in John Lackey. The Rays know this is a must-win for them, and if the three games prior to this series has taught us anything, the Rays are a clutch team.

Tampa will win take Game 2. Their defensive-minded team matches up too well against the heavy-hitting Red Sox. This is still a series, so don't let that blowout fool you. 

Reach Staff Reporter Mark Albano here or follow him on Twitter.



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