The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays are currently doing battle for first place in the AL East. The Rays entered the three game series against Boston up .5 game, but things could be quite different after these three games. In game one, a late rally by the Red Sox came up short as they stranded the tying run on third in the ninth and fell to the Rays 5-4. Even though a simple flyout hit a catwalk and turned into a double and Rays’ closer Troy Percival hurt himself backing up third base, Boston could not get the big hits and could not take advantage of those strokes of luck. Unlike, previous seasons the Sox can no longer consider Tampa Bay as “Fenway South”. For the first time in their history, the Ray fans outnumber the Sox fans in Tampa Bay. The Ray fans are finally proud of their team and showing up to the ballpark. They had a record crowd yesterday and had the best ratings for Rays’ TV in their history. It’d be tough to find a person who is unhappy with Tampa’s new-found success. The team struggled for so long and they played day after day without fans and without hope, but now that they have finally broken through, I don’t seem them going away anytime soon.
They have a young pitching staff and a solid bullpen. That’s not to mention their lineup, which though not overpowering, does pack a punch. Carl Crawford is still young and his best years are yet to come, though he seems to have gotten a step slower. BJ Upton and Evan Longoria are both terrific and are extremely young. The team is inexperienced so I’m not sure they can play this well for a 162 game season or handle pressure late-game situations in September. I think the Red Sox will win the AL East eventually, but not easily. If they don’t win the AL East, the Rays have a great shot at the Wild Card. I don’t see any other non-division winner really giving the Rays a run in the Wild Card. First off though, they are shooting for the AL East and that begins with the Red Sox and this three game series in Tampa Bay. Continue reading “Red Sox vs Rays: Battle For The AL East”