Red Sox - 000 010 010 - 2 7 0Matsuzaka took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and the bullpen trio of Hideki Okajima, Justin Masterson and Jonathan Papelbon shut the door on the Rays.
Rays - 000 000 000 - 0 4 0
In the fifth inning against Shields, Jason Bay walked and raced to third on Mark Kotsay's pop fly double down the left field line. Jed Lowrie's fly out to right scored Bay with the night's first run. (The Red Sox had threatened in the first. Dustin Pedroia walked with one out and went to third on Kevin Youkilis's two-out ground-rule double to right, but J.D. Drew struck out.)
Boston made it 2-0 in the eighth when Pedroia singled with one out. He stole second before David Ortiz walked and then he scored on Youkilis's double off the tip of Carl Crawford's glove in shallow left.
Dice walked three Rays in the first, but wiggled out of trouble, retiring retired 16 out of the next 17 batters. He started the seventh by allowing two singles, but with runners at first and third he got a fly ball to short left, a strikeout and a fielder's choice.
Matsuzaka allowed two more singles to start the seventh and was pulled. Jeemer got Carlos Pena to hack on 3-0 and fly out to Drew in right-center. Then Masterson got Evan Longoria to hit into a 6-4-3 DP. Bot set down Tampa in order in the ninth: K, PF5, K.
NLCS: The Philles held off the Dodgers 8-5 to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (Red Sox 23-6 in his starts)
James Shields (Rays 22-11 in his starts)
Red Sox Rays***
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Akinroi Iwamura, 2B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B B.J. Upton, CF
David Ortiz, DH Carlos Pena, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B Evan Longoria, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF Carl Crawford, LF
Jason Bay, LF Cliff Floyd, DH
Mark Kotsay, 1B Dioner Navarro, C
Jed Lowrie, SS Gabe Gross, RF
Jason Varitek, C Jason Bartlett, SS
It Is On!
Tampa Bay and Boston met 18 times during the regular season. The Rays won 10 games, the Red Sox eight. Eleven of the 18 games were decided by three runs or fewer, six by one run (the Rays won all six of those), two in extra innings. Home records: Rays 8-1, Red Sox 7-2. ... And they brawled on June 5.
Rays vs. Red Sox in 2008
Winner/Score ParkDice vs Rays
0425 Rays 5-4 (11) Trop
0426 Rays 2-1 Trop
0427 Rays 3-0 Trop
0502 Red Sox 7-3 Fenway
0503 Red Sox 12-4 Fenway
0504 Red Sox 7-3 Fenway
0603 Red Sox 7-4 Fenway
0604 Red Sox 5-1 Fenway
0605 Red Sox 7-1 Fenway
0630 Rays 5-4 Trop
0701 Rays 3-1 Trop
0702 Rays 7-6 Trop
0908 Red Sox 3-0 Fenway
0909 Rays 5-4 Fenway
0910 Rays 4-2 (14) Fenway
0915 Red Sox 13-5 Trop
0916 Rays 2-1 Trop
0917 Rays 10-3 Trop
IP H R BB K BF PITShields vs Red Sox
0602 5 2 1 2 5 22 101 Rays 7-6
0909 5 8 3 4 5 28 102 Rays 5-4
0915 5 3 1 2 7 21 101 Red Sox 13-5
IP H R BB K BF PITSpeaking of numbers, does 9 really equal 8?
0427 9 2 0 1 7 29 99 Rays 3-0
0503 3.2 10 7 2 3 24 98 Red Sox 12-1
0605 1 3 4 0 2 8 27 Red Sox 7-1
0630 6.1 5 2 1 5 24 104 Rays 5-4
The Red Sox added Mike Timlin to the roster for the ALCS. Gil Valezquez -- who was added mid-DS in place of Mike Lowell -- was left off. ... The Rays added pitcher Edwin Jackson and subtracted Eric Hinske.
Joe Maddon, on the evenness of the two teams:
I think you can expect a lot of what you saw during the regular season; I do. There will be a lot of tight games, I think. Both sides have got good starting pitching and bullpens. Offensively, they probably have a little bit more hitting ability overall, but we have that ability to hit in the clutch. ...Fox:
[I]n a seven-game series like this, you truly have to play it one at a time ... it's really magnified at this particular juncture. ...
They're probably saying the same things — it's pretty even based on the familiarity with the two groups, the number of times that we have played against one another, the close games we have played against each another; the fact that we've finally broken through up there a little bit and they got their win down here. It's really a very balanced situation and it's going to come down to the pitching once again. ... It's going to be a grind-it-out kind of series.
Boston and Tampa are young, tough, hungry, and athletic. They're everything the New York Yankees are not.The Rays bullpen has been lights out against the Red Sox in Tampa. In the nine Trop games, the quintet of Grant Balfour, J.P. Howell, Dan Wheeler, Trever Miller, and Chad Bradford has made 18 appearances, pitching 18.2 innings. They have allowed only 11 hits and 7 walks (0.96 WHIP) and one earned run (0.48 ERA), while striking out 15.
Red Sox Blog Watch: Firebrand lists "the five most important moments" between the Rays and Red Sox in 2008 ... Over The Monster reports on the surprise press conference at which a teary-eyed John Henry vowed the Red Sox would "return to its roots" and "start losing again" ... Paul SF previews the series at YFSF and he agrees with me: Sox in 6 ... Survivng Grady presents a special edition of "Ellsbury 'n' Elf" ... Out in CF notes that the rays at the Florida Aquarium are being fed "little Red Sox-shaped snacks".
CHB: BOS 7 - LAD 5Michael Silverman, Herald: Red Sox in 7. ... David Pinto, Baseball Musings: "Flipping a coin might be just as good. The Red Sox are my favorite, but with just a 51% chance of winning the series." ... Yahoo ran 10,000 AccuScore simulations of the ALCS: The Red Sox won 53% of them.
Cafardo: BOS 7 - PHI 7
Benjamin*: BOS 7 - LAD 5
Massarotti: TBR 6 - LAD 6
Kilgore: TBR 6 - LAD 7
*: Benjamin was the only Glober to pick the Red Sox over the Angels.
The Hardball Times: Why the Rays will win / Why the Red Sox will win. ... Christina Kahrl has BP's preview: Rays in 6. ... The Globe's Eric Wilbur has collected a lot of media predictions here.
Not sufficiently fired up yet? Well .....
How about now?