On Monday, the Boston Red Sox made short work of the first place Tampa Bay Rays.

The fiery and quick Rays offense put up six hits, but could only manage one run before the final pitch was thrown.

The Rays’ one run came off a solo shot by Carlos Pena in the fourth inning.

Tampa Bay’s hitters were silenced by a strong showing from Red Sox starter Clay Buchholtz, who went six innings and struck out six. Buchholtz improves to 6-3 on the season.

Boston is looking for solid pitching from Buchholtz and John Lester to bring more solidarity to a rotation that has not lived up to expectations, to say the least.

Rays starter Wade Davis’s night started to go south in the third inning, when the Red Sox were able to tag him for three runs there, and one more in the fourth.

Davis was promptly removed from the game in the fourth inning and falls to 4-4 on the season.

Despite still being seven and a half games behind the Rays, the fourth place Red Sox are attempting to claw their way back into the AL playoff picture.

After taking two of three from a good NL team like Philadelphia, the Red Sox need to keep the momentum going, and it seems they have.

While many people have claimed Boston may be out of playoff talks this year, the Red Sox may have critics holding their tongues if they can win this series with Tampa Bay, and continue into June.

The key to their recent success has not only been better play from their previously atrocious pitching staff, but a current resurgence of power from their lineup.

Certain Red Sox players are absolutely on fire, hitting home run after home run, and making the most of clutch situations. 

Kevin Youkilis hit his tenth home run, while David Ortiz belted his ninth. JD Drew also picked up his thirtieth RBI on the season.

Both Youkilis and Ortiz are batting over .360 in May.

Clearly, the Red Sox attempt to launch themselves out of the dumps has begun with their key guys in the lineup getting hits and driving in runs.

The Red Sox strategy to focus on pitching and defense has lead them to the bottom of a highly-contested AL East (not including Baltimore).

The Red Sox may need to rethink their strategy and focus on getting lots of production from the red hot Ortiz and Youkilis and ride their wave as long as possible.

Their pitching statistics look terrible, but a closer look at their batting statistics has them in the top five of the American League.

Boston is currently fourth in the AL in runs scored, second in home runs, and fourth in RBI.

Not too shabby for a team that is supposed to be focused on other categories of the game.

The fact here is that the Boston starting pitching staff has failed them for the most part, and their star hitters have had to pick up the slack. This is by no stretch of the imagination a bad team.

The problem with the Red Sox is not scoring runs, it’s giving up runs. The Sox are currently second in the AL in runs allowed, and third worst in ERA.

The Red Sox need to realize that with Josh Beckett on the DL, combined with the strain on their bullpen, and the fact that their starters are just starting to get it together, they must rely on their heavy hitters to get the job done.

If the Red Sox can take two of three, or sweep the Rays, their schedule afterward looks good.

They face Kansas City, Baltimore, and Cleveland, who allow the third, fourth, and fifth most runs in the AL, respectively.

The Red Sox hitters need to pour on the runs in these series not only to get their team confidence back, but to get themselves back into playoff talks for this season.


This article can also be found @ Inside Out of the Park

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