This afternoon in the Bronx, the Boston Red Sox left Yankee Stadium splitting a four game set against the AL East leading New York Yankees by a score of 2-1. Jon Lester took the hill for the Red Sox (12-7 2.94 ERA) facing an impressive surprise in Phil Hughes (13-5 3.92 ERA). Lester threw 99 pitches in 6.1, striking out six while refusing to give up a run. Jonathan Papelbon entered the game in the eighth, capturing his 28th save in 33 chances striking out a red hot Mark Teixeira. Boston stuck twice in the second inning with Bill Hall and JD Drew both driving in runs.

Incredibly, that is all Lester would need.

The Yankees didn’t find their way on the board until the bottom half of the eighth when Mark Teixeira homered for the second straight game (26th of the season), pulling the Yankees within one run. Splitting the series with the Yankees kept the Red Sox hopes for the postseason within reach.

However, it can also be said that the Tampa Bay Rays rolled out the Red Carpet inviting Boston to steal away the AL Wildcard spot when the Rays dropped five games in a row prior to tonight. Tonight, the Rays will be looking to get back on track as they travel to Detroit. Boston heads up north crossing the border attempting to outslug the lumberjacks in Toronto.

On Saturday, fans attending the Sky Dome in Toronto expected to see a baseball game. Instead, a track meet broke out as Toronto belted out eight homeruns in a mammoth scoring festival beating Tampa 17-11.

Sunday, both offenses must have been dead tired from the previous day. Brandon Morrow fanned 17 Rays and lost a near no-hitter with two outs in the ninth to Evan Longoria. Morrow finished the game sweeping Tampa Ray back down south.

If the Red Sox want to contend for the playoffs, they are going to have to score runs. That’s it. Starting pitching isn’t the problem, as many papers are quick to allude to. Boston’s issues seem to surface with runners in scoring position. Watching called third strikes and excuse me swings on 3-1 counts are killers and have happened way too frequently as of late.

Yes the opportunity to close the gap on Tampa Bay is still close at hand, but Tampa will not lose five games in a row again and allow Boston a second chance to steal a playoff slot.

By the way, the Rays are leading 4-2 in the top of the 8th in Detroit.

Tomorrow night, the Red Sox will send Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-3 3.96 ERA) to the mound going head to head with Toronto’s Ricky Romero (9-7 3.37 ERA).


Quick Notes: The upcoming AL East slates looks bit like this.

            Boston (64-49) @ Toronto (59-52) August 10-12

            Tampa Bay (67-44) @ Detroit (54-57) August 10-11

            New York (69-42) @ Texas (64-47) August 10-11

            Toronto (59-52) vs. Boston (64-49) August 10-12


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