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The Rays’ all just wasn’t quite enough

Oct 9, 2013, 12:58 AM EDT

Will Middlebrooks, Yunel Escobar AP

The Rays used 22 of their 25 players in Tuesday’s loss, and they were one inning away from turning to their Game 5 starter. Still, no matter how much Joe Maddon maneuvered, there was no outgunning the Red Sox this week.

It was plenty close. The Rays got the break they needed in the second inning, when Stephen Drew‘s near-three-run double was instead turned into an inning-ending double play by a leaping James Loney. With Jeremy Hellickson and Jamey Wright done after two, Maddon relied on lefties Matt Moore and Alex Torres to hold the fort for the late-game relievers. The Red Sox, better set up to face a righty with Daniel Nava, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew hitting consecutively, couldn’t get a rally going.

Alas, the Red Sox were able to outlast the Rays, even after Tampa Bay scored first. I was critical last night when Sox skipper John Farrell used Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa for just two batters apiece, but that meant Boston’s big three was fresher tonight than the Rays’ top three of Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney. It was Peralta the Red Sox broke through against, though the two runs were charged to Peralta. Rodney allowed another in the ninth.

Meanwhile, Breslow, Tazawa and closer Koji Uehara combined to allow one hit and strike out seven in 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the Red Sox. Breslow was particularly outstanding, fanning four in a row and getting five outs in all.

Give the Rays credit, though. It was a terrific effort, with nine pitchers throwing nine innings. Had it gone to the 10th, David Price was coming in, and the Rays just would have figured out Game 5 later.

Now it could be another harsh offseason for the Rays. Attendance didn’t increase as hope, so the payroll probably won’t add much from the usual $60 million-$65 million. Price’s salary will jump from $10 million to $15 million or so in arbitration, which could mean he’s made his final start for the club. James Loney figures to be too expensive to retain, so the Rays will have to dip back into the bargain bin at first base again. Rodney also seems certain to exit, as will several role players.

Still, even without Price, the Rays could put out a rotation of Alex Cobb, Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi, and Price will likely bring back another Wil Myers-type prospect to integrate into the lineup, plus perhaps another young pitcher or two. Despite the modest payroll, there will be no writing off the Rays anytime soon. Price or no, they’ll be back to scare the pants off the Red Sox and the rest of the AL’s heavy hitters again next season.

  1. sclobernocker47 - Oct 9, 2013 at 4:33 AM

    Sloppy ending to a great season. Well have to see what Maddon can oull iut if his hat fir nwxt season.

    • bigmeechy74 - Oct 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      We will also have to see if you can keep your fingers in proper typing position

  2. connormyboy - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:34 AM

    Hopefully a new hitting coach will be hired,

  3. bowltr - Oct 9, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    What happened not enough ice cream? No snakes to lighten the mood? Hey Joe (The smartest guy in the room) how ’bout getting guys that don’t piss all over themselves when it matters most. Myers looked like he wanted to run and hide under his bed.
    Fraud Team
    Fraud Manager
    Fraud Organization
    Fraud Fans

    Maybe when they move to Vegas or Portland they might finally win something.

    Congrats to the little engine that couldn’t.

    • 18thstreet - Oct 9, 2013 at 8:42 AM

      Jerk.

    • sportsdrenched - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      Indeed, I mean what’s the point of trying new things? If at first you don’t succeed you listen to the people who call you a fraud and just quit. Right?

    • bigmeechy74 - Oct 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      troll

  4. moogro - Oct 9, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    Wil Myers has a lot of work to do to get above medium.

    • 18thstreet - Oct 9, 2013 at 8:44 AM

      Obviously, Myers did not have a good series. But instead of judging him on 15 or so at bats, I’m more curious of what I’ve seen of his defense in this series and elsewhere. I can’t say that I watch a TON of Rays games, and every time I’ve sen Myers in the field, I’ve been very unimpressed. What does the scouting say about him? Is his future at DH or first? Because he looked terrible as a right fielder, and not just on the mess up in Game One.

    • yahmule - Oct 9, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      He looks like one of the best young players in baseball to me. If I’m a Rays fan, I take solace in knowing they’re going to build around this kid and continue to be a perennial contender.

  5. 13arod - Oct 9, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    first if all why did u take out lobaton maddan dumb move

  6. shawnparker74 - Oct 9, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    As insufferable as Red Sox fans are it helps to remember they aren’t that far removed from being Cub fans.

    • bigmeechy74 - Oct 9, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      Actually they won 2 world series in the last decade. That’s about as far from the cubs as you can get. Trust me, I know. The Cubs are my favorite team. You are a munch.

    • pastabelly - Oct 9, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      The Red Sox always competed and were always a club of near misses while the Cubs rarely competed. There is a big difference in the histories of those two franchises (other than the recent history of the Sox).

  7. peed1 - Oct 9, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    Great manager, got the most out of team. Only one team ends season on a win. Money ball.

    • Joe - Oct 9, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      Actually, eight other teams (Orioles, Royals, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Marlins, Mets and Giants) ended their season on a win.

      • bigmeechy74 - Oct 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

        lol smartass

  8. js20011041 - Oct 9, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    I couldn’t help but watch this game and think that the Red Sox are playing these games with a manager tied behind their back. Ferrell was thoroughly out managed. He apparently didn’t see Moore coming into the game at any point. I guess he also forgot about the 14 other lefties the Rays have in the bullpen too. I get not pinch hitting for Salty and Nava early in the game. That’s just asking for Maddon to bring in Archer, leaving you with no options. But I really would have like to seen him break up the Salty, Nava, Drew portion of the lineup. He did that for a bit in August. He hit Nava cleanup, and Napoli fifth. Fortunately for the Red Sox, neither the Tigers or A’s are loaded with lefties. It should be a better matchup.

    • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      In general, the best thing a manager can do is put in the best players and get the hell out of the way, which Farrell did…and won…and somehow you conclude that he was “out managed”. That is hilarious. Just because Maddon pulled a “hey, look at me managing” thing for the entire game doesn’t mean he managed better….just that he managed more, and in managing baseball teams, more is almost never better.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        Joe Maddon is the best manager in baseball that consistently loses the DH in the AL.

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:05 AM

        Yeah, I tune it to Rays games all the time to watch him manage…he’s awesome at making sure that when the game is on the line, 1/2 of his best players are on the bench….it’s a real treat to behold….like watching a happier more charming version of LaRussa.

      • js20011041 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:04 AM

        You’re confusing results with process. You can’t judge a manager on his results. Only the thought process that goes into his decisions. Otherwise, we’re getting into a Ron Washington is a great manager for “leading” the Rangers to two World Series. You don’t want to have that conversation. You’ll lose. I’m sorry, but putting Saltalamacchia, Nava, and Drew back to back to back, knowing that the other manager is loaded with left handed pitchers is not setting your team up to win. The Red sox were extremely fortunate that the Rays weren’t able to put the game away before Ferrell was finally able to go to his bench.

      • paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        Except, I’m not. The results are irrelevant to the fact that a priori it is ALWAYS best for the manager to put the best players on the field and get out of the way. The less a manager “manages” the less he screws up….because most of the “strategical” moves managers make are bad decisions.

        Maddon made his first bad decision before the game even started, by starting Hellickson instead of a clearly superior option….everything that happened after that was a direct result of his first mistake….but then he still couldn’t get out of his own way and leave Moore in for more than a few pitches.

        More moves are almost always worse than fewer moves….and moves that have little potential benefit at great future cost are always bad ideas.

      • js20011041 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        Salty, Nava, and Drew are the Red Sox best options…AGAINST RHPs. Against lefties, they’re a liability. I don’t have a problem with the starting lineup Farrell rolled out against Hellickson. I have a problem with not foreseeing Maddon using lefty after lefty to neutralize the bottom half of the order. You’re completely disregarding sequencing. It’s not how many hits you get. It’s when you get them, and having a sequence of three guys who can’t hit lefties, kills rallies.

  9. paperlions - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    The Rays lost for a simple reason, they didn’t throw strikes. They walked 8 guys, the RS walked zero.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      And yet the Sox seemed determined not to capitalize. Only two of those walks crossed the plate, and two of them were erased by double plays. Overall, the walks stressed the pitching corps to the max, however 3 runs in a 9 inning game should still be good enough to win a game. I’m going to pin this one on the Rays lack of hitting or on the Red Sox’s superior pitching.

      • pastabelly - Oct 9, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        Not so sure the Red Sox pitching is all that much better than the Rays. The difference is the lineup and bench. Other Red Sox teams have had better pitching than this year’s team. That goes for rotations and bullpens. This Sox team is more complete. They are very good (not great) at many things and and really aren’t weak in any area.

  10. yaboyjake - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Bowltr…

    Grow up. And no I’m not a rays fan.

  11. sportsdrenched - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    This is what happens when a big market team takes the Moneyball (or The Extra 2% in this case) and combines it with a large payroll. That shit works in the playoffs.

  12. florida76 - Oct 9, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    It’s simply not enough anymore for the Rays to be smart, that will only get you so far, and the lack of support and tradition is killing that franchise. After the miracle run of 2008, Tampa Bay hasn’t reached the level of serious contenders, failing to even reach a ALCS since.

    Back to back last place rankings in MLB attendance is inexcusable, and raises troubling questions about whether that area is truly major league.

    • Joe - Oct 9, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      Alternative theory: You can’t really draw conclusions based on the results of short series.

  13. pastabelly - Oct 9, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Joe Maddon knows his pitchers better than anyone, but I was confused with the decision to start Hellickson. I would have thought that Archer would be better able to compete against the Sox lineup and maybe give them 5 or 6 strong innings. Was he limited in innings or is there some other physical reason why he was limited to two brief relief appearances in the playoffs? I like Cobb. He has good stuff and could be a good #2 behind Moore.

  14. soxfan1966 - Oct 9, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Sox fan here. I give the Rays a lot of credit. While they played sloppy ball in the first two games in Boston, they returned to form for Games 3 and 4. I fully expected tight ballgames in which one team would only achieve victory by grinding things out. The Sox made a lot of mistakes in Game 3, and the Rays capitalized on them to eventually get the Win. And the Sox’ Game 4 Win was by no means a foregone conclusion; I was convinced that the series would go back to Boston and my heart was in my stomach until Peralta’s wild pitch.

    It’s a cliché, but Maddon managed well — especially in Games 3 and 4. Overall, the Rays put up a good fight. Sox fans should celebrate, but they should also tip their hat to the Rays for a good series.

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