After a shaky start from Felix Doubront and a shakier relief appearance from Clayton Mortensen, four Sox relievers combined to hold down the Rays and push them further out of the playoff picture.
Andrew Bailey got his fifth save of the year while Craig Breslow got the hold. Breslow was perfect and Bailey allowed just one walk to keep the Rays off the board.
For the second straight game the Sox got to the Rays' starter early and ran him from the game. Jeremy Hellickson lasted just four innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks. He did strike out seven, and his curveball froze a number of batters (Jose Iglesias most memorably), but it would be a stretch to consider him as dominant as seven K's in four innings sounds. He did look better than Alex Cobb last night.
Felix Doubront did his usual "pitch decently for a couple innings or so and then walk everybody" routine, although he did manage to pitch six reasonable innings, only giving up one hit to go with his five walks. I still don't see him as a viable part of this rotation long-term. Some commentary has talked about Doubront pitching well except for the third inning, but I have trouble agreeing; when he's shaky like that, it's hard to trust that he'll throw strikes.
The offense spread the wealth, as everyone other than Dustin Pedroia and Jose Iglesias snagged at least one hit. Ryan Lavarnway's two-run double in the 7th proved decisive and will hopefully provide some confidence for the struggling youngster (provided Bobby V doesn't pinch-hit for him next time he's in a similar spot).
This was a brutal game to watch, and if you're reading this you likely managed to avoid it. Congratulations. It was horribly long, with 13 pitchers making appearances. Hellickson and Doubront each moved at a Beckettian pace. Meanwhile, the game was at Tropicana Field, so my eyes began to get itchy due to my allergy to terrible stadiums.
The picture above (from the Rays' Facebook page), by the way, includes an image of the horrendous t-shirts the 12 Rays fans were wearing in the crowd. Leave it to Tampa's AAA-like marketing team to come up with yet another way to make Tropicana the most odious place to play. That place needs to be blown up, along with every dumb t-shirt and cowbell and whatever else they come up with. Sure, we have to put up with Sweet Caroline, but at least we have a beautiful park to look at.