The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Rays has grown immensely in recent years. The former “little brother” Rays have actually had more success than their “big brother” Red Sox from up north as of late.
Benches cleared after Boston reliever Franklin Morales through behind Tampa’s Luke Scott in the ninth inning of a 7-4 game. Scott was held back from Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but the rest of each team’s bench and bullpen filtered out onto the diamond.
This was just another episode in what has become a fierce rivalry, a rivalry in which the Tampa Rays have had the upper hand since the 2008 season. The skirmish echoed back to 2008 when Coco Crisp charged the mound after being thrown at by James Shields.
Friday night was a reminder for how competitive and intense the match-up between the Rays and the Sox has become. It is no longer a surprise to see Tampa near the top of the AL East standings, but an expectation.
Jon Lester posted another unimpressive start as he gave up an early grand slam to Ray’s outfielder Matt Joyce. Lester’s ERA has now ballooned to a sub-par 4.72, which continues the inconsistency on behalf of the starting rotation.
Boston did make a game of it and cut the lead to 7-4 in the sixth inning with David Ortiz up at the plate with a chance to tie the game. Ortiz and the Sox fell short, but it was clear by the emotions shown by both teams how important these early season games are.
This is the most competitive the AL East has been in recent memory. Maybe that’s why the Red Sox and Rays are willing to fight over it.