The Boston Red Sox usually have had heated games as tempers would flare during a matchup against the New York Yankees. Now it seems that another of their AL East rivals are getting under Boston’s skin. That team is the Tampa Bay Rays.
Last night the first inning alone saw eight runs, two by the Rays and six by the Red Sox. Boston’s starting pitcher John Lackey started hearing some of the Rays players talk to him from the dugout. He began to talk back and that was the point in the game when both sides started flexing their muscles. Lackey even said, “Come at me bro!” after the second inning.
It got even worse when Lackey hit Rays outfielder Matt Joyce in the back with a pitch. Joyce started chirping at Lackey as he made his way towards first base. As any good catcher would do Jarrod Saltalamacchia stepped in to try and ease the tension. Joyce didn’t like that as he shoved Saltalamacchia which led to both teams clearing their benches.
“I was just trying to come in there and get him off the plate a little bit,” Lackey said. “They were swinging at pretty much everything I threw up there. I was trying to get a little bit of the plate for me.”
Joyce and his manager Joe Maddon thought that the pitch was intentional.
Joyce said after the game, “As far as I understood, he was pretty upset that I dropped my bat on the 3-0 swing. I was actually pretty upset at myself. Honestly, I felt like it was a pretty bush league move. I think it was very obvious. I’d really rather not get too much into it, but obviously I wasn’t too happy about it.”
Maddon agreed with Joyce saying, “It all started because Matt hit a home run in the first inning and then apparently Lackey did not like the fact that he swung at a 3-0 pitch and almost hit another home run. So he intentionally hit him. There’s no question in my mind he did. And the sad part is I’ve always considered Lackey a good teammate. But right there he could get one of his own players hurt. That’s being a bad teammate as far as I’m concerned.”
Of course Red Sox manager John Farrell felt differently. “He was trying to throw the ball in, off the plate, obviously. There was no intent to hit him,” Farrell said. “Their guys took some good swings tonight on Lackey’s fastball, and he was just trying to create a little openness on the outside of the plate, and obviously the pitch got away from him.”
Luckily there was no hard punches thrown. It was just a bunch of name calling and pushing. Since it was a minor scrum no one got tossed from the game.
As both teams finally cooled down the game finally resumed. The score was going back and forth during the game. Saltalamacchia put the Red Sox up with an 8-6 lead with a two-run single in the 10th, but closer Andrew Bailey couldn’t hold the lead as the Rays tied it up 8-8.
Then Shane Victorino hit a single at the start of the 14th inning and Saltalamacchia came through once again as he singled for his fourth hit, making it 10-8. Franklin Morales pitched two scoreless innings for the win. The two teams play tonight and I wonder if there will be any carry over from last night’s events.