The only good thing about the start to the Rays' season, which has already seen a month or two's worth of injuries, disappointing performances and controversies, is that the AL East-favorite Red Sox started 0-6 themselves, managing to overshadow their own putrid beginnings. But with Boston finally getting a big shutout win against the Yankees Sunday night on national TV, the onus was back on the 1-8 Rays to prove that it was still far too early to count them out of the suddenly all-around-competitive race in the East.
A 16-5 win will certainly help with that, as the Rays obliterated the Red Sox last night for their second, and easily their biggest, win of the season. Four different players on the team had three-RBI nights, including top-of-the-lineup hitters Sam Fuld (4-6) and Johnny Damon (3-5), both of whom went yard once as well. Most of the blame on the Red Sox falls to starter Daisuke Matsuzaka (2 IP, 7 ER), but it wouldn't be fair to let Tim Wakefield (3 1/3 IP, 5 ER) or Dan Wheeler (1 IP, 4 ER) off the hook, either. The Rays and Red Sox now sit tied in the East basement with their matching 2-8 records.
Meanwhile, Damon sounded off about his teammate (in both Tampa and earlier as WS champs with the Red Sox) Manny Ramirez, and the pending drug-related suspension that caused Ramirez to announce his surprise retirement late last week. "I can't believe it," he said of the chain of events. "I thought if you got busted one time, you definitely don't get busted again. Maybe I'm wrong. Believe me, it shocked us all." Still, he bears Manny no particular ill will. "I wish him nothing but the best," says Damon. "He was a great teammate of mine, a great player. I was just hoping we would continue to have all the fun we had, and for it to end so abruptly and for the reasoning, it's sad. I hope Manny's in a better place."
He knows that Manny's not dead or anything, right? Idiot.