By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays are still entertaining hope, however slight, that they can make a run at the wild card spot in the American League. In the opener of a three-game weekend series, the Red Sox did nothing to disabuse them of that notion.
The Rays exploded for five runs in the first three innings against Red Sox starter John Lackey and posted an easy 7-2 victory to move them to within five games in the loss column of the Sox.
The two teams meet six more times this season.
Lackey retired the Rays in order in the first, but was tagged for a three-run homer by catcher John Jaso in the second.
After getting two quick outs in the third, Lackey allowed the next five hitters to reach, with two scoring.
Lackey didn't return, having been struck in the left calf on a comebacker by Jaso in the third. Then again, he was already closing in on 70 pitches after three innings and had spotted the Rays a 5-0 lead. The loss dropped Lackey to 12-12 and raised his ERA to 6.30.
The Sox broke through for two runs in the top of the sixth on a run-scoring infield single by Jacoby Ellsbury (14-game hitting streak) and a sacrifice fly by Marco Scutaro (13 RBI in last nine games).
But Tampa Bay responded with three doubles in the bottom of the inning off reliever Scott Atchison to re-claim a five-run lead.
Sean McAdam can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam
If only David Price could pitch as well as he dodges the media.
The Red Sox lefty bailed on a typical post-start media session with reporters in Pawtucket on Wednesday, after his second minor league rehab outing in Triple-A was another dud.
As Price comes back from a nondescript elbow injury, difficulty retiring minor league hitters doesn't combine well with difficulty facing questions. He sat in the mid-90s in his second rehab start with Pawtucket, but allowed six runs, three earned, in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
The PawSox were at home at McCoy Stadium against Triple-A Louisville, a Reds affiliate, and Price heard some heckling. Postgame, he wanted to hear nothing, apparently.
Per CSNNE’s Bill Messina, who was on site in Pawtucket, the media was waiting outside the clubhouse for Price, as is standard.
PawSox media relations told the media to go to the weight room, where Price would meet them. As media headed that way, PR alerted reporters that Price was leaving and did not want to talk. Media saw a car leaving, but there was no interview.
On the mound, Price’s velocity is there, but the command is not. The Red Sox would be unwise to bring back Price before really two more minor league starts — one to show he can do well, another to show he can repeat it.
Price’s ERA in two starts for Pawtucket is 9.53. He’s gone 5 2/3 innings and allowed six earned runs, while striking out eight and walking two overall.
After another bad rehab start in Pawtucket by David Price, should the Red Sox begin to worry about their $30 million per year starting pitcher.