GAME RECAP (12-4 RAYS)
Michael Bowden got hit hard in his first action of spring, giving up four runs in 1 2/3 innings as the Rays trounced the Red Sox, 12-4 this afternoon. Jed Lowrie and Jason Bay went 0 for 2 and Kevin Youkilis went 0 for 3. Check out the box score.
RACCOON AWARENESS (3:42, TOP 8, 12-4 RAYS)
The raccoon could not be located for comment on the game. We'll get post-game comments from any players left in the clubhouse.
MISSING OUT (3:04, BOTTOM 6, 10-4 RAYS)
Wish I could tell you how the Sox scored their runs -- I hear Nick Green was involved -- but I was heading out to the Red Sox clubhouse beyond right field to talk to Michael Bowden. Pitchers and players get to leave after they are taken out of spring training games, so they are available to media in the middle of games. That means we miss parts. So I can't tell you how the Sox scored, but I can tell you that Bowden had command of his offspeed pitches and not his fastball. "Not as I expected, definitely," Bowden said. "I had a lot of adrenaline. I was excited to get out there, throw for the first time, but just leaving a few pitches up in the zone only the probably few times I got ahead in the count. I was just falling behind, leaving balls up. Some good pitches, just definitely not enough."
BAY'S GLOVE WORK (2:46, TOP 5, 10-4 RAYS)
Jason Bay hasn't lost his touch in the outfield. I promise. But he has been having a lot of trouble today, almost entirely because of the sun. Bay has misread a couple of balls into left field, including the two that went over his glove, and one that he barely caught because he started in the absolute wrong direction. He's not alone. Other Red Sox, on the field and off, have been completely befuddled by some balls. As Terry Francona, veteran of Port Charlotte with the Rangers, said earlier, "I don't know about the hottest [place], but the brightest. ... It would give you a headache with the best of them."
SPOKE TOO SOON (2:06, BOTTOM 3, 10-0 RAYS)
Yeah, about that 8-0 deficit... It's now 10-0. Fernando Perez just doubled over the glove of Jason Bay, bringing in two more runs. He managed to give the Sox a gift out when he got caught off second base trying to stretch an extra base. We'll update you on anything important, but the game seems to be officially out of hand.
WHAT A BEATING (2:02, BOTTOM 3, 8-0 RAYS)
A double to centerfielder by newly anointed Hall of Famer (or something like that) Elliot Johnson leaves the Sox down by eight runs in just the third inning. There, of course, are still no outs in the inning. The two-run double by Johnson was his second double in as many innings. By the way, if you're interested in the pitching line on Bowden, it was 1 2/3 innings with five hits, four runs (all earned), two walks, and no strikeouts. By one count, he threw 41 pitches, 22 of those for strikes.
BAD D (1:55, BOTTOM 3, 5-0 RAYS)
This is not exactly one for the annals of Red Sox defense. Though Angel Chavez did make an outstanding play at third to nab a ball of the bat of Pat Burrell (the throw wasn't so strong), there have already been two errors for the Sox. One came on that bad pickoff throw by Bowden, and another came this inning on a dropped ball by Lowrie at second base. Second baseman Nick Green grabbed a ball from Dioner Navarro, which wasn't handled by Lowrie. With a walk to Ben Zobrist, that leaves the bases loaded with no outs.
ONE FOR LONGORIA (1:44, BOTTOM 2, 5-0 RAYS)
No sooner was Michael Bowden out of the game, leaving Jason Bartlett on second base, than Enrique Gonzalez gave up a bomb to Evan Longoria that cleared the fence in left field. That gave the Rays a 5-0 base, and made it four runs given up for Bowden. Rocco Baldelli, by the way, got a nice but not overwhelming reception when he came up to bat in the first inning.
BOWDEN STRUGGLES (1:38, BOTTOM 2, 3-0 Rays)
Michael Bowden didn't even get through his scheduled two innings this afternoon against the Rays. He was just taken out by Terry Francona in favor of Enrique Gonzalez after allowing three runs in five outs (with a man on second base). Not that the score matters, of course, since it was his first outing in spring training. Still, Bowden had some big hits off him, including the final one, a two-run double for Jason Bartlett that just cleared Jason Bay's glove in left.
RAYS ON TOP (1:24, BOTTOM 1, 1-0 Rays)
It was a quick score off Michael Bowden in the first inning to put the Rays on top. Fernando Perez, who is hitting leadoff today, singled to right field, then stole second. He made it to third on a bad pickoff throw that bounced into centerfield, then came home on a groundout by Jason Bartlett.