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Beckett Solid Early, Everything Sloppy Late as Rays Dominate Sox

The Rays have not had a problem with the Red Sox so far this spring. Coming into tonight's game 3-0 against the Red Sox, the Rays dominated again with a 9-3 win.

Beckett got off on the wrong foot, giving up a home run to Longoria in the first, and another to catcher Nevin Ashley (who would torment the Sox all night long) that just barely cleared the wall in right in the third.

Other than these mistakes, Beckett had a good night, allowing six hits and a walk in six innings while striking out eight, including a streak of five consecutive batters between the fourth and fifth innings. The only other run off Beckett came thanks to his own throwing error on a ball right in front of home plate he probably should have just let go. In his last start before opening day against the Yankees, Beckett seemed to focus on his curveball, which was diving late out of the zone and catching corners all night. In short, he looks ready.

The rest of the starters also didn't do too badly. While the Sox only managed to push across one run in the first seven innings, they still had their fair share of baserunners and hits. Marco Scutaro managed a double and a single, and Mike Lowell managed two hits of his own. Drew, Youkilis, Ortiz, and Hall also recorded hits.

It was the replacements that really let things get out of hand. Scott Schoeneweis had a messy debut for the Sox, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while only recording two outs. Alan Embree did even worse, allowing four runs (three earned) on his own two hits and two walks, recording only the one out. Joe Nelson gave up a walk before finishing off Schoeneweis' inning with a single out, while Fernando Cabrera gave up a hit and a walk, but struck out the side in the ninth. Nobody really helped their case for the final bullpen spot tonight.

Behind the relievers, the substitute defenders had their fair share of botches, as Brett Harper recorded two errors while Tug Hullet gave up one of his own. It looked worse, even, with bad transfers on double play attempts, and general ineptitude showing through everywhere. They did manage to put together a few runs in the 8th, but it was an altogether an inept outing. Luckily, these are not the guys we'll be depending on come April.

The Sox won't get much of a reprieve. Casey Kelly will be on the mound tomorrow against these same Rays at 1:05 eastern. The game will be on ESPN, so Sox fans everywhere can tune in to catch a look at the top Red Sox prospect getting a shot at some major leaguers.