All good things must come to an end, but did this streak have to die in the first game of the Rays series?
Ever since Tampa Bay became a major player in the American League, they seem to have had Boston's number. The 2008 ALCS stands out, to be certain, but I also recall dropping extra-innings games after having the bases loaded and zero outs, sweeps at home and away, and enough one-run losses to last a life time.
It hasn't been fun, so when the Sox come into the series having scored thirty runs in two games and then put up a big goose egg against James Shields, well, it leads to some frustration.
It's not that Shields was dominant throughout--he started off fairly shaky, loading the bases in the first and allowing Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez to reach base again in the third. But things went wrong both times, with Kevin Youkilis striking out when all the Sox needed was a fly ball, and then grounding into a double play the next time around. His streak of futility against James Shields continues.
From there, however, he was lockdown. Using a strong changeup to keep the Red Sox off-balance, Shields allowed just two baserunners over the last six frames, keeping the Sox off the board altogether.
Tim Wakefield, meanwhile, survived through seven innings giving up a great deal of hard contact, but dodging bullets well enough to escape the outing with just one earned run coming on a homer from Justin Ruggiano (another would come in on a passed ball in the sixth, though Wakefield's knuckler was going all over the place by that point in the game). Most nights that would be enough for the Sox to pull off a win, but this time around nothing short of perfection could have kept them in it. With Tommy Hottovy falling apart some in the eighth, the Rays tacked on a couple more and wrapped up another win over the Sox, 4-0.
Wednesday is a new day, however, featuring a righty with some bad splits and Josh Beckett. Hopefully it's time for the Sox to get over their struggles against Tampa.