Boston will play for the American League pennant.
Jake Peavy yielded just one run over 5 2/3 innings and the Red Sox offense managed a couple of key hits to dismiss the Rays from the 2013 postseason mix with a 3-1 defeat in Game 4 of the ALDS on Tuesday night at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.
Peavy had a 12.10 career postseason ERA entering his Game 4 start and had the look of a man wanting redemption. He walked none, struck out three and surrendered only five hits before being lifted in the bottom of the sixth. The veteran righty was outwardly confused and frustrated by that early hook — he had thrown only 74 pitches — but lefty Craig Breslow entered the game and fanned the first four batters he faced in dominant fashion. Red Sox relievers Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara were also excellent in the eighth and ninth innings to preserve Boston’s big win.
The Red Sox drove Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson from the game in the second inning after loading the bases with no outs but came away with no runs. It wasn’t until the seventh inning — on a Joel Peralta wild pitch — that the Sox finally scored. A second run in that seventh frame on a Shane Victorino infield single pushed the American League East champions ahead of the AL Wild Card-winning Rays for good.
Dustin Pedroia added some insurance when he drove in Xander Bogaerts on a sac fly in the ninth.
The Red Sox get to play spectator for Thursday’s decisive Game 5 between the Tigers and Athletics in Oakland. The winner of that Tigers vs. A’s game will face Boston in the ALCS for a trip to the World Series.
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.
One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.
“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.
Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.
Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.
Anyway: enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.