The Tampa Bay Rays battled through the end of their season to make it to where they did, but unfortunately Game 4 of the ALDS was the Rays’ last game of the season. The Boston Red Sox picked up the 3-1 victory in a game that had very little offense, and won the series without having the return to Boston.
The Rays hitters were held to only one run that came in the sixth inning. The run came when David DeJesus hit an RBI single to knock in Yunel Escobar, who hit a double earlier in the inning and had advanced to third. The Rays hoped that with only three innings left in the game, the one run lead would be enough to win Game 4 and head back to Boston.
The Rays’ starter, Jeremy Hellickson, was taken out of the game in the second inning after loading the bases with no outs, and from there Joe Maddon was forced to use another eight different pitchers to get through the game. Jake McGee came into the game for Tampa in the seventh inning as the fifth pitcher used that night. McGee recorded two outs, but left men on first and third. Unfortunately for the Rays, one unlucky play was enough to dismantle their chances of winning the low-scoring game. Joe Maddon brought in Joel Peralta to finish the inning, and things took a sudden turn in favor of the Red Sox. Peralta threw a curveball that got away from him, which combined with Shane Victorino’s bunt attempt, resulted in a wild pitch that allowed Xander Bogaerts to score and Jacoby Ellsbury to advance to third. Ellsbury would then score on an infield hit by Victorino, putting Boston up 2-1. The Red Sox would score another run in the ninth off of a Dustin Pedroia sacrifice fly, and go on to win the game 3-1.
The Rays were obviously disappointed with the way the game went, but this team should definitely be proud of what it accomplished this season. The Rays battled through September to get into the playoffs, including three must-win games in a row to finish the season. This is a team of young, talented players who show a lot of promise for the future. This team has been in the playoffs four out of its last six seasons, and has made one World Series appearance, but still has not managed to win it all. After this year’s postseason is done, the responsibility will fall on the Rays’ front office to try to transform this team from a playoff team to a championship team.