Hot Tempers at the Trop

The Guru
Contributing Writer

It was a long hot night in St. Pete. Even Raymond the Rays mascot was in his jammies asleep atop the dugout at the conclusion of this one. However, the Red Sox had just enough energy to pull out a 10-8 win in a 14-inning marathon that featured 38 players, 486 pitches and a benches clearing dustup.

The Red Sox and Rays do have history here. Ever since Gerald Williams charged Pedro Martinez back in 2000 these two teams have been barking.

Remember Coco Crisp having a go at James Shields? I think that brawl involved a certain someone that now sports the red "B" landing a few blows of his own.

The latest chapter in the Sox/Rays lovefest involves John Lackey and Matt Joyce.

In the first inning, Lackey was tagged for a home run by the outfielder Joyce. In the bottom of the third Joyce stood and admired a deep hit to right that eventually ended up foul. Lackey and the Rays’ dugout exchanged “pleasantries” after the inning. In the sixth inning Lackey plunked Joyce in the back with a pitch, then claimed it wasn't intentional. Joyce yelled something at the Sox pitcher that may have been, “bush league”, but probably was more “bull” than “bush” if you catch my drift.

With that, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia stepped in and the dugouts and bullpens emptied. There was some pushing and shoving, but no punches were thrown and no players were ejected. Warnings were issued.

Lackey was sticking to his story after the win, "I was trying to maybe get a little plate for me," he said, suggesting he was just trying to pitch inside.

Rays manager Joe Maddon disagreed and accused Lackey of being a "bad teammate”.

Maddon told reporters after the game, “He intentionally hit him when he did, there’s no question in my mind that he did. And the sad part is that I’ve always considered Lackey a good teammate, but right there he can get one of his own players hurt. I really did sense among the group of Red Sox that they were totally not into that (brawl) because they knew it was inappropriate to hit Matt on purpose, and furthermore because one of them can get hurt. So that's being a bad teammate as far as I'm concerned. In the past, he was always a good teammate. That was really a bad moment for him tonight."

It’s round two of the three game battle tonight at the Trop. The first place Red Sox lead the Rays by five games in the AL East. And that’s no bull.

Thoughts on last night’s game? Comment below.

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