We know the amazing start couldn't be sustained for the whole season. The starting pitching and the team's average with runners in scoring position were too good to not eventually take a spoon full of regression. It's just that no one thought they would both happen at the same time.
Unlike Tuesday's game, which featured a strike zone the size of Kevin Mench's head, the Rays had no excuses this time around. They did it to themselves, leaving what seemed like a trillion men in scoring position and pitching exceptionally poorly. Although Matt Garza had a bad outing, when you have men on base in all but two innings you need to score more than 3 runs.
Speaking of Garza, The Crane just wasn't himself tonight. The only pitch he threw for a strike more than 60% of the time was his four-seam fastball, and that came in at 60.27%. His most effective pitch on the season has been his slider, which has the highest strike% (66.7%) and highest whiff% (22.6%) of any of his offerings. Tonight Garza threw the pitch 19 times for 10 strikes (52.63%), 2 swinging (10.53%). Not close to his season averages. Garza's control did not accompany him to the ballpark tonight, as he walked five batters in his five innings of work. He missed both high and low, and inside and outside. Checking out his strikezone plot, it looks like Garza's plan was to keep the ball inside to right handers and away from lefties. Had he hit his spots that plan may have worked out a wee bit better.
There isn't much else to say about this game or series. The Red Sox are a very good team, and to expect the Rays to dominate them over a full season is unrealistic. Though, granted, you'd like to see the team put up more than four runs over three games. There's no reason to panic. As odd as it may sound, I'm kind of glad the Rays are hitting a bit of a rough patch right now. I'd rather see the team go through these struggles now instead of later in the season when it would hurt far more. The stellar start to the season provided the Rays with a cushion that comes in handy when series like this occur.