No, no, no, Joe
Don't know if you stayed up for the late innings of the ALCS opener, but if you did you were probably wondering the same thing I was when the Tampa Bay Rays outsmarted themselves in the eighth inning and suffered a 2-0 home loss to the Red Sox as a result.
The Rays were trailing by two runs with baserunners at first and second, no one out and Boston reliever Hideki Okajima behind 3-0 on the count to Tampa slugger Carlos Pena. What happened next defies logical explanation.
Everybody in the ballpark and millions of television viewers knew that Pena would be taking the next pitch. Okajima obviously was struggling with his command and the tying run was not yet in scoring position, so the opportunity to load the bases with Evan Longoria on deck was too good to be true.
Except that manager Joe Maddon (right) apparently gave Pena the green light and Pena swung at a pitch up -- and maybe out of -- the strike zone. He hit a routine fly ball to right and Longoria followed by pounding another pitcher's pitch into the ground for an inning-ending double play. It was the third time the Rays were in a position to take control of the game and they let the Red Sox off the hook each time.
It's way too early to say the upstart Rays aren't ready for prime time, but they looked very much like a team that's never been in this situation before, while the Red Sox looked like the defending World Champions that they are. We'll have to wait and see if there's a trend forming.