BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox may only have two wins in their first 10 games this season, but they know there is a lot of baseball left to play.
“We’re four games out of first place with 153 games to go,” Dustin Pedroia said after Sunday nights 4-0 win over the Yankees. “It’s a long ass way away. I’m not very smart but it looks doable.”
The Sox are fresh off taking two of three from New York, and now welcome in another division rival who is off to a worse start.
Johnny Damon and the Tampa Bay Rays are in town for three games. The Rays offense is hurting, ranking dead last in runs scored (20 runs in nine games) and batting average (.163). Things did not get any better after former Sox slugger Manny Ramirez abruptly retired Friday afternoon. Facing a 100-game suspension by the MLB for violating the leagues substance abuse policy, Manny decided to call to call it quits instead.
Although Ramirez was just 1-for-17 to start the season with the Tampa, his departure leaves Tampa without a power bat in the middle of the order. Third Baseman Evan Longoria is already out with a strained oblique, leaving Damon and BJ Upton to make up most of the Rays offense.
The Red Sox should use this, and the Rays 1-8 start, to their advantage as they look to build off Josh Beckett’s gem against the Yankees Sunday night. Daisuke Matsuzaka will get his second start of the season, opposed by Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson.
Pedroia has led the way for Boston early in the season with a .400 batting average, including a 9-for-13 series against New York. Shortstop Marco Scutaro came through with the biggest hit of the season so far, a two-run double in the seventh inning to make it 3-0 Red Sox.
“There’s way too much talent on this team not to win games,” Scutaro said. “I think we have a long way to go. When everything starts clicking, we’re going to have some fun.”