Tuesday September 03, 2013 | 05:08 AM

Things are going bad when you walk seven times in four innings and no one scores. So writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times about the Rays, who lost 11-2 to the Angels Monday night.

The Rays have lost five straight and eight of the last nine. So even while the Red Sox lost 3-0 Monday, they inched a step closer to the AL East title.

Red Sox 82-57
Rays 75-61 (5.5 games back)
Orioles 73-63 (7.5)
Yankees 73-64 (8)

Boston’s magic number: 20

Boston (23): Tigers (2), at Yankees (4), at Rays (3), Yankees (3), Orioles (3), Blue Jays (3), at Rockies (2), at Orioles (3).
Rays (26): At Angels (3), at Mariners (3), Red Sox (3), at Twins (3), Rangers (4), Orioles (4), at Yankees (3), at Blue Jays (3).

Troubling in the Boston loss was its 11th shutout of the year (and poor John Lackey pitching on the other side of six of them).

Good pitching beats Boston. Tonight, Boston has Jon Lester (12-8, 3.99) going, but Detroit counters with Max Scherzer (19-1, 2.90). Lester will need more than a quality start (remember his last game, a 3-2 loss to the Orioles and Chris Tillman).

The Sea Dogs were rained out (of course). Team awards were announced and Christian Vazquez was named the team MVP.

Vazquez, who made his Triple-A debut on Monday (0-for-3, BB), is one of five catchers on the Red Sox 40-man roster. We look at that and other subjects in today's column.

Dan Butler, one of the five catchers, was the DH Monday and went 2-for-4, raising his average to .262 ... Jackie Bradley Jr. (.275) was 2-for-5 ... Alex Hassan (.321) was 1-for-3.

Second baseman Mookie Betts continues to create a buzz, going 2-for-4 for Salem and upping the average to .341 in 51 games. Betts, 20, was a high school All-American in Nashville, Tenn., and a fifth round draft pick of Boston in 2011.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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