Last night's game was like an episode of the Twilight Zone. After the Red Sox supplied a six-run lead to starter John Lackey right off the bat, he gave up four runs in the five and two-thirds innings he pitched. Though Lackey left the game in line for a win (after hitting the showboating Matt Joyce with a pitch and clearing the benches), the Rays tied the game at six in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The game ended up lasting 14 innings and nearly five and a half hours, and by the end those of us still awake and watching started to get a little loopy. Twitter turned into an even stranger place than usual, as Red Sox fans lost our sanity bit by bit. Thing were briefly ahead by two runs in the top of the tenth inning, but the Rays tied it up again in the bottom of the frame when Andrew Bailey allowed a home run, two walks, and an RBI single.
Things stayed tied up at eight apiece until the top of the fourteenth inning. Shane Victorino scored the winning run after some heads-up base running and an RBI single from Nava. Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled in Nava for an insurance run, but the Sox wouldn't need it, as Franklin Morales (who had come in to start the thirteenth inning, sacrificing his Wednesday start) allowed a single but no runs to finally cement a win for the Red Sox.
The win, though as exciting as it was exhausting, left the bullpen in shambles. The Red Sox will have to make a few moves to cover the players who will be unavailable for a game or two, as well as to get someone who can start on Wednesday after Morales took one for the team early this morning - although he did earn himself a win two days early and with just 35 pitches, so there's that.
Peter Abraham has outlined the specifics of the pitching conundrum over at the Boston.com Extra Bases Blog - basically, it looks like Clayton Mortensen might be headed for the disabled list to make some space on the roster, and it's likely that Alfredo Aceves will take Morales' start on Wednesday. Regardless of how the roster configuration shakes out, it's super important that Jon Lester has a fantastic start tonight. The Sox need a lot of innings tonight more than any other point this season, and I have great confidence in Jon Lester.