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Is it Boston? Or is it Longoria?

Hack Wilson? It’s over, buddy. The 191 runs Wilson drove home during the 1930 season has long been the gold standard for RBIs. Evan Longoria, with 44 RBIs through 33 games, is on pace to drive in 216. Now, that’s something to whistle at. And something that’s probably not going to happen. Longoria would have to stay hot for the next four months and three weeks. Also, the Tampa Bay Rays have only eight games left with the Boston Red Sox, and Longoria owns the Red Sox this season. He has 21 RBIs in 10 games against Boston. Heading into Monday’s games, only 46 players had that many RBIs for the season. On the other hand, Longoria has been driving runs at a pace not seen since Brooklyn’s Roy Campanella drove in 45 runs in the first 32 games of the 1953 season. And, Longoria has been particularly harsh on Boston pitching, and Boston has pretty good pitching. And, Longoria has been driving in all those runs with not much help from leadoff hitter B.J. Upton. Still, 216? That would make for one interesting summer for baseball fans. Should make Longoria the starting third baseman at the All-Star Game, that is, if he hasn’t already locked up that honor. If only Rays left fielder Carl Crawford had not swung at all those pitches Jonathan Papelbon threw out of the strike zone during the ninth inning Sunday. If only Crawford had worked a walk instead of striking out to end that game. That would have brought Longoria to the plate with two outs, the bases-loaded and the Rays down a run. That’s good theater. And an opportunity for more RBIs. Crawford says Longoria has that “it factor” that all great players have.Rays first baseman Carlos Peña agrees, and supports his opinion by recalling Longoria’s grand slam against Boston’s Justin Masterson on May 2. “At that particular at-bat he had two strikes on him, and (Longoria) had not looked very pretty against Masterson. He had been very difficult on him,” Peña said. “Yet I saw him step out, take a deep breath, kind of shrug his shoulders. I’m just thinking what’s going on inside him, that he’s saying, ‘there’s only one thing I can do and that’s trust my ability.’ That’s what it seemed like to me. And sure enough, on the next pitch he hits it out. And that to me is huge, how can you slow it down so much when everything is so quick around you. Situation, we’re down, bases loaded, he’s got two strikes, there’s two outs. You know we need a big hit, and yet he still has the presence of mind to slow it down and say, ‘I’m just going to see this ball and put the barrel on it.’ ” It was mentioned to Peña that is how Peña hits. “He’s just a kid,” Peña said. “That’s what’s so impressive.”

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