April 2008

Tonight was “Sonny” for the Rays

Rays 8, Orioles 1

 

What a difference a day makes. Maybe the day off on Monday put our bats to sleep. Good thing Andy was pitching tonight………..We needed to stay winning to keep pace with the Red Sox.

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

Joe Dimaggio beat out Ted Williams for the American League MVP award in 1941, even though Williams hit  for a .406 average and had one of the best seasons of his career. 

 

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Poster   The Good, the Bad and the Ugly PosterThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly PosterThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly Poster

 

                                     

                                           The Good,The Bad,and the Ugly

 

                                                     The Good

 

There was a lot of good tonight, but the main good has to go to the pitching performance of Andy Sonnanstine who improved to 4-1 on the season. the win also let the Rays stay on pace with the Boston Red Sox. That makes this weekends series even more important.

 

Sonnanstine went 8 innings and only gave up a lone run tonight via a Brian Roberts single to right that scored Adam Jones in the bottom of the third inning. Andy also only surrendered 6 hits in the game and  had 5 strikeouts.

 

Honorable mention “Good Guys”:

 

*** Rays catcher Dioner Navarro must be seeing the ball extremely well this year. Navarro went  2-5 tonigt and stayed at .400 for the season. Dioner also picked up two RBI’s and threw out  speed merchant Brian Roberts attempting to steal second base in the bottom of the first inning.

 

** Eric Hinske, who was the DH , tonight hit a two run  homer to right in the top of the 4th inning to bring Evan Longoria home. Longoria had reached base on an infield single to short.

 

*  I have to give the number one star to the entire team of the Rays right now. Since this was the last game in April 2008, they set records for wins, team pitching ERA, bullpen ERA, and Carl Crawford has scored more runs than any other Rays’ player in our short history.

 

                                              The Bad

 

The is not a huge amount of Bad tonight, except that two Rays players did not get to celebrate hits tonight in the contest. Carl Crawford went  0-4 tonight, but scored a run, and Aki Iwamura also did not get a hit, going 0-3, but also scoring a run tonight.

 

The only other “stat” that can show any negative tonight, is the team left 9 men in scoring position tonight.

 

                                           The Ugly

 

I have a habit of ripping the game attendance by fans, and tonight I will not shy from a away game crowds numbers. Camden Yards is in a beautiful area of the Baltimore Inner Harbor area. It is a masterpiece of a ballpark, but a crowd of  11,944 people, which is 24.8 % capacity is a crime.

 

These teams are vying for first place in the American League East in a year where it is wide open right now. To get momentium and fan support now is critical to a chase later the season. Baltimore and the Rays have been partners in the bottom rung of the East ladder for some time, and to see each of them clawing for the prize is an inspiration to baseball fans.  True baseball fans. 

 

Get a grip Oriole fans,. Do not blame the Nationals, like your ownership group does, show support in any ways possible to show the guys who wear your colors you are proud of the team. I wear my Rays cap every day to work, every day.

 

 

Former Rays Player of the Night:

 

 

Tonight’s Rays former player is the Cincinnati Red’s Ryan Freel.  He went 3-5 tonight with an RBI to up his average to .321. Ryan has been the subject of trade romurs both before the year and recently involving several teams.  Freel has been doing much of his work in the Cincy outfield this year.

 

 

Do not forget, the Rays game on Thursday is an afternoon affair that will be broadcast starting at 12:30 P.M. on the Florida sports Network (FSN).

 

 

Bird’s Eye View to a Loss

Rays 4, Orioles 7

 

 

I have to tell you, I consider Camden Yards one of the most beautiful parks in the country. If our new ballpark can do even half the residential and urban hustle and bustle that the O’s get on game day, it will be a win…win for everyone.

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

On May 6,1953, St Louis Browns hurler Bobo Holloman became the first pitcher in modern times to toss a no-hitter in his first major league start.

 

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Posters    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Posters   The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Posters      The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Posters

 

                                     The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

                 

                                                The Good

 

After a week of positive every day, it is difficult to look at the boxscore and see a loss. Is this the illusion that winning teams get, that a game is so pivitol in our lives we die a little inside when we lose. This is a new feeling here in Rays-land, but I do like it. I like the anticipation of not knowing a win or loss. I like the “on the edge of the couch” mentality about every inning. I like winning.

 

There were a couples of great plays and scoring drives for the Rays once they got their offensive machine in gear last night.

 

B J Upton blast to right center in the top of the 7th inning scored two runs for the Rays. Carl Crawford was on base after singling to left center. B J  was  1-4 for the night and his average dipped to .287 for the year.

 

Honorable Mention “Good” guys:

 

*** Dioner Navarro was on base three times last night. Navarro had two singles and a walk to go 2-3 and raise his average back to .400. Navarro also got caught watching a Orioles play develop and was out at second on a outfield assist by Adam Jones.

 

** Carl Crawford has found his bat stroke and he is raisingf his average daily. He is currently hitting .296, after going 1-5 last night.

 

* Eric Hinske, playing rightfield last night got an outfield assist after getting Adam Jones at home in the bottom of the third inning.

                            

                                              The Bad 

 

Jason Hammel might have picked the worst time to have a bad outing for the Rays. With the Rays announcing before the game that ace Scott Kazmir will see his first action of 2008 on Sunday in Boston, Hammel went out and did nothing for is cause to stay with the squad.

 

Because Hammel is out of options, and would be certainly picked if put on the waiver wire, the Rays are in a vicarious spot of using him in the bullpen, or trading him to another club.

 

I am hoping for the first solution, but this is a business, and with all the pitching help we have stockpiled in the minors, the Rays might see him as “expendable” at this time.

A good outing last night might have put a few more positive spins on his future with the Rays.

 

                                               The Ugly

                             

I know that sometimes a former teammmate can come back to haunt you when you see them again with another team. Oriole Aubrey Huff is not only hitting the baseball on us, but doing his best smirk and giggle when he was rounding the bases last night.

 

Huff is batting over .318 against the Rays in his time with the O’s, and is constantly in position to beat the Rays with his bat.  His 2-run homer last night was no the difference in the game, but it made the gap larger at the moment and increased the Oriole’s lead to 7-0. 

 

Former Ray of the Night:

 

New York Mets reliever Jorge Sosa won his third game last night in a 5-4 victory. Sosa pitched one inning for the win.

 

 

Sweep Caroline

 

Red Sox 0, Rays 3

 

Sorry for the odd re-write of that Neil Diamond classic, but it is a classic Fenway 7th inning song. It only seemed fitting to use it as a backdrop on a superb pitching performance by both teams’. Boston’s Josh Beckett struck out a personal best 13 Rays’, and James Shields help secure a sweep of the mighty Red Sox.

 

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Trivia Fact of the Day:

The win today put the Rays 3 games over .500 for the first time since they were 3-0 in 2002.

 

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Good the Bad and the Ugly            Good the Bad and the Ugly     Good the Bad and the Ugly

 

                             

                                             The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

                                                      The Awfully Good

 

The last two nights we have seen each team produce a pitching marvel. Last night, Red Sox rookie Chad Buchholz was in control for most of the game. But, today it was all James Shields. Shields, improved to 3-1, pitched a 2 hit shutout of the Boston Red Sox before  32,363 screaming fans. The pitching was so good, Boston only stranded two baserunners all game long. Sheilds ended the day with 7 strikeouts and 1 walk.

 

Honorable mention “Good Guys:

 

*** Leftfielder Carl Crawford hit a ball deep into right center that fell to the turf. Carl raced past second and tried to get his third triple of the weekend, but was thrown out by rightfielder J D Drew. Carl did get an RBI when Jason Bartlett crossed the plate to run the score to 3-0. Crawford went 1-4 to raise his average to an even .300.

 

** Shortstop Jason Bartlett was “Johnny on the spot ” today as he scored two of the Rays runs. The first came on a fielding error by Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis. After the ball squirted into the Rays bullpen area, rightfielder J D Drew sent a ball that was moving slowly on the ground back into the Sox’s infield. Bartlett went from first to home on the play and scored the first run of the game.

 

Rookie Evan Longoria hit a massive homer to left center today that sealed the victory for the Rays. Longoria, who was very impressive in the field today with great high pressure out to Carlos Pena. Longoria’s homer was his second since being called up, and helped raise his average to .273. He also got his 10th RBI of the season on that blast.

                                      

                                                The Bad

The fact that Sox speedster Manny Ramirez stole a base on Dioner Navarro today is a sign that the Red Sox do not fear Navarro’s arm on the basepaths. It was Manny’s first steal since 2005.

 

The fact that the Rays were struck out 13 times today by starter Josh Beckett is a testimony to the pitching that is within our division. Boston was not sure of which Beckett would show up today since this was his first start since coming off the D.L.

 

Top “K” honors for the Rays goes to:  A tie between Aki Iwamura and B J Upton who each had 3 strikeouts.

 

                                         The Ugly

 

Again, the umpiring crew drew the ire and the jeers from the Trop faithful for bad plays and calls for both squads. Jason Bartlett was hit in the head by Red Sox pitcher  Manny DelCarmen in the bottom of the 8th inning. That play ended up being the last run scored by the Rays.

 

Also an ugly sight for Red Sox fans was the sitting of DH David Ortiz for the second day after he did a head first slide into first on Friday night. Ortiz is day-to-day with the injury.

 

Former Ray of the Day:

 

For two days this weekend, the player of the day is former Rays’ catcher Raul Cassanova. He went 3-4 today with 2 RBI’s to increase his average to .333 for the season.

 

Extra Innings, Extra Drama in Rays Win

 

Red Sox 4, Rays 5

 

Little did I know when I took my new laptop to the game, I would have a small piece of film time on FSN Florida last night.  I was sitting there with my MLB.TV, and enjoying the game, when a big camera len came poking into my face.

Now, I love the camera, and I have not broken any yet…..yet, but sometimes they need to tell you what they want in the shot.  I  have saved the sampling of it for prosperity and my own amusement.  Now, back to the exciting blog about a drama filled game.

 

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Roger Clemens is the only MLB pitcher to win the Cy Young award seven times.

 

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              The Good, the Bad and the Ugly    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 

                                    The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

Nathan Haynes talked about having this kind of dreams as a kid playing baseball. When you are the guy who gets the timely hit,or is the guy to score that deciding run of a big game.

 

Last night, he got to live a piece of his past when he hit a 0-1 pitch from Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin into rightfield to score Carl Crawfoird and award the Rays a win in the 11th innning. Haynes was inserted as a pinchrunner for Carlos Pena in the bottom of the 9th inning and did not expect to be in this position last night. But he responded perfectly, and got the crowd applause he deserved last night.

 

Honorable Mention “Good” guys:

 

***  Rays DH Carlos Pena got a much needed hit last night to keep a rally going in the Bottom of the 9th innning, but it wasn’t enough as the Rays had to go 11 innings to beat their rival Red Sox. Carlos improved his average to an even .200 for the season.

 

** Rays rookie Evan Longoria is starting to look like a seasoned vet out on the field. Contributing in the field and at the plate like he has been here before. Last Night Longoria got a 2-out RBI single to right in the bottom of the third inning. He also stole second base on former-Ray Kevin Cash in the same inning. Evan is currently in third in the MLB slugging percentage at .724 average.

 

* Number one star should have gone to Carl Crawford, but with a outstanding result, and a unproven ballplayer coming through at the right moment, it had to go back one space.

 

CC had two triples last night, and went 3-6 in a game that saw him score 3 runs and collect an RBI for the night. Carl also stole his 8th base of the year.

                                               

                                              The Bad 

 

The Rays sent Matt Garza to the mound last night one week after his rehab assignment in  Class A Vero Beach. Garza did not have great command and struggled in the early innings before finally getting his control issues and obvious nerves out of the way.

 

Maybe another rehab assignment would have been in order after a lackluster performance in Vero Beach, but the Rays decided they had seen enough and brought the righty back to pitch the first game of this series.

                            

                               The really, really Ugly 

                                 

The umpiring crew last night had a really bad night. I know that they are only human, but they missed about three calls that did not work for either teams’ benefit last night.

 

An example is pictured above. B J Upton went into third base for a steal in the bottom of the third inning. This would have given the Rays a victory in the regulation 9 innings if they had gotten the call correct. But, Upton was called out and we played on, and on.

 

Former Rays of the Night:

 

The New York Mets gave former Rays’ catcher Raul Cassanova  a opportunity to play and give his all for the Big Apple. Raul is my player of the night not for a huge play, but for knowing he blonged in the MLB.

 

Cassanova went 1-3 last night to raise his average to .269, and also scored a run in the Mets’ loss.

 

 

 

Rays Perfect in Disney Series

 

Blue Jays 3, Rays 5

 

The Rays finish their second Orlando series with a perfect record again this season. They are currently 6-0 in the confines of the Disney Sports complex.

 

 Last year they swept the Texas Rangers in Champions stadium. With tonight’s win, the Rays win three games in a row for the first time this season. They also record their first “home” sweep since the Rangers series in Orlando last season. This is the only series the Rays have swept  at “home” since June 2006.

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

“A hot dog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz”.

                        — Humphrey Bogart, in a film ad for organized baseball

 

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                                The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

                                              The Good

You would think that I would be pining for Evan Longoria tonight as my top star after his triple in the bottom of the 4th inning.  And, for once you would be right. Longoria went 2-2 tonight, raised his average to .282,got an RBI and scored a run. Not a bad night for a rookie in his first month in the majors.

 

Longoria is nightly showing the mindset of the Rays front office was right to secure his services and make him a Ray for years to come in St. Petersburg, Florida. Evan also hit a Sacrifice Fly to score a run. Longoria also got his third double of the year, and stole third in the bottom of the 7th innning.

He did everything but sell tickets and grill the hot dogs tonight.

 

Honorable mention “Good” guys:

 

*** Rays starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine was not as skillful  as his last outing, but “Sonny” got it done to earn his third victory of the season. Andy tossed 6.1 innings of three hit ball and minimized the Toronto bats for much of the game.

              

** Dioner Navarro has done nothing wrong at the plate since coming off the DL for this series in Orlando. Dioner is currently hitting .444, and stroking the ball great to all fields. Navarro actually batted right-handed in the bottom of the 5th inning scoring Carlos Pena  to put the Rays ahead 5-3.

 

* Carl Crawford is seeing the baseballs like huge basketballs right now. Crawford now has a 11 game hitting streak and has upped his average to .302 for the year. Carl went 3-5 tonight with two stolen bases to raise that total to 7 for the year.  Carl is currently tied with Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury for the American League lead in runs score with 19.  

                                         

                                                  The Bad

 

Rays first baseman Carlos Pena is stuck on 6 homers and 13 RBIs right now. Pena  is still tied with Manny Ramirez, Joe Crede and Casey Kotchman for the American League home run title with 6.  Since April 13, he has hit .163 with no homers, RBI’s and has struck out 11 times. Last night, Pena struck out 4 times in the game.

 

B J Upton almost made a great catch in center tonight before the Orlando wind took the ball and turned B J around and rewarded Torontos’ Aaron Hill with a ground rule double. the ball hung up in the wind and swirled a bit before turning B J  left then right, and the ball fell to the turf and bounced over the centerfield wall for the double.  Hill ended up scoring after a Sonnanstine wild pitch to put the Blue Jays up 3-2.

                                              The Ugly

Two nights in a row we have an ugly scene at the plate involving Dioner’s mental thinking and forgetting the play wa stills live on the field. Tonight’s episode involves a Sacrifice bunt by the Blue Jays’ David Eckstein in the top of the third inning.

 

 Navarro came out to field the bunt in front of the plate, and throw to first for the out. But Dioner forgot to cover the homeplate and Jays’ catcher Greg Zaun sneaked in under the tag by Navarro for the first run of the game.

 

This is the second night in a row that Navarro has been caught in “No-mans’ land” and has not been able to convert an out on a play at the plate.  If Dioner was not carrying a  red hot bat right now, he might find himself on the bench watching Shawn Riggans playing instead of himself.

 

Wake up Dioner, you are a great catcher who is learning more every day to take over this young stable of pitchers. Do not ruin it by thinking outside of the lines and costing your team valuable runs scored against them.

 

 

Former Rays of the Night:

 

Tonight’s former Ray is New York Mets utility guy, Marlon Anderson. Anderson came up in the top of the 9th as a pince hitter for pitcher  Pedro Feliciano, and hit a homer in only his second hit of the season.

The reason he is my nightly guy, is that it was a clutch hit, and that is what veterans do, they hit the ball when runs or baserunners’ are needed. It also doesn’t hurt that I know the passion and drive Marlon has in him from his time with the Rays. Clutch hitting can win you games in the late season and beyond.

 

Rays Bang Out 5-Game Winning Streak

 

Blue Jays 3, Rays 5

 

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Trivia Fact for the Night:

 

The first All-Star game television telecast took place on July, 11,1950.

 

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 1998 DVD cover art.                                The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 1998 DVD cover art.

                                    

                                 The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

                                                The Good

 

The Rays have currently been on a very impressive Disney adventure. They are a combined 5-0  while visiting this “magical stadium. It is the only stadium besides San Diego’s Petco( 3-0) where the Rays are undefeated.  The Top honors tonight are a total Rays’ team effort.. So with that in mind, let’s start off with the Rays scoring machine in the bottom of the 6th inning.

 

Down 3-0 early, Rays catcher Dioner Navarro got thing started with a double to left field. Jason Barlett then reaches base on an infield single to second. The Rays Carl Crawford, who has now hit in 10 straight games to raise his average to .286, hit an RBI single to shallow centerfield to score Navarro.

 

B J Upton then walked to load the bases for the Rays. After a Carlos Pena strike out, Rays rookie Evan Longoria  produced a 2-run RBI single to right to tie the score at 3-3.

 

Recent hero,  rightfielder Eric Hinske then blasted a shot to right to score B J Upton and the Rays led 4-3. At this point, the Toronto starting pitcher Roy Halladay  had thrown over 30 pitches for the inning.

 

Honorable mention “Good” guys:

 

*** Evan Longoria made a veteran throw from deep deep in the hole at third to get  speedy Blue Jay Shannon Stewart. Longoria backhanded a ball on the back of the clay and threw a lazer to first to get Stewart for the second out of the game.  It was a classic ESPN moment for the rookie.

 

**  Speedy outfielder Carl Crawford recorded his 75th triple of his young career tonight. Carl hit a ball to deep centerfield that one-hopped to  the wall. Crawford is one of only three people to ever have over 75 triples in his first 1,000 hits.  Garry Templeton (76) and Lance Johnson (73) are the other members of this exclusive club.

 

*  Rays closer Troy Percival is in a unqiue club right now. Percival all alone in 11th place in the All Time save category after posting his 3rd save of the year last night. Troy currently has 329 saves, one more than former Ray Roberto Hernandez. All of Percivals saves have come in the American League, second only to Yankee Mario Riveria (448 saves).

 

                                             The Bad 

The only “Bad” play I can come up with in this great game was the very veteran move and confidience of our Rookie at third.

 

Evan Longoria is not playing like a rookie in any sense of the word in the field. His throw from the back of third was a classic play that will be in the Rays end of the year highlight reel for sure.  It caught a speedy Shannon Stewart by one stride for the out at first. It is a classic Ray moment, and hopefully one to get Rays fans excited for his long career with the club.

 

                                                  The Ugly

 

What was really ugly in this game was the Jays Matt Stairs second homer off starter Jason Hammel. Stairs hit a monster ball that clearly was out on  initial contact. What made it more “ugly” was the fact  he produced all 3 Blue Jays RBI’s on his two blasts tonight.

 

His second homer did not only go deep to right centerfield, but it bounced out of Champion’s stadium over the wall and the television production trucks in the parking lot. 

 

Another “ugly” posted, but in as positive spin is the rsurgence of the Rays Bullpen pitchers. The Rays bullpen is currently number one in the majors with an impressive 2.61 ERAthrough 20 games. Last years bullpen ERA through 20 games was an unimpressive 6.11 ERA, and were ranked 29th in the majors.

 

 

Former Rays of the Night:

Everyone in Boston remembers the slow start of 2007 for Julio Lugo. He went in a early hitting funk and was an average shrtstop for the first half of the season. But this year, Lugo is hitting .338 and contributing nightly to the Red Sox success on the field. Julio went 2-3 last night with an RBI.

Lugo also contributed two  great pivots in the  two double plays executed by the Sox last night.

 

Up tonight is the Rays finale at the Disney complex this year.

 

They will take a 5 game winning streak at  Chamion’s stadium in the game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays will have Andy Sonnanstine on the mound, The Blue Jays will counter with Dustin McGowan.

After tonight, the Rays will return to Tropicana Field for a  3 game homestand  against the Boston Red Sox.

Hinske Just Misses Cycle in Win

 

Blue Jays 4, Rays 6

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

In 2006, when  Arizona Diamondback rookie Carlos Quentin hit a home run off Houston Astros reliever Chad Qualls, it was the first time in major -league history that a “Q” surnamed batter hit a home run off a “Q” surnamed pitcher.

 

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                                     The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

                  

Eric Hinske hits a one-out double during the Rays' two-run second inning. He tripled in the fourth and homered in the sixth.

                                            

                                                The Good

 

I love it when a guy can redeem himself to me on the field. I really love it when he does something that could have set himself apart from the masses and into team history books. Eric Hinske had a fantastic night tonight going 3-4, and a single away from getting the first cycle in Rays history tonight.

 

Eric started the night with a double to deep right center, then a triple. He then connected on his 5th homer of the year to rightfield over the Rays bullpen area. That left just a single to get the record. But on Hinske’s next at-bat in the bottom of the 8th inning against Blue Jays reliever S. Downs, Hinske  struck out swinging.

Hinske also scored scored 3 runs and recorded 2 RBI’s to up his average to .327.

 

I have been on him for his lack of great defensive talent lately, but I have never doubted his offensive prowness. This will make the decision by the Rays in the next few weeks a bit more difficult. The Rays will have a few  players  ready to come off the DL and return to the team. Hinske has been a bright light in the batter’s box, but a dull shine in the field so far this season.

 

Honorable mention “Good Guys”:

 

*** Rays closer Troy Percival has quietly had a great season for the team. Troy has been almost unhittable in the closer role this season. During his last outing against the Chicago White Sox, Percival gave up his first hit of the year. Tonight he earned his 2nd save of the year and maintained his ERA of 0.00 for the season.

                           

 

** Rays rookie Evan Longoria was in a bit of a slump before going 1- tonight with 2 runs cored and a RBI.  Evan also connected for his 2nd Homer of the year to deep centerfield in the bottom of the second inning. He is currently batting 242 for the Rays since he was called up a few weeks ago.

 

* If Hinske hadn’t overshadowed the night, my first selection would have been alot easier today.

 

Recently re-activiated Rays catcher Dioner Navarro had a fantastic night also going 3-4 with 2 RBI’s tonight. Navarro, just came back to the Rays today off the DL from a freak accident a few weeks ago in New York. Navarro  also picked off the Blue Jays’ Marc Scutaro trying to steal second in the top of the 2nd inning.

 

                                                The Bad

 

It is not a major concern just yet, but Rays starting pitcher James Shields did not have his best stuff tonight on the mound against the Toronto Blue Jays. Shields is an impressive 3-0 lifetime aginst the Jays, but he had a noticable lack of snap to his pitches tonight. The Rays starting pitching is experiencing a short lack of “pop” right now compared to the opening weeks of the season.

The American League might have caught these guys not adjusting yet to the year, or just in a small funk. Not withstanding, a teams’ ace pitcher had a night where he was pitching like the number 5 guy, and not the number 1 starter.

 

                                                  The Ugly

 

This was not hard to decide tonight. And the action came in the beginning of the ballgame.

 

First off, I have gone on record, and I am totally against Eric Hinske playing first base for this team. He can play third, outfield,and even hawk peanuts with the best of them. But as a first bagger, he is among the leagues’ worst players. The play I am referring to, started out kind of smoothly, then began to take on a life of its own tonight.

 

Hinske batted down a  well struck ball in the hole at first,  he then bobbled the ball trying to cover  first for the out. Rays pitcher James Shields did the correct action of coming over to cover first base and was on the bag when Hinske threw the ball about two feet right of the bag and into the  foul baseline area of first base.  That was error number 1.

 

Error number 2 could have been alot worse.

 

Rays catcher Dioner Navarro came out from behind the plate to recover the ball up the first baseline. That, in itself was a mistake by the young catcher.  He should have maintained his position behind the plate to guard against advancing the Jays baserunner, Lyle Overbay. James Shields, rushing from first to cover home. got in front of the rushing Overbay just in time to recieve a throw from Navarro from the baseline.

 

A tag was made at the plate and Overbay was safe on the fact that Shields did tagged him in advance of crossing the plate, but dropped the ball. Shields was awarded an error on the play. All in all, the Rays only gave up 1 run on the fiasco, but it could have ended up with a nifty play at first for an out, instead of a comedy of errors.

 

 

Former Rays Player of the Night:

 

The former Rays player of the night is a former closer for the Rays who now pitches for the Milwalkee Brewers. Seth McClung pitched the 12th innig for the Brewers tonight and closed out the St. Louis Cardinals for his first victory of the season.  McClung is used to pressure situations at the back end of the game, and responded with 2 strikeouts in his inning of work.

 

 

 During the Rays game tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays, the team announced a trade for Brewers oufielder Gabe Gross. Maybe Gross was auditioning for his new team as he went  2-3, with 3 runs scored tonight. He was also the winning run, sprinting home after a single by Gabe Kapler in the 12 innig to secure the win for the Brewers tonight.

 

After the game, the team announced his trade to the Rays for minor legue pitcher Jason Butler. Gross brings a .209 average with him and hope this sheds great light on his abilites to help his new club.

 

 “Some day,” Gross said as he exhaled. “It was definitely a little bit out-of-the-blue, but I’m just looking forward to going down there and joining the team now.””I do my best not to try to figure this game out because you’re never going to,” Gross said. “When Mike gets back, there’s going to be a lot less playing time for people like myself … Obviously, something had to give and apparently, this was it.”

 

The trade was completed at the start of the game, and the Rays asked the Brewers to take Gross out of the starting lineup. But Melvin told them there was no way that could happen with only three position players on Milwaukee’s bench (the Brewers are going with 14 pitchers at present). And it turned out, Gross played a huge role, scoring the winning run in his last game with the club.

 

Gross, who is a former quarterback at Auburn and started six games for the Tigers in 1998, played two seasons with the Brewers. He hit .274 in 208 at-bats in 2006 and .235 in 183 at-bats last season. For the 28-year old outfielder, it was a sudden end to his whirlwind day and to his stint with the Brewers. After the game, Gross was asked if his head was spinning.

 

“A little bit,” he said. “It’s been some day , That was one of those good feelings,” he said. “This team needed that.”

**Obtained from a article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Jackson Gets Bombed by White Sox

 

White Sox 6, Rays 0

 

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Trivia Fact of the Day:

Chuck Finley of the Indians and Angels is the only pitcher to record 4 strikeouts in an inning more than once. He has done it three times from 1999-2000.

 

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 27 x 40 Canvas Print - Style B - FramedThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 27 x 40 Canvas Print - Style B - FramedThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 27 x 40 Canvas Print - Style B - FramedThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 27 x 40 Canvas Print - Style B - FramedThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 27 x 40 Canvas Print - Style B - Framed

 

                                        The Good,The Bad,and the Ugly

 

the Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports Photo
 

 
 
                                               The Good
 
 
We are going to Disney World!!!!!!!!!
Yes, it is that time of year again when devoted Rays fans get to travel to the happiest place on earth for three days of baseball and cartoon characters. Not lost in the translation, is the fact that the Rays enjoy a great record at the Champion complex at Disney.
Last season, the Rays swept the Texas Ranger in Orlando,Florida, and that fact could translate into some happy endings for our players and fans.
 
 
Rays pitcher James Shields and slugger Carlos Pena will be parade Grand Marshalls’  in Monday’s daily Disney parade down Main Street U.S.A. This “home,and away from home”, series in the middle of a rough homestand could be the thing to renew some team spirit and get into a winning formula for the rest of the year.
 
 
 
I do not have much “Good” to report about this game, other than the first 4 guys in our lineup are the only Rays’ to get a hit today. Aki Iwamura, Carl Crawford, B J Upton, and Carlos Pena were the Rays offense today.
 
                                                  Edwin Jackson towels off after being pulled in the fifth. Jackson has labored in two starts since opening 2-0.
                      
 
                                                       The Bad
 
 
 I do not see Rays starter Edwin Jackson throwing his pitches any different in this game than in any of his previous starts this year. It is starting to concern the Rays management and coaching staff on the rollercoaster progress and regression of this pitcher.
 
 
“You saw a little bit of everything over his first four starts of where E.J. is in regard to his development,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You have a young, potentially spectacular pitcher on one hand and on the other hand he’s still growing to get to that point.”
 

“He was throwing the ball well, and it just gets away,” Maddon said. “The ability to really stem the tide when it’s going in the wrong direction, where you’re able to gather your thoughts, slow things down and get out of a jam, sometimes he’s been able to do that, and tonight was not one of those nights. I think that is a mark of youth, or a lack of experience.”

 

                              

 

Jackson’s ERA has gone from a impressive .064 ERA two games ago, to his present  4.63, which tends to point to control issues or trying to force the ball into bad decisions to batters. Jackson is your typical Power pitcher, who is trying to refine his craft to be a percision and location pitcher with the added bonus of a great fastball. It is just that the fastball did him in today instead of helping him to win the game.

 

Jime Thome used Jackson and the Rays staff as his personal batting practice today to go 4-4, including his 512th Homerun to tie Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 19th on the All-time Homerun list. Also not lost in this loss is that the Rays have now been 8-11 at this point in the season for the 4th consecutive season.

 

                                             

               Dioner Navarro                          Mike DeFelice

                                          

                                             The Ugly

 

The worst job for a manager at the professional level is to informa veteran or a rookie  get reassigned or released from your club. The Rays today sent pitcher Jeff Niemann back to the Durham Bulls to make room for incoming first baseman/DH Dan Johnson. This is not the only move that the Rays will make in the next few days. On Tuesday, the Rays will have catcher Dioner Navarro back in the fold after recovering from his freak accident in New York.

 

With Navarro coming back, the Rays will probably designate for assignment, the current back-up catcher, and Rays original member, Mike DeFelice. Mike has had a incredible Spring Training, and a very productive call up for the Rays.

 

In order for Mike to be able to report to Durham, he will have to clear waivers. With several teams looking for a talented and great motivator for their young staffs, DeFelice would be a perfect fit. So do not be surprised if a team takes a chance on Mike and selects him on Tuesday. DeFelice has only been instrumental in the development of several young pitchers in our fold, and has hit a very competitive .300 for the team.

 

Former Rays Player of the Night:

                              

Florida Marlins third baseman Jorge Cantu is my player of the night.Cantu went 2-4 today, with both hits being doubles. Cantu also scored a run for the fish. He is curently batting .308 for the team.

 

 

Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays will be the first meeting of the year for the clubs. On the mound will be former Rays’ batboy, Jesse Litsch. The Rays will counter with ace, James Sheilds.

                               

*** quotes collected by Marc Topkins of the St. Petersburg Times.

 

 

 

 

 

Rays Wrestle One from the White Sox

Oh my god, Jonny Gomes is now the team practical joker too. Winning Rays pitcher,Andy Sonnanstine was doing a radio interview with Rich Hererra and Jonny gave him a swirly shaving cream facejob. Not your usual, hit and run variety, but a “let me rub that in a little” major swirly. 

Kudos Jonny, you ARE the man tonight.

 

White Sox 0, Rays 5

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

The first major leaguer to hit a home run with the lights on was Babe Herman of the Cincinnati Reds in July 1935.

 

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Prints               The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Prints              The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Prints

 

                                  The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

                                             

                                              The Really Good.

 

There are a lot of great moments in this game. Both the offense and the defense came together as one tonight to show everyone what this team is willing, able and can do on a regular basis.  I get chills just thinking about it here.

 

But my first star of the game has to be Rays pitcher Andy Sonnanstine. This is the guy who two short years ago was our Minor League pitcher of the year for the organization. Now he has risen to the starting rotation, and got himself only the 12th complete game shutout of the Rays short history.

 

Only three Sox players got hits off Sonnanstine tonight. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera got a bunt single in the first inning off  third baseman Evan Longoria.  Fellow third baseman Joe Crede  singled to deep  left centerfield, and former Rays Toby Hall got the last hit on a single up the middle in the 6th inning.  Andy threw 106 pitches and struck out 4 tonight.

 

Honorable Mention “Good ” guys:

 

                                   

*** The threesome of Carl Crawford, B J Upton and Carlos Pena finally got their bats moving tonight and hit a combined 7-11.  B J Upton led the charge going 3-4 to improve his average to .343. Carl Crawford went 2-4 to improve to .266, and Carlos Pena, was back in action as the DH tonight is up to .203 and looking better and more relaxed at the plate.

 

** Jonny Gomes played rightfield tonight and set the tone for the Rays. He went 1-2, but scored two critical runs for the Rays and  hit a ball 403 feet to the top yellow mark on the centerfield wall tonight.  The ball hit the yellow tape and came back into the playing field to become a live ball.

 

 Sox’s outfielder Alexi Ramirez thought the ball had gone over for a homerun until leftfirlder Carlos Quentin alertrd Ramirez to the ball sitting 7 feet in front of  him. Jonny ended  with a triple in classic Gome style. sliding headfirst into third.

 

* I am listing Jonny twice tonight on “good” guys because this play set the tone for the first runs of the night. White Sox pitcher Mark Buerle hit Jonny with a pitch. With gomes at first, Buerle, who  has an incredible pickoff move for a lefty, caught Jonny leaning to far to second base. 

 

 Jonny was caught in “no-mans’ land,” and scuffled and scattered to somehow wiggle under the tag at second to safely set up a man in scoring position for Eric Hinske’s single that scored Gomes from second and start the scoring for the Rays. In credible moves and a sure fire Top 10 ESPN moment tonight.

 

                                                   The Bad

 

The only bad from tonight’s pitching gem came courtesy of  the only two Rays not to get a hit tonight. I will give a waiver to Nathan Haynes, who came on in the top of the 8th inning for Gomes. The other Rays to go hitless tonight was Evan Longoria. Longoria, who is hitting .259,  went 0-4 tonight and grounded into two double plays.

 

                                              The Ugly

 

The biggest ugly is the fact that Carl Crawford got caught in a rundown again trying to steal second base. I do not know if Carl had a mental lapse, or Buerle has the best pick off move in the universe.  Also B J Upton got caught off third base by Joe Crede after advancing there on Carlos Pena’s infield hit to the shortstop. Upton was caught a few feet off the bag and try to produce a run down, but was tagged out almost immediately.

 

 

Former Rays Player of the Night:

I have to go with former Ray outfielder Jose Guillen of the Kansas City Royals. Jose has been in a bit of a hitting funk this year, but he broke out today with a 2-4 night with 3 RBI’s. Guillen hit a 2-out 3 run homer in the first inning.

 

 

Rubber match is tomorrow with the Rays sending Edwin Jackson to the mound to oppose the White Soxs’ John Danks. Gametime is 12:40 PM 

 

 

 

A Sox to the Ray’s Jaw

 

Sorry it took until this afternoon to post this. I had a work committment and died a bit today. But, without further ado, let’s get to bloggin’.

 

White Sox 9, Rays 2

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Trivia Fact of the Day:

Major League umpire Carl Hubbard is the only person in both the football and baseball Hall of Fames.

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                                   The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

                                            The Good

 

I have alwasy been a huge B J Upton supporter. That probably why I am so hard on him in my blogs and in my critique of him this season. I seriously see him finally making a name for himself this year, and being a force for years to come here in Tampa Bay for the Rays. 

 

 B J  had a great night last night before Rays manager Joe Maddon pulled him and Carl Crawford from the game. Upton went 2-3 last night to up his average to .317. He also scored a run for the Rays.

 

Honorable Mention “Good” guys:

 

*** Jonny Gomes drove in RBI number 8 with a double to deep leftffield that Sox outfielder, Carlos Quentin could not catch off the “St. Pete Times” sign.

 

              The Rays' Evan Longoria, hitting a double Friday, gets the longest deal for a player with less than a year of major-league service.

 

** Evan Longoria, who earlier in the day signed a huge multi-year contract with the Rays, hit a hard grounder to third, which scored Carl Crawford, and the first run of the game. That was Longoria’s 4th RBI of the young season.

 

Rays Reliever Scott Dohmann came on in the  7th inning and pitched a **** out from there. The reason this is big, is that the White Sox were capitalizing on Rays mistakes tonight and Dohmann shut them down. Dohmann did give up three hits, with  Carlos Quentin doubling to deep centerfield in the the 7th inning.

 

                                                The Bad

Where do I start here.

 Actually, Rays starter Jeff Niemann just didn’t make the correct adjustments after getting shelled on back-to-back homers by Jim Thome and Paul Konerko. Jeff threw 85 pitches in 3.1 innings and seemed to be missing the plate with his breaking pitches.

 

Jeff took the loss for the Rays, and gave up 8 runs on 5 hits tonight. The biggest was Jim Thome’s 511th homerun in the 3rd inning.   The White Sox designated hitter tied Hall of Famer Mel Ott for 21st place on the all-time list with his fourth homer of the season, which hit an overhanging catwalk.

 

Thome has reached base safely in all 26 games he has played at Tropicana Field.

 

                                              The Ugly

 

I have two “Uglies” for the day. It will not be the first time  I have mentioned one of them in my blogs.

 

The announced attendance last night was 12,379, or 30% full last night. It is surprising since the White Sox are leading their division, and they have a few local  athletes on their roster. I would have thought it might be a great game for the weekend, but maybe everyone is saving their energy for Sunday’s matchup of Jackson vs. Danks.

                             

The second is a very, very ugly sight to Rays fans. Not only can Eric Hinske not play first base worth a damn, but to look more like a Spanish matador and swing his cape/glove at the ball as its carooms to the wall, or not get in front of a ball ala Carlos Pena if it looks like a swibbler that could get by for extra bases.

 

It not only cost Jason Bartlett another error, but also Evan Longoria’s throw was not too errant to miss by stepping off the bag and getting it. Instead their thows went fron extra bases since Eric “the terrible” Hinske  would not come off the shiny white thing  stuck in the ground.

 

Former Rays Player of the Day/Night:

                              

Today former Rays is former Rays reliever, now a member of the Oakland A’s rotation, Chad Gaudin. He pitched 7 innings of 4-hit ball last night against the Kansas City Royals. Chad upped his record to 1-1, and also struck out 9 Royals last night.

Honorable Mention Ray:

Florida Marlin pitcher Doug Waecther pitched  2 innings of relief in the 6-4 loss to the Washington Nationals.

 

 

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