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.

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