May 2008

Angels Fall to Earth in Loss

 

 

 

Rays 2, Angels 0

 

Tomorrow at 2:45 I will be at Gate 4 ready to get my cap and uniform and get my photo taken with the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays. It is the offical photo for the team, and I am damn glad to have a face in it. This is going to be the first winning team in our history, and I want to have a small piece of that.

I get to stay on the field for Batting Practice after the photo session, and I am looking forward to the different prospective to the hijinks and the team’s approach to the act of batting practice.   I am so excited I could just stay up all night and type……………….maybe not.

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night: 

Friday night’s Rays game marked the first time a pitcher has thrown a one-hit shutout (or no-hitter) and his team won the game via a walk-off homer since May 19, 1985.

 

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                                        The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

 

                                              The Good

 

James Shields pitched a masterpiece tonight. Not only did he beat a team that has been on a roll lately, he one-hit them and struck out 8 in his 9 innings of work. Shields became the second pitcher in Rays history to throw a one-hit shutout, and the fourth to have two career shutouts.

 

James Shields recorded his second shutout this season, grabbing the Major League lead in that category. Shields improved to 4-2 for the Rays, and rebounded perfectly from a bad outing last weekend against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park.

 

Honorable Mention “Good” Guys:

 

*** Rays outfielder Gabe Gross got a  double to left center in the bottom of the 8th inning and was replaced by pinch-runner  Nathan Haynes. 

 

** Rays first baseman Carlos Pena got two hits tonight and put the bat to the ball decisively in his other at bats. Pena is starting to look extremely confortable at the plate, which could mean alot of trouble for the AL pitching staffs. With a homer last night, Carlos is back in second place in the AL in home runs.

 

 

* Rookie Evan Longoria hit a blast to left center that was gone the second it left the bat tonight. The ball made a quick and direct high projectory that put it about 20 rows into the outfield seats The entire dugout was there to meet him and let him in on the Rays “dogpile” victory celebration style. Longoria scored B J Upton who had singled to right two batter before the homer.

 

                                             The Bad

 

When you have a pitcher’s duel, it is usually hard to find a defining “bad” or moment where you think the game could have turned or should have been avoided.

 

James Shields allowed one hit all night to Angel Brandon Wood. The hit was a good ground shot up the middle in the 3rd inning.

 

“American Idol” finalist Syesha Mercardo slipped and used the now frowned-upon “devil” to preface the Rays on Friday night, but the 21-year-old deserves to be cut a little slack. After all, it was nearly eight years ago that Mercado sang the national anthem at Tropicana Field, when the team was the Devil Rays and the native of Sarasota, Fla., was relatively unknown.

 

“I love baseball. I don’t have a favorite team, but I’ve always enjoyed the Devil Rays,” she said before looking down to correct the blunder. “I mean the Rays, because, you know Tampa, [it's a] hometown team.”

 

The only “bad” moment I really saw all night actually happened even before the players took the field tonight.  Syesha Mercado came out decked in a nice Rays BP jersey with “Syesha 08″ stitched on the jersey back. She looked poised and in control, but forgot a sliver of a line in the National Anthem that she did cover real well, and only if you caught it, would you even know it was a mistake.

 

                                                The Ugly

 

The only “ugly” I really saw was the announced crowd for the night. It was announced that 12,039 attended the game, or the Trop was 29 percent full tonight.

 

I know the Angels are not a huge draw in this area of the country, and I know that most people do not know that the Angels are  22-15 and  currently in first in the AL West. Most know this team as the former employer of current Rays manager Joe Maddon, and a World Series champion a few years ago in a dramatic series against the San Francisco Giants.

 

This series should be a great time for the local Rays fans to come out and show massive sup[port for the team that is winning, and is in second place right now in the AL East.

 

 

Former Rays player of the Night:

 

 

Current Florida Marlin third baseman Jorge Cantu went 2-4 tonight with 2 RBI’s during the Marlins’  7-3 victory over the Washington Nationals. Cantu is hitting .287 with 16 RBI for the season.

 

 

Rays Go Extra Mile in Win

 

 

 

 

Rays 8, Blue Jays 3

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

Gaylord Perry was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young award in both leagues,with the Cleveland Indians(AL) in 1972, and with the San diego Padres (NL) in 1978.

 

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                                       The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

 

 

 

                                                  The Good

 

Even though the game has long since left the 8 innings that Edwin Jackson pitched tonight, he showed a great effort in keeping the Rays in the lead. Jackson was pitching a 6 hit shutout when he was pulled  after 8 superb innings. Jackson had great control of his slder tonight and had his changeup dancing all over the plate. Edwin is not going to get a victory, now that the game is in the 13th inning.

 

Honorable Mention “Good” guys:

 

*** Rays rightfielder Gabe Gross has had a wild time adjusting to the plethra of pitches that he usually doesn’t see in the National League.  Jays starter Jesse Litsch hung a high slider over the plate, and Gross deposited it in the rightfield bleachers to put the Rays ahead 2-0 in the top of the 5th inning.

 

** Carlos Pena got that really big ape off his back tonight by hitting an opposite field homerun in the top of the 7th inning. Pena is now second in the American League with 8 homers and has 18 RBI’s for the year. 

 

* Rays catcher Dioner Navarro went  3-6 tonight with 4 RBI’s and scored two runs. Navarro is currently hitting .368 for the Rays. Navarro’s big hit was his Grand Slam homer, his first of the year, in the top of the 13th inning to help secure the victory for the Rays. He now has 10 RBI’s for the year and has a .874 OPS for the Rays.

 

                                               The Bad

 

Jonny Gomes, Nathan Haynes and Eric Hinske went a combined 0-8 tonight in the extra inning game.  Gomes also made a critcal error in leftfield when he misplayed a fly ball to the gap that helped the Jay setup the tying run in the game. Alex Rios lifted a sharply hit ball into leftcenter that Gomes and Upton were closing on, but neither could get to the ball in time before it hit the turf. Rios ended up at third on the play.

 

                                                   The Ugly

 

Troy Percival has been Mr consistant for the Rays all year long. I usually reserve that label until maybe August, and tonight’s game is a great example of not putting undue pressue and expectations on a club early in the year.

 

Percival took the mound for Jackson in the bottom of the 9th and was looking for his 9th save of the year. Before the inning was over, Percival had given up 4 straight hits, including a homer to Rios to tie the game at 3-3.

 

With that, the closer had his first blown save of the year and had to regroup to save the inning for the Rays. Troy pitched 1 inning,gave up 3 earned runs and pushed his ERA to 2.25 for the season.

 

 

Former Rays player of the Night:

 

The Atlanta Braves waited until the last inning of a memorable homestand to put an end to a streak of one-run futility they hope to forget.

The Braves finally won a one-run game when Matt Diaz hit a bases-loaded single in the ninth inning to beat the San Diego Padres 5-4 Thursday.

Atlanta was the first team since the 2000 Houston Astros to lose its first nine one-run games. The Braves were the only team in the major leagues without a one-run victory.

Atlanta Braves signed Matt Diaz  a few years ago because of his “big game” potential. Diaz lined a 2-2 pitch to leftfield to score Yunel Escobar. Diaz went  1-5 in the game and also scored a run for the Braves. He is currently hitting .290 while manning leftfield for Atlanta.

 “Now we got that monkey off our back and we can hopefully get the road monkey off our back,” Diaz said.

 

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Rays begin a 7 game homestand with the Angels and the Yankees. This weekend is also “Carlos Pena” weekend with each day having a Pena themed item for the fans.  Friday night is a Carlos Pena poster to the first 7,500 fans.

 

Saturday is the Carlos Pena figurine to the first 7,500 fans, and Sunday is a Carlos Pena “Silver Slugger” wiffle ball bat to the first 7,500 kids 14 and under.

 

 

Garza Loses Tough One on the Road

 

Blue Jays 6, Rays 2

 

I am a firm supporter of the new Rays stadium plans on the old Al Lang stadium site. I have heard all the arguments of heat, parking and a severe reaction to liquid sunshine.  That is true baseball, and if you do not like it, there is always other stadiums that can open and close their roofs for you.

One of the main positive groups for the stadium is the majorleaguedowntown group. They have recently gotten signs for the yards,businesses’ and cars for those wanting to show their positive support for the plan. Below is a dvert from www.majorleaguedowntown.com. Go check out the site and the plans and practical ideas behind this new stadium.

                                        

  

 

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night: 

 

First baseman Rip Collins of the Cardinals hated to throw away his broken bats. So he took them home and constructed a picket fence with them.

 

 

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                                        The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

 

 

                     

 

 

                                                   The Good

 

 

Last time out,  Rays starter Matt Garza got his first victory of the season against the Orioles. Matt has gone 6-2 lifetime against the AL East, with all his victories coming on the road. Matt also had his MLB debut against these same Blue Jays on August 11, 2006, but lost that first start.

 

 

Garza seemed to be gaining confidience and strength during his 6 innings tonight, but a bad inning doomed him to a loss tonight. Matt had his control and his arsenal in check before the bottom of the 6th inning. In that inning, he gave up a walk and two singles before leaving the contest losing 1-0.

 

 

Honorable Mention “Good” guys:

 

 

*** Rays starting catcher Dioner Navarro got the first hit of the game, but decided to test the arm of rightfielder Alex Rios by stretching the play into a double. Rios gunned him down at second with a great throw to the lower side of the bag and got Dioner without a problem.

 

 

** Leftfielder Carl Crawford decided that he too could throw out a runner, and got his chance in the bottom of the 6th when Jays catcher Rod Barajas tested his arm and tried to stretch his advancement to third. Carl also threw a strike to Evan Longoria, who tagged out Barajas.

 

 

* B J Upton hit a 2-run RBI doubleto deep center in the top of the 9th inning off Jays starter Shawn Marcum. B J ‘s shot scored Aki Iwamura and Carl Crawford to ruin Marcum’s shutout bid. B J also stole second to get himself in scoring position.

 

 

                                        

                                             

                                          

 

                                                    The Bad

 

 

Rays slugger Carlos Pena again left 2 runners in scoring position tonight. The last one was B J Upton on second in the bottom of the 9th inning. Pena struck out swinging to end the Rays momentum and the game.

 

 

The Rays only managed 4 hits off the Toroanto starter tonight and struck out 10 times.

 

 

                                            

                          

 

                                           

                                                   The Bad

 

 

The Rays ran into a hot pitcher tonight and were about to be subject to a 1-hit shutout before Aki Iwamura and Carl Crawford each got singles to start the top of the 9th inning. B J Upton ruined his shutout, and chased Shawn Marcum from the game.

 

 

The best average against Marcum by the Rays starters was Eric Hinske, who was 1-3 against the  Jays starter. that kind of stat does not bode well for a offense juggernaut of a night.

 

 

Since entering the Jays rotation last May, Marcum has posted a 14-6 record  with a 3.65 ERA in 31 starts.  He is one of only 6 AL starters to record a winning percentage over .700 or higher since last season.

 

 

 

Former Rays player of the Night:

 

 

 

 

 

I am beginning to think I should reserve a spot on my list for former Rays catcher Raul Cassanova on a weekly basis. This former battery mate who is the  New York Met’s starting catcher went 2-5 tonight with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI’s. He is currently hitting at .283 for the Mets.

 

 

 

Sonnanstine Improves to 5-1 Against Jays

 

 

Rays 5, Blue Jays 4

 

It was a welcome sight to see our favorite team in the last leg of this roadtrip. We have a perfect record against our AL East opponent, the Blue Jays this year (4-0). The Rays took some time to get going, but Troy Percival helped close the contest and end our losing streak after the dismal Boston leg of the trip.

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

On August5,1921, the first radio play-by-play of a major league game was broadcast. The game was Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia on station  KDKA. The Pirate won 8-5.

 

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                                        The Good,The Bad,and the Ugly

 

 

                                                 The Good

 

The Rays had the right pitcher on the mound for the first game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Andy Sonnanstine is the hottest pitcher in the Rays rotation right now. Tonight, he improved his record to 5-1 in a Rays 5-4 victory in the Rogers Centre.

 

Andy became the quickest pitcher to 5 victories in Rays history. The previous record was Scott Kazmir who performed the feat in 35 games. He is also 9-3 in his last 15 starts for the Rays.

 

Honorable mention “Good ” guys:

 

 

 

*** Aki Iwamura had a great night tonight going 2-5 and collecting 2 RBI’s to up his average to .228 for the season. Iwamura was also the middle man in the Rays 5-4-3 double play in the bottom of the 6th inning. Aki knocked in Dioner Navarro in the top of the third inning with a single to rightfield. Aki got his second RBI of the night with a double to center that scored Jason Bartlett, but Aki was cut down at third by Vernon Well.

 

** Eric Hinske has done everything asked of him since he joined the team in March. Eric is currently tied with Carlos Pena for the team homer lead with 7. Eric also is leads the Rays with 13 extra base hits and is currently second in the American League in slugging percentage with a .581 average.

* I have to give number  1 star  honors to a future Hall of Famer.

Rays closer Troy Percival may not be the Rays MVP this year, but he is truly the most valuable mentor to our players both on the field and on the mound. Troy moved past John Wetteland tonight for sole possession of 10th place on the All-Time Save list. Such a event might not have happened if he did not decide to un-retire last year and still felt the desire and the want to put on a MLB uniform again this season.

 

Congrats Troy, now let’s go get Rollie Fingers and 9th place.

 

                                           The Bad

 

The Rays put up 9 hits tonight, but left 9 men on base. Tonight,  Carlos Pena and Gabe Gross each left two runners on base in scoring position. That is the statistic that can mean the difference between an October game and watching it on the TV.

 

 Leaving men in scoring position is actually like letting the pitcher forget he was on the ropes, and you almost had him that inning. Both of these players are experiencing a situation where they have adjusted and shown improvement in their batting stroke and in the contact with the ball.   Time will tell what will happen in the next few months.

 

 

      

 

                                                         The Ugly

 

The ugly moment of the night is not a Rays situation tonight, but a play that happened to a Toronto infielder.

 

Toronto Blue Jays shortstop John McDonald rolls on the ground after hurting his ankle while chasing down a ground ball hit by the Rays Gabe Gross during the sixth inning.  McDonald was replaced by Marc Scutaro and is listed as day-to-day at this moment.

 

 

Former Rays’ player of the Night:

                                           

 

Tonight’s former Rays is current Pittsburgh Pirate Chris Gomez. He has been a journeyman infielder for several teams during his career, but is getting his shot at his best position, shortstop with the Pirates.

 

Gomez went  2-4 with 2 runs cored and a RBI tonight. He is currently hitting .276 for the year. Gomez  singled to left center in the bottom of the 7th inning to score Jose  Bastista. 

 

 

 

 

Rays Ace Beaten by a Pair of Soxs’

 

Rays 3, Red Sox 7

 

I just got word from the Rays that this weekend is the Rays Team photo shoot with yours truly. So when they get back home this Friday or Sat., I will be on the turf with the guys when they do their yearly photo for the fans.  I am overly excited by this and can not wait for the event.  What to wear, what to wear?

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

When sluggers Hank Greenberg andRalph Kiner joined the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team moved in the left field fence by 30 feet.

 

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                                        The Good,The Bad,and the Ugly

 

 

 

                                              The Good

 

What we saw Sunday afternoon was Carlos Penas’ only homer in the last 66 at-bats. Pena had been stuck on 6 homers since April 12th.  Rays manager Joe Maddon has been telling the media that Carlos will come out of this funk, that do not count him out.

Welcome Back Carlos………………We need to see that power dude.

 

Honorable mention “Good” guys:

 

*** Carl Crawford went 1-5 today and picked up ans RBI to up his total to 18 for the year. Carl hit a single to left that scored Aki Iwamura. Carl is hitting .287 right now.

 

** Jason Bartlett went 2-5 on the day with two singles. On the second single he was on base when Aki Iwamura drove him in with a triple. Jason has upped his average to .243, and has been the most consistant Ray in this series.

             

 

 

* Aki Iwamura hit a monster shot to center that was not played well by Coco Crisp. Iwamura ended up with a triple and recorded a RBI for the day. Aki, who went 2-5 is hitting .221 right now.

 

 

 

                                                    The Bad

 

Rays starter Scott Kazmir only lasted 4 innings and threw 90 pitches in his first start since coming off the DL. I am not going to bash Scott, or the performance, because his best stuff did not show up today and he is going to need a start or two to get into game mode.

 

It would have been nice to win one game up in Fenway, but the important thing is Scott was battling and adjusting all day. He threw mostly fastballs and carefully guarded using his slider in the game. I do not think it is for lack of confidience or fatigue, but for conservation of his pitches that he had good command of in that game. 

 

 

 K azmir will get better, and the Rays are a better team with him on the mound. Today was just one of those pitching performances that a pitcher wishs he could just rewind and forget.

 

                

 

                                                   The Bad

 

Today was a day that both the manager and the team wishes could be a mulligan. No matter what happened today to the Rays either positive or negative, they were not in the game at any juncture today.  I really feel that this Boston club is the one team that ill give the Rays fits all year long, both in the standings and on the field.

 

 

 

 

Since we play each other 17-odd times a year, it is a pre-destined thing that a series can blow up on a team like this one.  We did that honor to them last weekend, they returned the favor today.

 

 

 

Former Rays player of the Night:

 

 

Today’s former Rays player is current outfielder with the Atlanta Braves, Matt Diaz.    He is pictured above scoring on a Kelly Johnson double as Cincinnati Reds catcher Paul Bako handles the late throw to the plate.

 

Matt went 1-1 in the game,  on an infield single to third in the third inning. Diaz is hitting 297 for the season.

 

 

 

Rays Run Into a Buzzsaw

 

Rays 4, Red Sox 12

 

Maybe it is only fitting that both teams have problems in each other’s home stadium. Tampa Bay looks a bit lost and unsure on the mound and in the field in Boston. Thank goodness this is only a three game series.

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

Former Oriole Brooks Robinson hit in triple plays on four occasions,a major league record. The first one was on June,2,1958.

 

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                                              The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

        

 

                                                 The Good

 

The night that the Rays traded for Gabe Gross he had just finished celebrating scoring the winning run for his former Brewers team. But tonight, Gross got the monkey off his back by hitting a 2-run homer to right that scored Dioner Navarro.

 

Gross has had a wild ride adjusting to American League pitching, and went 1-2 to improve his average to .143 for the Rays. Gross also got an outfield assist by throwing a bullet to get Jason Varitek at second in the bottom of the 8th inning.

 

Honorable mention “Good” guys:

 

 

 

*** Rays first baseman Carlos Pena  a great dipping ball that was mis-played by Red Sox rightfielder J D Drew to got 1-4 tonight. Carlos ended up getting thrown out at the plate by Manny Ramirez in the top of the 4th inning.

 

 

** Rays catcher Dioner Navarro is still holding a hot bat as he went 2-4 tonight and is batting .342 for the season. Navarro also scored a run on Gross’s homer.

 

 

* Rays second baseman Aki Iwamura has had a rough time in the leadoff spot this year. Aki is currently hitting .214 after going 2-4 tonight. Aki also had a solo homer to left in the top of the 8th inning.

 

          

                                                

                                                         The Bad

 

The Rays have not seemed to figure out how to win consistantly in Fenway yet. For this team to get farther in the standings, they will have to learn to be productive in the oppositions hostile park.  Carl Crawford seems lost at times in the shadow of the Green monster, and is hestitant to play the ball on a first hop or bounce off it’s surface yet.

 

When he figures out how to play that famous corner and it’s famed wall, he, and the Rays will have turned the corner to winning at that ballpark.

 

                                             The Ugly

 

A week after putting the Boston hitter in a funk, the Red Sox returned a bit of revenge on Rays starter James Shields. He lasted 3.2 innings and threw 98 pitches before being lifted for J D Howell.

 

Shields threw 55 strikes in his 98 pitches and gave up 10 hits and 7 earned runs. His pitched were not consistant and the Boston hitters seemed to be sitting on his curveball and change-up for their hits.

 

James fell to 3-2 for the season and has not won at Fenway in his career………………yet.

 

 

Former Rays player of the Night:

 

                                        

 

It is a great thing when a pitcher can help his cause for a win. With that in mind, my player of the night is Houston Astro’s pitcher Brandon Backe. He went 1-3 tonight with a homer in the 5th inning off Brewer’s starter Manny Para.  Backe had 3 strikeouts tonight and is currently 2-3 for the year.

 

 

Rain Dampens More than Turf in Loss

 

Rays 3, Red Sox 7

 

 

Rain can do a number on you mentally. It can make you get into your future situation and linger with positives and negatives. It can make you get edgy and feel confined and isolated. It can work to start early muscle fatique and mentally drain you of energy. Now, the Red Sox rain gods did not doom the teams to another day, but the game did get started at 9:30 last night and did make both teams a bit lackluster and dull until they mentally ” woke up”.

The result was a Rays loss.

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

The average ” in play” life expectancy of a major league baseball is 7 pitches.

 

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                                             The Good,The Bad,and the Ugly

 

 

 

                                                  The Good

 

The “Good” of last night’s game is the fact we finally got to play it around 9:30-ish last night. On this roadtrip, the Rays have had a few incidents were the elements have been playing with them. In Baltimore, all three games had a hint of rain, with the shower gods letting only a few minutes of downpour ruin that series.

 

In Boston, the entire series has the chance of rain, with tonight’s game also having a better than good chance of repeating a late start.

 

Honorable mention “Good” guys:

 

*** Rays first baseman Carlos Pena is finally coming out of his batting funk. Yesterday he got his first RBI in awhile, and today he went 2-4 to raise his average to .212 for the season. Carlos is stuck on 6 homers this year, but is looking more relaxed at the plate. He is a career .301 hitter at Fenway.

 

** Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett has been hitting and fielding better since his nagging shoulder has healed a bit. He also went 2-3 last night, with a double to raise his average to .240.

 

* Carl Crawford is riding another hitting streak and is hitting the ball alot better in the last few days. He also went 2-4 last night with a double  and is hitting .299 for the year.

 

 

                                   

 

                                              The Bad

 

Edwin Jackson looked out of sorts last night after the rain delay in Boston. He did not have his ususal control and seemed to rush his pitches to the plate.

 

Jackson did get his composure in gear late in the first innig, but the Red Sox bats came alive in the bottom of the 4th inning and put the game out of reach for the Rays. Edwin  is now 2-3 and his ERA ballooned to 4.98 for the year. Jackson did get 4 strikeout, but also gave up 3 walks to the Red Sox.

 

 

 

I am going to review the MLB TV broadcast of the game and see if Rays rookie Evan Longoria ran threw a “stop sign” put up by Rays third base coach Tom Foley last night. The play could have beeen a ignitor to better things last night had Longoria not been tagged out by Jason Varitek at home. The slide was a bit weak, but Varitek is not your usual catcher, and made the play with ease.

 

                                                    The Ugly

 

The main ugly I want to address is why the Bosotn Red Sox, a two-time World Series Champion has not put money into their visiting clubhouse to upgrade, expand or even eliminate the cramped space with a MLB-worthy locker room.

 

Now the answer is actually pretty simple. but it is a bit sneaky. The cramped, century old style lockroom is designed to be a mental note to the unimportance of the visiting team. It is made to get into their heads and disrupt the process that this game is “in the bag”, or that you do not have to earn your wins at Fenway.

 

The Red Sox have put in new batting cages under the stands for both teams, but at the expense of no new lockerroom expansion or even renewal. Mentally being cramped in that small space can be demeaning to the psyche and play on your thoughts at times.

 

When I was at Florida, we used to have to go up to Knoxville to play the University of Tennesse at their stadium. The visiting lockerroom was small, and the team pumped the song, “rocky Top” into the room through the speakers in the ceiling. there was no volume knob or way to shut it off to even talk to each other. That did play into our minds and did finally drive a few of us a bit batty before the game.

 

Never under estimate the little things that can defeat the mind in sports. It is a free advantage for your opponent, and will be used without recourse.

 

 

Former Rays Player of the Night:

                         

The player of the night is former Rays Randy Winn who has been with the San Francisco giants for a few season. Winn went 3-5 last night to up his average to .261 for the year.  Randy’s team fell to the Philadelphia Philles in 10 innings last night, 6-5.

You might remember a few years ago when Winn won a car for his mother with a half court shot during a Golden State Warriors’ NBA game. No word on if the car is still active and running.

Rays Take Series Against the Birds

 

Rays 4, Orioles 2

 

What a thrill it is to turn on your car radio just as Jonny Gomes is rounding third on his way home after touching  Baltimore starter Brian Burgess for a blast to leftfield.

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

In 1960, White Sox owner Bill Veek was the first to put the player’s names on their uniforms.

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                                  The Good,The Bad,and the Ugly

 

 

                                                 The Good

 

The Rays’ Carl Crawford hit a single to center in the top of the 7th inning to secure the win for the Rays’ 4-2. Carl Crawford also scored a run and currently is the American League leader in runs scored.  Carl currently has 26 runs and the closest player to him is White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin with 21 runs.

 

 

Honorable mention “Good” guys:

 

*** Carlos Pena grounded out to secons base in the top of the 1st inning, but got an RBI when Crawford crossed the plate to put the Rays up early 1-0.

 

** DH/outfielder Jonny Gomes hit a blast to leftfield off Brian Burgess in the 4th inning. It was Gome’s third homer of the year.

 

                                            

 

* Rays closer Troy Percival recorded his 6th save of the year. In recording the save, Percival now has 330 saves for his career. that ties him with John Wetteland for 10th place on the all-time save list. Up next for Troy is former Oakland A’s pitcher and moustache pirate Rollie Fingers with 341 saves. 

 

 

                                                   The Bad

 

Only two Rays did not get a hit today in the game. Aki Iwamura and Evan Longoria put up goose eggs in the hits department today. The Rays offense also stranded 10 men on the bases today.

 

 

A near disaster almost happened in the 4th inning today. An unexpected rain shower began to pelt the turf before the grounds crew could get the tarp out on the pitching mound. After tossing dry on the mound and working the dirt, the crew got the mound in shape to resume the game

 

Had the game been cancelled, it would have been a double re-scheduling for the Rays against the Orioles this year. In the opening series, the Rays had their second game of the season cancelled by rain.

 

 

                                                The Ugly

 

B J Upton went to the turf in the top of the fifth inning while in the batter’s box. B J had just swung on a pitch and camw out of the box grabbing his shoulder area.

 

After Rays head trainer Ron Porterfield examined Upton, he was replaced by Nathan Haynes at the plate and in the field. Upton is going to be re-evaluated in the morning, and is listed as day-to-day right now. Upton’s injury would have been a major blow to the Rays offense and outfield defense.

 

 

Former Rays Player of the Night:

Alot of Rays faithful might not remember Joe Biemel. He was with the club in 2005, and appeared in 7 games for the team. Biemel was traded to the L A Dodgers at the deadline in 2005 and has been with the team since that trade.

Today Biemel got another win for the dodgers. Joe currently is tied for 13th in the win category with 3 for the year. As a reliever, it is unusual for a relief pitcher to have three wins at this point in the season. Biemel currently has a .90 ERA in 10 games this year.

 

 

The Rays are currently enroute to Boston for their weekend three game series that will decide the early leader in the American League East. Boston and Tampa Bay are currently only a half a game apart before the Thursday night result of Boston’s game against the Blue Jays.

If Boston falls to Toronto, the Rays could find themselves in first before their game tomrrow night at 7:05 P.M.

UPDATE   11 P.M.

As of an hour ago, we are tied for first, but in first position because of winning percentage only. Winner of this series does alot to set the bar for the rest of the series aginst each other.  Do not forget we play each other 17 times a year, and this thing is far from over folks.

 

 
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