Kazmir’s Shutout keeps Rays in the Winning Fashion

 

Rays 2, White Sox 0

 

I could not believe that the Trop could hold 38,000 fans anymore. I was under the impression that the stadium had been re-configured to hold less, but then a Country Superstar like Trace Adkins probably has never had a concert in the middle of a outfield corner before either.  Trace was fantastic, and he sang one of the top “Star Spangled Banners” ever in the Trop before the game.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

In 1990, Oakland relief ace Dennis Eckersley had 48 saves and allowed only 45 baserunners all season.

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

                                           The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

                                               The Good

Rays’ ace Scott Kazmir set a Rays record of winning 5 straight games tonight. Kazmir and Mike Mussina are the only pitchers in the league who had 5 wins in the month of May. Since Scott lost his first decision after coming off the DL, Kazmir’s opposition batting average of .172 is the lowest among the league’s pitchers.

                                   

 

Kaz’s ERA has lowered to 1.22, which is also a Rays record for ANY month. The previous record was 1.43 in 1998 by Julio Santana. Kazmir’s 3-hit shutout mput an exclamation point on his comeback from an elbow injury in the Spring.

It also showed the league that the Rays will be a force for the rest of the season, now that their young ace is in shape and ready for each start.

The Rays have NEVER had a MLB Pitcher of the Month award winner in their 11 year history. 

 

Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:

 

 

***  Recently promoted Rays reliever Grant Balfour got his first MLB save last night. He retired the only batter he faced in the bottom of the 9th inning last night for the save. In Triple-A Durham, Balfour had only allowed 1 run in 15 appearances, spanning 23.2 innings. The only run allowed, was a homerun.

**  The Rays Akinora Iwamura has still not committed an error at second base, his new position this season.  Aki’s 41 hits lead the American League for May. Aki was only 9 shy of the Rays hit record of 50 set by Carl Crawford. With his 2 hits Friday, he became the 5th Rays to record 40 hits in a month.

 

Cliff Floyd has been preaching the virtues of confidience and teamwork all year to the young guys on the squad. He has been a great example of professional leadership and style for the year.

                 

Cliff decided to use his bat to put a finally stamp on that committment and get the Rays another victory over the White Sox. Floyd was almost pulled in the bottom of the 4th inning for a pinch hitter, but Carlos Pena struck out to end the inning. In the top of the 5th, Cliff hit a blast to right that sealed the victory for the Rays. It was Floyd’s 4th homer for the Rays this season.

  

                                                       The Bad

The Rays struck out 12 times last night, with Aki Iwamura and Carlos Pena each striking out 3 times for the night. The Rays are an agressive team, and one of the statistics that is elevated with a agressive style is the ratio of strikeouts in a game. The rays currently have 412 strikeouts, which ranks 5th in the majors.

The Rays also lead the majors in another category. They have been caught stealing 23 times this season. That stat is 3 more than the Cincinnati Reds, who are in second place in the league.

                                            

                                                      The Ugly

The “Ugly” of tonight is not a game situation, or a team player. It is the system that the Rays are employing to get people down to the field for the Summer concert series. Last week, I was able to get up to the top of the seating bowl and descend down to the field for the concert on the field.

 My wristband, given to Season Ticketholders and “special guests” was admittance to the field level for an up close and personal view of the concert.

Well, being Country Night, maybe the Rays decided that we needed to be hearded into the First Base Food Court between the white fencing in the back of the hallway. I am fine with being there waiting to go down to the field level and enjoy the concert.

The problem I have, was with the execution of the Rays for us getting there. We were huddled in this fencing in the hall, when we could see on the television monitors next to us, people being let on the turf by security that did not come up here and wait like we did the entire inning.

 They got the primo positions up front and the crowd was 4 deep when the first group arrived at the field gates. I still got great videos of the concert, but I had to vent somewhere, and you got to see the result.

I hope the Rays revise their Concert series plans before the next big event during the Latin night celebration.  They will have several weeks to perfect and get the “kinks” out of this new idea. The idea was great, but the execution left alot to be desired.

 

3 Comments

Hey, Cliff, welcome to MLBlogs! Am sure you are enjoying the season so far, amazing run. Hit up the community blog anytime and leave your URL there if you comment. Happy blogging!

Mark/MLB.com
http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

I can’t help but think the Rays look awful good so far this year. If their pitching holds up I look for this team to go far.

I can only imagine how they would be if they had a healthy Rocco Baldelli !

Their pitching is not at the level of Toronto’s staff, but we are staying in the game because our starters are pitching better.

You might get your wish of a healthy Baldelli. He has been playing in the extended Spring Training games lately at the Namoli Complex. These games are over soon, and he will have to go to a rehab assignment somewhere in the Minors system to get more at-bats.

I think we will get a “feel good” story about Rocco’s return by the end of June at the worst.
If you are wondering, if he remains energetic and in game shape, do not be surprised if he is not the every day rightfielder for the Rays after the All-Star break.

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