Rays lose 6th straight in Fenway, but get in a few punches
I have to take a moment to express some ”atta boys’” and high fives for a former Ray that had a great night tonight. Elijah Dukes went to the Washington Nationals in the off season for a change of sceneryand to again focus on baseball.
He got injured in the first few days of the season and has been struggling to get playing time and at-bats. With the Nationals playing a day/night doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals today, he got a chance to shine,.
Dukes went 4-6 with 4 RBI’s and hit his first homer of the year, he also scored 3 runs in the second game of the doubleheader.
Trivia Fact of the Night:
Derek Lowe of the 2004 Bosotn Red Sox is the only pitcher to win the final game of a divisional series, a league championship series, and the World Series all in the same year.
The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly
Last night I was harping about some Rays bench players having to step up in the offense side of the game with Carlos Pena on the DL. Eric Hinske and Willy Aybar will get the bulk of the first base duties in the next two or so weeks and will be counte on to produce in Pena’s absence..
Tonight it was Willy’s turn. Aybar hit two doubles in his first two at-bats tonight to boost his average to .297 for the Rays. Aybar also scored the only Rays run in the second inning on a Jonny Gomes single to leftfield.
Willy is also looked very sharp at first cleanly fielding a few errant balls tonight.
Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:
*** When it comes to emotion, Jonny Gomes is king on the Rays roster. The guy lives and breathes emotion and competition. I am mentioning him as a “Good Guy” for standing up for his teammate, James Sheilds tonight in the 2nd inning fiasco.
I will address the negative factors in another section of the blog.
** With Carlos Pena going on the DL, the Rays called up multi-faceted outfielder Justin Ruggiano. This is Ruggiano third time up with the Rays this season.
Justin responded by going 2-4 tonight to raise is limited average to .313 for the season. Ruggiano will see alot of playing time in the next two weeks as a platoon position player for the Rays.
* The Rays renewed and revised Bullpen had to do some double duty tonight with the ejection of James Shields in the 2nd inning. Grant Balfour started the long line of relievers to help finish the game for the Rays. He was followed by J P Howell in the middle of the 3rd inning.
The Rays Bullpen after the third inning, shut down the Red Sox offense and gave Tampa Bay a chance to try and get back in the ballgame. Gary Glover, Dan Wheeler, and Al Reyes pitched 4 innings of 2-hit shutout ball to stop the Boston bats.
The Tampa Bay Rays has now been blanked by the Boston Red Sox for 6 straight games in Fenway Park. The team has not beaten the Sox since the Sunday finale in the Trop a few months ago. In this divisional rivalry, they must start to committ and try and split the remainder of the games against the Red Sox to even entertain a great season.
This series is just the second time the Rays have lost back-to-back games since they were swept here in Bosotn on May 2-4th.
James Sheilds is now 8-13 as a road pitcher for the team. In his 6 career starts against Boston, he is 1-3, with a 4.76 ERA. On the heels of that, he is 0-3 in Fenway Park lifetime. Shields also took a loss tonight.
When you play a team 17 times a year, you need to secure at least 50 percent of those games to be considered a victory.
I understand what happened at the game, and that a “professional plucking” took place on Coco Crisp of the Red Sox, but the ramifications of this on-field fiasco will be felt for more than a few games.
The Rays may lose DH/outfielder Jonny Gomes and starting pitcher James Sheilds to suspensions and in that, lose valuable pitching and hitting situations.
The only good thing to come out of all this is the look of unity on the Rays players that raced into help their teammates.
All this because Coco Crisp wanted to act like a idiot. Last night, Crisp had issue with a base block by Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett.
In the next play, Crisp went into second on a steal really aggressive and up ended Aki Iwamura hard. You would have thought he would have gotten his retaliation then, and not held onto it for 24 hours.
When Sheilds plucked Crisp with a 94 mph pitch in the hip, Crisp slowly turned and look to go to first without issue. He then turned the threw his helmet to the turf and ran to the mound. Sheilds tried to land a haymaker, but missed badly and Dioner Navarro caught Crisp from behind before Crsip to administer more than a few blows to Sheilds…………..and the brawl was on.
I do not condone the action on the ground towards Coco Crisp as baseball. I also do not see it as “boys being boys.”
What I saw was Jonny Gomes punching Crisp from behind repeatedly. I suspect Gomes will get a multi-game suspension and a hefty fine.
I also saw leftfielder Carl Crawford come in and give Crisp a shot to the ribs, and a few other well placed hits. The gang mentality took over as soon as the bullpens joined the fray. At one point, there were three different situation going on in the infield area before order was restored.
Jame Sheilds was pulled from the pile by Carlos Pena and Rays’ manager Joe Maddon, but wanted to rejoin the fiasco. In the end, only Gomes, Sheilds and Crsip were ejected from the ballgame.
But I expect an aditional fine to be levied against Boston third base coach DeMarlo Hale for his forceful tackling of Shields from behind. It was a picture perfect defensive tackle for loss, but in the wrong sport. Hale should also be fined and possibly suspended for tackling another teams’ player without intent to stop the fight.
MLB video of the Fiasco:
If he had done it to a Boston player to keep him out of harms way, I could condone it totally, but to hit an opposing player blindsided is ridiculous at best, and totally unprofessional for a coach in the majors.
Just think of it…………………we still have alot of ballgames to play against each other the rest of the year………..This is going to be a memorable year for both of our teams.