Rays J P Howell wins 5th game

 

Rays 5, Rangers 4

 

I normally do not go out to bars and watch the Rays games anymore. Not that I do not like company, or like to drink Coors Light alone (Code Blue!). It is just that in the past, some half-wasted Boston or Yankee stiff would interject his World Series claim every half inning to me. By the way, when did YOU win that Worls Series for the team there guy?

 Living in Fl. never gave the team a dime during the playoff run, except for that commemorative T-shirt from Wal-Mart.

This year is different. I sat in my little bar of choice,The Banana Boat II and watched the game on the big screen with a small crowd of people. If people in bars are watching the game and not 100 percent obesessed with the night’s Karaoke, I think we are on our way of conquering Tampa Bay.  It was great to even see a few more T-shirts and hats bearing the “TB” on it. Rays mania might just be the “In” thing this summer.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

Actor William Bendix, who played Babe Ruth in the movie, “The Babe Ruth Story”, was once Ruth’s batboy.

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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

Gabe Gross came to the Rays not knowing what is role would be with the club. He knew they had a hole in rightfield, but was not sure if the team would have the faith and  patience for him to adjust to the American Leagues style of play.

Well, last night, Gross pretty much cemented his place in the right with the Rays by again stepping up and hitting a 2-run homer to right in the 2nd inning. It was Gross’s 4th homer since the trade the Brewers’, and his defensive plays in right helped save a few Ranger runs.  In his last 5 games, Gross is 6-20 at the plate with 3 doubles, 2 homers and 5 RBI’s.

 

Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:

                           

***  Jason Bartlett has been a amazing on the bases this season for the Rays. Whe he is on base, he is constant thorn in the side of the opposition’s pitching staff. Again last night, Bartlett stole 2 consecutive bases on the Rangerst o get into scoring position in the 9th inning.

His stealing of third got him in position to score the winning run on a wild pitch by Ranger Jamey Wright. Bartlett now has 12 steals for the season.

 

                          

 

**   B J Upton reached base 4 times last night. He had two walks, and a double, his 17th of the year.  BJ also scored a run and raised his average to .300 for the year.

Upton’s 2 walks last night give him 42 for the year, which ties him for first in the AL with the A’s Jack Cust. Upton is also third in the league in strikeouts with 52.

 

                   

 

Willy Aybar  has stepped up totally since Carlos Pen’as injury and got another start at first last night for the RaysI know I was in that crowd of people wondering where Aybar fit in the Rays scheme of things a few weeks ago when he came off the DL. Well, we now know that answer, and are glad he is with the team.

Aybar went 1-4 last night with 2 RBI’s and made some excellient play at first base.  He is 5-17 since his return from the DL, with 4 doubles.

                                      

                                           

                                                 The Bad

Andy Sonnanstine did not pitch bad tonight, but he did take himself out of the winning side of things with a rough first 3 innings. He left the game  in the 5th inning with the game tied 2-2. 

That in itself is not a bad start, but we have been expecting more out of this young starter.  Sonnanstine was not wild or even  very controlled tonight around the plate. He was consistant with his primary pitch, but was just missing the corners with his off-speed stuff.

Some pitcher just go through a period of adjusting their delieveries and pitches after time up in the majors. This was Andy’s 35th start of his career, and I know there will be many more in his future.

 

                                               The Ugly

The Rays manager Joe Maddon had made a point of stressing that the club needs to address their  team strikeout totals. The Rays are second in th AL in strikeouts, trailing only  the Texas Rangers.

The Rays currently have 459 strikeouts this season. The top Ray in strike outs,and AL leader Carlos Pena is currently on the DL. But, Evan Longoria (54), and B J Upton (52) are running second and third for the Rays in that category.

In the last series against Boston, the Rays struck out 27 times against Red Sox pitching. In Friday and Sat. contest, the Rays have struck out 12 times in this series, with today’s finale at 5:05 P.M.

 “I think I’m seeing them with two strikes making a greater attempt at making contact, rather than just swinging,” Maddon said. “I just think this is going to happen over the long haul. Right now we are second in the league in striking out behind [the Rangers].”

I know that seeing guys on base with 2 outs can make a player want to make contact to drive the player in for runs, but right now we are also not using our foresight and trying to even get walks and promote even more runs or pitcher errors.  We are a young club, and this factor will be here for a long time becuase of the aggressive nature of this ball club. The fact of the matter is, selective hitting is an art form, and one the young Rays have not mastered yet…………………….yet.

1 Comment

Thank you, Jason Bartlett. He saved that game for us. His baserunning produced an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning, then his backhanded stop in the bottom half took away a game-tying hit. “Cardiac Dan” Wheeler survived, but not by much. Today wasn’t so great, the two-out woes continued. But now it’s time that we look forward and finally win some games in Anaheim under former Angels coach Joe Maddon.
Brenton
http://braverays.mlblogs.com

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