Rays Win Series Against Cubbies
I saw a wild trio on the field on Tuesday night that brings back the saying “You Can’t Go Home Again”.
Well, you can go home, just do not expect a huge bucket of victories from this crappy Rays bunch. On the turf were current Manager Joe Maddon, departed chief Lou Piniella, and innaugural whipping boy Larry Rothechild. Each manager was responsible for a different era of growth for this team.
Larry got the “younger years”. the time where veterans were hired to get the franchise through the lean years before the farm system could restock the team. He never got to see that dream.
Lou, sweet Lou, came here to teach more the aspects of being a Professional and how to carry your team on you back. He did that. He might not have gotten the end result he envisioned when he signed on, but a few of these guys are great players because Lou rode them hard and let them play their game. His era of the Era of development and toughness.
Last, but not least, is the Era of Joe-ism. I can’t put a finger on the accomplishments yet in a nutshell, but this team blossomed under his letting go of the righs a bit with the guys. Letting them develop, but guide them in the same voice. Joe is a wise guy, with a theasarus for a mind. If you can’t play for Joe ( Delmon), you can’t play anywhere before adjusting yourself accordingly.
3 Masters of the Rays Universe all standing there looking at a team the two Chicago visitors only recognize in name and cetain players. The rest is the crown jewel of Joe Maddon. It is his team to lead upward and onward now. Larry Rothchild must love seeing smiles on the players’ faces, they were never contenders in the lean years. And I think in Lou’s mindset, this is the team he dreamed of for those many years. Joe, I think either of these guys would swap places with you in a heaetbeat and still know it was your baby all along here.
Trivia Fact of the Night:
Since 1876, there have been only 2 years that a triple play did not occur in the major leagues: 1961 and 1974.
Thank You Mark DeRosa for getting the scoring started on Wed night in front of a ESPN audience. It must be hell to be you today with the cellphone messages, and the email bloopers, blunders and Cubbie jokes segment on the TV. But, we here in Rays-town know that feeling all too well.
Even after a great vicotry over your team, most of the talking heads from Bristol still do not get it. The Rays just won their 9th Consecutive home series of the year.. NINE, never before have we gotten to this point before the All-Star break, but still we are considered the “Also-Rans” of the AL East. I heard a comment recently on “Baseball Tonight” that the Rays will fade in time. I also read and heard that we are “playing above our heads”.
Both might be true, but I think this team is in for a “Miraculous Summer”. It is alreafy one of the best on record for us, but might just surprise the nation real soon. You know, in the next homestand, the Red Sox come back to the A/C refines of the Trop.
If we sweep them again, what will be the talk, that neither team can play in the opponents park, or Bosotn is not playing with “playoff intensity” right now. Give credit where credit is due guys. This sqaud will make believers of you, but I guess winning two straight from the team with the BEST record in baseball is not a big thing to you guys.
Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine has the right stuff again. He mixed his pitches well last night and earned his 8th victory of the season. Sonnanstine pitched 5 innings of 7-hit, 3-run ball to help the Rays take the first 2 games against the Cubs. Andy only threw 94 pitches tonight, but got 57 strikes out of his performance. Sonnanstine coming into the game has not given up a homer since Mat 21st in Oakland, and is curently 6th in the AL in runs allowed.
Eric Hinske has been so valuable to the Rays this season he should maybe be the next guy to see a renewed contract and a raise for his efforts. Anywhere you put him, he has come through this season for the team.
Eric was hitting in the clean-up spot for the first time this year and went 1-3 on the night with a RBI and a run scored for the Rays. Eric event got his 6th stolen base of the season last night in the 7th inning.
Hinske came to this team in the spring just looking for a job, not even gauranteed a spot on the roster, and has produced more ans more for the upstart Rays. The Rays are 19-3 when he homers, and 34-17 when he is in the lineup for the Rays.
Four different Rays got RBI’s last night in a total team effort to beat the Chicago Cubs. B J Upton, Evan Longoria, Hinske and Willy Aybar each got a single RBI for the team.
Speaking of teamwork, let me tell you a few stats on our Rays:
The Rays matched their season and franchsie record highwater mark at 13 games over .500. Before this season, the team had never been more than 4 games over .500 at any point in their history.
The Rays tied their record for most wins before the All-Star break with a victory last night. In 2004, under Lou Piniella, the Ray were 42-45 at the break. The Rays have now won 24 of their last 28 at home, and the Ray have pitched to a 2.38 ERA at home, best in the majors this year.
According to “Elias Sports Bureau”, the last team with 9 straight home series won within a single season was the Colorado Rockies in 2007. The last AL squad was the Oakland A’s in 2005 ( 12 straight). The Rays have won 13 series overall for the year, one shy of their entire amount in 2007.
I put this last guy in the end of the blog becuase that is where we all know he is the strongest member of the Bullpen crew. Troy Percival can be a monster most nights on the mound, he has only allowed 19 baserunners in 26 appearances, two of them last night. Of his 26 opportunities, 17 have been perfect innings. 19 of them have been scoreless innings for the Rays.
For his career, Troy has converted 340 out of 395 save opportunities, for a 89.1 percent save rate. Since saves became an official stat. in 1969, only 6 pitchers have bettered that mark.
And on Wed. night, without any hoopla or fanfare, Troy tied with the Hall-of Famer Rollie Fingers for 9th place on the All-Time saves list. All this from a guy who at this point last year was considered retired by major league baseball. Next up for Percival on the list is…………Randy Meyers in 8th, with 347 saves.
With success and a continued Rays winning attitude, Troy could be nearing Jeff Reardon in 7th with 367 by the end of the season, or pass him in 2009(?)