Garza Just Misses Immortality

 

 

Rays 6, Marlins 1

 

It was reported on the Montgomery Advertiser yesterday that Rays uber prospect Jake McGee will  have to undergo season ending elbow surgery next week. The Biscuit starter was put on the DL a few days ago, but an MRI revealed a torn elbow tendon and a ommyJohn’s surgery looks to be in McGee’s future.

 

This could have been a huge blow to the Montgomery Biscuits third straight SAL title, but the Rays had promoted David Price and Jeremy Hellickson days earlier and should fit both into the rotation without a problem.  McGee flew to Tampa to see the Rays orthopedic doctor, Koko Eaton, nd was to see r. James Andrews after the weekend to confirm the diagnosis.  If he requires Tommy John’s surgery, McGee will be lost for up to a year and a half for the Rays minor league system.

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

In 1953, respected and innovative National League umpire Bill Klem was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

 

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Rays starter Matt Garza (6-4) will remember this game against the Florida Marlins for a long time. Not because he got his 6th victory of the season, or the first complete game of his career, but for the lone floating slider that changed the day for him and the Rays. There is still no doubt that te series sweep of the Marlins in Miami made for a fantastic airline flight to Pittsburgh, but what might hve been will be in his head for a few days.

 

            

 

On the first pitch that Marlin’s shortstop Hanley Ramirez saw in the bottom of the 7th inning, he drilled into the leftfielder bleachers above the huge scoreboard. It was the only pitch that Garza would want to take back all day long. It took not only his shutout away, but a chance at Rays immortality………. a no-hitter. 

 

                 

 

According to the Elias Baseball Bureau, It was the first complete-game no-hitter or one-hitter with a double-digit strikeout total in the majors this season. There was only one such pitching performance in each of the last three seasons: by Chris Carpenter in 2005, John Lackey in 2006 and Justin Verlander in 2007.

 

 

 

The Rays are now a franchise high of 15 games over .500, and have 4 more vicotries than they have ever achived before the All-Star break in the teams short history. They are also 7 games better than they have ever been after 77 games.

 

The Rays have been above .500 for 57 straight days and 61 total for the season, both club records.  Prior to this season, the Rays have been above .500 for only a combined 72 days in the last 10 years.

 

                                         

 

Rays rookie Evan Longoria has been given many nicknames in the last few months, “Evan Almighty,” “The Natural”, and “Longo”. The last one is a reference to an Alex Karas character in “Blazin’ Saddles,” and Evan might just be fitting of the name.

 

He is one of the main reason this team has been on a roll the past two months. Since coming u from Triple-A, the Rays have been pretty hard to beat every night, which is a rareity in Tampa Bay. 

 

Yesterday just added to the ever increasing legend that is “Longo:”

 

Evan Longoria had three hits (two doubles and a home run) in the Rays’ win on Thursday, after notching three hits (a single, double and homer) in Tampa Bay’s 15-3 win over the Marlins on Wednesday night. Longoria is the fourth player in Rays franchise history to have consecutive games with at least three hits and one home run. The other Tampa Bay players to do that were Aubrey Huff (2004), Jorge Cantu (2005) and B.J. Upton (2007).

 

The Rays are now 9-5 in Interleague this season their highest total since 2006 when they had 11 wins. With a sweep in Pittsburgh they can establish another record this season for total victies in Interleague play.

 

Along with Longoria and Garza’s efforts, came the bat of back-up catcher Shawn Riggans for the Rays.  Riggans has seen very limited action this year with the emergence of Dioner Navarro both at the plate and behind it for the Rays.

 

Riggans responded going 1-3 with 3 RBI’s for the Rays.  Riggans hit a sacrifice fly in the seond to score B J Upton from third, and hit a double to deep centerin the 5th inning to score Upton and Longoria.

 

Shawn also called a great game behind the plate for the Rays, that only saw Garza in trouble a few times theentire game. Garza only walked one Marlin, Jeremy Hermida, in the 4th inning.

 

Shortstop Ben Zobrist also hit his second homer in two days in the 8th innig to complete the scoring for the Rays.  Zobrist is now hitting .292 since coming up for the Rays.

 

With the expected return of both Jason Bartlett and Carlos Pena on Friday in Pittsburgh, th Rays will have to make some roster moves befre the Friday night game. 

 

I am thinking we might see Troy Percival go on the DL for another 15 days, and itwill not be his decision.  That will either happen, or a Rays relievers’ will be sent down or put on waivers and hopefully pass through to stay with the team.

 

And I think based on the numbers and the experiecetis year, Ben Zobrist might be the odd gy out unless atrade can be reached for another infielder on the team. I kowthat Zobrist needs consistency in his routine, and it is a shame he will/has to be the fall guy this time.

Worst case is the fact he has only been off the DL for 7 games now, both  in Durham and Tampa Bay, and might need a bit more seasoning to get I great game shape for th team.  Let’s hope that all goes well and something truly positive can come out of all this for every player involved in the roster moves.

 

Tonight we start a 3-game series in Pittsburgh. I want to tell you about a unique thing they do in the Steel City before every game. They close the Roberto Clemente bridge to auto traffic and let the stadium patrons walk the bridge o the stadium. It is one of the truly unique things in baseball. You get to travel the roads on foot to the ballpark before and after the game…..without dodging traffic.

 

The Rays are visitng PNC park for the second time in their history, losing 2 of 3 in June 2005. They are 2-4 All-Time against the Pirates, who have former Ray  infielder Chris Gomez playing for them this year.

 

 

The Pirate will be bringing up rookie Jimmy Barthmaier for his MLB debut against the Rays. Barthmaier, a 13th-round Draft pick in 2003, will be making his first Major League appearance when he makes Friday’s start for the Pirates. The right-hander has combined to go 4-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 Double-A and five Triple-A starts. In his most recent start, Barthmaier threw six innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out eight. He has shown better control with both his fastball and breaking ball since being promoted to Triple-A in late May, allowing just six walks in 31 2/3 innings.

 

Look closely at the picture above of Barthmaier. Is it jus me, or are there not color to his pupils in the picture.  Might be a Vulcan robot plant to supress the Rays victory celebrations.   Just Kidding, he might just have some wild contact lens for gamedays.  Can we get the entire pitching staff  a set of those Joe?

 

 


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