Rays go Extra Innings to Lose to Pirates
Considering the game was delayed almost 45 minutes due to a thinderstorm roaming through the area we got treated to a funny and interesting Bloopers reel by FSN. I was amzed and relieved at the same time that we did not see any early Rays bloopers, or even any Bucs bloopers from the Creamsicle days.
When the game finally got started there was a threat all night of a potential downpour, but just intermitten streaks of rain fell on the stadium crowd. The Rays were dressed as the Jacksonville Red Caps, complete down to the red pocket top on the pants. Pittsburgh was dressed as the Pittsburgh Crawfords for the contest.
I love seeing these old uniforms and hearing the history of these two teams, but hopefully C.C. got one of the Crawford jerseys for himself. I could see Carl sporting that out on the town while shopping for groceries.
Trivia Fact of the Night:
On April 18,1956, Ed Rommel was the first umpire to wear glasses in a regular season game.
The Way the Rays have been playing the past few months, Rays Manager Joe Maddon looks like a genius. Well, Maddon did himself one better last night by using two pinch-hitters that connected, and reached base for the Rays.
It was kind of interesting that Rays pitcher James Shields was batting in the 12 inning for reliver Gary Glover. Shields was 1-3 on the year at the plate, and truly seemed to enjoy hitting. Shields hit a soft liner back towards the mound that Pirates reliever T J Beam knocked to the ground, but could not get it to first in time to get Shields. Beam was charged with an error on the play.
The first pinch-hitter gave it his all before striking against the Pirates. Jonny Gomes battled for 15 pitches before connecting on a homer to deep center to tie the game at 3-all for the Rays. It was Gome’s, 2nd pinch-hit homer of the season. The last time a hitter got a homer on his 15th pitch was Montreal Expos first baseman Termel Sledge on July 7, 2004 when he connected on his 16th pitch off Braves reliever Antonio Alfonseca.
It was the most pitches a Rays batter had ever seen before hitting a home run. The previous best was Jorge Cantu on Aug 29,2006 when he homered on the 13 pitch from Chicago’s Neal cotts.
It was another example of a game that Edwin Jackson did not deserve to get a no-decision on the night. Jackson battled and held the Pirates to 3 runs in his 6.2 innings of work. Jackson gave up 6 hits and struck out 3 on the night.
Jackson has not been given the greatest run support by the offense on the night that he has pitched this season. Jackson has gotten 2.67 runs out of the Rays batters in his 15 starts this season. That is currently the worst run support of any of the Rays starters. Only Jason Hammel has gotten a lower number ( 2.6 ) in a spot start earlier in the season.
The Rays need to step it up for Edwin when he is on the mound. Because of this lack of power when he is on the mound, the opinion is that he is not a great pitcher. When in reality, he is head over heels better than last season in all areas of his game. His pitches were consistant last night and he only got in a jam once for the Rays. When you have an offense like the Rays, 3 runs allowed in a game should get you a victory.
Jackson is tied with Scott Kazmir for second on the team in quality starts with 7 for the year.
The Rays started the game looking like they might blowout the Pirates for the second night in a row. B J Upton hit the first pitch of the game out to center. Carl Crawford came up next and hit another single to center to move Upton to third. Crawford the stole second for his 20th base of the season.
Evan Longoria came up and hit a Sacrifice Fly to score B J , and it looked like another long night for the Pirates. In the bottom of the 6th, Eric Hinske doubled to deep left. Dioner Navarro came up and singled to center and Hinske came around to score for the Rays.
The Rays collected 10 hits off Pirate’s pitching, with Jason Bartlett getting 2 hits.
The Rays will reach the All-Star break as only the 8th team to post a winning record the season after having the worst record in the league. The Rays are .166 percentage points better this season than last season at this point, the best in the majors this year.
The Rays had their 4-game winning streak snapped last night in their 4-3 defeat at Pittsburgh. It was the Rays longest road winning streak since June 15-22, 2004. The Rays are 10-4 in the last 14 games, all against NL teams.
The Rays will play their 81st game today in Pittsburgh. They are currently on a pace to win 97 games, which is an increase of 30 games over 2007, which would be the 10th best imporvement since 1900, and the best ever by a team that was the worst team in the league the prior year. The current record is 94 wins held by the 1991 Atlanta Braves.
Carl Crawford needs 3 steals to become only the 9th player since 1900 to reach 300 steals before the age of 27.
The Rays Bullpen has held opponents to a .211 batting average this season. If the season ended today, it would rank as the 3rd best by a MLB Bullpen in the last 50 years. Last year, the opponents batted .303 off the Bullpen, the third highest in the last 50 years.
The Bullpen’s ERA this year is 3.16, best in the majors. Last season it was 6.16, the worst in the last 50 years