Ray Finish InterLeague in Winning Fashion

 

 

Rays 4, Pirates 3

 

I was watching an old classic baseball movie last night on Starz and was wondering if the 1919 White/Black Soxs’ might have been the only club that was involved in any  odd hanky panky. 

Baseball’s Game fixing did not start with the 1919 White Sox. Although the Black Sox scandal has come to define the crime to the public . It actually began when the National League was barely one year old.  The first-place Louisville Grays made a number of uncommon errors and mis-guided plays during an East Coast roadtrip, causing them to lose seven games and only win one.

This prompted speculation that the players dumped game, and the pennant intentionally.  And it turns out, they did!

Western Union telegrams linked players with a known gambler and 4 players were banned for life from the game.

The first two decades of the century were filled with  small episodes of baseball coruption. First baseman Hal Chase served as their poster boy, having been linked to several “fixed” contests before finally earning his ban in the Black Sox scandal.

Could this have been a prelude that the Sox might have been charmed by Chase to committ the crime, or could a  greedy owner who did not pay his players a living wage,  been the prelude to the entire scandal.  You be the judge!

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

An embarrassing situation happened when Ebbett’s Field opened on April 15,1913, in Brooklyn. No one could locate the keys to the gates, leaving thousands of fans roaming outside the stadium waiting to be seated.

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The Rays are 6-0 now when Andy Sonnanstine pitches after a Tampa Bay loss.

With that fact in mind, you can summize that the Rays, who now own the BEST record in baseball won against the Pirates 4-3 on Sunday. This win comes on the eve of the Rays playing a 3-game series against their AL East foe, the Boston Red Sox. 

 Missing from this series will be the mani aggressor of the  on-field actions in Boston. Coco Crisp will be serving his suspension during this trip into the Trop, and this might take alot of tension from the series for both squads.

Sonnanstine pitched an effective game going 7 innings of 5-hit, 2-run ball for the Rays. Before this start, Sonnanstine had averaged 5.2 innings in his 17 starts.  Andy threw 98 pitches today and used his off speed pitches to confuse the Pirate batters. Sonnanstine is gaining more confidience in his slider and is usung it more as an out pitch against opponents this year.

 

B J Upton again started this game with a bang.

This is the second day in a row that Upton has lined the first pitch into centerfield to start on base for the Rays. B J  is hitting in the lead-off spot until Akinora Iwamura is back on Wed.

B J  also reached base on a single to left before getting caught leaning off of first base. Upton currently leads the majors in being caught stealing with 10 for the year.

In the bottom of the same inning, the Pirate’s Freddy Sanchez sent a  long fly ball into the gap in left center. Upton closing on the play could not get the ball before it hit the turf.

But instead of picking the ball up and throwing it in, Upton kicked the ball into left and Carl Crawford had to retrive the ball for the Rays.  Upton recived his 7th error on the play. The play also put Sanchez on third with no outs. Jason Bay hit a Sacrifice Fly to score Sanchez from third and tie the score at 1-1.

 

                                 

 

Willy Aybar, filling in for Aki at second, again proved to have the offensive stuff today.

Aybar hit his 3rd homer of the year to left in the 6th to put the Ray up 2-1. It is the 2nd homer of the year from the right side for the switch-hitting Aybar. Aybar went 2-4 today with 2 runs scored and is hitting 257 for the year in his limited role.

 

 

In the 8th inning, Aybar  also hit a single to right, but reached third on a throwing error by Xavier Nady.  Carlos Pena scored on the play to put the Rays up 3-2.

 

       

 

Speaking of limited role players coming up big for the Rays, you have to put back-up catcher Shawn Riggans on the top of that list. 

 Riggans has seen very limited duty with the emergance of Dioner Navarro, and his playing time has diminished considerably this season. Shawn has played in 18 of the Rays’ last 48 games this year.

But in the time he has played this roadtrip, Riggans has almost orchestrated a no-hit bid for the Rays, and come through with clutch hits and moves behind the plate.  Riggans hit a single to center in the 8th inning to score Aybar and put the Rays up  for good, 4-2.

In the 4th inning, Riggans, who also caught Jonny Gome’s pinch-hit homer to the Rays Bullpen on Sat. night, hit a  monster shot over the Rays’ Bullpen in center. It was Riggan’s 4th homer of the season. He also went 3-4 at the plate upping his average to .274 for the year

 

  

 

The Rays Bullpen again came in and got the victory for the Rays. Troy Percival got his 19th save of the year in 22 pitches for the Rays. Troy is curently 2nd in the the majors this season in opponent’s batting average at .140. The only reliever above him is  the Chicago  Cub’s set-up man Marmol, who has blanked the oppostion to a .138 average.

All of Percival’s 332 saves have come in the AL, second only to Mariano Riveria of the Yankees, who has 461 saves.

The Rays have now allowed 4.05 runs a game, this would match the 1931 Philadelphia Phillies for the 4th greatest decrease in opponents’ from one season to the next in the majors since 1900. The Rays are on pace to give up 288 less runs than they did in 2007.

Andy Sonnanstine is also chasing the Rays record for wins before the All-Star break. He currently has 9 wins and trails only Rolando Arrojo( 10 in 1998) and Scott Kazmir ( 10 in 2006).  Wit his win today, Sonnanstine has tied Victor Zambrano also with 9 wins ( 2004) before the break.

 

The Rays will be holding a braodcast auction on Monday with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) to benefit the Rays Foundation and the FRLA Foundation. The auction will be conducted via ION television network and will feature many awesome and one-of-a-kind dining and travel experiences. Here is a short list of some of the items:

The live auction items include four travel and game packages to California’s Wine Country, Boston, Chicago and Toronto.

The auction will also feature a  Celebrity Chef Private Dinner at Tropicana Field  with special guest Dan Wheelerand Dewayne Staats

 A Latin-flavored VIP Dinner with Ybor City’s favorite family, the Columbia Restaurant’s Gonzmart family.

Another great outdoor’s adventure is a golfing four-some, which will include  Rays broadcasters,Joe Magrane and Todd Kalas at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida 

Each of the travel packages includes airfare, accommodations, VIP tour of the city, meals at high end restaurants, and tickets to watch the Rays play other MLB teams in the respective cities.

Bid often, and bid high for these great adventures with the Rays

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