June 2008

Rays regain Winning Ways in Texas

 

Rays 12, Rangers 4

 

The press release of the fines and suspensions levied in the Rays Red Sox scuffle are surprising. I see the expected names on that list, but one is absent and unaccounted for.

DeMarco Hale, the third base coach of the Red Sox tackled James Shields to the ground from behind in that game. He did more in 3 seconds of the fiasco then Edwin Jackson and Akinora Iwamura.

The action is, and should not be tolerated by a memeber of a MLB staff. He should be suspended also, or at least publicly reprimanded for his physical actions. Jonny Gomes get what he deserves, he got a few good licks in on Coco Crisp. Carl Crawford slid into the pile and was also going at Crisp. So his suspension is for just cause.

 Aki, I think took a few side swipes, but I did not see any real bad actions, but it might be association with running in and maybe kicking or punching out of view.

Edwin Jackson lost his shoe out to the mound and was putting it on in the scene I saw in the video. 3 games for improper footwear?  Seriously, if you can give Jackson 3, Hale needs 6 games for himself. A MLB staff coach should pull players, act as a buffer to the action, but not be a major player in that fiasco.

Bud Selig and his  decipline deputies got it wrong in this incident.  I will tell you they got it right by suspending Jon Lester for his multiple brushbacks and for hitting a few Rays players after getting the warning. But the Homeplate umpire should have tossed him after the first incident, not let him pitch until he was replaced by Red Sox manger Terry Francona.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

In 1881, if a spectator “hissed, or booed” he could be ejected from the grounds

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                                       The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

                                               The Good

Scott Kazmir presented his Dad with a great Father’s day present. Un fortunately, his mother and brother were the only family members in the ballpark that night. His Dad was at the hotel with the family dog staying cool and watching hot baseball action on the tv.

Kazmir won his 6th straight decision to improve to 6-1 for the Rays. He was facing a team tonight that he has dominated this season. In 15 innings against the Rangers, Kazmir has gotten 16 strikeouts.

Kazmir did have a few rough spots, he gave up his first homer of the year to Ian Kinsler in the 8th inning. He last gave up a home run to Baltimore on Sept 4, 2007. Kazmir also got a picture perfect pickj-off of David Murphy trying to steal second base in the 2nd inning.

Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:

 

***  B J Upton stole 2 bases last night to up his total to 20 for the season. He is currently ranked 3rd in the AL. But BJ was not done there.  BJ also scored 3 runs tonight for the Rays.

Upton also hit his 4th homer of the year in the 6th innig, and is now sitting with 35 RBI’s, tied with Carlos Pena for tops on the Rays. Upton did have one error on gathering in a hit off the wall and bobbled the throw.

 

**  Eric Hinske hit his 11th homer of the season. The  shot hit 3/4th of the way up the rightfield foul pole and bounced into rightfield. Hinske’s homer brought home BJ Upton and Evan Longoria.

 Hinske earlier hit a scacrifice fly to score Upton in the 8th inning. Eric went 2-3 with 3 RBI’s for the night.

The Homer of the night belonged to Evan Longoria. His 8th shot of the night traveled over 442 feet into the Club Level section of the stadium in leftfield.

Only 1 other player has ever hit a ball into that section in this ballpark.  Mark McGwire also hit a shot there several years ago. Longoria went 2-4 tonight with 2 runs scored.

 

                                             The Bad

Rays reliever Al Reyes came in to pitch in the 9th inning. Al  had a bit of a problem when he gave up a walk, single and double before getting the outys to close the victory for the Rays.  Al’s highest pitch speed was in the low 80’s, and compared to Kazmir’s mid 90’s might have caught the Ranger off balance.

Reyes has had a few bumps this season, but is still a very effective pitcher for the Rays.

 

                                         The Ugly, Revisited

The following is a copy of the Press release from MLB concerning the fiasco in Boston Thursday night:

  A total of eight members of the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox have been suspended for their roles in the incidents that occurred on Wednesday and Thursday at Fenway Park in Boston. The eight suspensions total 38 games. Bob Watson, Vice President of On-Field Operations for Major League Baseball, made the announcement.

•Coco Crisp of the Red Sox has been suspended for seven games and fined an undisclosed amount for his inappropriate actions on Wednesday and for charging the mound, fighting and inciting the bench-clearing incident last night. (Justified Actions)

•Pitcher James Shields of the Rays has been suspended for six games and fined an undisclosed amount for fighting and for actions that escalated the bench-clearing incident. (Justified Actions).

•Jonny Gomes of the Rays has been suspended for five games and fined an undisclosed amount for fighting and for actions that escalated the bench-clearing incident. (He got in a few really good licks on Crisp, Justified).

•Edwin Jackson of the Rays has been suspended for five games and fined an undisclosed amount for fighting. ( He lost his shoe on the way to the mound. Might be guilty of footwear infraction. A total joke suspension).

•Carl Crawford of the Rays has been suspended for four games and fined an undisclosed amount for fighting.  ( He was accused by Coco Crisp of pulling his dreadlocks, Justified).

•Sean Casey of the Red Sox has been suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount for fighting. ( he threw a few haymakers of his own, Justified).

•Akinori Iwamura of the Rays has been suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount for fighting. ( He is acused of kicking and a few punches to the head of Crisp, Justified, but he is the one gut who derserve to pop Coco because of the ugly slide on Weds. night).

 
•Jon Lester of the Red Sox has been suspended for five games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing at a Tampa Bay batter after a warning had been issued following the bench-clearing incident. ( He should have been sent to the showers after the warning, and the third close pitch on Cliff Floyd, totally justified). 

 

Hopefully this incident is the last of the Red Sox/Rays brawling for the year, but I kinda doubt that. It is the dawning of a new rivalry that will blossom into a huge date on the calendars of both teams in the near future.  Hopefully next time, all the players will remember that the MLB has multiple cameras fiming the game, and will conduct themselves accordingly during any future scuffles. 

 

Rays lose 6th straight in Fenway, but get in a few punches

 

Red Sox 7, Rays 1

 

I have to take a moment to express some “atta boys'” and high fives for a former Ray that had a great night tonight. Elijah Dukes went to the Washington Nationals in the off season for a change of sceneryand to again focus on baseball.

He got injured in the first few days of the season and has been struggling to get playing time and at-bats. With the Nationals playing a day/night doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals today, he got a chance to shine,.

Dukes went 4-6 with 4 RBI’s and hit his first homer of the year, he also scored 3 runs in the second game of the doubleheader.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

 Derek Lowe of the 2004 Bosotn Red Sox is the only pitcher to win the final game of a divisional series, a league championship series, and the World Series all in the same year.

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                                      The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

            

                                             The Good

Last night I was harping about some  Rays bench players having to step up in the offense side of the game with Carlos Pena on the DL.  Eric Hinske and Willy Aybar will get the bulk of the first base duties in the next two or so weeks and will be counte on to produce in Pena’s absence..

Tonight it was Willy’s turn.  Aybar hit two doubles in his first two at-bats tonight to boost his average to .297 for the Rays. Aybar also scored the only Rays run in the second inning on a Jonny Gomes single to leftfield.

Willy is also looked very sharp at first cleanly fielding a few errant balls tonight.

Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:

***  When it comes to emotion, Jonny Gomes is king on the Rays roster. The guy lives and breathes emotion and competition. I am mentioning him as a “Good Guy” for standing up for his teammate, James Sheilds tonight in the 2nd inning fiasco.
I will address the negative factors in another section of the blog.

**   With Carlos Pena going on the DL, the Rays called up multi-faceted outfielder Justin Ruggiano.  This is Ruggiano third time up with the Rays this season.

Justin responded by going 2-4 tonight to raise is limited average to .313 for the season. Ruggiano will see alot of playing time in the next two weeks as a platoon position player for the Rays.

* The Rays renewed and revised Bullpen had to do some double duty tonight with the ejection of James Shields in the 2nd inning. Grant Balfour started the long line of relievers to help finish the game for the Rays. He was followed by J P Howell in the middle of the 3rd inning.

The Rays Bullpen after the third inning, shut down the Red Sox offense and gave Tampa Bay a chance to try and get back in the ballgame. Gary Glover, Dan Wheeler, and Al Reyes pitched 4 innings of 2-hit shutout ball to stop the Boston bats.

 

                   

                                                  The Bad

The Tampa Bay Rays has now been blanked by the Boston Red Sox for 6 straight games in Fenway Park. The team has not beaten the Sox since the Sunday finale in the Trop a few months ago. In this divisional rivalry, they must start to committ and try and split the remainder of the games against the Red Sox to even entertain a great season.

This series is just the second time the Rays have lost back-to-back games since they were swept here in Bosotn on May 2-4th. 

James Sheilds is now 8-13 as a road pitcher for the team.  In his 6 career starts against Boston, he is 1-3, with a 4.76 ERA. On the heels of that, he is 0-3 in Fenway Park lifetime. Shields also took a loss tonight.

When you play a team 17 times a year, you need to secure at least 50 percent of those games to be considered a victory. 

                                                 The Ugly

I understand what happened at the game, and that a “professional plucking” took place on Coco Crisp of the Red Sox, but the ramifications of this on-field fiasco will be felt for more than a few games.

The Rays may lose DH/outfielder Jonny Gomes and  starting pitcher James Sheilds to suspensions and in that, lose valuable pitching and hitting situations.

The only good thing to come out of all this is the look of unity on the Rays players  that raced into help their teammates.

All this because Coco Crisp wanted to act like a idiot. Last night, Crisp had issue with a base block by Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett.

In the next play, Crisp went into second on a steal really aggressive and up ended Aki Iwamura hard.  You would have thought he would have gotten his retaliation then, and not held onto it for 24 hours.

When Sheilds plucked Crisp with a 94 mph pitch in the hip, Crisp slowly turned and look to go to first without issue. He then turned the threw his helmet to the turf and ran to the mound. Sheilds tried to land a haymaker, but missed badly and Dioner Navarro caught Crisp from behind  before Crsip to administer more than a few blows to Sheilds…………..and the brawl was on.

I do not condone the action on the ground towards Coco Crisp as baseball. I also do not see it as “boys being boys.”

What I saw was Jonny Gomes punching Crisp from behind repeatedly. I suspect Gomes will get a multi-game suspension and a hefty fine. 

 I also saw leftfielder Carl Crawford come in and give Crisp a shot to the ribs, and a few other well placed hits. The gang mentality took over as soon as the bullpens joined the fray.  At one point, there were three different situation going on in the infield area before order was restored.

               

Jame Sheilds was pulled from the pile by Carlos Pena and Rays’ manager Joe Maddon, but wanted to rejoin the fiasco. In the end, only Gomes, Sheilds and Crsip were ejected from the ballgame.

But I expect an aditional fine to be levied against Boston third base coach DeMarlo Hale for his forceful tackling of Shields from behind.  It was a picture perfect defensive tackle for loss, but in the wrong sport.  Hale should also be fined and possibly suspended for tackling another teams’ player without intent to stop the fight.

     

 

MLB video of the Fiasco:

    http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?mid=200806052848893      

 

If he had done it to a Boston player to keep him out of harms way, I could condone it totally, but to hit an opposing player blindsided is ridiculous at best, and totally unprofessional for a coach in the majors.

Just think of it…………………we still have alot of ballgames to play against each other the rest of the year………..This is going to be a memorable year for both of our teams.

Fenway Curse gets the Rays again

 

 

Red Sox 5, Rays 1

 

When this roadtrip started, I stated that we might just see what kind of squad we really have here in Tampa Bay. What I am seeing is a hard fighting, slick pitching team that is a bit shellshocked by the last two games.

Rays manager Joe Maddon stated earlier this season that any playoff hopes for anyone in the AL would go through Boston. I truly feel that it is up to this squad to re-energize and focus to strive to get thing back into order. The last two series between these teams were sweeps by the home squad. Tomorrow’s early evening start will tell what will happen totally for the Rays on this roadtrip.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

Ty Cobb hit .300 for 23 consecutive seasons, the longest such run of any major leaguer.

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                                          The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

                                                       The Good

Evan Longoria is stepping up in the absence of slugger Carlos Pena and trying to produce some extra offensive “pop” into the lineup. Longoria went 2-3 tonight and also got a walk in the 5-1 loss to the Red Sox.

Longoria hit a blast to deep center that went for a doulbe and scored the teams’ only run after a Eric Hinske single in the 4th inning. Evan has upped his average to .244 recently and ajusted his swing to get better contact on the ball. His .960 Fielding Percentage is second in the AL, trailing only Boston’s Mike Lowell.

 

Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:                

 

***  BJ Upton got his 7th outfield assist tonight on Manny Ramirez trying to score in the bottom of the 7th inning. B J  is currently second in the AL, trailing only Nick Markakis of the Orioles for the lead.

B J  is the Rays best road hitter this season hitting .310 away from the Trop.

**  Akinora Iwamura hit two great shots to right tonight that were robbed by Boston’s J D Drew.  He got two singles later in the night to center and right to up his average to .276.. He has handled the ball 265 times this season.

Eric Hinske knows that he will be the guy the Rays look towards to fill the offensive void left by Carlos Pena’s visit to the DL today. Eric responded  by hitting a rocketing double and a single to score Evan Longoria for the Rays only run tonight. 

 Eric also stole third on Josh Beckett to the amazement of the Rays bench and to the Red Sox’s catcher, Jason Varitek. He  leads the Rays with 20 extra base hits, and is would rank 7th in the AL in Slugging Percentage (.513 ), if qualified.

                                         The Bad

 

Rays long reliever, Jason Hammel has to develop a faster delivery to the plate with men on base. Baserunners have now stolen a base 7 out of 7 times on Hammel this season. With his long extended windup, runners are getting great jumps on him and catcher Dioner Navarro doesn’t have a chance to get an out on them.

The Rays have now visited Boston 25 times without winning a series from the Red Sox. For the Rays to go to the next level of their development, they need to win in the hostile land of  Fenway Park. The playoff will probably go through this park, so the Rays need to develop a better plan of attack on the Red Sox in their next series here September 8-10th.  A mateer of weeks before the playoffs start for the American League.

 

                              

                                              The Ugly

The Rays put slugger Carlos Pena on the 15 Day Disabled List today because of a  crack in his finger after being Hit By a Pitch in the game Tuesday night.  Pena went through the game and produced a double and a homer before developing a throbbing pain in the evening at the team hotel.

Pena was examined by Rays Trainer Ron Porterfield in the room and informed Rays Manager Joe Maddon. Pena wanted to try and play through the injury, but the team doctors’ convinced him that the situation could get worse and he could be spending even more time away from the diamond.

The Rays are still optimistic that the team will rally around the injury and other members of the team will step up for the Rays. Eric Hinske and Wily Aybar will get the bulk of the time at first base in Pena’s absence.

“It’s a pretty good test right now,” Maddon said. “It’s equivalent to the SATs in some respects right now. You have to play through these kinds of things to be good. And we have very worthy replacements. The lineup we’re putting out there tonight is a pretty good lineup, also. Of course you never want to lose Carlos and you never want to lose Percy or Carl, but it happens. In the course of a championship season, it happens. And we just have to deal with it and move on, like everybody else does.”

“I’m extremely heartbroken, because I want to be out there playing,” Pena said. “It is what it is, but at this moment, I’m just going to go through the process to get better.”

“We understand we have to overcome adversity to become a championship team,” Pena said. “We have all the necessary tools, including the most important one, which is character. This is a team, not a one-player scene here. My absence should have no effect on how we go.”

 

Rays lose 4th straight at Fenway…….7-4.

 

Red Sox 7, Rays 4

 

The Rays are beginning a 9 game roadtrip that should  show both the critics and the believers more about the abilities and the moxy of this squad.  Two of the series feature the current World Champions (Boston), a division leader (L A Angels), and a very improved offensive team (Texas). This series will test the pitching staff and confuse and frustrate the offensive power of the Rays.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

On June 10, 1944, Joe Nuxtall was 15 years old when he played his first game for the Cincinnati Reds, making him the youngest player to play in the majors.

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                                                        The Good

Carlos Pena may have shown that he is beginning to come out of his batting slump by going 2-3 tonight. Pena hit his 11th homer into the Rays Bullpen in rightfield in the 6th inning to score  B J Upton.

This was not the first scoring play for Pena tonight, in the 4th inning he hit a ground rule double that also scored B J  to knot the score at 2-2. Carlos ended the night with 3 RBIs to increase his total to 35 RBI’s.

Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:

***  B J Upton went 2-5 tonight with a single and a double tonight. Upton scored 2 runs tonight and increase his average to .307.

** The Rays are 21-12 against the American League East. No other team has a winning record amonst their division mates.  They also have 6 walk-off wins, best in the AL, the Rays are 5-1, best in the majors.

                              

 Akinora Iwamura hit his 4th lead-off homer of the season tonight. Aki got on base three times tonight, with a homer and two walks.

Iwamura has not hit into a double play this season in his 231 at-bats. Lat season, he was the hardest player in the majors to get to ground into a double play.

                                 

                

                                              The Bad

Rays starter Matt Garza did not keep his composure in the bottom of the 6th inning against the Red Sox. Tampa Bay had just taken the lead in the game 4-3 and Garza returned to the mound and started the inning by hitting Kevin Youkilis with a pitch.

Manny Ramirez then got on base by Jason Bartlett’s first non-throwing error of the season. He got Mike Lowell to foul out, before walking J D Drew.

After walking Drew, he asked for a new ball from homeplate umpire Chad Fairchild after slamming the old ball nito the turf near the on deck circle of the Red Sox. Carlos Pena then went out to calm down Garza, but the damage was already done for the Rays.  Garza gave up two hits, a single to Jason Varitek, and a double to Coco Crisp. With 4 runs scoring the Red Sox were up 7-4 when Grant Balfour relieved Garza.

                                  

                                               The Ugly  

I really do not understand people who run onto the field during the game. I know that most of these occur after a bit of alcohol useage, but I do not understand why you would risk expulsion from a ballpark. Definite jail time( at least for the night), and a hefty fine to the local government.

I know at the Trop., since it is located near the St. Petersburg Police station, it makes the trip alot shorter and air conditioned. Seriously, I know the Rays take your Season Tickets away, expell you from all MLB stadiums, and you get some alone time in Sheriff  Jim Coates hotel, with a nice visit to a judge to pay a $ 150.00 fine.

That could be the next VISA commercial.

 2 Tickets to the Rays game                                                    $ 40.00

2 cold beers and Outback Steak and ‘srooms biter               $ 20.00

2 New Era fitted Rays caps                                                    $ 15.00

Strolling the outfield in the 7th inning stretch                 PRICELESS

   (Sounds of security struggling with you and the clink of the handcuffs)

 

Rays win in Walk-off fashion……………….Again

 

Rays 4, White Sox 3

After the Chicago White Sox’s thirs straight loss to the surging Tampa Bay Rays, White Sox manager called for General Manager Ken Williams to make changes to the club before Tuesdays home game against the Kansas City Royals’

In an e-mail to the Chicago Tribune, Williams said he wasn’t pleased.

“It’s just not a good idea to throw your boss under the bus, especially when that boss has had your back as much as I have had his,” Williams wrote. “I expect this team, if the leadership remains positive and the players stick together and continue to play hard, it will be a fun summer.”

Guillen’s frustration boiled over after a 10th innig walk-off homer by the Rays Gabe Grosss sent the White Sox home without winning a series from the Rays. In the first series of the year, the White Sox won the series and their pitching got them that victory. This time, the Sox offense was stymied by the Rays and the pitching had unfamiliar breakdowns.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

Outfielder Al Simmons real name is Aloysius Szymanski.

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                                     The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

                                                  The Good

Gabe Gross is making a statement that he loves playing with these young guys. He is also letting his bat do the talking for him the last month. In Sundays series closing win against the Chicago White Sox, Gross did everything right offensively for the Rays.

                

He accounted for all three of the four RBI’s, adding a 2-run triple to the mix in the 5th innig by hitting ball in the gap in right center and scoring Jonny Gomes and  Shawn Riggans. Gorss came up in the bottom of the 10th, and was the only ray to bat that inning. Gross hit a long drive that rightfielder Jermain Dye just looked up at to beat the Sox and send the Rays to their 35th victory of the year.

 

Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:

***  The Rays reserve players made a statement on Sunday by filling in offensively for their counterparts by going 5-10 for the Day.

Jonny Gomes (1-2), Shawn Riggans (2-4), and Gabe Gross ( 2-4) helped score 3-4 runs scored by the Rays. B J Upton got the other run scored on a Carlos Pena single in the 4th inning.

**  Carlos Pena, who is slowly coming out of his offensive slump got his 32nd RBI today. Pena is slowly starting to crank up his production numbers and played is usual superb defensive self in the ballgame.

I chat with J P Howell every chance I get this season. the guy is a bright guy who is so energetic if you talk to him. That is a 180 degree look compared to last year when he did not know his role on this squad and was reserved and quiet to most of the Fans.

This year he is slapping hands and chatting up the rightfield faithful on his way to  “Wheeler’s Watering Hole” my personal name for the Bullpen’s area beyond the rightfield walls.

Howell is 4-0 for the season, and is mixing his pitches extremely well and getting the out his sqaud needs to stay in contention most night. Sunday, he pitched 2 innings of 1-hit ball for the Rays.

 J P is the youngest member of the Rays’ Bullpen and has appeared in 37.1 innings this season, tops in the American League.

                          

                                           The Bad

Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine has been inconsistant the last three starts fir the Rays.  Andy has lost his last two starts, allowing 19 hits, 14 runs ( 9 earned) in 11 innings of work for a 7.36 ERA.

This recent skid came on the heels of his career high 5 game winning streak, the longest on the staff this season before Scott Kazmir equaled it Saturday night. Sonnanstine seems to have has control, but at times doesn’t have the placemtn on his breaking pitches he had in prior starts.

Sonnanstine needs to regain that form for the Rays to be successful on this upcoming long road trip against Boston, Texas and the LA Angels.

                                         The Ugly

It has been quite awhile since B J Upton has made a baserunning blunder. I am going to give him half blame for the pickoff by White Sox’s starter Mark Buehrle . Upton was caught 15 feet off first by Buehrle in the bottom of the 1st inning. This is the 6th time he has been caught  stealing this season, and the fourth where he was caught off the base and  leaning to steal a base this season.

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Just a reminder that the Thursday game aginst the Boston Red Sox has been moved to 6:05 P.M. because of the pending NBA finals game in Boston that night. The game was moved up to ease traffic situation in the city between fans trying to attend either event.

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Kazmir’s Shutout keeps Rays in the Winning Fashion

 

Rays 2, White Sox 0

 

I could not believe that the Trop could hold 38,000 fans anymore. I was under the impression that the stadium had been re-configured to hold less, but then a Country Superstar like Trace Adkins probably has never had a concert in the middle of a outfield corner before either.  Trace was fantastic, and he sang one of the top “Star Spangled Banners” ever in the Trop before the game.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

In 1990, Oakland relief ace Dennis Eckersley had 48 saves and allowed only 45 baserunners all season.

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                                               The Good

Rays’ ace Scott Kazmir set a Rays record of winning 5 straight games tonight. Kazmir and Mike Mussina are the only pitchers in the league who had 5 wins in the month of May. Since Scott lost his first decision after coming off the DL, Kazmir’s opposition batting average of .172 is the lowest among the league’s pitchers.

                                   

 

Kaz’s ERA has lowered to 1.22, which is also a Rays record for ANY month. The previous record was 1.43 in 1998 by Julio Santana. Kazmir’s 3-hit shutout mput an exclamation point on his comeback from an elbow injury in the Spring.

It also showed the league that the Rays will be a force for the rest of the season, now that their young ace is in shape and ready for each start.

The Rays have NEVER had a MLB Pitcher of the Month award winner in their 11 year history. 

 

Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:

 

 

***  Recently promoted Rays reliever Grant Balfour got his first MLB save last night. He retired the only batter he faced in the bottom of the 9th inning last night for the save. In Triple-A Durham, Balfour had only allowed 1 run in 15 appearances, spanning 23.2 innings. The only run allowed, was a homerun.

**  The Rays Akinora Iwamura has still not committed an error at second base, his new position this season.  Aki’s 41 hits lead the American League for May. Aki was only 9 shy of the Rays hit record of 50 set by Carl Crawford. With his 2 hits Friday, he became the 5th Rays to record 40 hits in a month.

 

Cliff Floyd has been preaching the virtues of confidience and teamwork all year to the young guys on the squad. He has been a great example of professional leadership and style for the year.

                 

Cliff decided to use his bat to put a finally stamp on that committment and get the Rays another victory over the White Sox. Floyd was almost pulled in the bottom of the 4th inning for a pinch hitter, but Carlos Pena struck out to end the inning. In the top of the 5th, Cliff hit a blast to right that sealed the victory for the Rays. It was Floyd’s 4th homer for the Rays this season.

  

                                                       The Bad

The Rays struck out 12 times last night, with Aki Iwamura and Carlos Pena each striking out 3 times for the night. The Rays are an agressive team, and one of the statistics that is elevated with a agressive style is the ratio of strikeouts in a game. The rays currently have 412 strikeouts, which ranks 5th in the majors.

The Rays also lead the majors in another category. They have been caught stealing 23 times this season. That stat is 3 more than the Cincinnati Reds, who are in second place in the league.

                                            

                                                      The Ugly

The “Ugly” of tonight is not a game situation, or a team player. It is the system that the Rays are employing to get people down to the field for the Summer concert series. Last week, I was able to get up to the top of the seating bowl and descend down to the field for the concert on the field.

 My wristband, given to Season Ticketholders and “special guests” was admittance to the field level for an up close and personal view of the concert.

Well, being Country Night, maybe the Rays decided that we needed to be hearded into the First Base Food Court between the white fencing in the back of the hallway. I am fine with being there waiting to go down to the field level and enjoy the concert.

The problem I have, was with the execution of the Rays for us getting there. We were huddled in this fencing in the hall, when we could see on the television monitors next to us, people being let on the turf by security that did not come up here and wait like we did the entire inning.

 They got the primo positions up front and the crowd was 4 deep when the first group arrived at the field gates. I still got great videos of the concert, but I had to vent somewhere, and you got to see the result.

I hope the Rays revise their Concert series plans before the next big event during the Latin night celebration.  They will have several weeks to perfect and get the “kinks” out of this new idea. The idea was great, but the execution left alot to be desired.

 

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