Navarro hits the Rays to Victory

 

Rays 3, Red Sox 1

 

Rays radio guru, Rich Hererra is right, get the rolaids out and lock the kids in the closet. The Rays and Red Sox rivalry is starting with a bang.

If the Rays conclude this series with a victory, it will come down to who loses at home first, the Rays or the Sox. Both teams have stifled the other one with great pitching at home, and the future holds more of the same in store for both sets of fans.

But, I must admit, the Trop did sound a bit 60-40 last night, and I am not sure who had the 40 percent. But the cowbells were out in force, that is a given in this series. 

I got to attend the Rays Town Meeting last night involving the Rays top management and the Season Ticket invitees. It was informative meeting about alot of thing concerning the stadium, and the future of the franchise.

Rays President Matt Silverman spoke about the stadium project and stressed that the Rays’ Coalition is now the main driving force on the issue.

October events came up, but under MLB blankets and covers, if was just hinted that the announcements and arrangements might be made sometime in the future……………….if we keep this training rolling on the tracks.   Chooooooooooo  Choooooooooooo!

Let me just add, that the Rays do have management in place who have been to the post season with the Arizona diamondbacks, so we will not be doing any tickets, or procedures that have not worked in the past. And that in its self is refreshing to hear.

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Trivia Facts of the Night:

The Rays are now 10-1 in front of crowds over 30,000 this year, and 12-2 with crowds over 25,000.  Rays ticket sales have grown 42 % this year, the highest rise in the majors this season.

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Ever since that episode in Texas, we have seen a different Matt Garza on the mound for the Rays. Matt seems to be more in control of himself on the mound and is smiling and having fun while pitching some great games. Garza went 7 innings last night and gave up 5 hits and a lone run to the Red Sox.

 

                                       

 

 Matt was using his fastball primarily tonight with different sinks and rises attributing to his success.  I think we might be seeing the emergence of Garza as another top weapon for the Rays as they prepare for a stretch run in the AL East.

Matt did have one small situation that got him in a jam in the 4th inning.  Jacob Ellsbury hit a short grounder in front of the mound area and Dioner Navarro threw the ball into Ellsbury’s helmet area and Carlo Pena could not get the ball for the Rays. The ball trickled to the first base wall and Ellsbury went to third on the throwing error. He ended up scoring on J D Drew Sacrifice Fly to right.

 

                

 

Evan Longoria again came through defensively for the Rays tonight. Longoria took a hot smash at third by Alex Cora and turned it into an out by throwing him out from his knees. It was a play both coaches’ expressed might have turned the tide of the game for either side.

The play could have broken the game wide open for the charging Red Sox, who had a runner at first at the time. The play would have been down  in the leftfield corner with Brandon moss breaking for second on the play. Longoria was up to the test and got the third out of the inning on this fantastic play. 

Rays Manager, Joe Maddon was asked about the play and commented that, He (Longoria), is just getting started. You will see alot more from this guy before his career is over.”  Amen to that Joe!

 

           

 

Rays catcher Dioner Navarro had an interesting night. He had an error charged to him on a errant throw to first on a soft grounder in front of the mound area.  Navarro came back and hit two key singles that scored men for the Rays.

Navarro hit a single to right that scored Evan Longoria in the bottom of the 4th inning. I think that was a fitting way to help get the Rays back into this game after the play at first. Navarro tried to squueze that throw in between Ellsbury and Carlos Pena, with Pena not being able to grab the ball before it hit Ellsbury’s helmet.

Navarro also got another single in the 8th inning to score Carlos Pena and put the Rays up 3-1. For the night, Navarro went 2-4, and is hitting .316 for the team.

 

                                  

 

Troy Percival was not availiable for this contest, having been put on the 15 day DL.

In his absence, Maddon used Grant Balfour to close out the game for the Rays.  Balfour, who did not make the teams 25 man roster to start the year, was the closer for the Triple-A Durham Bulls before coming up on May 29th for the Rays. 10 of his last 11 appearances have been scoreless, and hes struck out 38.6 percent of the batters’ he has faced for the Rays.

On May 29th, Balfour earned his first major league save by retiring the only batter he faced. Tonight, he got his second save of the year. Opponents are batting .102 against him with only 2  extra base hits against him, both of them are doubles.

The Raye are a franchise record 18 games over .500 for the year. They are also the fastest team ever to get 50 wins after being the worst team in the majors. The Rays have now been over .500 for 62 straight days.

Rookie Evan Longoria is currently led all rookies with 8 homers in June, a Rays rookie record for any month, and a .650 Slugging Percentage.

He needs to get just 3 RBI’s to become only the 3rd rookie in the last 50 years to post 15 home runs, 20 doubles and 50 RBI’s by the All-Star break. The other two members of this exclusive club are, Devon White and Fred Lynn.

The Rays have announced that they are bring up pitcher Mitch Talbot from the Durham Bulls to replace Troy Percival on the Rays roster. Talbot was 7-6, with a 4.41 ERA for the Bulls. Talbot has thrown 102 innings this year with 77 strikeouts.

He will be used mostly in the long reliever role for the Rays, with Jason Hammel moving to a set-up role for the Rays in Troy’s absence.

 

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