Trop no longer a vacation stop for Red Sox
Lately at the Trop., there has been a small cottage industry developing every 3, or 4 games that could mean big profits for its enterprising owners. It is an industry that might be confusing local hardware stores, and even making the Tampa Bay area look like the cleanest towns in America.
It is the new and inventive act of selling brooms on the way into the Trop. property. I think it is actually a bit inventive that you go to a store and buy these brroms in bulk and then sit on a corner and ask every Tom, Dick or Harry if they need a broom. Actually, I wish I would have thought about it first, but I am only focused on the games, not the money in my pocket, or leaving my pocket.
For 6 dollars you get an authentic blue handles broom. I like the fact they at least tried to color coordinate with the Rays colors with their wares. You get a multi- tasking item that can be waved and clean your section in one item. What a bargain. You might even be able to resell it on Ebay as a game used broom complete with ticket stub. Wow, this could be the beginning of something really amazing and profound, or it could be just a broom to sweep the grass clippings off the sidewalks after a loss……………..It is your mission to find the best way to use this new unofficial Rays merchandise to ite fullest potential.
Evan Longoria collected 3 RBI’s last night to be officially put into the club as only the third Rookie to be put in the exclusive 15-homer, 20 double, and 50 RBI club. He joins charter member Fred Lynn and Devon White at the head table of this great group of Rookie performers.
In a few days we will also find out about the Rookie of the Month award from MLB. Evan will be in serious contention for this honor after destroying the ball the last three weeks. Longoria currently leads all rookies in June with 8 homers and a rookie leading .650 Slugging Percentage, along with 19 runs scored and 11 doubles. If he wins the award, he will be the first Rays to garnish such an honor.
Back to the game, Longoria went 3-4 last night with 3 RBI’s to raise his average to .275 for the year. Longoria got the scoring started in the first inning by singling to center to score B J Upton. The run tied the game at 1-1.
In the Rays big 7th inning, Longoria hit a double to center that scored Upton and Carl Crawford. The hit put Evan on second, and the Rays up 5-4 for their first lead of the night.
Scott Kazmir last night was not the dominating pitcher we have come to know and love as Rays fans. He is trying to be more deceptive and use his pitches to entice instead of blow hitters off the plate. His slider is still not an effective as last season, but can be used sparingly to confuse hitters. Kazmir went 5 innings last night and gave up 4 walks to his 3 strikeouts. This is the first time this season Kazmir’s walks have surpassed his strikeouts in a game.
The biggest difference I have seen in Kazmir is the realease of pressure that he can go out and throw his pitches now and not have to carry this team on his back to a win. He acknowlodges and accepts that he has a good defense behind him and can sometimes just pitch now instead of try and be a firethrower most outings. This will lead to a development and a maturity that will put Scott in the next level of pitchers in this league.
When you can trust the guys behind you totally, you become a better pitcher and teammate. As Crash Davis once said in Bull Durham, “Throw some balls, it is more democratic.”
When we traded for Jason Bartlett this past off season, I was one of those guys who sat there and wondered what he would bring to this club. He has always had an average bat and was a dependable shortstop. I really did not look deep into our past and see we never had a guy who could both items with great success.
Jason batted a club high .392 during the InterLeague series, and is batting .277 in his last 52 games after bottoming out at .200 this year. Bartlett has also turned into a basestealing weapon for Rays Manager Joe Maddon. He has effectively stolen third base on numerous occasions, including last night in the 7th innig after doubling to lead off the inning.
But with the good, we have to also take the bad. Last night, Bartlett also had his 7th throwing error of the season, and the second in two nights. It was his 11th error of the year. Bartlett’s only downfall is not following through on his long throws from deep, deep in the hole at short, and the ball sails on him. This will come with practice and time.
Rays reliever Gary Glover came on in the top of the 7th inning and pitched the Rays to his 1st victory of the year. Glover used his off speed pitches to get 2 strikeouts and get the Rays a scoreless inning.
In the game, Rays and Red Sox saw second base umpire Sam Holbrook call an unusual play. With Julio Lugo bearing down on Jason Bartlett at second, Lugo knew he had to take out Bartlett to break up the double play. Bartlett got the play off at second, but got the throw a wee second late to Carlos Pena at first.
With Jacob Ellsbury called safe at first by Bruce Dreckman, Holbrook called Lugo for baserunner interference, which would complete the double play and got the Rays out of the inning. It is an unusual call, but one that on tape showed was the right call at the time.
Akinora Iwamura also got his second error of the year on an errant throw to first. Aki now has two erros in the last two series after going error-less the first 48 games of the year for the Rays.