Rays 3, Royals 0
I was more than excited to see the concert after the game last night. Loverboy was the first rock concert I ever attended as a kid in St. Petersburg. Back then the concert venue of choice for big bands was the Bayfront Center main arena.
Going to that first concert made me love music more every note I heard that night. Watching the drummer pound the skins and Mike Reno belt out the notes made me wish I was up there being admired by the mostly teenage girl crowd.
Being a teen guy, it was like heaven on earth.
But now, I got to have heaven on two planes. I got to have my baseball and my music on the same night, and both would be worth the ticket price and more. Funny, I have not had my Loverboy CD for years, but I knew almost every word to every song like I just heard them today. Music can do that to you………………but then again, this Rays team can make you sing loud and proud too. And in tune!
Ben Zorbrist is making the best of his time up here with the Rays. Who else on the squad can say that they have 3 homers in as many games. And put that with him going 2-3 last night, and you have a guy who is filling in for Jason Bartlett making a case to stay longer with the team.
Zorbrist hit a shot to right in the 7th inning to give the Rays some more cushion on the way to their 54th win of the year. The homer was Zorbrist’s 3rd of the season and raised his average to .333 for the year.
Carl Crawford did not get a stolen base last night and is struck needing 1 base to push him to the 300 stolen base mark and make him one of 9 players since 1900 to record that number before their 27th birthday. I hope the Rays have something in store for this occasion. It would be a shame for such a fantastic PR situation go by the wayside. Crawford has been the engine that ran the Rays for years, and hopefully, the team will reward him in some small way for his feat. Cross your fingers they do the right thing here
The only Ray to get a stolen base last night was Evan Longoria, who got his 6th of the season in the 8th inning. The Rays still lead the majors in stolen bases.
Andy Sonnanstine keeps putting himself into the Rays record books this year. With his 10th victory last night, Sonnanstine is now linked with Rolando Arroyo and Scott Kazmir as the only Rays to have 10 win before the All-Star break. Sonnanstine will have a chance to break that record with his next start during the last roadtrip before the break.
Sonnanstine pitched 7 innings of 5-hit shutout ball before leaving the game J P Howell came in and got all 3 Royals’ he faced to strike out in the 8th inning.
J P Howell is 2nd in the AL, and 3rd in the majors with 52.2 innings of relief work this season. Howell leads all AL relievers with 6 wins this year, and is 1 win short of tying the Rays team record for a season for a reliever. The current record is 7, held by Shawn Camp.
Grant Balfour came on in the 9th inning and 2 strikeouts while recording his 3rd save of the year. Balfour is now holding opponents to a .105 average against him this year. Grant alsoleads all MLB pitchers with a 13.75 strikeouts per 9 innings mark, and has struck out 27 of 63 batters he has faced this season.
Balfour also has 8 straight scoreless relief appearances, and 12 out his 13 appearances have been scoreless this season.
The Rays have announced that on the Friday July 18th game, Hess Express will be giving all fans in attendance a 5.00 gas card, and some lucky people can win up to $5,000. in additional gas prizes during the game. It is Hess and the Rays’ plan to “Fill the Trop.”
For an example, a family of 4 can attend the game and get to park for free becuase of the Rays car pooling rules, plus get $ 20. in gass cards for attending the first home game after the All-Star break.
The Rays went over the million fan mark with last night’s attendance, their first time since 1998 that they reached this mark before the All-Star break. This is an increase of 36% since last season, and is currently the largest increase in the majors.
The Rays pitching continues to be a strength of this squad. Rays starters have allowed 3 Earned Runs or less in 16 of the last 17 games. The team’s ERA is sitting at 3.59, which is 3rd in the majors. Rays starter’s have also held opponents to a .239 average, 2nd in the majors this year. Only once in the last 17 games has a Rays starter allowed 10+ hits this year.
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