Royals Rock Rays for a Loss

 

 

Royals 7, Rays 4

 

I am so glad that the nation is voting for Evan Longoria. The kid is the real deal. He is as cool, calm and collected as Cliff Floyd at the plate. And he has the game savvy on the turf to try play George Brett might shy from, but that is why we love this guy.  He has heart for days.

I was sitting there at my seat on Sunday and Mondya voting for Longoria for the last spot on the All-Star roster. But you have to ask, compared to the other guys, does he derserve a shot?

I think those first 11 games of the year could be the key here. He was not up on the Opening Day roster, but brought up when Willy Aybar had an injury. He lost at-bats and time to showcase himself in NY and Baltimore to start the year.

He could have already hit his 27th homer to tie the record for homer by a rookie before the All-Star break. Or, he could have been  right up there with the other guys who have played since day 1 in statistics.

Those 11 days will be a mystery and a question to be asked for years. But, Longoria is up now, and he is everything we wanted him to be as a Ray. If he doesn’t make the All-Star team it is not for lack of effort by local fans and their cellphones and computers. But, he has the NY and Chicago fans to deal with who want to see their guy there instead of Evan.  At 5 PM on Thursday, the voting ends, but Evan’s career is just beginning.

 

           

 

Carlos Pena is finally showing great signs of fulfilling his spot on the Rays roster. Pena hit his 13th homer of the season with a shot to deep right that changed the game by tying the contest 3-3 in the 9th inning. 

 Carlos is currently hitting .261 since coming back off the DL on June 27th, and has started all 12 Rays games since that time. When he went on the DL for a broken finger in Boston, he was the club leader in homers and RBI’s. He is currently 3rd on the team in homers, trailing Eric Hinske ( 14) and Longoria (16).

Eric Hinske had a very productive day at the plate going 3-5 for the Rays. In the 2nd innig, Hinske reached on a bunt single to third base.
It was Hinske’s first infield hit this year. In the 6th inning, Hinske singled to center, but was stranded on second to end the inning.

In the 11th, with the Rays down 7-3, Hinske hit a monster for his 14th homer of the year. The blast gave the Rays some confidience in the inning, but the next two batters’ Ben Zorbrist and Akinora Iwamura were not up to the task and Rays lost for the first time in 7 games, 7-4.

 

                                  

 

Aki walked to start the contest for the Rays and moved to third on Carl Crawford’s single to center. When Royals cather John buck overthrew second, Iwamura came in to start the scoring for the Rays. Longoria came up next and singled to left to score Crawford.

With the steal in the 1st, Crawford became only the 9th player since 1900 to steal 300 bases before his 27th birthday. The crowd gave CC a standing ovation for the feat. I would thought the Rays would have replaced the base and given it to Crawford as a symbol of his achievement.

I know it is not like stealing 100 bases, or being the steal king, but it would have made a great impression on Crawford for future considerations, and been the classy thing to do for the franchise.  Missed PR opportunity guys! 

Crawford has been the “go-to” guy for this franchise at a young age. He has not accepted it without growing pains and some reservations, but he is still a face of the team, and a gesture by the management would have made huge strides in PR-land.

 

                                   

 

Dan Wheeler had a 10th inning you wish only on your opponent. Wheeler took the mound to start the inning, and Billy Butler hit a routine ball to Longoria. Evan could not get a great handle on the ball the threww the ball past Pena to get Butler to second on the throwing error.  It was Longoria’s 6th throwing error of the season.

Wheeler was then asked to Intentionally Walk Russ Gload to get to the catcher, John Buck. Buck had been mostly a ground-ball hitter this year and the Rays were looking for a double play ball out of Buck.

Buck  hit a 2-run homer to the leftfield foul pole on the second pitch from Wheeler. The ball struck the metal netting on the side of the pole and you could hear the clang throughout the stadium. The next batter,  Mike Aviles took the first pitch he saw from Wheeler before depositing the next one in Section 145 for a solo home run.  The Royals were up 7-3 at that moment.

Cliff Floyd enjoyed one of his best days this season going 2-3, with 2 single to rightfield in the game. Floyd is a .347 hitter lifetime at Tropicana Field, the 3rd best average at the stadium.  During the homestand, he went 4-12, with 2 intentional base on balls and 1 RBI.

Rays starter, Matt Garza kept the Rays in the game with his controlled pitching. Garza was effective around the corners of the plate and went 6.2 innings today. He gave up 3-runs on 9-hits and struck out 5 on 109 pitches for the Rays.

Garza’s pitching has shown mass imporvement since the explosion in Texas awhile back. This game was closer than the score shows as Garza kept the Royals rally down in the 2nd inning, getting Joey Gathright to fly out to left to end the rally and keep the score tied 2-all.

 

The loss gives the Boston Red Sox a chance to gain a game on the Rays with a victory tonight over the Minnesota Twins. The Twins have been the second hottest team in baseball lately and hopefully will be a huge test for the Sox.

The Rays start a roadtrip tomorrow that will see them on the road for 23 of their next 35 games.  The Rays were 5-3 on their last roadtrip, but are 2-games under .500 for the rest of the season on the road. The Rays currently have the 20th best  ERA on the road at  4.59 for the year.

 

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