Tribe Scalps Rays to 4th loss in a Row
I was just reading a article about changing and updating the All-Star game on ESPN.com. It was a very interesting article and had alot of great changes that could and should happen to liven up this 3-day carnival of baseball. One of the unique ideas was to have a roster spot or two added for a “living legend” participant.
Now that would be a veteran that might be winding down a fantastic career who doesn’t have the offensive or defensive muscle they had in their primes. I think this could be used as a “Thank You” spot on the roster.
An example, Ken Griffey Jr. could have been this years legend.
We all know how much he has meant to the game, and will be in Cooperstown without a doubt. But this stage gives baseball, and the fans a chance to truly give him a standing ovation or the send-off with respect and admiration for his feats. I would stand up and clap for at least 5 minutes for his feats and amazing career.
Another idea was to set a spot on each team with a designated “set-up” guy.
You know, a J P Howell, or Dan Wheeler who is on top of his game, and who is feared by opposing batters. The All-Star rosters are full of back-end closers and no true set up guys who do a boatload of work to get the closer in a position to save a win. Wheeler for example has 20 “holds” this season. That is one more than the entire Royals relieving corp, and is one of the best in the AL. Should he have a spot on this roster?
Another great example is the Cub’s setup guy,Carlos Marmol, who has allowed only 23 hits in 50 innings. Seattle’s Brandon Marrow,who has a 0.65 ERA as a setup man.
There are more ideas, but these two caught my eye and should be put into effect in next year’s All-Star game. These roster spots would increase the players invited, but aren’t these positions more important than a 4th catcher, or a 3rd second baseman.You make the call………
Before I get started here, we need to truly understand why the system worked for Evan Longoria in the Monster Last Vote to the All-Star game. It could have been the pounding and repetition voicing and reminders by the radio and television broadcast teams about voting for Longo.
It could have been the Rays video supporting his inclusion with ESPN/Rays Guru Dick Vitale, or it could just be that we finally believe we have a true All Star in this guy. I am going to go with the last one.
I think we truly have a guy we all can enjoy here. In the past, Delmon Young was so standoff-ish to the fans he could have been invisible before he steps on the turf. So he would not have won such an honor by our fans. But, Longoria has been a delight from the day he signed his first contract.
And, by the way, it might have been the fastest signing of a 1st pick in history. Evan wanted to play baseball, plain and simple. And he did work his way up the right way. He won championships in Double-A, he struggled but found himself in Triple-A, and when he stepped on the field in the 12 game of the season, he was cheered and applauded. He had arrive, and we were more than happy to welcome him into our home (Trop.).
For that reason, I think we all banded together and did multiple and massive votings online and by text to get this kid in the All Star game. By the way, he had more than 9 million votes…………9 million reason more to love watching this guy play ball.
Here are a few fun facts about the All-Star game voting for Longoria:
He is the first Rookie ever voted into the game on the Last Vote concept since its inception in 2002. He is only the 3rd Rookie third baseman to be selected to the contest. Also selected were KC’s Kevin Seitzer (1987), and the Twins’Rich Rollin (1962).
The first Rookie third baseman to make the roster since the Red’s Chris Sabo in 1988.
Andy Sonnanstine was going for a place in Rays history last night. The problem is, he might be remembered more for the loss in this contest than for trying to establish a great pitching record.
Andy was going for his 11th win of the season, which would have been 1 win more than Rolando Arroyo and Scott Kazmir before the All-Star break. Instead, Andy had a 5th inning that he would love to forget.
In the Cleveland 5th, Sonnanstine lost all sense of control around the plate and seemed to leave the ball up constantly in the inning. His breaking ball was not hitting it’s sharp points and rolling through the strike zone.
When the 5th started, the Rays and Indians were tied at 2-all in the game. By the end of the inning, Sonnanstine had lost the game, and it started an avalanche towards one of the Rays worst losses this year. Sonnanstine’s 5th inning started great as he got the first two Cleveland batters out in order, but with 2-outs in the inning, it began to unravel for him.
The next six batters hammered him for 5 runs, including 2 homers. Sonnanstine for the night gave up 3 homers in 2 innings. He had last given up a home run on May 21st in Oakland. Andy had gone 46 innings and faced 202 batters since his last homer. Sonnanstine will finish 10-4 at the break, and is the only Rays pitcher with 10 wins this year.
Jonny Gomes has been itching to show he still has the stuff to play every day, and can still hit MLB pitching. In the 3rd inning, Gomes connected on a curveball up in the zone and deposited it in the leftffield stands. Willy Aybar was on base, and the homer put the Rays 2-0 at the time.
It was Gome’s 7th homer of the year. The homer out some confidience in the Rays offense who had been held in check the previous 2 games in New York against the Yankees. The last hit for Gomes was his pinch hit homer in Pittsburgh on June 28th. This stadium has not been good to Gomes, who is 5-26 lifetime at Jacobs/Progressive Field.
Andy Sonnanstine was not the only pitcher to have a rough outing in Cleveland Thursday night. Gary Glover probably had the worst relief appearance of his career last night. Glover entered the game with the score in favor of Cleveland 8-2. In the 8th inning, Cleveland would sent 11 batters to the plate and score 7 runs off Glover. Glover pitched 2/3 of an inning and gave up 6 hits and 2 walks to the Indians.
Glover also had 2 wild pitches during the inning. Glover threw 46 pitches in the inning before being replaced by Trever Miller for the final out of the inning.
In the 9th inning, the Rays got walks by Carlos Pena, and Eric Hinske, and a single by Willy Aybar to load the bases with 2-outs for Ben Zobrist. He ended tp taking a called 3rd strike to end the game for the Rays.
In this roadtrip, the Rays are hitting 2-33 with runners in scoring position. This statistic shows the struggles by the Rays offense right now to get rid of this 4-game losing streak. The Rays are also hitting .189 during the recent slide.
The loss also added to the Rays woes in this stadium where they have lost the 10th straight game here. The last win in this stadium was on Sept. 28, 2005. The Loss drops the Rays another game closer to Boston. The Red Sox are currently only 1.5 game behind the Rays for the lead in the AL East division. The NY Yankees did not pick up a game since they lost their make-up InterLeague game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Rays did have some great news last night. ESPN did a Sunday Conversation with Rays’ Manager Joe Maddon. This is a first for the Rays, and should be great PR for the team.
Also the Rays are still the best team in baseball with a 55-35 record. The Rays are on pace to win 99 games this season. That would give them a 33 game improvement over last season. That would match the 1946 Red Sox for 3rd best turnaround in MLB history