Rays Score, But Still Fall to Indians

 

 

Indians 8, Rays 4

 

 

The worst thing about this 6-game losing streak is the fact it will make the nay-sayers’ and doubters’ more than happy to see a Tampa Bay slump. All year long the media in the upper East Coast has been wanting and hoping for such a slide.

To consider that this squad has not has a losing streak of any length before now is really quite amazing considering it’s history, but the “no”-boys only see the kink in the Rays armor. I have read a few blogs and viewpoints where the Rays have been thrown again to the wolves and are considered only a “comet that shines bright then fades into the black.”

Wow, nice imagery, but what worse is it is from a popular magazine that has seemed to have our backs most of the year. Now, they have taken a “let’s see” approach to us even having a rebound or playoff type year.

All I have to add to this is tha fact that this team has never been here before. We have nopt had a late season push for the playoffs and folded, or even made it then imploded.

Can’t you just reward the effort and know that the best years are still in the can. If we hit the playoffs this year, it will not be the last time. If we get past a few rounds, it might not be the only time you see us in that position. But, can we at least get in that position before the world decides to knock us down…………….and we will get back up and go for it all over again, and again, and again.

 

 

 

Dioner Navarro has had a helluva week. He is going back to New York as an All-Star, and he is going to re-visit his Yankee past while he is there. Remember Navarro was a first round draft pick of the Yankees in 2000.

He has been a constant force on this team this season, both at the plate, and behind it. He will only the 4th youngest Ray to ever make the All-Star team, and the first Rays’ catcher to have that honor.

 

 

When the season began, I questioned his ability as a leader with the pitching staff. Since Texas, I have seen this guy grow by leaps and bounds both in confidience, and in leadership with this young starting pitching staff. You do not find alot of staffs that have a catcher as young as it’s up and coming aces. And you usually do not see them in contention for a divisional title while going through their aches and pains.

For that reason, I applaude and respect the job Navarro has done for the Rays in this first half of the season.

 

                                

                                   

 

Navarro again did it at the plate for the Rays on Sat. night. In the game Navarro went 2-3 on the night and hit a timely 2-run double down the rightfield line in the 8th inning. It helped the Rays extend their scoing in the inning, and help boost the morale on the Rays bench.

 

Cliff Floyd has had an intersting first half to this season. He has battled knee aliments, been shuffling in and out of the line-up, but has come to play every day.  The 14 year veteran has made 34 starts this year, all at DH for the team.

Floyd’s 2-run single  in the 8th inning, snapped an 0-21 streak for runners in scoring position for the Rays. His scoring play was the first Rays runs since Jonny Gome’s 2-run blast in Thursday nights game. Floyd went 2-4 in the contest and ends the first half with a .264 average and 18 RBI’s for the season.

 

                                 

 

Rays starter Matt Garza was trustingf his pitches early on in this game, before he ran into trouble in the 2nd inning. The IUndians took advantage of a control issue with his 2-seam fastball and slider that were just missing and up on the night.

Garza worked  only 5 innings, and gave up 11-hits and 7 runs before being relived by JP Howell,Dan Wheeler and Trever Miller. Garza had 6 strikeouts on the night and gave up two homers to Grady Sizemore and Ryan Garko.

 

Eric Hinske had a great night himself on Sat. night for the Rays. Hinske, who had been odd-man out with two straight lefties starting for the Indians took advantage of his time by going 3-4 on the night with 3 singles.

Hinske, who has batted .278 against right-handed pitching this season, seemed in control at the plate and in the field. Hinske was batting 3rd for the Rays tonight in place of B J Upton, who was given the night off by Rays Manager Joe Maddon.

Hinske responded with an outfield assist in the 2nd inning, and several close plays in the game. On one play in the 2nd inning, both Hinske and Gross left their feet to try and get a dying ball hit into rightcenterfield. Gross ended up throwing out Carroll on the play.

 

Grant Balfour came on in the 8th inning and worked 1/3 of an inning and gave up a run on 1 hit to end the game for the Rays.

 

Tampa Bay did get 3 outfield assists in the game against Cleveland. The first came in the bottom of the second on a ball hit to shallow rightfield  that Eric Hinske got back into second in time to catch Ben Francisco over-running the bag and being tagged out by Ben Zorbrist for the second out of the inning.

The second was a play at the plate involving  Indian Jamey Carroll, where he tried to score on a ball off the centerfield wall. Gabe Gross retreived the ball and threw it to Akinora Iwamura, who turned and fired a strike to Navarro for the tag-out at home to end the inning.

The last outfield assist involved  Carl Crawford in the 8th inning. Casy Blake had singled to left, and Jhonny Peralta was trying to sneak into third on the play. Crawford put a bullet on-line to Evan Longoria who applied the tag for the 3rd out of the inning.

 

The Rays have hit .210 in this series and have only scored 6 runs. They are hitting .187 on the roadtrip, with 7 runs. The Rays have also only hit .200, with 11 total runs on the 6 game losing streak. The Rays are also hitting only 0.85 ) 4 for 47) with runners in scoring position.

The Rays are currently on pace to allow 665 runs, more than 284 runs less than last season. Only 2 teams in the modern era have had such a huge run drop-off from one year to the next. It would be the 8th greatest run decrease in the history of the league.

 

Trever Miller logged his 116th consecutive relief appearance without a decision last night tying former Rays Bobby Seay for the longest such streak in the last 50 years. Trever’s last decision was a win in Atlanta on Sept. 30, 2006.

Prior to this series, Rays starters have allowed 3-earned runs or less in 20 of the last 21 games. In this series, they have allowed, 6, 5,and 7 earned runs in the first 3 games.

The Rays pitching staff had held opponents to a .244 average this year, 3rd lowest in the majors. But, Cleveland has batted .352 and have scored 26 runs

 

The Rays starters have failed to go 5+ innings only once in their last 30 games.  The Rays have made 22 erros in their last 23 games. The Raya began the season by only committing 30 in their first 71 games.

 

                      

 

 

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