Pena goes Deep for Rays Victory

 

 

Rays 5, Royals 3

 

In the past, my Sat. night’s when the Rays were out of town did not include Rain Delays and sitting their watching alternative Tv shows. I used to hit my old watering hole about 8-ish, or after 5 innings. Usually by then, you knew what kind of outcome was coming for the Rays.

But, in this playoff-drenched year, you never know what Rays team is going to show up on any night.

Could it be the offensive minded juggernaut who scored at will a few weeks ago, or the runs challenged little cousin we have seen here in KC this weekend. The Rays now have to get up as much for the little guys they are suppose to beat, as the giants in the AL.

In the coming weeks, the little guys are going to decide this pennant race. The Rays used to be in the spoiler roles for playoff bound squads. Now, they are in the crosshairs of teams wanting to shoot the upstarts back to earth and home in October.  We forgot to bring our “A” game against the “little guys”, and the teams we are suppose to beat are beating us to the punch.

We are now the team that should dictate what our record and rise up accordingly. But I think we might not have that strong a opinion of our own worth just yet. We know what talents we have, but are not using or abusing our own goods to succeed this year.

Maybe people are right, maybe we are just scratching the surface and will not be the monster this year. We still have over 60 games to prove the world wrong, but the path is uphill and the Rays have seemed to be on a slippery slope on the road lately

I think the Rays need to finally put that game face on 24/7 and grit it out for the next 60-ish games and show that this team is the one to delegate the playoffs this season, and not be the last one invited to the party.

Time to RSVP Rays, are you up to the test?

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One of the foundations of this teams playoff run this season has been the play of Carl Crawford. In the last few seasons, Crawford has rasied his average and steal totals every season. This year might be the first year he is not going to keep pace with that stat, but Crawford  for the first time in his Ray’s career is not being asked to carry this team.

That has raised some questions into Carl’s heart for the Rays’, or passion for the game. I do not think there is any question that the reason Carl is more aggressive at the plate is that he sees, and knows that this is a turning point year in his baseball career. Not because of contract situations, but because of expectations of the team and himself are finally meeting each other.

For the first time since he put that old Ray’s jersey on his back, he knows that this team can win, and that he can be a cornerstone for that feat.

Crawford recorded two triples last night in a contest that was delayed and dominated by  extreme weather and outstanding defense by both squads.  Crawford went 2-4 last night with 2 RBI’s to help the Rays win over the Royals.

 

 

 

Crawford has his 7th multi-triple game of his career. Carl joined former Royals great George Brett in 3rd place since WWII in  multiple triples games. Willy Mays currently hold the record with 10 multi-triple games in his career. With Crawford’s increase offensive power, that record is sure to fall in the future.

The triples, numbers’ 80 and 81, move Crawford past Hall of Famer Arky Vaughan ( 1939) to become the first player since Vaughan to reach 80 triples before his 27th birthday. C C had been 1-35 in his pervious 8 road games for the Rays.

 

 

 

Scott Kazmir pitched the first 4  innings for Tampa Bay, before a rain delayed the game for an hour and thirteen minutes. Upon completion of the delay, Kazmir threw one more inning before retiring for the night.

When Kazmir came back onto the mound after the delay, his pitches seemed a bit more crisp and  his placement was better. In his 5 innings, Kazmir gave up 2-runs on 7-hits and got 5 strikeouts.

Kazmir came into the game with a 3-4 record on the road, with a 4.10
ERA. Kazmir lifetime had an 5.90 ERA against the Royals.

 

Carlos Pena has been considered a keystone to the Rays push for a winning .500 season and a possible playoff berth. Pena is riding a current 29 game on base streak. It is the longest streak in the majors this year. Pena also hit his second homer in the 9th inning las night to put a cushion on the Rays victory over the Royals.

Pena’s 2 hits in both of those games gave him his first back-to-back multi-hit games this year.  Carlos has been 5-31 in his last 9 games.

Pena’s 17th homer of the season, led off the 9th inning for the Rays, and gave a much needed insurance run for the win.

 

 

Trever Miller, Al Reyes, and Dan Wheeler came on and blanked the Royals before Troy Percival took over in the 9th inning. Miller had better control in his inning, and might have corrected the small error in his delivery that caused him such problems in the Rays’ homestand.

Percival came on in the 9th innig and recorded his 22 save of the season. The save (346) puts him 1 save away from tying Randy Meyers for 8th on the All-Time save list.

Troy’s 9th inning started with Gabe Gross’s misplay of a Russ Gload fly ball that bounced off the Royals Bullpen Wall and allowed him to reach thrid on the play. E German then came up and singled after going to a 2-2 count against Percival. Gload scored on the play and put the Royal to within 2 runs of the Rays.

Percival then retired the next 3 batters, all on hit balls to record the save for the Ray’s 61st win. Percival has made 4 appearances since his return off the DL and is 3-3 in save opportunities for the team. He is holding opponents to a .175 average this year.

 

 

In the 2nd inning of the game, the Rays did an impressive job of moving over the runner and getting a run. It is the type of run producing action that the Rays will have to duplicate often if they plan on staying atop the AL East for much longer.

The inning began with Calros Pena waling to start the inning.  Willy Aybar then came up and bunted Pena over to second base.  A Dioner Navarro single put Pena on third with 1 out in the inning.  Eric Hinske picked up an RBI when he grounded out to second, and Pena scored for the Rays.

Perfect execution of a common National League style of play to get runs on the board. The Rays need to institute this type of situation more in the coming games to help produce and consistantly record runs for the victories. Leaving men on base has been a huge problem for the team this year, and is a great achille’s heel that must be fixed before any playoff dreams can be fulfilled.

 

 

Heads up to all you L L Cool J fans. If you do not get your tickets soon for the Aug 2nd game against the Tigers, you might not be able to see this Rap Giant’s show at the Trop. Tickets are going fast, and when they reach that magical number, the game will be a sell-out.

I think you might see the game sold out by Thursday of this week. The contest will also be a giveaway night, with the first 7,500 fans getting a B J Upton figurine. The figurine features B J  sliding into a base and is a great collector’s item. The night is also African-American Night at the Trop and will be saluting the African-American accomplishments throughout MLB’s history.

So get your tickets early before you have to watch the Youtube videos of this great concert event.    See you at the Trop.

 

 

 

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