Rays Pena Blasts the Rays to series win against the Indians
The Rays this morning completed a waiver trade for Orioles reliever Chad Bradford. The trade will consist of a “player to be named later,” and Bradford will be in uniform Friday night for the Rays as they visit the Seattle Mariners.
A corresponding roster move will be made prior to gametime, which is 10:10 PM EST, and might include such names as Al Reyes, Trever Miller, or maybe optioning Ben Zobrist back to Durham until Sept 1st.
Everyone knows Bradford as the sidewinder who seems to rub his knuckles on the mound in his unsual pitching sidearm motion. Bradford had been effective this season, going 3-3, with a 2.45 ERA.
Bradford has a 0.00 ERA in 17 playoff games spanning 15.1 innings. The move is viewed as a Bullpen upgrade to bring more experience and a different look to the Rays staff.
Weds. afternoon, Rays starter Scott Kazmir looked rough and not in the mental state to be effective in the game. On one occasion, Kazmir did not cover home on a play coming in from the outfield, and looked confused and into his head throughout the contest.
Rays Manager Joe Maddon noticed this problem with Kazmir and gave him a few innings to gather himself before removing the ace after 4.1 innings. Kazmir did not have his usual control, and issued 4 walks and only got 3 strikeouts in the game.
In 4.1 innings, Kazmir threw 97 pitches. To make matter worse, the Indians’ Jhonny Peralta was putting on a hitting clinic at Kazmir’s expense. Peralta went 3-3, with a single, double and homer against Kazmir today. For the contest, Peralta ended up going 5-5, with 2 RBI’s.
In the 1st inning, Ben Zobrist, batting second for the Rays hit a 3-1 count ball to center for a single to give the Rays a runner on base early in the ball game. Zobrist then stole second, and Carlos Pena ended up walking on 7 pitches. Pena was then caught stealing second, and Zobrist moved to third on a runners fielders’ choice.
With Zobrist 90 feet from scoring the first run, Evan Longoria hit a single up the middle to let Zobrist plate the first run for the Rays. With Longoria at first, Dioner Navarro came up and hit an opposite field 2-run homer to put the Rays up 3-1 on the Indians. It was Navarro’s second home run in two days.
Jason Bartlett played today as the DH, three days after injuring his finger in the finale against the Tigers. Bartlett, who began to take batting practice on Tuesday, look great at the plate going 3-4, and scored a run on Eric Hinske’s double in the bottom of the 9th inning.
I understand that Rays Manager Joe Maddon wants tp put the best lineup out there to win every night. And against the Indians this season that is a tall task. But, to suject your injured starting shortstop to re-injuring an already healing ailment might have pushed the envelope a bit.
I understand nothing happened to hamper Bartlett from maybe returning to short during the Mariners’ series, but was the gamble really worth maybe losing Bartlett for more time on the DL. Since the gamble rolled perfect, it might just be a moot question now.
In his post game interview with Rich Herrera, Carlos Pena remarked about Gabe Gross and his ability to be the “guy at the right place” this season for the team. Again today, Gross was an instrumental part of the Rays comeback in the 9th inning. Gross, who went 1-4 on the day, saved his best for last.
In the bottom of the 9th, Bartlett got on by doubling to deep left center and Eric Hinske hit a blast to the corner in righfield that put the Rays down 7-5. Gross came up and hit the 6th pitch to the back wall of the Trop in right to tie the score at 7-7.
After Gabe Gross’s homer, Cleveland Manager Eric Wedge put in reliever Masa Kobayashi to face Akinora Iwamura. Iwamura hit a controversial infield single and was out by inches, but was called safe by first base umpire Ed Rapuano. Wedge came out to argue the call, but Aki was awarded first and put the winning run on base for the Rays.
What is so special about this play, it would have been the 3rd out of the inning and neither B J Upton or Pena would not have batted in this inning if the play had stood as an out.
What came next in the next few plate appearances, might go down as the most pivitoal point in the Rays’ offense this season. With Akinora at first base after the missed call, Ben Zobrist came up and walked on 4 pitches. This set the stage for Carlos Pena, who has hit some monster fly out in the past few games to see if he could end the game with a bang.
Pena stood in th box and hit the first pitch he saw for a 3-run homer off the lower wall below the Batter’s Eye in centerfield. The play ended the emotional game for the Rays, and as Rays’ Radio guy, Andy Freed commented, “set off a team meeting at home plate”.
The Rays mobbed Pena at home and took the home series form the Indians 2-1. This is a remarkable chain of events considering on Monday, the Tribe had beaten the Rays for the 5th game in a row.
Peralta started the 9th inning with his 5th hit of the night, a single to center. Shin-Soo Choo then tried to sacrifice bunt Peralta over, but Trever Miller threw him out at second base. Miller was then replaced by Troy Percival. Choo then stole second and got in scoring position for the Indians.
Andy Marte hit a grounder to short that moved Choo to third. Choo scored on a Troy Percival wild pitch and put the Indians up at that point 7-4. Percival then went on to finish his scoreless 2/3rds of an inning and was awarded his second win of the season.
The afternoon matinee was the second Parks and Recreation Day for the Rays this season. The kids were treated to Rays bangsticks and a Rays mouse pad as door prizes.
I understand the bang sticks to be used to terrorize their seatmates, but the mouse pads had me scratching my head. How many of these under 12 year old kids had computers to even put the pad under, or would they just lose them before even getting them home to Mom and Dad.
The answer soon came to me after the game as I saw about 300 mouse pads circulating under the trash and empty Dipping Dots containers. Maybe this was not the right crowd to give the mouse pads to, or at leadt maybe give them to the people watching the kids for after the game.
I know I will have a Rays mouse pad for about the next 15 years, as I scooped a few for friends and to distribute to people I know that have computers, and love the Rays.
The Rays now head off on a 10 games in 11 days roadtrip that will take them through Seattle, Oakland and Texas before coming home for 3 against the L A Angels. This is the first in a stretch of long roadtrips for the team that will spell out their chances for the post season.
There is nothing more fulfilling to a team out of the race than to knock off someone who is above you and has a chance to make the playoffs. Each of the next tree opponents would like nothing better than to help the Rays struggle in the last two months of the season.
In these three series, the Rays will only have 2 games telecasted against the Oakland A’s. The Tuesday game against the Oakland A’s will be broadcast only on MLB.TV.
Most of the West Coast games are set to start at 10:05-10:10 PM EST, with the Sunday finale in Seattle coming on at 4:05 PM. One game in the Oakland series will be an afternoon game to start at 3:35 PM.
The Sunday Finale in Texas will be broadcast at 8:05 PM to combat the Texas heat during the day.