Rangers Shutout Rays

 

 

 

Rangers 3, Rays 0

 

I was strolling through the TV channels today and ran upon the USA vs. Cuba Olympic baseball game. The US squad had tied the match in the 11th inning, and they were about to start this experimental new Olympic  scoring plan.

It seems the Olympic Committee thought that baseball was too dull and had a tendency to be long and boring, So they put their own twist on the tie-breakers/sudden death mode for baseball. The teams will both be able to start anywhere in the 9-man line-up in the inning. They will also have the advantage of having a guy at first and second, and no outs  to start their half of the inning.

I guess the Olympic gurus thought that the possibility of guys on base would make the opposition team play more defense, or pitch their way to a victory.  I understand that baseball can bore someone who is seeing it for the first time. And that if you do not understand all the actions  surrounding the game, it can confuse you. But to tinker with the basics of scoring, and to throw a wrench in the system like this is just foul.

For example, who is charged with the baserunners and what happens to the pitcher on the mound if a run is scored. The pitcher should not have his ERA jacked up because of inherited baserunners that did not even exsist before that inning started. And how can you tack on runs that have no formal basis as to why the guy are on base in the first place. The Olympic Committee has voted before these games that baseball will be dropped after the 2008 Olympics.

Hopefully it is dropped to devise a better way to solve the issues at hand in this game, and not a political hotbed because of the popularity of the sport mostly in the Western hemisphere. Japan and  South Korea have made huge strides in developing talent and teams to compete with the USA’s and Cuba’s of the world. It is a shame they will have to wait “X” number of years until they can meet on the stage like the Olympics again.

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Sometimes you run into a hot pitcher, or a team on a roll in the mnonth of August. And sometimes a team will promote a pitcher to see if they have the right stuff for the near future. The Rays ran into the Ranger’s 2009 rotation addition in Matt Harrison.

Harrison threw 8 innings of 3-hit shutout ball against the Rays on Sat. night. To make matters worse, the Rays struck out 8 times in the contest. It was the 5th shoutout of the Rays this season, and evened the series at 1-1, with the deciding game coming Sunday night.

 

 

 

 

To make matters even worse, the Boston Red Sox had lost to the Toronto Blue Jays earler in the evening 4-1, and the Rays lost a chance to gain more distance between themselves and the Red Sox. In this time of the year, every game is a critical plus or minus for the squad. Wins come at a premium right now for the Rays since they will be playing most of their finalk games against team over the .500 mark.

 

 

 

 

Edwin Jackson came into this game going 5-1 in his last 9 starts.  To put his inprovement into prospective, last year at this time Jackson was 3-12, with a 5.69 ERA. Jackson also threw a complete game shutout against the Rangers on August 12, 2007. In the contest, Jackson threw 110 pitches, and his last pitch of the night registered 99 mph on the juggs gun at the stadium.

Jackson pitched 6 innings of 1-run 1-hit ball against the Rangers. He also got 6 strikeouts on the night. But the game was decided on the first pitch of the ballgame. The Ranger’s Ian Kinsler took Jackson’s first pitch, a four-seam fastball, to the leftfield wall for an early 1-0 score.

 

 

 

 

Rays reliever J P Howell came on in the 7th inning and gave up 3 hits and 2 runs in his 1/3 of an inning for the Rays.  Chad Bradford and Trever Miller came in and finished the rst oif the game for the Rays.

 

The Rays did have ascare in the 3rd inning when Jason Bartlett came up limping after being forced out at second base. It seems that Bartlett’s trail leg caught the edge of the bag and twisted in an odd manner. Rays’ trainer Ron Porterfield looked at Bartlett on the bench and Bartlett returned to the field in the bottom of the inning.

 

The Rays did have a huge momentum swing stolen from them by a former Ray. Josh Hamilton made a remarkable run and jump to rob Ben Zorbrist of a home run to deep center field. Hamilton jumped up and snagged the ball on it’s way down  over the fencing to rob the Rays of a run in the game.  The play was another example of the type of night the Rays’ were having in Arlington, Texas.

The Rays did most of their damage early in the contest against Harrison. In the first inning, the Rays got 4 straight batters on base, but did not knock in a run in the inning. Akinora Iwamura  lead off the game with a single to right, and got forced at second on Ben Zorbrist’s fielder’s choice.

Zorbrist was then erased on a force out at second on  Carlos Pena hit back to Harrison. Rocco Baldelli then came up and singled to leftfield, but was stranded on first after Willy Aybar lined out to leftfield.

The Rays did not get another baserunner until the Bartlett single in the 3rd inning. After the 3rd inning, the Rays were effectively shut down by Harrison, and Eddie Guardado came on in the 9th inning for his 4th save of the season.

 

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