Rays Secure Series with Controversial Win

 

 

Rays 4, Angels 2

 

 

Thank goodness we got to play this game as scheduled tonight. It would have been a malfunction of massive proportions to expect a day-night double header on Wed to get this series completed before Wed night.

The Rays did talk to the local offcials about traffic control and got with the security forces to ensure there would be adeqaute people if the doubleheader was to materialize because of Tropical Storm Fay. But the storm started to do a delayed right turn after it hit the Key West area on Monday night. 

Because it veered so much to the east, the Tampa Bay area only got a small amount of rain compared to the anticipated rain chances if the storm did come up the coastline. The last time we had such an adventure, we had a day-night doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers a few years ago. All you had to have to get in the door that night was a ticket to one of the games, and you got your choice of unused seats.

But with the team winning like it is this year, those seats might not be vacant if such an event hit this year. Hopefully that was our brush with the wind and the tides this year and we can get this season done with and worry about the Playoff storms of bandwagoning fans strolling the aisles of the Trop.

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Wow, did you see the veins popping in Rays Manager Joe Maddon’s neck last night after that wild play in the 6th inning. The first base umpire, Jerry Meals, totally blew the call on B J Upton by noticing a phanthom attempt to move towards the baseline and turn towards second base.

What really got Maddon more worked up is that the umpire crew chief,Gary Darling , who was watching second base at the time concurred with the first base umpire and ruled that the play stood as called on the field. Video replays show that the call was blown totally out of control, and the MLB rule book had such a huge area of grey near the meaning that it could be interpreted that the color green was white if the umpire saw that in his eyesight.

Wow, MLB rule7.08C states; “(j) states that once a runner “fails to return at once to first base after overrunning or oversliding that base … if he attempts to run to second, he is out when tagged.”

Clearly by the video replays and the posturing of Upton to go straight up the line and not divert towards the foulline, how can you gauge intent without a movement towards second base? The best part of all this is that it doesn’t matter in the long run. We did not lose the contest and all is well in Rays-ville.

But, if it had come down to the Rays losibf this game because of that one play, it would be a crime to award a win because of a blown call. Meads should be behind the plate tonight. I expect to hear a great amount of boo’s for any judgement calls tonight.

 

 

 

 

Almost lost in all of the hoopla over the Upton call is the fact that the Rays had the bases loaded after Angels’ reliever Darrin Oliver walked Carlos Pena with the bases loaded to tie the score in the 6th inning. This set the table for Willy Aybar to again be the hero of the night for the Rays. Aybar put a line drive into leftfield and plated 2 runs for the Rays to take a 4-2 lead in the 6th inning.

Aybar has batted .350 since taking over the thrid base duties while Evan Longoria is out with his wrist injury. He  currently has a .70 Slugging Percentage for the season. Aybar’s defense has also been superior as his kid brother, Angel Erik Aybar tried multiple times to put a bunt down on Aybar and get on base for the Angels. Willy was up to the challenge and completed the outs on his younger brother.

 

 

 

 

The final score gave the Rays the best record in the American League at 77-48. The Rays are currently tied with the Chicago Cubs for the best record in baseball.  The win also secured the yearly series victory against the Angels. The Rays are 7-2 against the Angels this year, with one game to play on Wed. 

The Rays have had only one season where they have won more game over the Angels. In 2000, the Rays went 6-6 against the Angels. The Rays have won all 5 games at home so far this season, and are 8-2 in their last 10  home games against the Angels.

 

 

 

 

James Shields recorded his 11th victory last night against the Angels. Shields pitched effectively spreading out his 9 hits and two runs through his 8 innings of work. Shields threw 103 pitches on the night and struck out 7 Angels batters in the contest. But behind Shields, the Rays’ defense stood tall against the Angels.

 

 

               

 

 

Gabe Gross did his personal imitation of Superfly when he pulled in a Vladimir Guerrero liner to rightfield. In the first inning play, Gross took the ball off the top of the wall for a long fly out.

The ball would not have left the playing field, but the catch robbed the Angels of a extra base hit and a chance to score during the inning.

The Rays defense is currently in the top 5 in the majors, and is just .0002 from being the best defeanse in baseball.

 

 

 

 

In the 2nd inning, Upton took a Juan Rivera single to center and threw out Torii Hunter trying to score from second base.  Upton made a perfect throw to the plate and Dioner Navarro easily tagged out Hunter on his slide. The outfield assist was Upton’s 10 of the season, tying him for 4th in the AL.

 

 

Rays reliever Dan Wheeler, normally a setup guy, came in to p[itch in the 9th inning and got the Angels to go down in order 1-2-3 to secure the Rays win and get his 7th save of the year.

With the Rays win, Bench Coach Dave Martinez is now perfect as an acting coach in his Rays tenure. When Maddon was ejected in the 6th inning, Martinez took over the team and ran it effectively in Maddon’s absence. 

 

 

 

 

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