People were wondering where Rusty, our faithful Rays announcer was last homestand. Well, he was nestled in a homey enviorment up in Minnesota getting ready to get married. Rusty missed the LL Cool J concert series because of his impending nuptuals and recently return to his duties at the Trop. So be sure to send Rusty your well wishes the next time you see him at the Trop.
The Rays’ finally sent their invoices out for the Post Season ticket prices to Season Ticketholders. And from the opinions I have heard, the Rays might not get the positive results they wish for…… I know that Section 138 and the Lower Baseline area is going to cost just under $1,000 for the 11 game package.
I actually think this is pretty reasonable, but the 3 week window to have the entire amount into the Rays coffers might be a sticking point for myself and some other people. I know if the Rays have an unfortunate early withdrawl from playoff contention, the entire left over amonut will be credited to my 2009 account balance.
That is fine and dandy to me, but 3 weeks is an odd number of time to get that much scratch up to pay in time to prevent my ticket location from going public, or being offered to another person. I can see maybe having the money in by the last home game/ series against the Twins. That would give most people about a month to roll those quarters and pennies up and deposit them in the Rays accounts.
If the Rays tick to that solid Sept 12th date, you might just see my seat empty of my face, but you know someone will pay the upwards of 175 dollar for that seat during the World Series.
There have been some pretty odd happenings around the diamond during this series, and they continued tonight in the Rays 5-4 loss to the Angels. On a hard hit ball up the middle that Aki Iwamura had to backhand and slap down to prevent more Angel runs, it was scored an error on the second baseman. Anyone who saw the play could see that with his back to first base he would have never gotten a play off to the bag. For that reason alone, it should have been a hit registered and not an error.
Also during a play at first base, the television replay showed that Carlos Pena did not drop the ball, and got Chone Figgans out by a half a step. But unpire Crew Chief Gary Darling missed the play and called the runner safe on the play. Figgans again got another huge break from the unpiring crew when he was awarded third base on a double steal and the replay showed he was tagged even before his lead hand got near the bag by Willy Aybar. Two mistake that ended up being a Angels run in the inning. And might have been the difference in the ballgame.
Rays starter Matt Garza went into tonight’s game as 1 of 9 pitchers in the majors with at least 2 shutouts. He also owns 3 of the Rays total 7 complete games this season. And he is one of the Rays’ current starters who has reached the 10 win plateau this season. And tonight’s game was only the second start of Garza’s career against the Angels.
Garza had two uneventful innings before the Angels threatned in the 3rd inning. During the 3rd inning the Angels erupted by three straight hits, two of them extra bases to post a 4-3 lead on the Rays. Garza gave up 7 hits on the night, 4 of those in the 3rd inning. Matt also fanned 7 batters on the night and had great command again on the mound after the 3rd inning.
What was visible to the fans was the frustration level Garza outwardly showed during the 3rd inning. He seemed to be particularly annoyed when he walked Erik Aybar, and took at least 1 inning to compose himself fully before regaining his control on the mound.
Another play where the ball was hit back towards Garza was spining away from hgim and he could not make a play on the ball. Garza has come a long way this year to establish himself as one of the Rays’ pitchers with the most upside to his development this year. Tonight was just a short interlude of problems in a long career for the righty.
Tonight’s game was telecasted on ESPN as their featured game of the night. It was a hard fought contest that should go down as to how far the Rays have matured and progressed in the last year. This is a showcase for the Rays to show the rest of the nation that the Red Sox and the Yankees no longer own the rights to playoff berths in the AL East. This year, the playoff go through Tampa Bay.
The Rays got to Angel’s starter Jered Weaver early last night, but could not rattle him enbough to send him to the bench early in the contest. In the 2nd inning, Eric Hinske singled to right and stole second to put himself in scoring position. Gabe Gross came up next and hit a screamer to right field that scored Hinske from second. Gross ended up on second after the Angels throw came back to the plate. With Gross in scoring position, Shawn Riggans hit a single to score Gross.
Then with Riggans in scoring position, Jason Bartlett hit a ball into the left center gap that fell between Torii Hunter and Juan Rivera for a triple. Bartlett might have had a chance for an inside the park homer, but stumbled coming out of the batters’ box on the play.
On the night. the Rays’ 6-7-8-9- batters went 6-14 on the night, with Gross and Hinske both going 2-2 in the contest. The bottom of the Rays lineup accounted for 3 of the 4 runs scored by the Rays. In the last few weeks, this section of the batting order has been tremedous for the Rays. They have been more productive and been in scoring position a majority of the time for the team.
In the 8th inning, the Rays produced two straight doubles to produce their last run of the ballgame. B J Upton took a 1-1 pitch and hit a liner to left for the first Rays double. Carlos Pena came up next and hit a ground ball double to left to score Upton from econd base and tie the score at 4-4.
Grant Balfour has always been known as a confidient and aggressive pitcher in the majors. It is widely known that he a hardnosed pitcher who will put the ball in on guys to get the outs needed to be a sucessful reliever. Balfour did run into a bit of trouble in the top of the 9th inning. He led off by waling Chone Figgans on 4 pitches, then got Erik Aybar to commit a fly ball bunt to third that his brother Willy had no problem handling for the first out of the inning.
From there on, the inning got more interesting for Balfour. He gave up a fastball single to Mark Teixeira that moved Figgans into scoring position. Balfour was replaced by Chad Bradford, but was responsible for both runners on base.
On the Bradford’s first pitch of the inning, the Angels committed a double steal. This was the controversial steal of thrid by Figgans’ that showed on the replays that he was out by at least a foot. This put the leading runner on third with 1 out. The Rays then decided to intentionally walk Vladimir Guererro to load the bases with Torii Hunter coming to the plate.
Hunter hit into a fielders’ choice to third and Figgans was thrown out on the force play at the plate by Aybar. Garrett Anderson then came up and reached on the apparent error play by Aki at second base. Teixiera came in to score and put the Angels up 5-4. With Balfour still responsible for Teixeira, he was awarded the loss in the game.
The Rays will be off on Thursday and traveling to the south side of Chicago for a weekend series against the AL Central leading White Sox. Edwin Jackson will be the starting pitcher for the Rays on the Friday night contest and is riding a recent winnning streak on the mound.
Jon Danks will be the srating pitcher for the White Sox. If you remember the home series against the White Sox this year, Danks handcuffed the Rays’ batter in his start, and should again pose a threat to the Rays trying to finally become a .500 team on the road on Friday night. The Rays are currently 2 games under .500 on the road this series.
With a series sweep against the White Sox this weekend, the Rays would come back to the Trop only 1 game over .500 next Tueday. This would be great for the morale and confidience of the Rays before they hit the road after the next 9-game homestand to have 9 game roadtrip against only AL East foes before the last homestand ( 7Games) of the year.