August 2008

Rays Pound Tigers 9-3

 

 

Rays 9, Tigers 3

 

 

When the gates opened on Saturday, the first 10,000 fans got to get a B J Upton figurine and a chance to get his and Carl crawford’s autographs before the game. Also in attendance was Hall of Famer Monte Irvin in the Ted William’s Museum area signing and taking pictures with the fans. Irvin is looking in pretty fragile state, and sat in his wheelchair most of the signing. I hope it is nothing serious, we have lost alot of great elder baseball statesmen lately, and the smiling Irvin would be a true loss to us all.

As I enterd the Trop., a member of the marketing team gave me my figurine and told me it was a special one. He told me to find him later and tell him what is so different about it.  I saw on the figurine outer box that it had a limited edition numbering and a base plate that said, “B J Upton 2.”

Mine did not have that numbering, or the lettering mentioned above. Instead, it said “Bossman Junior 2. I will put a picture of it up on my next blog near the bottom for the skeptics. As you might know, Boss man Junior, or B J, is in referrence to a family nickname for Upton that started with his father, Manny, who is Bossman Senior.  It will be a treasured collectible along side my Rays old on deck circle, and the original proof of the stadiums plans that I got from an old construction company a friend’s father owned that did original work on the Florida Suncoast Dome/Thunderdome/Tropicana Field.

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Evan Longoria and Jason Bartlett put on a hitting fireworks show last night before the L L Cool J concert. Longoria went 3-5 in the contest with 3 RBIs, and is now raised his average to .280 for the season.

 

 

                    

 

 

Longoria hit his 26th double of the season in the 2nd inning and scored Carl Crawford from second base on the play. Longoria ended up on third advancing on the throw home.  Longoria also singled to left in the 4th inning and scored Akinora Iwamura to put the Rays up 6-2.

Ex-Rays Casey Fossum was pitching for the Tigers’ when Longoria connected on his 21st homer of the season in the 6th inning.  Longoria currently leads all MLB rookies in homers with 21.

His 21st homer also tied him with Jonny Gomes for the Rays’ rookie record for homers in a season. Longoria also leads all MLB rookies with a .528 Slugging Percentage, 195 total bases, and 50 mextra base hits on the year.

 

 

                   

 

Jason Bartlett had his own hitting fireworks by going 3-4 with 2 runs scored in the game. Bartlett connected on his 11th double of the season and spread out two other singles throughout the game in the 2nd and 4th inning. Bartlett also reached base on a error in the 5th inning. for his only non-hit time on base last night.

Bartlett is hitting .325 since June 13th.  Bartlett is currently 8 for 9 in  steal attempts at  third base this season. He was thrown out tonigt for the first time by Tiger’s catcher Brandon Inge. 

 

 

               

 

 

Shawn Riggans, starting for Dioner Navarro tonight had an interesting start to the game. In the first inning, Tiger Curtis Granderson struck out swinging, but Riggans dropped the ball. His throw towrds first took the glove off of Carlos Pena and Granderson was safe at first base.  Granderson ended up benig the front part of a double play in the inning. Pena’s glove was shot a good 5 feet to the infield side of the turf by Riggan’s throw.

Riggans had another interesting play in the bottom of the 6th inning. Riggans hit a beautiful shot to left that scored Willy Aybar.  Tigers’ leftfielder, Matt Joyce made a perfect throw to the plate to try and get Aybar, but did not get it there in time.

Riggans was trying to stretch the play into a double and advancing to third on the throw, but was caught in “no-man’s land” and was tagged out by shortstop Edgar Renteria.  Great thought, bad execution.

 

 

                   

 

 

Andy Sonnanstine did not pitched a great game for the Rays, but the Rays again surrounded him with clutch runs and spotted him an early lead in the game. Sonnanstine lasted  6 innings and threw 2-hit, 2-run ball for the contest.

He had several innings where the Tigers were getting to him, but great defensive plays behind him kept him in the game and help secure his 11th victory of the season. Sonnanstine also had 6 strikeouts in the game while throwing  102 pitches.

 Sonnanstine has allowed 3 earned runs or less in 9 of his last 11 starts this year, and his .625 win percentage prior to tonight’s game is the best in Rays history for 15 decisions.

 

                                

 

 

Rays Reliever Al Reyes came on in the 7th inning and gave up 3-hits and a lone run for the Rays. Coming into tonight’s game Reyes has pitched in 5 contests since coming off the DL and has a 6.75 ERA. Reyes has pitched 4 innings and has given up 6 hits and 4 runs since his return.

 

 

In other great plays tonight, B J Upton hit a nasty looking ground rule double that snaked over the centerfield wall in the 2nd inning. Upton scored later in the inning to put the Rays up 3-0. It was Upton’s 24th double of the season.

Gabe Gross threw a rocket to third in the after Miguel Caberra doubled to right and gunned down Carlos Guillen in stride.  It was Gross’s 5th outfield assist this year. Gross also got an RBI in the 4th inning when he walked with the bases loaded to put the Rays up 7-2.

Carl Crawford went 1-3, but scored 2 runs and got 2 RBI’s on the night for the Rays. He has hit safely in last 7 games, and is 10-26, with 2 doubles, 5 triples, and 4 RBIs.

 

Of course, tonight’s contest was a sellout,and is the 8th sellout of the year for the team. Tonight’s game is also the second fastest game to sellout in Rays history, behind the first game in franchise history on March 31, 1998.  Both of these sellouts were against the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers also hold another bit of Rays history all to themselves. They are also the only team we have ever had a home double header against in our short history.

The Rays 42 home wins leads the majors and broke the previous record of 41 wins at home set in 2004, and 2006. The Rays are also 15-1 in front of 30,000 fans or more this year.  

 

 

 

 

Rays Tame the Tigers

 

 

Rays 5, Tigers 2

 

Rays manager Joe Maddon and Club VP Andrew Friedman spoke with reporters about the trade deadline. They voiced their opinions on why it might be better to not make a move and bring another part into this puzzle. They explained that we might have the perfect pieces in hose to secure our first playoff spot, and could use those players for years to come.

That it would not cost the team any additional money or expenses to try these in-house options out first before exploring the August waiver wire transactions. Maddon talked about the clubhouse chemistry, and how another player could have altered the flow a bit in the clubhouse.

I guess I can see the magic when a magician plays with the cards in front of you, but the illusion, like the recent Criss Angel fiasco, can blow up in your face. The Rays have a point, this team has an amazing chemistry that might be altered by a new outer body coming into the fold.

And we do have Rocco getting better every day, and might even be in uniform tonight at the Trop. if all goes well. We have a pitcher in Double-A, who has had a few scares, but is still undefeated as a professional. Who would have thought David Price would be posting wins like crazy and showing such fast success.   Maybe the Wizard in the Rays uniform is right. Maybe we have our own destiny to protect, and our own fate to secure.

But then again, on any given night, even the 1929 Yankees lost.

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Akinora Iwamura led off the game tonight with a nice double into leftfield. 3 pitches later he was sitting in the dugout after a great throw from Tiger’s catcher Brandon Inge to get Iwamura trying to steal second base in the 1st inning.

Iwamura atoned for the mistake in the 3rd inning by hitting a double that scored Jason Bartlett and put the Rays on the board 2-1. Iwamura went to third on a B J Upton ground out and scored on a pass ball by Inge to tie the score at 2-2.

 

 

                       

 

Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena each hit monster shots that helped secure the win for the Rays.

Longoria’s solo shot in the 7th inning, was his MLB rookies leading 20th homer of the season.  Longoria along with Pena have been a consistant playmaker this year for the team.

Pena’s solo shot was just out of the reach of Tiger’s centerfielder Curtis Granderson and went off the bottom wall facing of the Batter’s Eye Restaurant in centerfield. It was Pena’s 19th homer of the season.

 

         

 

 

But the play of the night did not involve an offensive play. It was a true gem of hustle and guts by rightfielder Gabe Gross.  Magglio Ordonez came up in the 9th inning and hit a dying quail that looked estined to drop in front of Gross.

 Gabe put on the afterburners and got to the ball before it hit the turf. Gross secured the ball in his glove before doing a faceplant on the turf. It was a critical 2nd out of the inning and brought the energy level of the stadium to a high point.

 

 

 

After Iwamura was caught stealing second in the 1st inning, Carl Crawford laced a low flying ball past the out-stretched arms of Marcus Thames in left for a triple. the ball hit right before the diving Thames and skidded to the wall while Crawford was rounding first. Carl put it in hyperspace and coasted into third for his 5th triple in 6 games.

Crawford currently leads the AL with 10 triples this year. Since WW II, Carl is tied with George Brett for third on the multiple triple game list with 7 games. 

Among active player with the most triples, Crawford is thrid on the list with 83. The Yankee’s Jonny Damon leads the list with 90 triples in 1,937 games.  Crawford  has reached that total in only 917 games. More than a 1,000 less than Damon.

 

B J Upton was again caught stealing last night in the game. B J was thrwon out trying to steal third in the 5th inning by a perfect throw from Inge. Upton currently leads the majors with 14 this year. He is  in the lead in that category by 3 caught stealing outs. 

 

                              

 

We did not see vintage Scott Kazmir on the mound for the Rays lat night. Scott had control problems in the 1st inning and walked 4 of the first 7 batters’ he faced in the inning. He also threw 30 pitches just in the 1st inning.

Scott pitched 4.2 innings tonight and gave up 3-hits for 2-runs. But the wild stat of the night is that he had 6 walks and 5 strikeouts in the game.  Kazmir seemed to be all over the plate and not consistantly in the strike zone. This makes it tough for a umpire to even give him a boraderline call if he is going east-to-west on almost every pitch.

 

Also having a great night at the plate was DH Cliff Floyd. Cliff went 2-2 on the night with a double and a single.

On his double, Cliff took a fast turn at first and beat the throw in from the outfield to get his 5th double of the season. It seemed to spark alot of excitement in the dugout. Floyd then moved over to third on Dioner Navarro’s ground out. Floyd then walked home on a Joel Zumaya wild pitch to the backstop.

 

 

 

 

 

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