Rays Come Up Short Against Jays
Somethings you just look forward to this time of year. Like the last time you have to face a certain team. or a pitcher that seems to have your teams’ number. It is for that reason that I am glad the we are almost done with the Toronto BlueJays. This is one of those teams that have had the Rays numbers for years and years. For some reason, we can’t seem to win alot at the Rogers Centre.
But sometimes that happens in sports. A certain team and a certain pitcher can just handle you like a ragdoll and all you can do is just take the beating. Well, with the Jays, it is two-fold. We have had Roy Halliday’s number most of the year, but he truly shows hoe great a pitcher he is by rebounding and taking the last 2 games from us to go into 2009 on a winning note against the Rays.
This is the kind of team that battles just like the Rays, but they had some pitching concerns earlier in the year, and that might have cost them a better ending to this season. They now currently have the best staff ERA in baseball, and it shows against the Rays. So we will not be sad to finally get out of town on Sunday, but will miss the competitive fire in these Jays the rest of the way through the season.
You know this Jays’ team is a team in transition. They will have to make a few hard decision this winter as to the true direction of their franchise. They have big names ready to check out the free agent market, and they have some up and coming guys who will have to be rewarded to stay and mature with this team. I do not fear a team upgrading itself this off season in the AL East, it will just make us work harder and try to regain the fire and status we achived in this “magical summer.”
Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine did not have a bad outing last night in Toronto, but he did have a few bad pitches that came back to haunt him in a big way. Andy went 6 innings last night and gave up 4-runs on 5-hits as the Jays defeated the Rays 6-4. Sonnanstine was going for his 14th win of the season for the second time this year. The win would have tied him with Rolando Arroyo for the wins record with the Rays.
Sonnanstine started out in good shape getting ther Jays 1-2-3 in the 1st inning. But he started to have trouble in the 2nd inning when Vernon Well doubled on the first pitch he saw in the inning. Adam Lind then came up and got on with an infield single to shortstop to put pressure on the Rays. Jays catcher, Rod Barajas then came up and singled into center to lod the bases for the Jays.
Lyle Overbay then came up and hit a 2-run double to score Wells and Lind and put Barajas at third with no outs. Scott Rolen then came up and hit a Sacrifice Fly to right to score Barajas and put the Jays up 3-2. After the 2nd inning, Sonnanstine then only had trouble with Alex Rios in the 3rd inning when he gave up a solo shot to center on a hanging breaking ball to put the Jays up for good, 4-2.
Andy then took control of the contest and only gave up a single walk before leaving the contest. On the night, Sonnanstine threw 80 pitches and only issued 1 walk and got 3 strikeouts on the night.
The Rays only collected 10 hits on the night off Jays’ pitching and again left 8 men stranded on base. Halladay had good control of the game only letting the Rays get 2 runs off him in th 1st inning before settling down for the game. For the night, Halladay, Scott Downs and B J Ryan combined to strike out the Rays 10 times in the contest. The top 4 batters in the Rays order accounted for 7 of those strikeouts.
In the 1st inning, the Rays got on the board first when Akinora Iwamura was safe at first on a error by Jays second baseman Joe Inglett. B J Upton then doubled to deep right on the second pitch he saw and put both Aki and himself in scoring position. Carlos Pena then hit the first pitch from Halladay for a Sacrifice Fly to score Aki and move Upton to third. Cliff Floyd then came up and hit another Sacrifice Fly to right to score Upton and put the Rays up 2-0 early on the Jays.
But the surprise of the night was the bunt single put down by rookie Fernando Perez in the 9th inning of the game. Perez came up as a pinch hitter for Dioner Navarro and put down a laxy bunt down the first baseline that made the first baseman Lyle Overbay committ, and Perez used his sprinter speed to run down the line and avoid the tag from Overbay, before hook sliding into first base. Perez’s bunt was na amazing display of his athletic skill and seems to pump the Rays up a bit at the time.
With Perez at first, Jasob Bartlett came up and hit a double to deep center that scored Perez from first base and pulled the Rays within 2 runs of the Jays. Aki then struck out to give the Rays 2 outs in the inning. Upton then got to first on an error by shortsrtop John McDonald, and move Bartlett to third base. Upton then stole his 34th base of the year before Carlos Pena struck out for the third time tonight to end the game.
Grant Balfour has been a lights out pitcher for the Rays this season since coming back up from the minors. But his one mistake tonight on a pitch to Alex Rios in the 8th inning. Balfour came out tonight throwing the ball in the high 90’s, with most pitches staying near the 96-97 mph mark on the radar gun.
But it was a hanging high slider that did him in tonight as Rios hit a 2-run shot to left to give the Jays the needed run to secure the win tonight. Balfour came into the game In tonight’s game, Balfour allowed a double and the Rio’s homer. Before those two exta base hits, Balfour had only allowed 6 extra base hits all season long. And the homer to Rio was onlt the 2nd given up by him this year.
Upton’s 42nd stolen base put him currently in 2nd place in the AL. But that is not the only high marks for Upton this season. He also still leads the majors in caught stealing attempts, and is currently 6th in the majors with 89 walks. over his last 8 games, Upton is hitting .394, with 5 RBis, and 4 stolen bases.
The Durham Bulls had their Friday night Governors Cup game cancelled due to concerns over Hurricane Hanna. The game will be played on Saturday evening if the weather permits. Jeff Neimann will get the start for the Bulls against the Louisville Bats. The Bats are one of the highest scoring team in the International League this season. The best-of-5 series is currently tied 1-all going into the game.