Rays Lose Pitching Duel and Series to Jays
It was great news hearing the Rays thrid baseman Evan Longoria was taken off the Disabled List on Sat., and could see defensive replacement and pinch runner duty in the coming days. It is not known if Longoria will be up to speed in the batting cage by the time the Rays hit Boston on Monday.
Speculation is that Longoria will be back at third maybe during the New York Yankee series this weekend. It is great that he is finally off the DL, but what took so long. Was the injury actually worse than previously announced, or was the rehab just not doing the trick for Longoria. Evan has not been on the field or at bat since the Seattle series last month.
With his set back, Longoria is in the back seat for the Rookie of the Year honors in th American League now. More important is that we can have him back for the next few weeks of the playoff push and for post season. Longoria has been a unofficla barometer of the team this season.
As Evan played well, the Rays played well. But when he got injury there were whispers as to if Willy Aybar could fill Evan’s shoes at the plate, or in the field. Aybar had lived up to the expectations and has had only a fe blemishes on his fielding this year for the Rays. Considering the pressure and the stress of this years race, it is a wonder most night that the entire infield doesn’t crack a bit and have a few miscues. Let’s just hope that the Boston series is event-free and a great series for the Rays and their fans.
Worst thing about a pitching duel is………. someone has to lose. The game on Sunday between the Rays and Jays was a perfect example of what a hot pitcher can do against a great ball club. Coming into the game, the Rays had met Jays’ starter David Purcey only once before in his career. In that game, a 1-0 loss at the Trop, Purcey pitched better against the competitive Rays then in any other start of his career.
Matt Garza threw an excellient game for the Rays on Sunday. He went long into the game, and pitched 7 innigs of 6-hit ball and only had a small handful of trouble all day on the mound for the Rays. He also got 7 strikeouts on the day and had the Jays guessing alot as to his pitch selection.
It is not Garza’s fault he got the loss yesterday in this game. He did everything he could to get a win for the Rays in this last game bewteen these clubs’ in 2008. Garza even endured a hard hit ball that struck him in the bottom end of his forearm by Marc Scutaro.
Garza had thrown the pitch and Scutaro hit it back up the middle and the ball hit Garza flush in the fleshy part of the forearm and Garza picked up the ball and calmly threw it to Carlos Pena for the 2nd out in the 5th inning. Matt was examined by the Ron Porterfield, and after a few practice pitches was able to continue for the Rays.
After the accident, Garza still has excellient control and only gave up 1 hit, to Vernon Well to lead off the 6th inning. To show how superior Garza has been against the Jays this season, he has thrown 38 innings against them and only given up 2 runs allowed. Garza was going for his 4th win of the season today against the Jays.
The only run of the game came in the 2nd inning as Adam LInd led off the inning with a double down the rifght field line and moved to third on Overbays grounder to shortstop. On a 0-2 pitch, Barajas then hit a scarifice fly to left that scored Lind before Ben Zorbrists’ throw got to the plate. That produced the only run needed by the Jay for the win.
The Rays did have offensive flashes in the game, but they could not convert any of them into scoring oppotunities against the Jays. In the 3rd innig, Akinora Iwamura hit a solid ball nito centerfield that was caught just in front of the 375 foot marker in left centerfield by Wells. B J Upton led off the 4th inning with a single to center, but was picked off first by Pursey to end the inning.
Aybar then led off the 5th inning with a double to deep center. Aybar at that point was 2 for 2 in the game for the Rays. Aybar would be stranded on second by the Rays after 2 quick outs in the inning. Upton then again got a single in the 6th inning to center, but Pena hit a long ball to the warning track in center to record the 3rd out of the inning for the Rays.
In the 7th inning, the Rays got the first walk of the game when Aybar walked on 6 pitches. But the Rays’ Bartlett and Perez struck out to strrand Aybar at first. Zorbrist then got another walk in the 8th inning and Pursey gave up a single to Upton for his third hit up the middle today, and Walked Pena to load the bases. Rocco then came up and hit a long fly ball to right for the 3rd out of the inning.moved In the 9th, the rays went down in order, 1-2-3 to end the game.
On the day, the Rays did not hit into a single double play, but the Rays did strike out 9 times during the game. The Rays did squander scoring chances in the 2nd inning as Willy Aybar was picked off at first by Jays catcher Rod Barajas after he singled to rightfield. Aybar did not even have a chance as Barajas seemed to lose the ball, but quickly tossed it to Lyle Overbay who tagged out Aybar for the second out in the 2nd inning. 4 pitches after Aybar was picked off, Jason Bartlett hit a double over leftfielder Adam Lind’s head. This was one of a few mental errors by the Rays in today’s game.
BJ Upyon also got caught by Pursey leaning off first base and was pegged with his 15th caught stealing attempt this season to still lead the majors in that category. Shawn Riggans threw his 5th throwing error of the year in the 3rd inning on a steal by Joe Inglett. Aki also had a fielding error in the 3rd inning to let Inglett get on base. It is only Aki’s 6th error of the season.
Lost in the translation is the fact that the Rays have now lost 7 of their last 13 games. On this roadtrip they have started 0-3, with pivitol game coming against the Yankees and Red sox in their home stadiums. To put the roadtrip into prospective, the Rays got swept by both team in their home fields to begin the Rays roadtrip losing record going into the All Star break.
The Rays are facing their first set of “must win” games against the Red Sox starting on Monday night when Edwin Jackson takes the mound for the Rays. Jackson, Kazmir and Sonnastine will be the pitchers under the pressure cooker in the Boston series and must perform well enough to keep the Rays in every one of the three games against the Red Sox.
Losing more than 2 games in this series would have the Rays out of first place in the A L East for the last 88 days, and need to stay in first place to put a huge exclamation point on the season.