AJ is more than OK against the Rays

 

 

     Yankees 7,    Rays 2

 

 

 

Replica Rings are the Bomb

 


I have to admit that when the Rays first told us they were going to give away American League Championship replica rings, my mind did wander to the Cracker Jack box rings and the plastic painted adjustable rings that team gave away in the 1990′s. I had a bad nightmare of maybe getting a ring that would turn my finger green or even fall off from lack of circulation because it was too small, or even had bad blemishes to the finish.  But I was beyond pleasantly surprised when they handed me my ring on Tuesday night.

 

 

I came through the Season Ticket holder door as always and was presented with a blue satin sack promoting a local high end shopping mall on the outside of it. I knew that this establishment would not be privy to anthing cheap, so I looked quickly into the sack and found a gem of collectible quality hidden inside a small platic bag. The moment I first took a gander at this ring, my heart took a leap. It was beyond the simple words that I had read on numerous websites and had even thought in my own mind. The ring was beyond expectations and truly will be near me for a long, long time.

 

But I was in shock later in the night when a few Yankee fans were selling their rings for $ 5.  I have to say, it was the best 25 dollars I have ever spent in the past 10 years. I am not putting them on Ebay or even trying to  recoup anything financial with them. For me they will be additional rings to wear for the next 10 years. Mine is a bit snug on my finger and I will have to sand the inside down a bit to fit over my broken old knuckles, but I will wear them. Oh yes, they will be on my bony fingers for a long time. Treasures like this do not come along in life too often. This ring was no cheap substitute, it has real weight and real appeal. And it will be on my finger for a long time. Well, at least until I can figure out a way to get a real one……

 

 

 

 

AJ was more than OK

 

This is the thing that initially scared me about A J Burnett signing with the New York Yankees this season. He finally got a team that can score runs behind him this season.  Last year. when he was with the Toronto Blue Jays, they had to have an outstanding game offensively to reward him some nights. But mostly he did it by himself by keeping the score close and letting his team catch up and overtake the opposition most nights. It is scary to consider that he was just that good, but lacked the firepower behind him. He now has that firepower, and his pitching confidence is sky high.

 

Burnett threw  some impressive pitches last night. His breaking balls were falling off the plate at alarming rates. And his fastball seemed to have a new life of its own. He was truly on the moment on the mound. It  was an awesome effort by a guy who has been close before to a no-hitter and miss. Well, last night he did not get that honor either, thanks to a Carl Crawford single to left field that broke up his no-hitter bid. But just how good was he up to that pivotial bottom of the seventhinning point?

 

Through 6 prior innings, Burnett had only allowed  Rays DH Pat Burrell to reach base on a walk in the bottom of the second inning.  Burrell even fought back from a 1-2 count to get his free pass off of Burnett. From the first pitch of the night until Crawford hit his single Burnett threw 74 pitches before giving up a single hit. But you have to also credit Crawford , who fought off Burnett with 5 straight foul balls before connecting on the Rays first hit. It was a classic pitcher versus hitter moment, with Crawford winning this time.

 

But that seemed to open the flood gates as Evan Longoria then hit a single to left on the first pitch he saw from Burnett. The Yankee starter was beginning to show some kinks in his armor tonight. Then Carlos Pena got an RBI single to right to score Crawford and also take the shitout away from Burnett. But the big blow again came from Burrell, who hit a RBI sacrifice fly to right field that scored Longoria and tied the game at 2-2. The Rays had battled for seven innings against a hot pitcher, and had finally broken through enough to get a tied contest.

 

 

         

 

Bullpen has a case of the Hiccups

 

Last night was not a typical night for the Rays Bullpen. The Rays had tied the game at 2-2 and gave the Bullpen a chance to secure the tie for them to try and take advantage of the Yankees in the eighth and ninth innings. But a few odd pitching performances gave the Yankees their fourth win of the season. Rays starter Matt Garza had thrown 7 innings of 5 hit 2 run ball and left the game after 112 pitches. The Rays problems on offense magnified the pitching of Garza, who actually had a decent outing by striking out nine Yankees tonight.

 

So with a chance at a free Papa John’s pizza in the wings, J P Howell took the mound for the Rays. Brett Gardner lead-off the Yankees top of the eighth inning with a double to deep left that split Crawford and B J Upton.  Derek Jeter then hit a ball up the middle to put two on for the Yankees with no outs.  With Gardner at thrid and Jeter at first,  Mark Teixeira then came up and hit a blast into deep left field and Crawford did not attempt to throw Gardner out at the plate. That put the Yankees back in front 3-2.  Jorge Posada then hit a ball back to Howell that he quickly threw to Carlos Pena to get out of the inning with only surrendering the lone run.

 

But in the ninth inning, the Yankees took control of the game from the Rays. Dan Wheeler came on to pitch and he got rudely awoken by Robinson Cano, who took for first pitch he saw for a single to left field to lead off the inning. Melky Caberra then kept the merry-go-round going by hitting a single to right on the second pitch he saw from Wheeler.  After Wheeler got two quick out from Ramiro Pena and Jose Molina, it looked like he might be able to control this inning. But Gardner hit a ground rule double that went over the pulled -in Upton and bounced over the center field wall.

 

 

The Rays tried to play the odds and keep the outfielders in close to make a play at the plate more effective. The play backfired as Gardner’s blast was in the air a long time and Upton did give an honest chase for the ball, but could not get a glove on it before it hit the turf and bounced over the wall.  Jeter then put the exclamation point on the game by hitting a 2-run homer to right field that just reached the first row seats. That gave the Yankees a 7-2 lead and the Rays could not convert any offense in the bottom of the ninth inning.

 

 

Tuesday Tidbits

 

After the game the Rays learned that they will be missing Longoria, who is on his way to California to attend to family matters for the next two games. It is expected that he will return in time for Friday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox at Tropicana Field. While he is out of the Rays lineup, Willy Aybar will be manning third base for Longoria.

 

The Rays also officially put Shawn Riggans on the 15-day disabled list for right shoulder tendonitis. The move was made retroactive to April 10th. A collateral  move was made to bring up Michel Hernandez from Durham to catch while Riggans is out of the lineup. Hernadez might see his first action of the year tomorrow in the Rays 4:08 pm start against the Yankees.

 

Photo credits:     1) www.raysbaseball.com

                         2) Chris O’Meara / AP

                         3) Chris O’Meara / AP  

                         4) Chris O’Meara / AP 

 

 

12 Comments

Nice rings. Not quite the World Champions though. It was a great series no matter what the country says about it and I would be scared to meet you guys in the playoffs again though.
-Dan
http://twelvesixcurve.mlblogs.com/

Rays – they gave out rings to everyone in the stadium? WOW!! That is quite impressive. You have some great memories to keep.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

What an awesome souvenir that is. Maybe the Indians will get to the World Series again one day… ((looks at 2-7 record))..or maybe not.

Jason
http://jmays.mlblogs.com

12-6 curve,
We had a great team in 2008, but the Rays front office thinks this year’s team might even be better.
I, myself think we have the possibility to be great, but the division can be rough on your record.
We shall see.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I think they gave them to everyone.
I know that the Season Ticket holders will not get a second ring, so that is a bummer.
I had a few people sell them to me last night.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jason,
I look at it this way.
It is only 9 games into the season, and there is plenty of games to win and lose from this day on.
It is up to the team to fight on the field for their place, but it my place to cheer and be supportive.
Hopefully both can come together and celebrate a playoff berth in early October 2009

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get one of those rings with the Rockies. Glad to hear you’ll be treasuring that ring.
Emily
http://deconstructingthoughts.mlblogs.com/

That’s cool! Did you actually get to try on your buddy’s ring? The “real” ring?
Cherished treasures…enjoy!
Sorry to hear about the death in Evan’s family. Hope he takes the time he needs, family is more important than baseball.
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

Yeah, the Phillies are giving away World Series ring keychains this upcoming Tuesday. I’m not sure if you can detach the actual ring, but I think the keychain for car keys would be cool. I won’t be at the game but there are already about 30 people pre-selling them on eBay and I’m thinking about getting one. (I would never sell it myself though!)

I assume the Rays are starting their home games on the eights to commemorate the ’08 season?
-Mark
http://philliesperspective.mlblogs.com

I have my ring already in a jewelers to be bored out 1/24th of an inch to fit my finger.
They are if that fine a quality. The jeweler said they were inexpensive, but the metal was not porous, so they can adjusted.
So you know I will be wearing that sucker by next week all the time.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I did get to try on his ring, and it is a semi perfect fit. It is off a half a size, but I could wear it.
I loved the case and the velvet surface it gets to sit on with the etched glass top glass piece.
I wish I could of gotten in with the Rays before last season now.
Westy, the clubhouse manager knows how long I have been trying to work for the team.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I really did not think of that analogy, but I will ask someone in the promotions department about that tomorrow.
That is an interesting insight, and would be a great thing to do…….nice work on that.
I know there are a few rings already on Ebay, but I bought my five to keep for a long time.
Or maybe as back-up if my other ring gets dull or chipped badly.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mloblogs.com

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