Results tagged ‘ Al Reyes ’

3 consecutive homers doom Angels

 

Rays 13, Angels 4

 

Rocco Baldelli has been working out with the Rays at the Extended Spring Training games at the Namoli complex in St. Petersburg,Florida. Rocco, who had some serious fatigue situations during Spring Training, has been playing in game against other minor leaguers.

 These contests will end on Wed., and the Rays will have to evaluate Baldelli and decide where in the minor league system they will send him to continue his rehab.

Do not be surprise if the Rays call Baldelli up to the big club after the All-
Star break to platoon in rightfield the rest of the season.With the addition of Baldelli’s speed, this would make the Tampa Bay’s outfield one of the quickest in the MLB.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

Joe and Dom DiMaggio are the only brothers to have hitting streaks of 30 plus games.

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Evan Longoria had a small family contingent at the game last night. You could tell his family and friends every time he came up to bat, since Evan set a Rays rookie record of scoring 4 runs in a game. Longoria currently leads the league’s rookies in homers with 10.

 

 

But his accomplishments were not done there. He also connected on 2 homers, went 3-4, with 3 RBI’s and raised his average to .255. Longoria also became the only MLB rookie this season to have more than 1 multi-homer game. He also is only the third Rays rookie to have a multi-homer game, and the first to have a  2 multi-homer games in their rookie season.

 

 

Willy Aybar has hit safely in 5 straight games and 6 out of the last 7 to raise his average to .306 for the year. Aybar also hit a homer in the middle of the Rays onslaught in the 2nd inning. Aybar also helped complete 3 double plays for the Rays against the Angels.

 

 

Dioner Navarro hit his third homer of the year and went 4-5, with 4 RBI’s and 3 run scored last night against the Angels. Navarro is currently hitting .349 for the Rays, and is 27 plate appearances short of qualifying league wide for top batting average.  Navarro is currently the top hitting catcher in the league.

 

Evan Longoria, Willy Aybar and Dioner Navarro each hit homers in the 2nd inning. It is the first time in 69,094 plate appearances that 3 Rays hit homes back-to-back-to-back in a game.

 

 

Rays manager Joe Maddon got his first win against his former team ni their stadium last night. Before the victory, Maddon was 0-8 against the Angels on their home turf. With last night’s win, the Rays are 4-0 against the Angels this season and are on pace to have the only winning yearly record against them in franchise history.

 

Edwin Jackson earned his 4th victory of the season last night in a contest that was tied until the Rays broke the game open in the 5th inning with 5 runs.  Jackson threw 7 innings, and 107 pitched before giving the ball to the Rays Bullpen to finish the game.

Al Reyes and Gary Glover pitched an inning apiece and gave up a two hits between them to get Jackson the win.

 

Justin Ruggiano had 2 outfield assists last night against the Angels.

 

 

On the first one came in the 3rd inning after a Sacrifice Fly by Garrett Anderson. Ruggiano was throwing home to try and get Jeff Mathis who was trying to score from third.

Ruggiano owes a big slap on the back to catcher Dioner Navarro who cut -off his throw to the plate and threw off balanced to second to nail Maicer Izturis at second base.  The throw was a fantastic example of the “heads up” plays that Navarro has been making recently for the team.

His second assist came in the bottom of the 6th inning when Vladimier Guerrero over ran second and was tagged out by shortstop Jason Bartlett.

 

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Upcoming Rays historical moments:

Akinora Iwamura’s next homer will be his 200th as a professional player. He has hit 188 in Japan, and 11 as a Tampa Bay Ray.

Carl Crawford needs 4 bases to become only the 9th player since the 1900’s to steal 300 bases before his 27th birthday.

 

 

Rangers Leave Rays at a Loss

 

 

Rangers 6, Rays 3

 

The following is a reprint of a St Petersburg Times article on the new stadium:

The evolution of the Rays design

RayscurrenttRaysevolve

I thought it might be interesting to see how the ballpark design has evolved. At top is the current proposal. On the bottom (from left to right) is a series of proposed designs from March 2007, May 2007, November 2007 and February 2008.

The deep black line in the bottom row is where the current seawall location is. The original concept called for filling in 2.55 acres of the bay and would have filled in the entire channel between the main land and Demens Landing. (You can click on the bottom row to get a better look). Now only .4 acres of fill will be needed to build the proposed stadium, which should help the Enviormental aspects of the construction.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

Ebbets Field organist Gladys Gooding earned her stripes the second day on the job (May 9,1942. As umpires Bill Stewart,Ziggy Sears,and Tom Dunn strolled on the field for the game. Gooding played the classic,”Three Blind Mice.”

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I am again going to shelf “The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly” format and just write my opinions and views again on my hometown Rays.  I have been looking for a formative setup for almost 6 months to accompany my Rays coverage, but the Good,The Bad and the Ugly can sometime sometimes be  too one-sided during losing and winning streaks.

Thus, from today on, I am just going to report the things I see, and what I know about the stats and adventure of our favorite team.

                  

I do not know what it is about miscommunication in our outfields. Are our Rays outfielders and infielders a bit too timid at times in voicing their dominating position on flyballs in the game. Twice in Sunday’s contest there were play where the Rays players did not communicate with each other and a hit resulted in each situation. In one situation, between shortstop Jason Bartlett and leftfielder Carl Crawford, the ball ended up costing the Rays a run in the inning. The next batter, German Duran hit a 2-run homer to deep center.

                         

Another play happened between centerfielder B J Upton and rightfielder Gabe Gross. By the video, Gross had  a better bead on the ball and was about to make the catch when B J Upton came into his eyesight and prompted Gross to take his eye off the ball, which fell to the turf. Upton recieved an error on the play, but all could have been prevented if Upton would have just backed-up Gross instead of trying to make the play himself.

                           

BJ Upton and Jason Bartlett do alot to bring this team up to a higher level, but it is the same things that also bring the team down a notch at time becuase of costly errors or mistakes. Boith made critical errors again in the game both on defense and on the basepaths.

Jason Bartlett actually had a bit of a bad hop at short that prompted his error tonight, but he still did not get the ball in play to try and prevent the hit.

                              

B J Upton again was caught stealing second in the first inning and ended the inning by being tagged out. B J  might be 7th in the AL in steals with 20, but he is also tied for 2nd in the AL leader in being caught stealing 7 times this year.  Baserunning is a hit or miss situation most night, for Upton, it is more miss right now.

      

Now on a positive note, B J  made an awesome play in center to rob the Rangers’ Frank Cattalanatto of a basehit.  Upton has been impressive in his only his second season in the outfield making a boatload of showstopping play this year. But his errors and misplays unfortunately are the play that are being seen around the league. B J  is currently tied for 2nd with 7 outfield assists this year.

Let’s stay on the positive track for a minute here. Evan Longoria made an awesome grab of a short foul pop-up from the bat of Bobby Boggs in the 1st inning. Evan laid out in foul territory and took the ball inches fron the turf for the out.

That is only one of the play that will make this Rookie one of the best defensive third baseman in the teams’  history.  I personally have seen my idol, Brooks Robinson make those kind of plays, and he did very well for himself in the game.

            

 

Rays starter Matt Garza went to the mound today undefeated against the Texas Rangers. Garza was 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA before today’s start.

Garza never seemed to have his susal stuff today in the game. At one point, during a called pitchout by Dioner Navarro, Garza threw the ball to the backstop for a Wild Pitch. He never seemed to be in a groove and the frustration came to a head in the bottom of the 4th inning.

Dioner Navarro, being the new club house leader for the Rays, came out to try and calm Garza down after the incident. Garza was visibly aggitated and fumed with his catcher on the mound. As Navarro turned to go back to the plat, Rays pitching coach, Jim Hickey came out to try and get Garza’s head back into the game.

All seemed back to normal as Garza got David Murphy to ground out to second for the third out of the inning.

“[Garza is] an emotional guy out there on the mound and I was just trying to basically encourage him to channel his emotions more toward the task at hand versus just kind of wasting it out there,” Hickey said. “And I thought he did a pretty good job after that, because it was a pretty heated situation out there. I believe he retired the next two guys.”

In the dugout, Garza renewed his venom at Navarro and the two battery mates had to be restrained by the players and staff in the tunnel area of the dugout. That cued the end of Garza’s game as he gave up 3 runs on 6 hits for the night. After the game, both players and manager Joe Maddon said the tussle was just frustration and was getting worked out between each other.

“Really, you guys, just describe what you saw,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Write what you saw. It’s something we’re going to take care of. And we’re going to take care of it soon.

Just heat of passion,” Garza said. “We’re both competitors. Whatever happened, we’ll just keep it here and we’ll fix it. … This is a great bunch of guys and everybody is on each other’s side. We can fix it.”

Navarro said the problem was “just something that happened in the game.”

“It happens in the family,” he said. “I think everybody is going to be fine from this point on. It was really nothing.”

When asked if he was “square” with Garza, Navarro replied: “Yeah, we’re fine. We’re a whole family here. [Little] brother fights against older brother, stuff like that. Everything’s straight now.”

Let’s hope for Garza’s sake it is all water under the bridge. the talented righty does not need to develop a strained relationship with his starting catcher.

I have to make an observation here, and tell me if I am wrong people.  But is the umpiring this season a bit below par so far this season, or am I imagining bad calls against our team. The Rays have had a recent history of getting shafted by the men in blue, but some of the called pitched tonight were a bit wild to say the least. TV replays showed the pitches to be low and outside and one player was sure to voice is concerning with the set strike zone.

Eric Hinske, the Rays DH today, decided to question the umpire on a called third strike to him in the 6th inning. Replays showed by reading his lips that Hinske did not use vulgar or obusive language to the umpire, so the ejection is questionable at best here. 

 A few innings later, Akinora Iwamura also got a bad called third strike and did his Ichiro imitation and just looked at the umpire with a puzzled look. 

Jason Hamel, of all the Rays relievers right now, you might be the one Joe Maddon is counting on in this suspension situation for a spot start. You did not help yourself by giving up 3 runs in 3.1 innings tonight against Texas. With that, and the upcoming roster moves because of Troy Percival coming off the DL on Friday, you did not set yourself above the group of “maybe” guys.

I am thiknig that a pitcher will be the guy to go on Friday. There are several guys who are totally safe here, Dan Wheeler, Trever Miller, Grant Balfour, and J P Howell.

Guys who might need to show a bit more on the mound are: Hamel, Al Reyes, and Gary Glover.  My pick is Glover, not becuase of bad outings, I just do not see him in the futre of this ballclub and it might be to his best interest to get on with a club who could use his services every other nightl.

Okay all, that is it for tonight.  Remember, to vote for Evan Longoria as the Pepsi Clutch Performer of the Month on MLB.com. 

Also he is a Write-In candidate for the MLB All-Star ballot at third base.  He will get to alot more All-Star games in the future, but this is a chance to get his name out there for nest years’ honor.

I want to Thank Brenton here on MLBlogs.Com for mentioning by Blog on his in the last few days.

Rays fans are coming out of the closet and walking onto the bandwagon in alarming rates. It is great to see another veteran of the lean wins years on this site promoting the ballclub.  I siot in Section 138 at the bottom every game, come on down and say hello anytime.

Cliff

Here is a link to his blog for all my fellow Rays supporter to check out another great Rays writer:

http://Braverays.mlblogs.com

 

 

 

 

 

Rays lose 6th straight in Fenway, but get in a few punches

 

Red Sox 7, Rays 1

 

I have to take a moment to express some “atta boys'” and high fives for a former Ray that had a great night tonight. Elijah Dukes went to the Washington Nationals in the off season for a change of sceneryand to again focus on baseball.

He got injured in the first few days of the season and has been struggling to get playing time and at-bats. With the Nationals playing a day/night doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals today, he got a chance to shine,.

Dukes went 4-6 with 4 RBI’s and hit his first homer of the year, he also scored 3 runs in the second game of the doubleheader.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

 Derek Lowe of the 2004 Bosotn Red Sox is the only pitcher to win the final game of a divisional series, a league championship series, and the World Series all in the same year.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly PosterThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly PosterThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly PosterThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly Poster

                                      The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

            

                                             The Good

Last night I was harping about some  Rays bench players having to step up in the offense side of the game with Carlos Pena on the DL.  Eric Hinske and Willy Aybar will get the bulk of the first base duties in the next two or so weeks and will be counte on to produce in Pena’s absence..

Tonight it was Willy’s turn.  Aybar hit two doubles in his first two at-bats tonight to boost his average to .297 for the Rays. Aybar also scored the only Rays run in the second inning on a Jonny Gomes single to leftfield.

Willy is also looked very sharp at first cleanly fielding a few errant balls tonight.

Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:

***  When it comes to emotion, Jonny Gomes is king on the Rays roster. The guy lives and breathes emotion and competition. I am mentioning him as a “Good Guy” for standing up for his teammate, James Sheilds tonight in the 2nd inning fiasco.
I will address the negative factors in another section of the blog.

**   With Carlos Pena going on the DL, the Rays called up multi-faceted outfielder Justin Ruggiano.  This is Ruggiano third time up with the Rays this season.

Justin responded by going 2-4 tonight to raise is limited average to .313 for the season. Ruggiano will see alot of playing time in the next two weeks as a platoon position player for the Rays.

* The Rays renewed and revised Bullpen had to do some double duty tonight with the ejection of James Shields in the 2nd inning. Grant Balfour started the long line of relievers to help finish the game for the Rays. He was followed by J P Howell in the middle of the 3rd inning.

The Rays Bullpen after the third inning, shut down the Red Sox offense and gave Tampa Bay a chance to try and get back in the ballgame. Gary Glover, Dan Wheeler, and Al Reyes pitched 4 innings of 2-hit shutout ball to stop the Boston bats.

 

                   

                                                  The Bad

The Tampa Bay Rays has now been blanked by the Boston Red Sox for 6 straight games in Fenway Park. The team has not beaten the Sox since the Sunday finale in the Trop a few months ago. In this divisional rivalry, they must start to committ and try and split the remainder of the games against the Red Sox to even entertain a great season.

This series is just the second time the Rays have lost back-to-back games since they were swept here in Bosotn on May 2-4th. 

James Sheilds is now 8-13 as a road pitcher for the team.  In his 6 career starts against Boston, he is 1-3, with a 4.76 ERA. On the heels of that, he is 0-3 in Fenway Park lifetime. Shields also took a loss tonight.

When you play a team 17 times a year, you need to secure at least 50 percent of those games to be considered a victory. 

                                                 The Ugly

I understand what happened at the game, and that a “professional plucking” took place on Coco Crisp of the Red Sox, but the ramifications of this on-field fiasco will be felt for more than a few games.

The Rays may lose DH/outfielder Jonny Gomes and  starting pitcher James Sheilds to suspensions and in that, lose valuable pitching and hitting situations.

The only good thing to come out of all this is the look of unity on the Rays players  that raced into help their teammates.

All this because Coco Crisp wanted to act like a idiot. Last night, Crisp had issue with a base block by Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett.

In the next play, Crisp went into second on a steal really aggressive and up ended Aki Iwamura hard.  You would have thought he would have gotten his retaliation then, and not held onto it for 24 hours.

When Sheilds plucked Crisp with a 94 mph pitch in the hip, Crisp slowly turned and look to go to first without issue. He then turned the threw his helmet to the turf and ran to the mound. Sheilds tried to land a haymaker, but missed badly and Dioner Navarro caught Crisp from behind  before Crsip to administer more than a few blows to Sheilds…………..and the brawl was on.

I do not condone the action on the ground towards Coco Crisp as baseball. I also do not see it as “boys being boys.”

What I saw was Jonny Gomes punching Crisp from behind repeatedly. I suspect Gomes will get a multi-game suspension and a hefty fine. 

 I also saw leftfielder Carl Crawford come in and give Crisp a shot to the ribs, and a few other well placed hits. The gang mentality took over as soon as the bullpens joined the fray.  At one point, there were three different situation going on in the infield area before order was restored.

               

Jame Sheilds was pulled from the pile by Carlos Pena and Rays’ manager Joe Maddon, but wanted to rejoin the fiasco. In the end, only Gomes, Sheilds and Crsip were ejected from the ballgame.

But I expect an aditional fine to be levied against Boston third base coach DeMarlo Hale for his forceful tackling of Shields from behind.  It was a picture perfect defensive tackle for loss, but in the wrong sport.  Hale should also be fined and possibly suspended for tackling another teams’ player without intent to stop the fight.

     

 

MLB video of the Fiasco:

    http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?mid=200806052848893      

 

If he had done it to a Boston player to keep him out of harms way, I could condone it totally, but to hit an opposing player blindsided is ridiculous at best, and totally unprofessional for a coach in the majors.

Just think of it…………………we still have alot of ballgames to play against each other the rest of the year………..This is going to be a memorable year for both of our teams.

Percival Hurt, But Rays Roll to Victory

 

Rays 5, Rangers 3

I was told the other day that some national celebrity radio hosts are beginning to jump on the Rays’ bandwagon. I will glad extend a hand to all of them but one. Jim Rhome can bit my ***. I met the guy back in 1984 at the NFL Combine. I was not impressed then, and I am not impressed now with his banter or opinions.

I will not take sage advice from a guy who is the ulitimate sports opinion, after playing college tennis for awhile. I know most sports writers never played the game to a certain extent, but I do not respect or want his opinion to be associated with a great team like ours.

Jim, Go and approve of your Cali teams, and of your UCLA/USC local yokels. We are better in Tampa Bay without your endorsement or advice. We played 10 years before you thought we were worth more than a footnote to defeat and doom. We will be on the top, and by the way, that’s not warm rain, I just had to go dude!

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

After being sold to the New York Yankees, Babe Ruth outhomered the entire Boston Red Sox tean for 10 of the next 12 seasons.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly PostersThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly PostersThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly PostersThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly Posters

                                The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

                                   

 

 

                                               The Good

Rays starter Matt Garza (4-1) probably had his best stuff today for his game against the Texas Rangers. Garza pitched 8 innings of 8-hit, 4-run ball today in front of a sparse Tampa Bay crowd. Matt added 10 strikeouts today, which made the pizza-lovers’ in the crowd very excited.

In May, Garza is 3-1, with a 3.59 ERA in 5 starts. Matt was 1 strikeout short of his personal record of 11, set at Cleveland on 7/29/2007.

Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:

***  Rays shortstop Ben Zobirst and  back-up catcher Shawn Riggans saw duty today in this afternoon game. they went a combined 2-6 and scored 2 runs for the Rays. This season, both have had limited time on the field for the Rays, but both have performed fantastic wehen called upon by the team.

                             

Riggans made  a great slide in the bottom of the 5th to score on Rangers catcher Saltalamacchia. Zorbrist was also a force in that innning, scoring on a Intentional Walk to Carlos Pena with the bases loaded.

 

                                             

 

** Akinora Iwamura went 2-5 today, with and RBI and 2 runs scored for the team. Aki is still the only AL second baseman to not make an error, and only trails the Rangers Ian Kinsler for the lead in double plays.

Iwamura also has not grounded into a double play in 210 at-bats this season. Last year, he was the hardest player in the AL to get to hit into a double play.

     

          

 

*  B J Upton is quietly becoming one of the best centerfielder in the MLB. He is consistantly up in average (.306), outfield assists (4, tied for 3rd in AL), and steals (13, ranked 5th in AL).

Today he quietly helped the Rays to their series victory over the Rangers by going 1-2, with a run and a RBI. Also he walked twice today to put himself into position for the Rays. B J  now leads the team with 32 RBI’s.

                                

                

 

                                              The Bad

Troy Percival has been a constant performer for the Rays in the back end of the game for the entire season. Last week in Oakland, while closing a game, Percival felt a twing in his left hamstring but finished the game.

In today’s contest, Troy pitched to the first two Rangers before finally feeling the hamstring tighten again and left with two outs in the top of the 9th inning. Percival will be sent for an MRI and the rsults will be discussed with the training staff tomorrow. 

                                       

In the meantime, Dan Wheeler and Al Reyes will pick up the slack in Troy’s absence for the Rays. Percival might miss a few days to rehab the injury, or the Rays could put him on the DL and shut him down for a few weeks.

                               

                                             The Ugly

I can’t rant and rave enough about this next subject. I know it was an oafternoon affair, and people do have to work. I admit, I could not be there only because my store that day was 65 miles away and I got done at 1 P.M.

But my seat is pre-paid for the season, so even if I am not there, it counts as a ticket sold. With that in mind, I hope the “Golden Rays” and the other 10,927 fans enjoyed the Rays victory.

I hate that we are tied for the best record in the AL, actually the majors, and we still gave attendance issues. I have heard all the excuses on the radio after the game. Mileage, gas costs, distance and time of the game are the latest things to be brought up.

 This is not an issue if you want to be here. I am not made of money, but I get to almost 75-plus games a year. I made a committment by buying my tickets to be here as much as I can.

I do not condone or want people to go poor or hungry just to support the team. But, if you get here once a week, or take in a weekend series, you are showing more support than most people in the Tampa Bay area.

If you heart is in the team, you will get here when you can be here. I am not asking people again to starve,steal or beg to get here. Come when you can and the attendance and the support will grow slowly and surely.

I rant and rave becuase I enjoy my time here every day/night. I could stay home and watch on the TV or Internet, but nothing compares to the spirit and the sounds of being here.

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If the playoffs started today, we would be paired up with the Chicago White Sox for our first series. Let’s make this weekend,plus one series a best of 4 and see what each of our teams are made of here.

Both teams have the best records in their divisions, and one will have a few losses after this weekend. Hopefully the Southside Chi-town boys are on that end of the stick.

So, come on out to the Trop. and lest’s see if we can make it feel like a playoff game with noise, crowds, and an awesome after game concert Sat. night.

 

Wild, Wild Night at the OK Tropicana

Yankees 8, Rays 7



You have to admit here, that was the kind of game you want to tell your grand kids about when you are old and gray.


First the visitors’ take a starter deep not once, twice, but three
times early on and the score seems lopsided. The the home squad kicks
and scratches its way to a tie, then a long ball decides the outcome
late in the game.  More on what happened after the Trivia fact.


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On May 30, 1946, Bama Rowell was
the first person to hit the Bulova clock in Ebbetts Field. Some say
that was the inspiration for the scoreboard scene in “The Natural.”

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*

                                The Good,The Bad,and the Ugly

                        

                                         


                                                          The Good

 



There
were a few great plays tonight that could have garnished the top spot,
but since he has come up, Evan Longoria has done almost nothing wrong. Tonight
he got his first Homer in the Trop. in front of the home folks and it
was a wild sight indeed.  Longoria is currently hitting a
blistering .444.

Longoria’s
shot tied the score at 7-7 in the bottom of the 7th inning and sent the
crowd in a flurry of emotions. Before this inning, the Rays were down
to the Yankees  7-2 and did not show signs of waking the offense up
tonight. But, the 7th inning was special tonight. Rays
shortstop Jason Bartlett started the inning by smashing a ball off Ian
Kennedy’s hip for a  single.  The infield single knocked Kennedy out
of  the game and reliever Billy Traber came in to pitch.

One batter
later, Carl Crawford connected on his first homer of the year, a two
run shot to get the score closer, 7-4.  Up came Rays slugger Carlos
Pena, who then walked and B J Upton slammed another two run homer to
close in on the Yankees 7-6.


That set the stage for Longoria’s solo homer to tie the score.


Honorable mention Kudos of the Night:

***            Rays reliever Scott Dohmann came in with the bases loaded and did not give up a run during his 3.2 innings of work.


**             B J Upton raised his average to .313 by going 2-5 tonight and stealing a base.


*            
Major Kudos to the Rays Carl Crawford for his 3 RBI’s, Two on his
homer, and one on a Sacrifice Fly to deep left field bullpen area that
scored Nathan Haynes from third base.  Carl went 2-4 and showed
remarkable improvement at the plate.


 

                                                       The Bad

                                                 


Andy
Sonnanstine never seemed to be in a rhythm tonight. In the first inning
alone, Sonnanstine gave up a lead off  solo homer to Johnny Damon, and
then another to Alex Rodriquez. The worst part is the homer was A-Rod’s
521st homer, which tied him with Ted Williams and Willy McCovey for
15th on the All-time  Home Run list.

                      Reliever Al Reyes waits for a new ball after making one bad pitch, a changeup that Robinson Cano launched deep into the rightfield stands for the eventual winning home run in the eighth.



Rays
reliever Al Reyes came in the top of the 8th inning to help preserve
the tie for the Rays. In that inning, Reyes gave up a pinch-hit homer
to Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano. Before the home run, Cano was
batting .170 for the year.

                                                The Really Ugly



I was going to gripe about B J Upton’s fifth base running error in 5 games, but instead I have another bone to pick tonight.



The
Yankees series have always been one of the best attended series of the
year for the Rays. The announced attendance for tonight’s Monday night
game was 18,872, which would put the Trop. at 47.5 percent full. It
used to be a predestined thing that this series would hit the money
tree for the Rays. But if this Monday game is any indication, then the
upcoming Yankees series that runs from Monday, May 12- 15, should be
another below par for attendance.


On
May 15th, that contest will be on a Thursday afternoon with a start
time of 4:10 PM. I know this start time is to give the Rays ample 
airline travel time to their next Inter-Leaque series in St. Louis,
Missouri that  Friday night. It
is just that the schedule looks like the local Yankee fans will be
shortchanged this year with the only other visit to the Trop for the
pinstripes coming on another weekday series from Sept. 2-4th.


In comparison, the Chicago White Sox have two weekend series, the first from April 18-20, and another from May 29-31st.

 

Former Rays Player of the Night:

                                                 

Twin Left fielder Delmon Young is my ex-Ray of the night.

In
tonight’s 11-9 loss to the Detroit tigers, Delmon went 3-5 with two
RBI’s and a stolen base. Young also score 3 runs tonight. Delmon is
currently hitting at a modest .280.

Another Twin having a great night was second baseman Brendan Harris who went 2-4 with 2 RBI’s and is hitting .351 for the year.

 

Don’t
forget the second and final game against the “Evil Empire” is tomorrow
night at 7:10 PM. Let’s see if we can get behind Rays pitcher Edwin
Jackson and cheer him on to his third victory of the season.

See you at the Trop!!! 

 

 

 

Evan Longoria to Debut Tomorrow

***************************************************************************************************************************************


Trivia for the Day

Rays’  Left fielder Carl Crawford got his 1,000 hit tonight. That is a major
feat for the 26 year old.


Which two pitchers gave up the most hits to All-time Hits King Pete Rose?

Phil Niekro( 64 hits) and Don Sutton ( 60 hits).

****************************************************************************************************************************************


 

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Framed Art Print             The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Framed Art Print                   The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Framed Art Print

                                    The
Good
The Bad,and The Ugly

                                                                     

                                                 The Good

       

 


It was a perfect night to be a Tampa Bay
Rays fan. You saw a wild pitching performance by both starters until
they settled down, then they  took command of the plate for awhile. Then the
sleeping Rays bats came alive like a lightning bolt and tore into the Orioles
pitchers’. It was a night where the longest tenured Ray,
Carl Crawford got his 1,000th hit in the 7th inning off Orioles reliever Jamie
Walker.

 

Crawford  became just the 8th active player
to reach the 1,000 hit mark at 26 or younger. He is in an elite crowd that
includes, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Albert
Pujols.  But Carl’s great feat was not the only bright
spot in this night. The top honor goes to:

The Rays' B.J. Upton congratulates Carlos Pena after Pena and Carl Crawford, right, score on the first baseman's two-run homer in the first.    


Rays first baseman Carlos Pena.


Carlos had a  personal hand in helping the
Rays score their first 6 runs tonight.  And he did it in perfect “El Presidente”
fashion. Carlos belted two home runs, which accounted
for 5 Rays runs, then he walked with the bases loaded to  help record his  6th
RBI of the night. At a time when the Rays first four batters
were going into a short dry spell, the bunch lifted their team and their
battting averages to help the Rays even their season record at
5-5.


But there were many stars of this game. I
could name almost every member of the team who pitched or batted tonight, but
here is a select three for your viewing pleasure.

                                    


***  Recently acquired Right Fielder, Nathan
Haynes went 3-5 and stole a base tonight  and while on base,o put pressure on
the Orioles pitchers because of his base stealing ability.


** Center fielder BJ Upton  got a few lucky
breaks and bounces tonight to go  3-5 himself, and also collect 2 RBI’s in the
later innings. Upton also got the good fortune of a wild play at second to
record his first Outfield assist of the year.


B J was throwing home to get a advancing
runner, when Carlos Pena cut off the ball and toss it to second base. The only
problem was there was no one there at the moment to receive the ball. Out of
nowhere come a leaping Jason Bartlett to tag Ramon Hernandez sliding into second
base.  A wild play indeed.  Worthy of a ESPN Top 10
slot.

                            

 

* The number one honorable mention has to go
to Rays management and Andrew Friedman for finally seeing the light and bringing
up uber third base prospect Evan Longoria. Just because he as a sexy name, do not get
confused that he is a pretty boy, or not a guy chomping at the bit to get his
MLB career going.


I personally think that the Rays walk up 
game attendance will go up 10-20 percent in this one game because of his MLB
debut. Who would not want to be at the debut of such a talented and well
received player. ESPN’s Peter Gammons and Buster Onley have
nothing but praise about this kid, and I , personally, have been impressed by
his demeanor and his professionalism during Spring Training. I think in 10 years I can say with total
confidence that I will be glad to be at his first game EVER at this
level.

                                            The Bad



In a game like this, it is hard to harp or
even want to put a “bad” on here, but I have a concern that I want to address
here. James Shields is currently our top of the
rotation guy. I know he is hitting a few rough patches, but he had some serious
control and location  problems for the first two innings of this
game.


He is currently posting a 3.00 ERA, which is
respectable and shows he is improving more and more every outing. I had to find
a “bad” in all the great and good moments of this game. I know that Shields just
had an off night, and I will not spout stats or problems I see here tonight. I
want to celebrate the fact we are starting to gel and need to just enjoy the
moment tonight.


With that in mind, I do have two really ugly
moments tonight


.

                                                    The Ugly

The first ugly is the fact it was $ 1.00 hot
dog night at the Trop. Now, I did not tackle or even try and top my previous
record of 15 dogs. I decided my girlfriend likes a more svelte and more
attractive guy, so I only had 5 dogs ( With kraut, spicy mustard and relish, No
ketchup ). But the people around me must have had  a
really bad  kraut and spicy mustard  dog jones, because after the game I saw
hundreds and hundreds of those aluminum wrappers all over my section of the
stadium.  I even saw two by the Bullpen. Maybe one of the guys could smell all
those dogs and had to get one for himself.

The carnage of those wrappers and the smell
of cooking meat in that stadium would send a vegetarian to their graves.  No
tofu dogs tonight. All American, Red,White and Blue, Hebrew National Hot Dogs.


I wonder if the buns are
kosher?


The second “Ugly” kind of ticked me off. It
was a bunch of closet Yankee fans heckling Al Reyes about the events that
unfolded the prior night. The guys decided to take it upon themselves
to try and humiliate and intimidate Reyes while he was warming up on the
mound. I guess these guys were out getting their
first beer when Reyes apologized to the team, its fans and anyone who would
accept. Al is a great guy and an outstanduing asset to this team.


Every one of us has made a mistake and it was
not played up on your Television screen. The only effects Reyes showed the fans
from last night was the cut on the side of his nose that he received in the
incident. The heckles went over the line and the fans
began to turn on them. I think they also felt that these guys had finally
crossed that line into vulgar, drunken-ize that tends to upset eveyone within
the sound of their voices.


The stadium security and St. Petersburg
Police Department stepped in and reminded the guys that it was within their
rights to banish them from future events at the field if they continued their
assault on Reyes character. I have to say, I stood up and looked the one
guy in the eye and he had commented to others, “What you going to do about it,”
but he did not say that to me.



Former Rays player of the
night.

                     
  


I have decided, since it is my blog and I can rewrite the
rules, I will present the best performance by an ex-Rays ballboy instead
tonight.


While attending Dixie Hollins High School in St. Petersburg,
Florida, Jesse Litsch was a Rays bat boy. During that time he spent hours with
the pitchers and the coaches on improving his pitches and hoping to some day
pursue a professional career. Jesse has now been in the majors for almost one year, and is
currently in the Toronto Blue Jays rotation. He is off to a great start this
year and I am going to showcase his effort tonight against the Texas
Rangers.


He pitched 5.2 innings tonight and allowed 6 hits and 2 runs. He
also had  5 strikeouts in the game. Jesse only threw 93 pitches before leaving
with a lead tonight. The Blue Jays won the game, and Jesse improved to 2-0 for
the season. The reason he is showcased is for the younger ball players to
know that even though you are playing Little League right now, if you want it
bad enough, you can achieve it.


And only 4 short years ago, Jesse was thinking the same thoughts
while guarding the Rays Bullpen catcher and the staff from balls in
play……and now he is wearing a MLB jersey every day.

 

 

Recent Rays Moves………….My View from Rightfield

 

 

Wow!

Here it is a few days from the Winter MLB meetings in Opry-ville and we made a few needed moves that will help define our current and future goals for our squad.

 

First off, let me get that off my chest right now. I am not a Delmon Young hater in anyway, but, from my seat in Right Field, I could read some of his body language and tell  he was just buying time before the poisoned axe or his actions  dictated a move to new Fieldturf pastures.

 

 Have fun in the pillow-dome Delmon. You complained about not being able to clearly see balls at the Trop. Wait until you look up in that sea of lights and  true white roof at the Metrodome………..you will wish for the grey white roof of the Trop. I do wish him alot of luck in his future and success with that “Young” brothers curse of having a small attitude adjustment problem. His brother seemed to have finally gotten his attitude to shine with the Nats, let’s hope it doesn’t take Delmon as long to fine the right basepath to being the great teammate. Delmon’s departure will come back to haunt us at times,…………..but only for 6 or 7 games a year.

 

Now the players we got for Delmon are quality guys. Matt Garza is a young player that can br dialed into this rotation for years and will be a positive and needed upgrade to our constantly inproving and maturing pitching staff. Garza has not even hit the stride in his career yet, so the sky is the limit right now with him.

By the way, in Garza’s last 2007 start in, he pitched 6.2 innings with 4 hits and 1 ER against the Royals and Lost the game. We will take 6.2 inning outting any day with only 1 ER…….with the offensive power we have on our roster right now, it should always  be a “W” with the Rays.

 

The additon of Garza is great because this staff can grow into a huge AL East  pitching monster. Scott “The K” Kazmir is just getting started. James Shields was perfecting a few of his pitches last year, and gaining a boatload of knowledge about American League hitters.

 

 Those two will hold down the front of the rotation for a long time. Matt Garza is a great addition to help get those extra ( hopefully) 10-15 wins a year to get close to that hallowed 82-82 mark.

 

They only curious point to this trade is Jason Barlett,the second player involved in this trade.  He is destined to be just a stop-gap fill-in until protege’ Reid Brignac is ready to man the 5 hole for years to come. Bartlett  hit .265 last year, but only has 10 HR’s in his career and only 1,079 AB’s in his career.  He has primarily been a utility man during his career in the bigs, and this is his first extended playing time in the shortstop position.

 

Now he knows the role he will play here in Tampa Bay, but who knows, someone could come to camp to even replace him ( maybe Ben Zobrist ). Worst things have happened to our team.  Remember Danny Batista and Roberto Alomar retiring from our squad with only days to go in Spring Training. Losing these ex- All-Stars was viewed at the time as a failure by the team. It turned into the emmergance of Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes as “go-to” guys for the Rays for  that year.  So, sometimes a bad look can turn into a solid gold treasure when you only look at the surface of a situation. But that is why we play the games and do not award a trophy for roster potential, but game results.

 

With that in mind, let me wander a bit. and fantasize here.

 

 Can you go back home again in baseball? Not to a home per se, but to an old team that left you unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, and you selected to a good NL team that did not even know if you could play an entire season because of health and personal concerns.

 

Josh, I have always wanted success for you and knew that you could and would pull yourself together and show the world what a ture 5-tool player looks like up here. You went on to  prove you can play at the highest level and even make their opening day lineup in Right Field. the start of the season offensive expolsion you provided made everyone’s jaws dropped in awe. You finally had an entire country knowing you had it in you, and you proved it to everyone.

 

Hey Josh, I was there the day you came back after your off field problems that took you from baseball and the Rays. I was the Pepsi  guy in the locker room talking to Tim M. right before you went out the door of the training complex and first met the media.

 

I knew then that you had it again. That your head and attitude felt right to me, and I wanted the sky for you. Can you forgive the powers from beyond the Trop’s D-rings and just listen to them if they want to trade and include you on our squad.  I would cheer and enjoy watching you in Right Field again. And a huge plus that people forget, you can be the left-handed bat that Joe has been searching for in the lineup. Could be a sea of pluses for both the team, and yourself.

 

Okay, fantasy time is over……… Trade number two might not seem big on paper or even in reality, but it can be the jump start for each player. Elijah Dukes and Glen Gibson both needed a team that wanted them and believed in them. Now I do not think the Rays ever disliked or wanted harm for Elijah. His off-field and on-field distractions just took their toll on himself and the front office. Both parties knew that a change of scenery can work wonders for you, as a  person and a player.

 

 I wish you a cartload of homers in that new park Elijah. And we will not see you for  about 6 years. It take a few years for the schedule to again list the Nats’ as a interleague opponent again.So this trade might be a hidden blessing for you.

 

 Now Glen Gibson is  daily becoming a more polished pitcher.  Baseball America rated Gibson’s changeup and curve the best in the Nats’s farm system. Now we  know he has inherited talent and a great barometer a phone call away from him. Not every guy has a father that pitched in the majors. That could end up being a hidden blessing for him and the Rays.

 

Fantasy time again…………this time Minor edition.  The Rays’ top draft pick last year, David Price has set high expectations of himself and his progression in the Rays farm system this year. Now I will never argue with a Vandy grad, but I just want him to have a shot to know the systems and not rush his progress. When he gets called up to the Big club, he may  get hit like a pinball for a few weeks, but being a Southeastern Conference pitcher is a bit of a farm system in its own right. The best have had a rough beginning until they adapt and conquer the unique strike zones and brutal power potential of a MLB batters’ box.

 

I love to hear bravado and throwing caution to the wind, but I think a year in triple-A and a call up down the line could be his best medicine. There are a great amount of talent in Double-A and Triple-A right now biting at the bit to get that Spring Reporting date here and start to show their stuff. Jeff Neimann, Jeff Ridgeway, JP Howell,Mitch Talbot, and ex-big club guys like Chad Orvella, Jae Kuk Ryu want another shot up here as well. And that does not include the future power pitchers scattered in the Montgomery, Columbus, and Vero Beach teams. The future looks really bright for this team in the pitching department.

 

Having a prospective rotation of………Scott Kazmir, James Shields,Matt Garza, and add any of these  current teammates names,………Andy Sonnanstine, Jason Hammel and my favorite, Edwin Jackson to the mix, make for an exciting rotation problem  that could win anytime they hit the rubber.

 

Back to reality.  The addition of  closer extrodinaire, Troy Percival only makes the 6th through 9th inning  a more secure spot for the Rays.

 

What I am talking about is the fact that  Gary Glover,Al Reyes, Dan Wheeler are proven MLB relievers who can make it a challenge for any team to try and score after the starter leaves the game.  We have had great relievers before, but never in the middle roles.

 

 I think Reyes showed a huge amount of class in knowing that what is right for the team is great for the future of this squad. I think that is why they picked up his option. There is no doubts or questions he is a plus everytime he hits the mound for us.

 

 He might be the last guy to get the ball on most nights, but he is the first to know that this team has  within reach lofty goals, and they are within reach most nights, even in Fenway Park.

 

Now I have heard a bushel basket of rumors about additons and subtractions to this team. I want to address my views on a few subtractions here.

 

 Delmon might have been a player with a career that will bury his older brothers, but he also has the Young family cancer of that hidden danger and aggression that could ruin all that is good with……..a simple, casual walk to first.  Rays’ fans know what I am talking about here. I enjoyed watching Aubrey Huff hit for years here, but when he started to jog down to first is when he got that dreaded “Ben Grieve” epidemic. Maybe it is in the aura of Right Field that our players get that attitude and begin to falter right in front of us. 

 

Brendan Harris and Josh Wilson were the “blue collar” guys last year. Each guy experienced  a banner year. they got to play ball almost every night and did it the right way. Both got rewarded in different ways.

 

 Brendan got to play in another Dome, but has a great chance to be the everyday guy in the 5 hole up in Minn. Josh Wilson was put on the daily MLB waiver wire with the hopes he could pass through without a hitch. One big hitch, some people actually read those waiver wires daily.  The Pirates took a gamble, and got another quality infielder for their rebuilding ballclub. We wish you a ton of success Josh……you did a great job for the short time you were a Rays. Just a reminder, we did get Josh on waivers from the Nationals last year.  Karma?  you never know.

 

The last two trades I want to discuss did not happen as of the writing of this blog. That does not mean that the teams are not on their cellphone right now mending the deal or twisting the pieces to fit both teams.

 

 The First is the rumor of Edwin Jackson shipping off to Seattle for  1b/DH Ben Broussard. Now I am a huge “Action” Jackson fan, just ask him (lol). I liked Ben Broussard when he was an Indian, but I think his production has slowly seem a downward spiral. We could have done better even in a rumor than this one.  Another rumor had the Mets again this year coveting Jackson.  I do not know what the Mets’ still have left in their farm system. They have been active the last few years adding the missing pieces to their squad. But I am not sure their farm system is as strong as when we plucked Scott Kazmir from their clutches.

 

The second  non trade is a two-parter.It is the “non” trading of Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli.

 

I know that Carl would love to be a part of the first winning team in this franchises’ short history.  He should be a part of this celebration……front and center. Rocco I believe will come out of Spring Training in better shape, and better condition than any other time in his short Rays tenure.

 

 I used to be out at the Rays complex delivering alot, and when Rocco was mending from his surgeries and bumps and bruises, he was  always eagerly training and building himself up for his return. If you remember, Joe used to like to have Rocco in the dugout at home games and selected road series because of his great attitude and zest for success.

 

 I think this time it is totally personal for Rocco. I feel he knows that the team took a gamble and signed him to a long term deal. He is a proud guy, and he is probably the most excited about reporting in  Feb. 2008. Rocco stated in a news article he will relax this off season for a change. I believe that like I believe the “Clear” was a muscle relaxing ointment.  FDA approved too………right? He is probably getting in the best condition both mentally and physically for this team.

 

Right Field has been a concern for the big wigs upstairs since Delmon hit the road for the Great White north.  I think Jonny Gomes, Rocco, or even the tandem of Triple-A studs Fernando Perez or Jason Ruggiano can man it better than Cliff Floyd, Geoff Jenkins, or Darin Erstad. No disrespect to Darin, Luis Gonzalez, or Cliff. I even recently heard a rumor of my old baseball buddy Trot Nixon maybe being a good fit for us. He did hit great here against us, But remember fans,so did Jose Cruz Jr. when he was with the Jays and then got suddenly an average hitter at the Trop.

 

I think the Rays can have a perfect “wait and see” attitude here, unless Josh Hamilton is truly availiable….hint hint Andrew and Matt.

 

In conclusion, the non-tendered list of players will be announced in the coming weeks. This is a huge announcement that always has a few jaw dropping names on it. Things can change dramatically if a huge or unexpected name is released.  There always seem to be a  a few  high dollar drops, or a player with  health questions when  these names hit a wire……………We shall see.

 

 Kick the tires and look  real close under the hoods  there guys. This team is finally in a position to take quality over quantity in a players signing.

 

This team will have Carlos Pena back with a projected one year deal.  Pena has two years until he is a Free Agent, but both sides are working towards a agreement in place before the Spring Training report date.

 

I think this might happen to both prove both sides points.  His agent,Scott Boras says that “Carlos is just heating up”, and the Rays are hoping it was not  just a fluke year offensively for Pena. Either way, Carlos will be a rich guy come Feb. 2008.

 

 And we are a richer team both in knowing the talent is the best this team has fielded in its 11 years in the MLB. Sorry Fred McGriff, Wade Boggs and Jose Canseco. I wanted the “Hit Show” to be the thing that we measure our successes by, but that is not the case.

 

I will end this with a note about the hardest working Rays I have nkown in my years watching and following this team.  Bullpen Catcher Scott Cursi  is always working with the pitchers and providing BP pitching and foul pole comments and analysis. I have known Scott for years and truly feel blessed to have ever met him. We have had a routine of him coming to give me some grief before every game down the Right field line after he tosses with the Rightfielders.

 

 We have a habit of tipping our caps after the last out before he heads into the locker room for the night. Scott is a guy who has invited me out a few times when I have gone on road trips to celebrate with himself and a few people on the team. I have cherished these moments in Seattle and Cleveland. I look forward to 2008 for both the Rays sucesses, and seeing my baseball buddy again manning the Bullpen with Bobby Ramos. As always Scott, I tip my hat to you for what you do for the Rays, and our  Section 138 fans group.

 

Only ( as of Dec 7th, 2008) 77 days until Pitchers’ and Catchers’ report ……..and I can’t wait until 8 am that day.

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