Results tagged ‘ ALCS 2008 ’

Rays Move on to Face the Fightin’ Phillies

 

 

Rays 3, Red Sox 1

 

First off, I want to thank the Boston fans I saw last night who had the class and the respect to clap after the game for the Rays. I am not asking anyone to be a Rays fan here, just saluting the positive image I saw last night from a few of the Boston faithful.

I can not speak for most of the Rays Republic, but I will say that this series is an instant classic and should be played on ESPN Classic for the nest few nights. It had everything that makes baseball fun. It also had a budding rivalry that will peak and ebb with the season.

You have nothing to be ashamed of in this loss. It was a dogfight from the first pitch, and any pitch could have turn it one hundred different ways. There are some in the Ray’s fold of fans who went out of their ways to antagonize and piss off the Boston fans in attendance. This is not acceptable. This will not be tolerated, and it will stop. We need to act like we have been here before.

I am not asking us to sit there with tea and crumpets, but you got to respect a persons loyalty to their team. I am an ex-Gator player living with a FSU graduate.  I do not need to be reminded of the irony here. But the fact of the matter is 27 people had to be removed from the Trop this weekend.  I know there were a few temper flareups, but the real problem is we inherited a few bad apples in the bunch.

I am not asking for the morality police to enforce anything here. Just a little humanity is all that is needed. It is only a baseball game. I am as passionate as the next guy about my team, maybe even more, but I will not throw down a gaunlet for the sake of being a fan. We have the foundation for a great run at the playoffs for a few years. Let’s not ruin our image around the league as the bullies and the vulgar slobs of the new order.  If the Cowbell Kidd can tone down this year, then the average fan  can do it too.      Go Rays!!!!!!!

 

                

 

Matt Garza

Guess James Shields will have to share that big game moniker with Matt Garza for a while here. Who would have imagined when we traded away some real trouble (Delmon Young) we would have recieved two pure gifts that got us to this level. Some say that Jason Bartlett was the keystone in that trade, but I am thinking Garza right now.

Matt has done whatever the Rays asked of him this season. He had a emotional and stress situation in June in Texas and asked for help. Since that time Garza has been the linchpin that has held this years’ playoff push and series win in check. And last night it was his job to stop up the dam and be the little dutch boy.

 

 

Who knew he could do it with such ease and grace. Garza went  7 innings last night, and you know he was over there politicing with Rays Manager Joe Maddon and Pitching Coach Jim Hickey to finish the game out himself. But he had done everyhting asked of him and more. And when they announced the American League Most Valuable Player, it was a no brainer that Garza was standing tall and taking in all the noise from this wild crowd. 

 

                                      

 

In his 7 innings, Garza sent down the Red Sox in order in 4 of his 6 innings. He had a dominating breaking ball tonight and it showed in his 9 strikeouts on 115 pitches. Garza did have problems tonight, but early they were with only one Boston Red Sox. Dustin Pedroia has owned the Rays’ pitchers this year.

 

 He is that gnat that keeps buzzing your head and will not go away.  He put his first bite on the Rays with a 1st inning homer to left that gave the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.  Then in the 3rd inning, he stood his ground and took one for his team as Graza got him flush in the elbow with a nice breaking ball.

 

         

 

After stealing second on Garza, Perdroia was in position to put another stinger into the Rays. He never got the chance as Garza struck out David Ortiz to end the inning. Pedroia made one attempt to try and get some offense for the Red Sox as he walked in the 6th inning and then was caught stealing in a great throw by Dioner Navarro to end the inning.

For the series, Garza went 2-0, with a 1.38 ERA and got 14 strikeouts to lead the Rays to the World Series. I think we might have to just call the group of three pitchers the Big Game Gang from now on.

 

 

ALCS Series Tidbits and Morsels

David Price, who has neither won nor saved a regular-season game in his brief career, saved the Rays’ 3-1 win in Game 7 of the ALCS after winning Game 2. The only other rookies to post a win and save in the same postseason series were Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals (2006 World Series) and Rawly Eastwick of the Reds (1975 NLCS and 1975 World Series).

Price was the 18th player to earn a save in a postseason game in which he entered a bases-loaded situation, but he was the first rookie to do so.

Joe Maddon used five pitchers to nurse his team’s 2-1 lead through the seventh inning. It was the first time in postseason history that as many as five pitchers combined for a scoreless inning.

With a pair of 24-year-old starters, Matt Garza and Jon Lester, Game 7 of the ALCS was the second winner-take-all postseason game in MLB history in which both starting pitchers were under the age of 25. The first was Game 7 of the 1934 World Series, in which Dizzy Dean of the Cardinals beat Elden Auker of the Tigers.

The Rays committed six errors in the ALCS, the Red Sox committed none. Since the playoff format was expanded in 1969, only one team won a postseason series in which it committed at least six more errors than its opponent: the Red Sox (8) over the Cardinals (1) in the 2004 World Series.

 

 

Willy Aybar

Isn’t it funny how certain trades have risen to the top for the Rays this year. Maybe there is something about those flowcharts and risk management sheets in Andrew Friedman’s office. Maybe a few other AL team will be riffling in his file cabinet this off season looking for the next ‘Willy Aybar” for their team.

This guy has just been superb for the Rays this year. When you trade for a guy who had an injured wrist and a few problems on and off the field, you hope for a good investment. If this is how Stu Sternberg’s group does their investing, the U S Government should ask Stu what to do about the economy. Seriously here,

 

                  

 

Aybar was not counted on to be the player he was out of Spring Training. He was suppose to be the stop gap until Evan Longoria was ready to man thrid for the next decade. He has done more than just rescue this franchise when Longoria went down, and given the team countless hit when they were needed this year.

In tonight’s game, Aybar went 2-3, with 2 runs scored and a RBI on the night. Aybar started off by hitting a scorcher down to Kevin Yuokilis at third, but was out vy a foot. that did not set him back, in his next at bat, he took a 1-2 count breaking ball and lined it to within a foot of going over the short leftfield wall for a double to put himself in popsition to score for the Rays.

 

        

 

He moved over to second on Dioner Navarro’s infield single to short and scored on Rocco Baldelli’s single to leftfield. Aybar actually stopped at third before Third Base Coach Tom Foley asked what he was dong here and scored easily before Jason Bay’s throw got to Jason Varitek to put the Rays up 2-1.

Then in the 7th inning he put the exclamation point on thenight by hitting a solo homer to left that left the Red Sox fans looking for the exits. It was a beautiful shot that gave the Rays a cushion going into the last 6 outs of the game.

 

 

 

Rocco Baldelli

I have a few favorite players on this team, but no one carries more emotion for me than Rocco Baldelli. I was under the stands watching the news conference during Spring Training when Rocco announced the medical situation that was plaguing his system and his baseball career. At that time I thought I might see the last of this great player.

But medical teams found a reason for the fatigue and gave him the ability to again play some ball for the Rays. And this team needed that kind of leadership and committment from the Trading Deadline on this year. He was the in-house version of the big right-handed bat we needed to contend down the stretch and in the playoffs. So mwhen he got that RBI single in the 5th inning tonight.

 It brought tears to me eyes that he has gone so far and seen so much and can now drink the sweet  nectar of champagne knowing if he doesn’t play again next year………..he is a true champion in the record books now too. People who have known him know he is a champion off the field, but this single gave him the satisfaction of knowing that all the hard work was worth it, and he still has some special work to do against the Phillies.

 

 

Carlos Pena

I was watching the  turf a few minutes after the Rays won the game, and there was their leader, Carlos Pena doing his patented dance in front of the dugout to the adolation of the crowd. If there is a true leader this year for the Rays, then number 23 has to be on the podium shaking his fist and loving life right now.

Pena has been the rock in the 3-spot for the Rays and has been a solid rock on defense when they Rays needed that extra push on the field. But in the 4th inning tonight. I think Pena sent a message to the Red Sox and the Phillies with his hustle and his determination as he went from first to home on Longoria’s double down the rightfield line that bounced right in front of my seat.

 

 

I was watching as J D Drew took the ball and tried to catch up to the speeding blur heading for home. Pena hit the plate with a force that made him explode up and show one of the biggest emotions from him this season. He expolded all over the plate in a burst of emotion and pure energy. It was a delight to watch him. I almost thought he was going to grab Home Plate Umpire Brian Gorman and do a salsa with him.

 

In one of the wildest thing I have ever seen in my life, the Rays used 5 relief pitchers in the 8th inning. First Dan Wheeler came on and went 1/3rd of an inning. Then J P Howell came on to face Ortiz and got him to hit into a fielder’s choice, and in 7 pitches he was gone from the game. Chad Bradford then came on and got Youkilis to walk on 6 pitches. Then Maddon brought in the rookie …. 

 

 

David Price

What else can the Rookie do for the Rays this year. He has not even pitched in the regular season, but already has his first big league win and save in the same series. David Price came in with 2-outs in the 8th inning last night and dominated the Red Sox. His last out of the 8th was a strikeout to J D Drew to end the Red Sox threat.

He then came back out in the 9th and further took control of the game after walking lead-off man Bay on 8 pitches. He then got both  Mark Kotsay and Varitek to strike out before putting a nice curveball over for pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie to hit to Akinora Iwamura to make a force play out at second and seal the victory for the Rays.

 

 

 

ALCS Celebration Photo Blog………….The Lost Photos 2008

  

                                      

 


I swear this is the last Photo blog of the American League Championship Series I am doing this year. I had too much fun last night and still can not find my car keys. But anyhow, here are the last few photos that I have gotten since I got home from a vastly unprepared road trip to Tampa with some people who felt like it was 1999.

 


I am glad there is not a Game 8, because I know a few people who will not be awake until almost 6 p.m. tonight. This is something that will change this town forever. Some people have called my hometown a “Sleepy little hamlet”, “God’s waiting room”, and my new personal favorite, “Where Bums and Benches meet in perfect harmony”.

 

But to be a part of a World Series against a fellow Spring Training site-mate is spectacular and  will make the area more energized than usual. So enjoy my little photo fest and I will see you all on Wed. night when the champagne stains should be out of my new ALCS Champs cap, and my brain is ready for another exciting series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

 


Akinora Iwamura and “Big” Cliff Floyd. Cliff has been here before, but you can tell it never gets old for the veterans either. I saw people like Dan Wheeler and Floyd, and even Trever Miller acting like kids in the candy store tonight……………and I like it.

 

 


I am starting to believe that Rays Rookie David Price is starting to like all the celebrating in the clubhouse this postseason. He deserves the save tonight, and he will surely be on the World Series roster when it comes out in a few days.

 

 


I can tell by the broad shoulders that this is Rays Bullpen catcher Scott Cursi getting the crowd into the celebration tonight at the Trop. Scott is a huge reason these guys are psyched and ready to go every night coming out of the Bullpen.  He is the Enforcer.

 

 


James “Big Game” Shields is also known as the true master of champagne bursts and celebrations. Shields is one of the big 4 starters that will try and bring home the Rays first World Series title.

 

 


Scott Kazmir is becoming an old professional at this celebration stuff. He is now reknowned as one of the true cork poppers in the Rays clubhouse. Kazmir is also one the premier lefties in the game today.

 

 


Edwin Jackson is cooling down the “Old Man” on the Rays, Carl Crawford. He was here during the lean years in Tampa Bay, and to see a winning team and a playoff berth was a dream to Carl before this season. Now the Rays can go beyond any of their wildest dreams and contend for a World Series title starting on Wed. night.

 

 


One last photo of Rookie David Price getting a cold shower to go with his first professional save tonight in the game against the Boston Red Sox. 

 


Okay, that is the end of all three blogs, I swear.  But I truly hoped you enjoyed going into the picture world of the Rays celebrating their first American League Championship tonight.  Be sure to tune into FOX starting this Wed night at 8 p.m. when the Rays take on the National League Champs, the Philadelphia Phillies in the best-of-seven series for the World Championship.

 


Also, if either team steals a base during a World Series game, Taco Bell will be rewarding every American a spicy beef crunchy taco for FREE the next day. Considering that the Rays stole 10 bases in the ALCS, we all might be eating tacos for a few days.  Go to www.stealabasestealataco.com for more information.

 

 

ALCS Celebration Photo Blog………….Part 2….2008

                  

 

World Series tickets on sale today


Tickets for World Series games 1 and 2, to be played Wednesday and Thursday at Tropicana Field, will go on sale today to those who won the ticket lottery. Winners will be notified by e-mail this morning, with the pre-sale beginning at 5 p.m.  Fans can still register for  a chance to purchase tickets for potential games 6 and 7 at raysbaseball.com.

Not a lottery winner?

Well, there’s stubhub.com.

 

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I have decided that this celebration can not be totally done in one blog, so I am expanding the Photo Blog to two-parts to get more photos to you, the fans before the morning.  So please enjoy the photos and make sure to keep checking out my blog throughout the World Series for Rays updates and game recaps until the end of it all………………maybe another celebration!!!!!!!!

 

             

 

Rays catcher Shawn Riggans running around the right field wall slapping the hands of fans and enjoying the moment as the Rays are the 2008 American League Champs.

 

 

Rays Manager Joe Maddon and ALCS MVP Matt Garza taking in the scene and finally letting it soak in that they are about to play in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wed. night.

 

 

Rays reliever, Dan Wheeler striding down the right field line near the Rays Bullpen slapping hands and celebrating with the fans base.

 

 

How cool is that, a rookie like David Price comes in and set down one of the best lineups in the American League and now he gets to hold the AL Championship Trophy.

 

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Aki again among the Rays faithful who stayed beyound 1 a.m. to help celebrate another Tampa Bay Rays victory and their first run at the World Series Championship.

 

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I had to add one more photo of that world class dog pile that David Price and Dioner Navarro are on the bottom of here. I know it hurts, but it also feels so good guys.  Congrats again to a great team, and a great set of human beings. You are our heroes and our inspirations guys.

 

Shop Now!

I have not even left the ballpark yet and they are almost out of the Rays American League merchandise sent in the first wave by MLB. How crazy is that.  I am so glad the fans are excited about the World Series. I hope at least 25 percent of them come back to the ballpark in 2009 and fill the stadium.  Oh, news flash here people………..We play the Phillies in Philly next season as part of the Inter-League schedule.  How cool is that!!!!!   Road Trip.

 

 

Team getting personal time with the AL Championship trophy. Do they pass it around and can keep it for one day like the Stanley Cup?

 

                   

 


This Photo is going to be firmly planted in my mind for a long, long time. This is the final out of the game…………a force out of Jason Bay by Akinora Iwamura to seal the deal for the Rays.

 

 

Carlos Pena getting ready to do that dance he loves to do at celebration.  Maybe Carlos can teach the entire Tampa Bay area that dance some time.

 

 

Tell me that is not one proud owner. He promised us a winner and he delivered ahead of schedule…………he could run for President right now and get elected on the Rays ticket.

 

            

 

Carlos and Ben Zobrist a few minutes after the final out of the game. This team is more like a family than the Pittsburgh Pirates teams in the 1970′s……………..We Are One Team!!!!!   Tell me the marketing department is not proud of thst slogan now!

 

 

This is what the Trop. looked like 2 minutes after the last out. Rays players running everywhere looking for a teammates to hug and slap some fist bumps on them.

 

Game 7 Shootout Set for Rays and Red Sox

 

 

 

How many people do you think in Tampa Bay did not buy a game 7 ticket thinking it would never get this far. I can honestly say I predicted 6 games, and to think a 7th is going on tonight is not only amazing, but the best Sunday night entertainment in St. Petersburg since the advent of TIVO.

Seriously, how many of you around the country were cursing the throwing things at your big screens when TBS (This Broadcast Sucks) network made their 2008 rendition of the “Heidi Game”.I am going to name the 2008 model, “Harvey-gate”.

 I can tell you I got about 5 really fast texts telling me about it, and you know I can not wait to blast an established company for something as dumb as forgetting to pop a switch.

 

         

 

But I am here to chat about the import ramifications of a Game 7 to our Rays.  I honestly would love to know how many local fans did not even purchase a Game 7 ticket online before today. I know the local hype had everyone going nuts about the possibile celebration last night, but if you really think about it, a Game 7 just could be the re-birth of the Rays-way.

All year long when the count was against them, with 2-outs and no one on base, we have come back 31 times. At home we have lost 2 out of 3 to Boston in this series, but we did the same to them in their house. So the slate is clean, and who ever wins tonight, gets to play another day. It is just that plain and simple tonight. The Rays just have to decide if they are done playing baseball this season, or of they still want to play 7 more games.

 

 

Last night’s game was exciting from first pitch to the last with explosive homers by both teams and a umpire controversy/injury, and let’s not forget “Harvey-gate”.  But Rays Manger Joe Maddon summed it up best last night when he was referring to the style of game we were playing as the old style of the Devilrays, and not his Rays.

If you have been a fan of the team for a long time, you remember the “Hit Show” fiasco. that was the high-powered trio of  Fred McGriff, Vinny Castillo, and Jose Canseco brought in to make the Trop a hitting man’s dream. the trio, and their 22 other players’ relied too much on the hype of the long ball and did not produce as well as advertised.

The Rays right now are also trying to sit behind the long balls and hope, pray and wish for the last win they need to go to the next level.  That is not the personality of the 2008 Rays. This is a team that take what you give them and makes you pay by timely hitting and stealing bases like they were lotto prizes. This is a team who’s pitching surprised and eluded you. Who could be counted on to make it a close game up until the last out in the 9th inning. This is a team that played like 12-year olds going for the free pizza and sodas after the game.

 

          

 

This team has lost it’s mojo of sorts. It is losing it’s personality on the bases, and losing its focus at the plate. I am proud of the fact the B J Upton and Evan Longoria are striking a huge blow with their bats, but the other 7 guys have to step to the same beat and smack the heck out of the ball to all fields.

 

 Not just out of the fields, but out of the reach of fielders, fans and most of all, Kevin Youkilis. Come on guys, if for nothing else, we should win to hear him cry like a whinny baby about no respect and the Red Sox have to go golfinf now until the frozen ground makes it impossible to play.

 

 

 

Cliff Floyd still has that passion deep inside him. On the play where he hit the ball down the line to Mark Kotsay, he hustled to the bag and did not give an inch. He drove through the bag even though Josh Beckett was heading there for the ball. Even after the ball was in Beckett’s mitt, Floyd was still churning and burning in case of a missed foot or a bad catch. That is the 2008 Rays style. Hustle until you are exhausted, treat every play like a game winner. That is the mystical spirit that has been missing the last few games.

 

The 2007 Rays watched the games, the 2008 Rays won those games. Even if it was a 5 runs behind, there was never a dead look on their faces. The 2008 team stood above the crowd by having an emotional edge that no one could describe or duplicate. It was a team first mentality that had made this team the National darling in the eyes of true baseball fans.

 

                

 

So tonight we put the biggest game in the franchsies history solely in a former Twin’s 1st round pick. People forget that Matt Garza is a prime time stud. He had the task if going against the guy the Boston’s papers dubbed the second coming of Clemens and defeated him pitch for pitch. Seriously, did you really think you were going to get any less from Garza.

He had no pressure on him in that start. the World had already given the Red Sox the game, without a single pitch being thrown. All he did was go 6 innings and gave up 6-hits and a solo run in the outing. He earned the win while Lester got shell-shocked by a  Rays barrage from the 2-3-4 hitter unseen by him this year. Garza got the win in a game that was given to the Red Sox before the first pitch was thrown.

With his confidence and his mental fortitude, most pitchers would have mailed the game in and just cruised to their final pitch. But Garza has been a changed man since that blow-up in Texas this summer. He has found a renewed energy and a vitality that is a spark to this young pitching staff. Do not forget he is only one of three pitchers who can hurt you in a variety of ways on this squad.

Sooner or later the entire nation will see what we already know about Matt Garza….. He is a big-time gamer, who loves the pressures of competition. He is the man on the mound tonight and as Garza goes, the Rays shall follow tonight.

 

 

 

 

You know what sight I would love to see tonight after the game, it would be the sight of Jonathan Papelbon slumping over the Dugout railing. Lat time he pitched in Boston he had Papelbon downtrodden, hopefully he will get no chance to make a difference in this game tonight.

 

 

What They are Saying About the ALCS…Game 5

 

 

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What the Boston papers are saying about the Rays’ 8-7 loss to the Red Sox in Game 5:

Bob Ryan, Boston Globe

”The Red Sox are the defending champions. They always come to play nine innings, and if it takes the greatest postseason comeback in 79 years to stay alive, then they will give you the greatest postgame comeback in 79 years.

”Got that, Rays?”

Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe

”The catatonic Rays have to be doubting themselves after watching their World Series tickets dissolve in Fenway’s midnight madness. If you are a Rays fans, you have to worry. The young bucks choked the way few have choked before. They were inches from a clean getaway, a Fenway sweep that would have embarrassed the defending world champs and elevated the Tampa team to elite status. And they coughed it all up in three ridiculous innings.”

Steve Buckley, Boston Herald

”The Red Sox were dead, and dead teams are not supposed to wake up. It is scientifically impossible. You’re dead, you’re dead.

”Then again, if dead teams did not awaken, we would not have Bobby Thomson and Carlton Fisk and all that.”

Ron Borges, Boston Herald

”It is old magic by now, like seeing the rabbit come out of the hat for the 100th time, but who cares? The Sox are still playing, and the Tampa Bay Rays better understand now what they are up against.

”They are up against a team that understands what winning is all about. It’s about winning one game even when you need three. Winning one game even when you need two. One game.

”That’s what the ALCS is now down to for the Red Sox. One game, which they won last night as dramatically as a team could.”

John Tomase, Boston Herald

”David Ortiz’ three-run homer hit the right field seats, and the Tampa Bay Rays stopped in their tracks.

”One second the young upstarts were happy go lucky and carefree, thinking, World Series.

”The next they were nervous and dry heaving, with Fenway Park [map] rocking, trying not to entertain thoughts like, ‘Holy cow. It’s the ALCS, it’s 7-4, and the Red Sox are coming.’

 

I always love how hometown papers spin thing into a frenzy over the smallest gesture or opinion. It is what i miss about the New York papers this year spilling the innuendo and the propaganda of the pinstripes. But I also like how if they truly felt the end was near, they at least braced the fans for the iceberg’s edge.

The Boston media is sending them to the cliff’s without a parachute. This is a 1 game series period. Rays win won, you go home to play golf until the golf course is covered in snow. the national media might not be wanting a Phillies vs Rays matchup, but the locals sure do. It will be an all-Pinellas county Spring Training brawl with the bats from Broad Street angainst the Salsa Slammers of the Trop.

And Carlos Pena gives dancing lessons for those of you players who do not know how to do his dance……………..

You Asked for It……….Fact or Fiction……………Rays Style

 

 

 

I have gotten more than a few comments and emails today wondering why I think the Rays have what it takes to move to the next step. Okay, I can give you the notion that we have not been there before and might not know how to act accordingly. I can also give you the fact that until we beat you……….you are still the World’s Champions.

But if we beat you tomorrow or Sunday, will you go quietly into the night, or will you just re-post up on Monday morning as Philadelphia Phillies fans just for the sake of arguments. Seriusly, Red Sox Nation-Southern Division, is it such a bad thing that the town(s) some of you now call home be in a World Series agianst someone else from the northern half of the US.

So, you really want me to throw a few stats and tidbits out towards your red carpet to prove we have what it takes to take down the Nation that is the Red Sox.  I thought the noise from your crowd after the 1st inning until the bottom of the 7th inning would be enough to tell you my answer, but you want more………

Okay let’s start off easy and I promise not to bruise your ego too much when I make the facts plain and simple here.

Fact: Even if you beat us in the next 2 games, we have the prize that will eat you up inside until next Spring,..We have the American League East title. Think about it we own the division where you make your bread and butter this year, and that pisses you off.  Get used to it, this is only the first test.

Fiction: You do not mind that we got the AL East as long as you return to the promise land and get your third title in 7 years. But there is a slight problem in that analogy friend, you have to beat us in a stadium where we are 24-3 aginast all comers, even the Red Sox. Secondly, you will be throwing 2 pitchers at us who were shell-shocked last time and might not be the total goods you think they are. So let’s take a look at the Post season ALCS stats on your next 2 starters:

Fact: Josh Beckett went 4.1 innings and gave up 9-hits and 8 Earned Runs in the Game 2 matchup against Scott Kazmir. That gives him a 16.62 ERA for the series. But let’s look at the positive for you………..He did get 5 strikeouts.

Fiction: That upon a return to the scene of the crime, his massacre at the Trop., Beckett will dig dsown deep and bring out the Red Sox pride and win in a thrilling game. That might happen, but the Rays bats’ are still hot, and the Rays leftie dominated lineup did not do too bad against him last time.

Fact: Jon Lester did start at home where he was a god and got rocked by the barrage going out of the park, But he is no Tim Wakefield. In the Game 3 matchup that was suppose to be out of sight and put you up 2-1 in the series, he went 5.2 innings and gave up 8-hits for 5 Earned Runs. That is better than Beckett, but still sets him up for a 6.35 ERA.

Fiction: The Rays hit Lester pretty good at the Trop this year in the regular season.  Oh wait! he never faced tham at the Trop this season. But we did go against him mat Fenway this year in the regular season.  Players like Willy Aybar went .333 against him, while Jason Bartlett batted .500 against Lester.  Carlos Pena hit a homer, and got a double against him.  And Dioner Navarro went 2 for 5, while Justin Ruggiano was 2 for 3, with 2 singles against him this year in Fenway Park.

Fact: Red Sox pitchers have given up a total of  13 homers in 5 games to the speedy Rays. They have also helped set the new ALCS by letting Evan Longoria homer in 4 straight games. Was that a gift to us, or was the guy just getting gopher pitches?

Fiction: A change of scenery to Tropicana Field will do the team good to get away from home and feed the hunger to beat the Rays in their home park. That during the first 2 games of the ALCS the Rays were out-pitched and out-hit by the Red Sox. the Rays have not hit alot of homers against us in the Trop this year……. only 11, with 38 RBIs, and that is not including the 3 homers and 9 RBI in the first 2 games at the Trop in the ALCS.

 

Fact:  The Rays are 24-3 at home with a crowd over 30,000 fans in the seats, including Red Sox fans. They have opened an additional 5,700 seats to make the noise even more deafening to the visiting crowds. On top of that, in the 2008 season, including the ALCS, the Rays are 10-2 in the Trop. Only during the last series of the year against the Red Sox did the Rays drop their first game to them at home. And in the first game of the ALCS, the Rays came out flat and never recovered in time.

Fiction: The Trop. will be Fenway South with a majority of the fans supporting the current Worlds Champs in gear and in voice.  Considering they might be louder down here than the crowd on their hands in Fenway Park, I might have to give you that one.  They will be loud, and they will be crazy, but you forget that the main crowd will be sporting blue and white and they do not take the abuse anymore. It might be a more interesting night for the security and the St. Petersburg Police Department than for the normal fans.

Fact: With their backs against the wall before with  3-0 and 3-1 advantages against them the mighty Red Sox have conquered and went to the World Series. I will give you the fact that PAST Red Sox teams had a more intimidating style of play and the pitching had an extra notch or two, but this years club is not the 2004, or 2007 Red Sox Champion Club.

Fiction:  The 2007 Red Sox pitching staff is superior to the Rays staff. I will give you that in the regular season, except we beat you 2 out of 3 with your best player, your closer on the mound for 1 of those games. Josh Beckett is a solid pitcher, but I think he is still reeling a bit with the elbow and is gutting it out for the team. Jon Lester is a force, but we have seen him and beaten him so he is not the force you want him to be here…sorry.

Fact: Last nights win by the Red Sox completely demoralized the Rays and they will be lucky to score 5 runs in the next game. The loss was the first time in MLB  Playoff history that a team faced elimination with more than 6 runs and came back to win the contest.

Fiction: Before the Home Run by David Ortiz, he had gone 2 for 19, with both being extra base hits, that works out to a .105 average. Even if Big Papi is about to explode, who is to say that the Rays pitching staff will be pitching him outside and he will have to turn on the ball to even get a single. Secondly, there are 3 members of your team who are still batting .000, going 0-28 in the ALCS. That has got to hurt ………alot.

Just to throw a little something out there for you Red Sox fans, our batters combined are hitting  .279 for the series, while you team is hitting a lowly .247 at this time. If you want to look for a postive on offense, you do have 3 more doubles than us this ALCS (11to8).

And on the mound, the Rays are throwing with a team ERA of 4.24 . And we have gotten 40 strikeouts as a team. Your squad has a ERA of 7.14, and has given up 51 hits in 46.2 innings this ALCS.  And if you really want to get snappy, we have given up a total of 23 runs to your 38. Those 15 runs have made a difference in the series. And I will be nice and not mention the HR totals.

By the way, I just hit Stubhub.com for you Red Sox fans, and here are some of the prices for certain seats at the Trop. Please be sure to have cash, because scalpers dod not take American Express, Visa or Mastercards on the street corners:

Upper Deck:  Currently the lowest is $ 82.50, but there is an auction in progress for the seats. the highest in the area is $ 287.00 at this time.

Club Level:  Currently the lowest is $250.00, with the highest at $600. at this time. 

Home Plate Club: The lowest is currently $ 1,350. and rising as high as $ 4,000. for the All You Can Eat and Drink section of the stadium.

Sections 102-132:  The current lowest price for a ticket is in Section 128 in the VV row for $177 dollars. the highest is about 3,500 in Section 108, Row J.

Sections 134-138: The current asking low ball price is $ 155 dollars, with the highest going for $ 195 dollars in the Baseline Box area.

Outfield: The outfield in rightfield is showing a low price of  $ 91 dollars in Section 148, to a high ball price of  $ 951 dollars for the front row in Section 146.

                 The outfield in leftfield is showing a low price of  $ 129 dollars in Section 145, to a high price of  $ 380 for front row in Section 139 near the foul pole.

Above Red Sox Dugout: The price to sit in the sections right above the Red Sox Dugout are curently priced at $ 179 dollars for Section 113, Row QQ, to a high price of $ 1,296 dollars for a seat in Section 123 in Row E.

Beach Area:  There is a small section still open, but it is Standing Room Omly in the Beach area going from $ 90-118 dollars a ticket. This area is right behind the Upper Deck Media Pod put in place for the extended Media needs of the MLB.

 

So there you go, big prices for big games. And just think, 65% of the poeple selling ticket on thses sites are Rays Season Ticketholder who got to purchase up to 4 extra tickets to every game this postseason. You might be making my car payment, or even putting my celebration budget a bit higher when you buy my tickets.

And with that, I hope you enjoy your visit to the Trop., and remember to tip your bartenders and waitresses accordingly at Ferg’s.

 

 

What They are Saying About the ALCS

 

I always love to check out other newspapers and read what the are saying about our Tampa Bay Rays. Some articles are starting to have a fatalistic viewpoint, while other still have that optimistic slice of pie you want to read from your hometown fish wrap. Here are some of the recent snippets from the media giants patrolling the ponds of Fenway Park during the ALCS. After the 9-1 Rays win in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, here’s what other sportswriters had to say.

 

Rays Quiet ‘Friendly’ Fenway
Steve Buckley, Boston Herald

Sox fans should have seen this coming. Though the Rays lost 7-of-9 games at Fenway Park this season, those two victories took place in the last two meetings between the two clubs. And overall, the Rays won seven of their last nine regular-season games against the Mighty, Mighty Bostones and captured first place in the rugged AL East.

So for those of you who were banking on the Rays being intimidated, scared, discouraged, this being their first visit to Fenway when big-boy October baseball is being played . . . no.

 

Lester’s Dominance Takes Big Hit From Pesky Visitors
Sean McAdam, Boston Herald

For the Sox, here’s the sobering reality: They have to win at least one of the next two just to force the ALCS back to Tropicana Field. And should they get there, the rotation is lined up that the two Sox pitchers set to go in potential elimination games have been tattooed the first time around in the series.

 

Rays Take Control, At Least For Now
Clubhouse Insider, Boston Herald

The Rays are young, fresh, and just new enough at all this not to be cowed by the stage. They don’t know any better.

The Sox are defending champs, but the Rays right now look like the team to beat.

 

Rays Knock Red Sox Onto Their Heels
Jack Curry, New York Times

They are two significant parts of the future for the Tampa Bay Rays, the smooth third baseman and the even smoother center fielder. They are such talented twenty-something players that they give the Rays endless hope for the next decade or more. But on Wednesday, with Evan Longoria at third and B. J. Upton in center, the future was already here.

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Display of Power Lets the Air Out of Fenway
Harvey Araton, New York Times

Through the summer months and into September, the consensus on the neophyte Rays was that they weren’t quite ready to complete the regular-season marathon, that they would fade to the wild card, if not out of the playoff picture entirely. But they ran away from the $200 million Yankees, withstood the September challenge of the defending champion Red Sox, brushed off the White Sox in their franchise October debut.

All those thresholds handsomely met, how daunting should best of seven be for a team that had proved itself in best of 162?

 

               

 

Tampa Bay Rays fans know that slugger Carlos Pena is hot on the field.

Now Bay area baseball lovers can show their support for No. 23 by sporting shirts with “Holla Pena” or “Jala Pena” on the front and a cheer for him to “Do That Dance” on the back.

Part of the shirt sales proceeds will benefit the Children’s Cancer Center.

Pena teamed up with Encore Select to make the shirts.

“Everyone in Tampa Bay needs to be doing the ‘Holla Pena,’” Encore Select President Richard Moore said.

The T-shirts and sweatshirts will be available soon at www.encoreselect.com and at retail stores.

Also on the website is two different variations of a shirt sporting Evan Longoria on them. Both have the AL Rookie of the Year candidate’s jersey number and phrasing that is all about the heavy-hitting young Ray.

The Rays lead the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox, three games to one. Game 5 is at 8:07 tomorrow at Boston’s Fenway Park.

 

 

Workout Day………….Checking Out the Sites

 

 

Great part about being a Tampa Bay Rays fan is the fact that we have not gotten cocky or jaded yet on our teams’ new success. Now that is not to mean that there are not any Rays’ fans out there who are beyond the term”civil”, but that we have enjoyed this ride to the top without the benefit of expectations or illogical  thinking. We have been lucky enough to get a ride on this shooting star, and it should shine for a while, but we will not take it for granted and respect the wins and take the losses as we have for the last 10 years in St. Petersburg, Florida.

 

But, some of the Red Sox faithful have already pulled the plug on Boston’s life support system. They forget the only reason there is a Game 5 is that their Game 1 pitcher had the game of his career at the right moment. Daiska Matsuzaka had the kind of game most pitchers’ dream of in the major leagues. He was not in total control of his pitches, but they found the right spots and  he held out long enough to awaken the Red Sox bats and escape with a rare win in Tropicana Field by the opposition.

 

Do not under estimate the severe positive that played not only on your team’s minds, but on the Rays’ faithful that this was going to be a bloody knuckle fight to the death. Little did we know that after we left the Trop., we would see even more success at Fenway Park than we have seen in years. Even with that in mind, this series is not over, and the Red Sox have come back from a worse setting to win the ALCS, twice.

So the games are not decided, the pitchers’ not icing down their arms, and the hitters are not bracing for another at bat tonight. It is a day of rest before the 5th battle in this war of titans in the American League East. This series is not even the end of this war, it will go on again next season for a minimum of 17 games, before maybe meeting again in the playoffs………..and part 2.

 

 

As usual, I spend my waking moments in the morning hitting the opposing team’s local newspapers and blogs to see what kind of interaction is brewing on the fan-front. One of the thing I found on www.Boston.com  was this Confidience Meter.

 

You would think it is the mentality of a team who has been here in 2 of the last 4 years to not surrender or put up even a beige flag so early in the ALCS series. But by the posted responses, it seems that the hidden voice of the Red Sox Nation might be at best, quiet optimisim, with a dash of pessimestic tendancies.

 

What I find surprising is that the Red Sox fans have come into our home park and screamed, growled and never went out with a whimper even in a bad loss. But to read this meter today on the website, it is like there is a sub culture ready to pack it in and get to the Boston Bruins games. In recent games, the Rays have made the Boston faithful basically put their hands under themselves early in the games.

 

This is not a casual response, but more of one of a teams’ followers who are in disbelief that this is happening to them. Shock has already set into the mindset of the Red Sox Nation. The next move is one of either panic or re-establishing the positive building blocks and rebuilding the support from the bleachers down to the guy behind home plate.

 

I have come to expect more from the Boston sports fan, and want them to be that cocky, arrogant, and vocal force until the 3rd out of the 9th inning. the question now is:  Do they still have the passion in them, or is it already packed up in wardrobe boxes and ready for shipping to Fort Meyers for Spring Training?

 

The thing you got to love about the Red Sox fans’ is their undying support and quick come-backs to the opposing teams’ fans.  I was at Ferg’s after the game last weekend and a Red Sox fan came up and asked me how I could be a “Rays” fan. I explained that first off, I was not fresh off the bandwagon and was with the original wagon train that pulled into the Trop even before we had a team.

I have worn several teams colors before the Rays. I was a Florida White Sox, Tampa Bay Mariner, Tampa Bay A’s, Tampa Bay Giant, Tampa Bay Twin, and a overlooked Expansion choice in favor of the Florida Marlins. But in the beginning, even before the MLB whispered, “If We build it, they will come…” I was a firm supporter of the St. Petersburg Cardinals, out Class-A team here for a long time. I even met current TV guru, Joe Mcgrane when he was a striking young lad on the diamond at Al Lang Field a long time ago.

I told her that I was there the first night when Wilson Alvarez threw that first pitch for a strike. And that I was there when current Toronto pitcher Jesse Litsch used to guard the Bullpen guys in the early 2000′s. And I was there when two of my dear friends pitched for the Rays before their untimely deaths, one from a unforseen heart aliment, and another in a tragic plane accident.

I was a born and bred St. Peterburg resident who did not move here from anywhere but from Central Avenue north to the Tyrone area. And that I used to play in the current Tropicana Feild site when it was a City of St. Petersburg Gas Plant used by the city for it vehicles and was full of underground passages and concrete bunkers surrounding the area.

In closing, I was a true Rays fan. Not the kind that is spotted wearing a mohawk to fit in, or the guy who is wearing the Rays shirt to meet that cute brunette at the end of the bar. I was the real thing, just like her…..A native who is rooting for his home team and loving every minute of this dream season. And with that, I asked her where she was born up north, she replied without battling an eyelash, “oh, I was born at Tampa General Hospital, and i have lived here all my life.”

Guess that is why I am who I am, and she is cruising back over the Howard Franklin home to her home 1,400 miles away from the city on her chest. I guess the bandwagon can go in reverse too……….but I am trying to break that gear on the transfer case as we speak.

 

                                 

 
 
 
 

Rays Shock Red Sox Nation to go 3-1 in ALCS

 

 

                                         

 

I was reading a blog the other day by a Red Sox supporter that was commenting on the huge amount of noise in the Trop. during the game that they could not enjoy watching the game. Well, after watching the crowd in Fenway basically sitting on their hands the last 2 nights, I will take the noise any day.

I always find it odd when people are commenting and grumbling about crowd noise in a baseball game these days. The game has become very interactive with the fans in the videos, the player at bat intor songs, and the small segments, like the Pepsi Race at Tropicana Field. It is not like the usual baseball fan has any bouts with ADD at all.

If they did, that fan would be the one hit by every foul ball in the place. The reason I really love my seats in Rightfield is that I can actually be part of the game sometimes. If a foul ball comes into my section, I usually try and see if I can get it without killing a massive amount of women and children. Seriously, I catch about 7 a season, and maybe 3 end up in my bag for another time.

The people who usually get my booty is the kids or a person at ther first baseball game. I remember last month, during the Orioles series there was a dad and his two sons from Denmark sitting in the Bullpen Cafe. I made sure that Bobby Ramos got them a ball before they left, not to get another Rays fan, but to get another kid to love the game of baseball.

With the appeal of the World Baseball Classic a few years ago, and another in the near future, the popularity of our great sport will rush like the wind into the nooks and crannies of Europe and we might actually have a real World’s Championship before I leave this earth. I can dream can’t I. Think about it, South Africa playing Iraq in a quarterfinal match, or maybe even Israel playing Syria in another match. It could change the way we see crisis in the future……..but I can dream can’t I?

 

 

Rays 13, Red Sox 4

 

 

 

 

Game 4 Facts and Figures

Coming into tonight game, Akinora Iwamura was chasing Darin Erstad’s record of consecutive games with a hit. Iwamura had hit at least once in all 7 of the Rays games until tonight. Iwamura unfortunately went 0-5 on the night and dropped his postseason average to .222 for the playoffs.

The Rays have now scored 9 plus runs in 3 consecutive games. That is the first time in history that a Playoff virgin team has won so many games in a row to start their playoff career. The Rays have also scored 31 runs on 39 hits since the Game 1 loss at home last Friday night.

B.J. Upton is the first player to hit five or more home runs in a single postseason after hitting fewer than 10 home runs during the preceding regular season.  I loved looking at the attendance at Fenway Park tonight. They had a total of 38, 144 people in the building, which rounds out to 104 percent capacity for the Park. Guess it is true you cram everyone and their brother into a building at playoff time.

 

 

 

Andy Sonnanstine

How can you find fault with a guy who has been a thron in the Red Sox side the entire year. Sonnanstine came into this start not giving up a earned run to the Rex Sox in his last 2 starts. He might not be in the Rays top 3 pitchers’ this postseason, but he is almost as reliable as the sun coming up in the morning for the Rays.

Sonnanstine always gives you a chance to win with his off-speed pitching stytle and great control. And tonight was another great example of why he has won Pitcher of the Year awards all throughout the Rays farm system. Consistant strikes and blazing the corners with his slider and curveball.

 

 

 

 

Sonnanstine went 7.1 innings tonight throwing 97 pitches before heading to the showers. He got only 2 strikeouts on the night, and gave up only 4-run on 6-hits to the Red Sox. It is kind of funny that his old Triple-A catcher, Kevin Cash is the guy who took him long tonight. Sonnanstine did his usual job of not beating himself and put together a great game to help the Rays go up 3-1 in this best-of-7 series.

 

 

Unusual Errors on the Night

Coming into this series the Rays have not gotten alot of defensive mistakes and  baserunning errors. But in tonight contest, the Rays committed  3 errors, most after the game was already in the Rays hands.  Evan Longoria committed 2 errors tonight, one on a ground ball, and the other on a throw to first in the 2nd inning on a ball hit down the line by Jason Bay.

Longoria lost concentration on the ball and it stumbled a bit near his feet before he got the ball and threw a bullet to first. Un fortunately Carlos Pena could not get the ball and it rolled into the Red Sox dugout, and put Bay in scoring position for the Red Sox. The Rays ended up getting a 4-6-3 double play and erased Bay from the basepaths to ease Longoria’s mind.

In the 8th inning, with Jed Lowrie on second base, Dusitn Pedroia hit a ball into shallow center that B J upton over ran and had to go retrieve the ball. Lowrie scored and  Pedroia ended up on second on the error. Pedroia did come back to haunt Upton as he scored when Kevin Youkilis hit the first pitch he saw for an RBI- double and Pedroia scored with ease to put the score at 13-4.

Willy Aybar did not get charged with an error, but more of an error in judgement when he was caught leaning towards second on a single in the 5th inning after singling to left. As the ball was coming back towards the plate for a play on Carl Crawford, Aybar leaned a bit too far towards second, and Youkilis intercepted the throw and tossed a bullet to Mark Katsay who tagged out Aybar for the 2nd out of the inning.

 

 

 

Carl Crawford is Back

Coming into this series, everyone was questioning if Carl Crawford was at full strength and could be a factor in this years’ playoff race. After tonight’s performance, I think those skeptics will put that notion away until next season. Crawford went 5-for-5 tonight, with 2 stolen bases and 3 runs scored and 2 RBI’s. It tied the ALCS record with Paul Blair of the 1980′s Orioles, and the Yankees’ Hideki Matsui for a perfect 5 at bat night. Carl is currently hitting 9 for 18 in the series, or a .500 average for the ALCS.

Crawford got the party started early when he smacked a double to right in the 1st inning.  Crawford kept his most controversial hit for the next at bat when he hit a soft grounder towards the area to the right of the pitching mound that Red Sox starter, Tim Wakefield had to come off the mound to handle. Wakefield had to sprawl out on the turf to glove the ball and could not get the ball to first in time to save the infield single to Crawford. He ended stealing second base, then scored on Willy Aybar’s homer in the inning.

 

 

 

 

Crawford then got another double off the Green Monster in left and again scored on Aybar’s single to shallow left. He came up again in the long 6th inning and hit a blooper single into left to score Upton from third base. Carl ended up being stranded on base at the end of the inning.

In the 8th inning, Crawford hit a ball into the gap in rightfield that was barely missed by J D Drew as he claosed in on the ball. The ball went off the outside of his glove and went to the wall. At the end of the play, Crawford was standing on third with an RBI-triple. On the play, Pena had ran from first to home and scored easily on the play.

 

 

        

 

Willy Aybar’s Wild Ride

Another guy that was having a banner night was Willy Aybar for the Rays. He was inserted in the lineup to bat right-handed against Wakefield, and the rolling of the dice again by Rays Manager Joe Maddon came up “7′s” across the board.  Willy came on and got 5 RBI’s on the night, while going 4-5 at the plate. He shares a current .500 ALCS  batting average with Crawford.

 

 

 

 

Aybar got the scoring going with a 2-run homer out of the building and over the Green Monster in the 3rd inning.  He then got an RBI-single in the 5th, but was picked off by being too aggressive on the bases tonight. In the 6th inning he hit an RBI single to left that scored Crawford. And in the 8th inning he hit a single to right to score Crawford again to finish his 5-RBI night.

 

 

 

Evan Longoria

When he came up after the Ray’s first 12 games this season, you knew he was going to have a fantastic season for the team. But you can bet Maddon and Andrew Friedman could not imagine the total domination this rookie has had at the plate during the playoffs this season. Longoria went 1-4 tonight with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI’s.

 

 

 

 

His first RBI came off his blast into the Green Monster in the 1st inning. the shot went long and deep into the high section and it put the Rays up 3-0 at the time.  With the homer, Longoria became the new holder of the rookie home run record in the playoffs with 5 for the postseason and counting. But that was not the only time Longoria got on base tonight as he walked in the 6th inning and got another RBI off the walk-in of Iwamura on the play.  It was is 6th RBI of the playoff series.

 

 

 

 

Carlos Pena

Because he is hitting between the twenty-something tandem of Upton and Longoria, Carlos Pena has been seeing alot more breaking balls and  off-speed pitches this postseason. But becuase of the recent onslaught of both  players’ hitting more homers for the team, opposing pitchers’ have been picking their poison by pitching to Pena this series.

And with his solo blast in the 9th inning last night, Pena has now homered twice on the last 3 pitches he has seen this series.  His 2-run homer in the 1st inning gave the Rays an early lead 2-0 tonight. For the night, he went 1-3, with 2 RBI’s and 3 runs scored. He also got 2 walks tonight to get on base 60 percent of his chances tonight.

 

 

 

 

Carlos’s shot over the Green Monster tonight gives him 3 unbelievable shots  in the section this season at Fenway Park. Before this year, he had never homered into the Green Monster against the Red Sox. In the 6th inning, his walk loaded the bases for the Rays as they scored  5 runs in the inning.  In the 8th, he walked on 6 pitches and scored on Crawford’s triple to right.

 

 

 

 

Edwin Jackson

Most people already know how I feel about Edwin Jackson as a pitcher for the Rays. It take a certain kind of pitcher to adjust from being a starter to going to the Bullpen, to going back to a starter, to switching into long relief or clean-up roles in the Bullpen. 

I think Jackson has done a great job adjusting to the new role in the ALCS, and I hope if the Rays hit the World Series he is still on the 25-man roster to fulfill the same role in the Rays next step. For the night, Jackson came on and went 1.1 innings and gave up a single walk and got 4 strikeouts on 25 pitches. But his biggest job was to shut down the Red Sox from trying to gain momentum and try and get back into this contest.

Jackson came on toirelieve Trever Miller, who threw 1/3 of an inning and got 1 strikeout on 5 pitches. Jackson quickly got Jason Bay to strikeout to end the 8th inning. He came out in the 9th and got pinch-hitter Sean Casey to strikeout and then walked both Coco Crisp and pinch-hitter Jocoby Ellsbury on 4 pitches each to put a man in scoring position for the Red sox.  Jackson then buckled down and got Jed Lowrie and Kotsay to strikeout to end the rally and the game for the Rays.

 

 

 

 

How much do you think the last few games have taken out of the confidience of the Boston Red Sox.  The fact that in the last 2 games their pitching staff has given up a total of  7 home runs to the Rays.  Tonight’s starter, Tim Wakefield was pitching for the first time in the last 16 days.

The Red Sox pitching staff  has given up a total of  10 home runs in the 4 games so far in this series. The staff has a ERA of 7.17 in the ALCS, and we might have more games to play. They have allowed 43 runs and 17 walks in 37.2 innigs in this series.

Combine that with the Red Sox currently hitting .232 as a team, with Jacoby Ellsbury hitting .000, and David Ortiz is batting .071, with only one extra base hit (triple tonight).  Cather Jason Varitek is also hitting .000, having gone 0-10 so far in the series. Combine that with 1 stolen base by Dustin Pedroia and 5 total homers in the series and you have a team searching for an offensive identity right now.

I am not trying to wake up the Boston bat’s, or throw the pitching staff under the bus here. But without Daisuke Matsuzaka’s great game 1 performance, this series might be over tonight.  The rematch on Thursday night will be a true test to the moxy that is the Boston Red Sox.

Maybe this day off is coming at the right time for this team and they can pull it together enough to give a aggressive and expected effort in the last game at Fenway Park this season against the Rays. But you got to remember, as of tonight, the Rays’ have now won 4 straight games at Fenway, something they could not do earlier in the 2008 season.

 

 

                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tarps to be Gone at Trop. For Games 6 and 7 of ALCS

 

Rays to remove tarps for games 6, 7

The Rays announced today they will remove the tarps on upper level seats, making 5,762 more tickets available if the ALCS goes to Game 6. The seats, mostly with obstructed views of the field, haven’t been sold for previous games this season.

 

“Interest in Rays postseason tickets was extraordinary,” team president Matt Silverman said in a statement. “Although the seating capacity we established provides optimal fan experience, Rays fans have made it very clear that they want us to make every possible seating opportunity available.”

 

Tickets will go on sale Wednesday to those who won the right through the team’s postseason ticket lottery. Those eligible to purchase will be determined by lottery and notified by e-mail. Fans still can sign up for the potential lottery for World Series tickets at raysbaseball.com. Those who previously registered do not need to do so again.

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