Results tagged ‘ Chad Bradford ’

Rays Post 70th Win in Seattle

 

Rays 8, Mariners 7

 

 

Seattle fans have a special place in their hearts for the Tampa Bay Rays. If it was not for this upstart community. the Seattle area might not have professional baseball right now.  Back in the mid 1990’s the city was at odds as to what to do with their crumbling Kingdome, and the team did not have a great following at the box office.

The team needed a miracle. That miracle came in the form of a Baseball Ownership Group, based out of St. Petersburg, Florida that wanted to purchase the Mariners’ and move them to a new domed stadium in the hot Florida sun. The team got as far as make an offer and had the intial aggreement to purchase the team, until Major League Baseball stepped in and gave the Seattle area a chance to save their team.

As we all know, the Team got a backing and financial offering from the video game giant Nintendo that gave them both security, and business foundations for the first time in franchse history. What Nintendo wanted now was a new stadium to showcase their new club, and a way to get renewed vigor and excitement over the squad. A improvable playoff run, and a really energetic squad led by a young A-Rod and amazing young talen Ken Griffey Junior, helped propell the city and it’s citziens to vote for a new facility.

In 1999, a new 656 million dollar stadium opened with improvements like a roof that would transform the playing field into a waterproof enviorment in Seattle’s unexpected climate. The roof was a 3-section humongous steel section that when opened and closed would play Richard Wagner’s “The Ride of the Valkyries”. This song was made famous in the film, “Apocalyse Now”.

The stadium also features a baseball in motion sculputre as you enter the building in the foyer area. The amazing sculpture starts with a backswing and revolves like a chandelier until it reaches the top point of a batters’ swing. Also amazing is the leftfield viewing station that gives you a breathtaking panorama of the Seattle skyline and Puget Sound.

Outside the stadium is a garage door feature that has  full body profile paintings of all the Mariner’s regulars either at the plate, or up to bat at the plate. The Press Box area uses garage doors to open to the elements and not the conventional glass windows or opening. Among the wild items throughout the stadium is the compass set in the floor of the front enterance that has the signatures of the original team to play their first game in this fantastic ballpark.

Hidden behind the stadium seats is the world class Diamond Club. The Diamond club looks like a 5-star restaurant with beautiful gold gilding and very impressive photos littering the walls. Photos like Babe Ruth as a pitcher for the Red Sox. A Honus Wagner photo, A photo of both Ruth and Lou Gherig on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico. What is so unique about that photo, is it is the only photo of the two Yankee stars outside of the stadium in each other’s company.

As you can tell, it is my favorite stadium in the US. I enjoy the fact of hearing the train whistles as they sneak under the east end of the stadium, or the taste of the sushi or local veggie offerings from the snakc bars. The Seattle area is a complex mix of all that is good, and their stadium incorporates it in pure excellience.

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The Matt Garza that so many of us have seen this season did not show up early in the contest against the Seattle Mariners’. Seattle took advantage of Garza’s off night by scoring 5 runs on him in the first 2 innings.  Garza, who had been 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA did not look sharp and seemed out of sorts on the mound early.

 

 

In the 1st inning, Garza  gave up a lead-off homer to Ichiro Suzuki to put the Rays in an early hole 1-0. Against the Mariners lifetime, Garza was 1-1, with a 9.70 ERA in 4 starts. Tonight, Garza posted  5 runs on 7 hits in just the first two innings. For the night, Garza went 5.2 innings and gave up 10 hits, but he also posted 5 strikeouts on the night.

 

 

In the 1st inning, the Rays got a scare from a ball pitched by Seattle starter, Rowland-Smith, that bounced off Carlos Pena’s chin and lip. The ball seemd to glance off Pena’s chin before hitting him squarely in the lips. Pena was okay’ed by the Rays trainer, Ron Porterfield to continue play.

 

Pena was involved in critical situations in the game. In the 5th inning, Pena struck out with the bases loaded.  In the Ray’s big 6th inning, Pena came up and singled to rightfield to score Carl Crawford, but was thrown out trying to stretch the play into a double to end the inning.

In the 9th inning, Pena singled to right, but was stranded on third by the Rays.  In the 10th inning, Pena strcuk out looking. In this series, Pena has gone 5-12, with 1 RBI. 

 

 

 

Gabe Gross got an odd start tonight based on his heroic hitting in recent games. Gross responded by hitting a solo homer in the 2nd inning to put up the Rays’ first run of the ball game. Gross played excellient in right, on one play throwing the ball in quick enough to keep Ichiro to a single and preventing a Seattle run by freezing the guy at third base. Gross went 2-6 tonight with 2 runs scored and a RBI.

  

Carl Crawford had the best night of this series by going getting on base 4 times for the Rays. Crawford went 2-4 at the plate with 2 runs scored and  2 RBI’s on the night. Crawford also walked twice tonight to put pressure ..land-Smith.

 

In the 3rd inning, Crawford hit an infield single to third, but was stranded by a Pena strikeout. In the 6th inning, Crawford hit a single to right center that he stretched into a double and barely beat the incoming throw to the bag. Crawford scored on Pena’s double off the rightfield wall to put the Rays up 7-5 in the game.

  

 

Akinora Iwamura went 3-5 tonight leading off the game tonight with a single in the 1st inning. Aki scored 1 run and got 1 RBI during the contest. In the 3rd inning, Aki was involved in one of the missed plays by the umpires in this game.

 

Aki hit a screaming low liner to leftfield that appeared to be caught by Raul Ibanez. On review of the play, Ibanez had trapped the ball and Aki was actually safe on the play. Rays Manager Joe Maddon asked  the umpires about the botched play, but was overruled by the umpires crew chief. 

 

In the  Ray’s huge 6th inning, where they sdcored 6 times, Aki got on base with a single to second baseman Jose Lopez that he could not handle in time to get the speedy Aki. In the 8th inning, Aki singled to center, but was stranded on first by two quick Rays outs.  In the 10th inning, Aki was one of 3 walks issued by J J Putz in the inning and was stranded at thrid by a Pena strikeout and a Eric Hinske liner to shortstop.

 

 

 

In the 10th inning, Joe Maddon took a hunch and played a new defensive scheme with the bases loaded and 1 out in the inning. Maddon pulled B J Upton up to almost the second base bag, and positioned Crawford and Gross towards the centerfield area as the two lone outfielders.

 

The scheme was to induce a ground ball  double play by newly acquired pitcher, Chad Bradford. Coming into the game, Bradford was one of the leagues’ leaders in gorund ball outs.

 

Adrian Beltre was at the plate, and put the ball in play down the third baseline on the ground. Willy Aybar, filling in again for the ailing Evan Longoria, threw the ball to Dioner Navarro to secure the first out, then Navarro threw to Pena to finish the double play and get the Rays out of the inning with the game still tied at 7-7.

  

 

Dioner Navarro was instrumental in the winning run for the Rays in the 11th inning. Ben Zobrist lead off the inning with a walk and stole second base on the next pitch. After a 3-1 play by Aybar, Navarro hit a long ball into centerfield and Zobrist scored on the Sacrifice Fly to put the Rays up 8-7.

 

Troy Percival came on in the 9th inning to secure the win for the Rays. Percival got his 26th save of the season by throwing 14 pitches and getting Bryan LaHair to strike out to end the game. The save came on Percival’s 39th birthday, which should make for an interesting post-game celebration for both Troy and the Rays’.

 

 

 

 

 

Rays Pena Blasts the Rays to series win against the Indians

 

 

Rays 10, Indians 7

 

The Rays this morning completed a waiver trade for Orioles reliever Chad Bradford. The trade will consist of a “player to be named later,” and Bradford will be in uniform Friday night for the Rays as they visit the Seattle Mariners.

 

A corresponding roster move will be made prior to gametime, which is 10:10 PM EST, and might include such names as Al Reyes, Trever Miller, or maybe optioning Ben Zobrist back to Durham until Sept 1st.

 

Everyone knows Bradford as the sidewinder who seems to rub his knuckles on the mound in his unsual pitching sidearm motion.  Bradford had been effective this season, going 3-3, with a 2.45 ERA.

 

 Bradford has a 0.00 ERA in 17 playoff games spanning 15.1 innings. The move is viewed as a Bullpen upgrade to bring more experience and a different look to the Rays staff. 

 

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Weds. afternoon, Rays starter Scott Kazmir looked rough and not in the mental state to be effective in the game. On one occasion, Kazmir did not cover home on a play coming in from the outfield, and looked confused and into his head throughout the contest.

 

Rays Manager Joe Maddon noticed this problem with Kazmir and gave him a few innings to gather himself before removing the ace after 4.1 innings. Kazmir did not have his usual control, and issued 4 walks and only got 3 strikeouts in the game.

 

 In 4.1 innings, Kazmir threw 97 pitches. To make matter worse, the Indians’ Jhonny Peralta was putting on a hitting clinic at Kazmir’s expense. Peralta went 3-3, with a single, double and homer against Kazmir today. For the contest, Peralta ended up going 5-5, with 2 RBI’s.

 

 

In the 1st inning, Ben Zobrist, batting second for the Rays hit a 3-1 count ball to center for a single to give the Rays a runner on base early in the ball game.  Zobrist then stole second, and Carlos Pena ended up walking on  7 pitches. Pena was then caught stealing second, and Zobrist moved to third on a runners fielders’ choice.

 

With Zobrist 90 feet from scoring the first run, Evan Longoria hit a single up the middle to let Zobrist plate the first run for the Rays. With Longoria at first, Dioner Navarro came up and hit an opposite field 2-run homer to put the Rays up 3-1 on the Indians. It was Navarro’s second home run in two days.

 

Jason Bartlett played today as the DH, three days after injuring his finger in the finale against the Tigers. Bartlett, who began to take batting practice on Tuesday, look great at the plate going 3-4, and scored a run on Eric Hinske’s double in the bottom of the 9th inning.

 

I understand that Rays Manager Joe Maddon wants tp put the best lineup out there to win every night. And against the Indians this season that is a tall task. But, to suject your injured starting shortstop to re-injuring an already healing ailment might have pushed the envelope a bit.

 

 I understand nothing happened to hamper Bartlett from maybe returning to short during the Mariners’ series, but was the gamble really worth maybe losing Bartlett for more time on the DL. Since the gamble rolled perfect, it might just be a moot question now.

 

     

In his post game interview with Rich Herrera, Carlos Pena remarked about Gabe Gross and his ability to be the “guy at the right place” this season for the team. Again today, Gross was an instrumental part of the Rays comeback in the 9th inning. Gross, who went 1-4 on the day, saved his best for last.

 

In the bottom of the 9th, Bartlett got on by doubling to deep left center and Eric Hinske hit a blast to the corner in righfield that put the Rays down 7-5. Gross came up and hit the 6th pitch to the back wall of the Trop in right to tie the score at 7-7.

 

                  

 

After Gabe Gross’s homer, Cleveland Manager Eric Wedge put in reliever Masa Kobayashi to face Akinora Iwamura. Iwamura hit a controversial infield single and was out by inches, but was called safe by first base umpire Ed Rapuano. Wedge came out to argue the call, but Aki was awarded first and put the winning run on base for the Rays.

 

What is so special about this play, it would have been the 3rd out of the inning and neither B J Upton or Pena would not have batted in this inning if the play had stood as an out.

 

 

 

  

What came next in the next few plate appearances, might go down as the most pivitoal point in the Rays’ offense this season. With Akinora at first base after the missed call, Ben Zobrist came up and walked on 4 pitches. This set the stage for Carlos Pena, who has hit some monster fly out in the past few games to see if he could end the game with a bang.

 

Pena stood in th box and  hit the first pitch he saw for a 3-run homer off the lower wall below the Batter’s Eye in centerfield.  The play ended the emotional game for the Rays, and as  Rays’ Radio guy, Andy Freed commented, “set off a team meeting at home plate”. 

 

The Rays mobbed Pena at home and took the home series form the Indians 2-1. This is a remarkable chain of events considering on Monday, the Tribe had beaten the Rays for the 5th game in a row.

 

 

Peralta started the 9th inning with his 5th hit of the night, a single to center.  Shin-Soo Choo then tried to sacrifice bunt Peralta over, but Trever Miller threw him out at second base.  Miller was then replaced by Troy Percival. Choo then stole second and got in scoring position for the Indians.

 

Andy Marte hit a grounder to short that moved Choo to third. Choo scored on a Troy Percival wild pitch and put the Indians up at that point 7-4.  Percival then went on to finish his scoreless 2/3rds of an inning and was awarded his second win of the season.

 

The afternoon matinee was the second Parks and Recreation Day for the Rays this season. The kids were treated to Rays bangsticks and a Rays mouse pad as door prizes.

 

I understand the bang sticks to be used to terrorize their seatmates, but the mouse pads had me scratching my head. How many of these under 12 year old kids had computers to even put the pad under, or would they just lose them before even getting them home to Mom and Dad.

 

The answer soon came to me after the game as I saw about 300 mouse pads circulating under the trash and empty Dipping Dots containers. Maybe this was not the right crowd to give the mouse pads to, or at leadt maybe give them to the people watching the kids for after the game.

 

I know I will have a Rays mouse pad for about the next 15 years, as I scooped a few for friends and to distribute to people I know that have computers, and love the Rays.

 

 

The Rays now head off on a 10 games in 11 days roadtrip that will take them through Seattle, Oakland and Texas before coming home for 3 against the  L A Angels. This is the first in a stretch of long roadtrips for the team that will spell out their chances for the post season.

 

There is nothing more fulfilling to a team out of the race than to knock off someone who is above you and has a chance to make the playoffs. Each of the next tree opponents would like nothing better than to help the Rays struggle in the last two months of the season.

 

In these three series, the Rays will only have 2 games telecasted against the Oakland A’s.  The Tuesday game against the Oakland A’s will be broadcast only  on MLB.TV.

 

Most of the West Coast games are set to start at 10:05-10:10 PM EST, with the Sunday finale in Seattle coming on at 4:05 PM. One game in the Oakland series will be an afternoon game to start at 3:35 PM.

 

The Sunday Finale in Texas will be broadcast at 8:05 PM to combat the Texas heat during the day.

 

 

Rays Lose Close One 3-2

 

Well, it is that time of the night/day that I tell you my thoughts and opinions on the latest Rays loss at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles 6-5. But first, We have to give you some good trivia to make you smile and want to attend Jeff Niemann’s MLB pitching debut tomorrow.

 

 

 

Trivia Question:

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In 1931, Chick Hafey of the St. Louis Cardinals became the first batting champion to wear glasses.

 

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly     The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 

Now back to our normally scheduled The Good the Bad, and the Ugly for tonights game.

 

 

                                              The Good

 

The  mire presence of Rays top prospect Evan Longoria must have made an impression on the Rays hopeful fans who do not usually attend games.

 

The Rays experienced  almost a 20 percent increase over attendance from the Friday night contest. I am going to attribute that to the arrival of Longoria tonight, and no the free Rays visors given out to the fans. Evan did almost everything right tonight in his pro debut.  He signed a ball for me after Batting Pratice( again, thank you Evan), he handled the ball numerous times and the throws were tight and on target. And he got a single tonight and his first RBI to top it all off.

 

 

It was a chore just to get the ball for him again. I am getting the impression that the Orioles do not like to give the balls back after major feats, or a rookies first hit, or RBI.  the ball was finally retrieved before we had to send Jonny Gomes over there for it.The  fact that Evan is here will ease the defense about the hot corner. I know from playing third base, it can make or break your ball club in who is manning that spot. If the player has the reactions of a cat, the Hot Corner can be your best friend to your ball club. I personally think it will be manned by Longoria for a long time.

 

But then again, we thought current Oriole and former Ray, Aubrey Huff was the second coming of Wade Boggs.

 

 

*** Rays Designated Hitter/Rightfielder Jonny Gomes cam up as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 9th tonight and the crowd was on their seats looking for a tying run from the bomber.  Jonny connected on a George Sherrill pitch hit to right field, but it fell just short of the wall for an out.

 

The crowd was totally into the at bat, and the entire Rays and O’s fans in attendance were holding their breath when Gomes hit that monster.

 

 

** The hitting of Centerfielder BJ Upton tonight pulled his average up to above .300 again. Upton is seeing the ball better and his contact with the ball is crisp and on the head right now. I am going to predict he will go on a 10 game hitting streak from tonight on………..knock on good wood everyone.

 

 

*The number one Kudo of the night belongs to Evan, but Carlos Pena did nothing to even sit in the shades tonight. In the earlier innings, Carlos snagged a ball going down the first baseline at a backwards angle, and got the runner with a throw to pitcher Jason Hammel. It was a super play, and should be on the Top 10 plays of the night on ESPN without a doubt.

 

In his next at bat, the crowd was calling for a Home Run. And Carlos did not disappoint his fans this night.  He hit a solo homer to right field that would have cleared any ballpark in the MLB.   Currently, Pena is leading the American League with 5 homers, and is tied for first within RBI’s with Blue Jays Vernon Well for the lead with 12.

 

 

                                             The Bad

 

 

There really wasn’t alot of bad tonight by any one player. There was a few bad moments. And for that reason, I am going to just list three plays that changed the course of the game for the Rays.

 

***  A  series of misplayed flyballs to deep Right Center  by BJ Upton and  Nathan Haynes gave the Orioles  DH Aubrey Huff a ground rule double, and two batter later, Ramon Hernandez got  a triple after some confusion in the outfield.

 

**   The Orioles had brought in Chad Bradford, a sidearm slinging pitcher who seems to hit the top of the dirt during his delivery into the contest. BJ upton managed to get a bunt single to third and was sitting on first base. Bradford has a weird pitching style, and a even wilder pick-off move.

 

It appeared to me that Bradford had twice before shufflied his right rear foot on the rubber before he throws to first base.  BJ did not pick up on this and was cuaght in bewteen first and second for a “caught stealing” attempt. I mention this, because I wonder if BJ sometimes is too aggressive. The reasoning for this, is that he has had three baserunning errors in the past three games. The fact he was caught stealing on this occasion would not have produced a run, but maybe a slight moment of concentration loss is to blame here.

 

* The Rays brought in reliever Dan Wheeler for Trever Miller.  It was 2 outs in the top of the 9th innig with no one on base. Wheeler then served up a home run ball to leftfield for Ramon Hernandez.   He is currently batting .194, and got two RBI’s and a triple and homer tonight against our pitching staff.

 

 

                                       The Ugly

 

The ugly tonight is the baserunning situations that have cost the Rays some runs in the last few games. I have already talked about one of them in the above “Bad” section.  Willy Aybar was hurt when he slide into home after running through a stop sign by  third base coachTom Foley.  In the slide st home, Aybar aggrevated his hamstring and is on the 15 day DL for his actions. Not only BJ Upton, but other Rays have been caught in ” no man’s land” this year by over running the bases, or testing the arms of outfielders in the division.

 

I am all for testing the arms of the players, and triyng to be aggressive at times, but do these players have a  personal “green light” to moonlight decisions on the base paths, or do they just mis read the sign sometimes.

 

There was one play tonight that caught my eye and I am pleased to see it work out for the better.  There was a hit and run play called with BJ Upton on second and Eric Hinske up to bat.  BJ Upton was on the move and Hinske hit a beautiful ball to left center to move BJ to third. During the next at bat, Evan Longoria hit the ball to left field and scored Upton.

 

I guess you just have to play the odds sometimes when you are running the bases. But at  this early junction in the year, are the actions worth a possible loss……….we shall keep this in our sights and see what develops here.

 

 

Rays Former Player of the Day

 

Current second baseman Brendan Harris of the Minnesota Twins is batting .367.

Tonight he was 2-4 with a pair of singles. He also was the pivot man for a 5-4-3 double play to end tonights win for the Twins.    

 

 

 

 

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