Results tagged ‘ Justin Ruggiano ’

Rays Take Game Uno of Double Set

 

 

Rays 7, Yankees 1

 

Hey all, we have another Rays player who has been nominated for the Marvin Miller  Man of the Year Award.   MLB players are some of the best contributors of time and money to local charties and events. And it is in this spirit that the MLB Players Association has annually, since 1977, awarded the Marvin Miller Award to a deserving MLB player. The Ray nominated by his teammate for this award  is Rays reliever Trever Miller.

 

Trever Miller is a low key guy by nature and can always be counted on for a smile and a kind word for fans or  his teammates. Miller is an active member in the community and gives his time and resources to various charitable organizations. He is an annual contributor to Barry Zito’s Strikeouts for the Troops and Miracle League’s B.O.D.’s for Florida. Miller hosts the annual Miracle League golf tournament and also dedicates time and money to the Ronald McDonald House and All Children’s Hospitals in St. Petersburg, Fla.

 

The award, named after the first executive director of the PA, is presented each year to a player elected by his peers as the one who best combines on-field performance with community service.  Voting began this week on MLB.com and MLBPLAYERS.com, the PA’s official Website, and fans are asked to select one player from each of Major League Baseball’s six divisions.

 

The six finalists will be voted on by Major League players as part of their annual Players Choice Awards balloting Sept. 17 (Sept. 18 for Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres players) at ballparks throughout North America to select the winner. So let’s get out there and vote for one of our own, reliever Trever Miller for the Man of the Year Award in 2008.

 

 

Rays Magic Number:             14 

This is the number of combined Boston losses and Rays wins to secure their first A L East crown.

 

 

 

Evan Longoria fans can rejoice because the Rookie is back into the lineup, and by the way he was batting in that first game, is hitting like he has not missed a game this year. Longoria went 2-5, with 2 RBI’s in his frist game back since the August 6th injury in Seattle.  In all, Longoria missed 28 games during his wrist injury and Evan showed early on that his defensive skills have also not been rusty since his DL visit.

 

Longoria first came up in the 2nd inning and got a single through the hole between short and third, and scored on Justin Ruggiano’s double to the rightfield wall.  Longoria did have a hand on one of Derek Jeter’s singles today, but could not convert the play in time to get the quick shortstop.  Longoria then came up in the 5th inning and got 2 RBI’s on a  liner down the leftfield line. that scored Ruggiano and Jason Bartlett to put the Rays up 3-0. At that point in the game, Longoria had gone 2-3, with 2 RBI’s.

 

In the 6th inning, Longoria dove and stabbed a drive by Xavier Nady to the ground before throwing him out at first to end inning. Longoria was behind thrid base when he relased the ball and it was a strike to Carlos Pena.

 

                                    

 

Rays starter James Shields won his 13th game today with a great effort against the New York Yankees. Shields went  8 innings and gave up only 5 hits on the day to leave in the 8th inning with a shutout of the Yankees. In the contest, Jeter got 3 of the Yankees  8 total hits on the day. Shields used his change up to strikeout 6 Yankees batter in the contest.

 

 

                                 

 

The only run given up by the Rays today was by Rays reliever Trever Miller who came on in the 9th inning for Shields.  Bobby Abreu hit a 0-2 count for a  solo homer into the rightfield stands for the only Yankees score in the first game of the doubleheader. 

 

Miller then  gave up singles to Nady and Giambi before getting Hideki Matsui to line out to rightfield. Cody Ransom then got on base on a fielders choice that forced out Giambi at second base, and moved Nady into scoring position at third with 2 outs. Miller then got Robinson Cano to pop out to third on the 3rd pitch to end the first game of the double header with the Rays up 7-1.

 

 

An interesting note on new Rays catcher Michel Hernandez. He originally got up to the majors with the New York Yankees in 2003. In his 5 game September call-up. Hernandez went 1-4 for the Yankees. Also amazing is that this is the first time Hernandez has caught James Shields and the battery mates did not produce a passed ball or wild pitch all game. Hernandez went 1-5 in today’s contest ans scored on Ruggiano’s double in the 6th inning.

 

 

 

Ruggiano had a banner day for the Rays going 3-4, with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI’s on the day. He first got the Rays off to a 2-0 score when he doubled to the rightfield wall for his 3 rd double of the year. Fernando Perez scored along with Longoria to give the Rays the early lead.  Ruggiano also singled to centerfield in the 5th inning.

 

                     

 

During that 5th inning, Yankees catcher Jose Molina tried to pickoff Ruggiano at first base, but Ruggiano was able to slide into second safely after a bad throw by Yankee first baseman Jason Giambi.  Ruggiano scored after Jason Bartlett singled to rightfield.  Ruggiano was not done for the day, he also got another double in the 6th inning and was almost picked off after he fell rounding first base, but got into second in time to beat the throw.  Ruggiano moved to thrid on Bartlett’s RBI Scarifice Fly and went home on Carlos Penas’  error to first in the inning.

 

There was a tense moment in the ball game after Shields hit Molina in the hip with a pitch and the catcher took exception to the pitch.  TV camera caught Molina talking in terse terms to Pena at first base about the event. Two pitches later, when Johnny Damon hit  a ball towards second base, Molina went out of the basepaths towards Ben Zobrist on a deliberate attempt to break up the double play. Second base umpire, Gerry Davis immediately signaled for the double play outs because of Runners Interference on Molina.

 

If Molina had stayed in the basepaths’ this would not have been called by the umpire. By the next time Molina was up to bat, all the tension from the hit by pitch was over and the game was without incident from that moment.

 

Jonny Gomes and 2007 First Round Draft pick, David Price arrived in New York for today’s doubleheader. Gomes played in the first game going 0-3 in the contest and playing rightfield for the Rays.  Rays pitchers Jeff Neimann and Mitch Talbot will meet the team in St. Petersburg on Monday as the Rays begin their last 7 game homestand of the season.

 

 

Pena Seals Win # 80 for Rays

 

 

Rays 1, Blue Jays 0

 

 

I was watching ESPN’s Baseball Tonight last night and was a bit flabbergasted that the guys on the panel have pretty much given up on the New York Yankees with 29 games to go in the season. Now I am a true Rays fan and not a Yankee fan in any measure of the word, but I would think you would wait until there are maybe a dozen games before dooming a franchise. The reason I mention this is that the Yankees 12 year post season run seems to have run it’s course.

I am glad that we will take that sacred position in the post season away from the boys in the Bronx, but at what cost will it be to us next year. We all know that Hank Steinbrenner will be reloading the team with a pitching staff next season and it should be a dogfight from day 1 in the AL East.

I actually think we took everyone by surprise in the AL East this year. The Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays might have thought they have a year before we might stick our heads into the top spot in the division. But leave it to us to ruin everyone elses plans for us.  By staying on top of this division, we will set a standard that you will have to play to stay at the top from this moment forward.

Boston has been getting all the headlines for it’s injuries this season, while we have stayed a bit under the radar and also won in spite of key injuries in the begining, middle, and end of our season. that is a true testament to the squad that Rays Manager Joe Maddon has built since the spring, and will carry into the first post season action of our franchise.

We all knew that Eric Hinske would have a great year, but he has sttod up amazingly during Carl Crawford’s absence in leftfield. Hinske is hitting .400 since Carl hit the DL in Seattle, and is showing no signs of letting up at the plate.  Willy Aybar has been amazing at the corner and has taken some heat on defense, but his offense has picked up just in time to ease the burden of Evan Longoria’s wrist situation.

The Rays have a great chance to gain Percival and Longoria back on the roster during this homestand, and that would be amazing news considering we have a monster stretch of games against divivion foes in their house coming up in the next week or so. The presence of those two players should put the spark back into the Rays’ both in the pitching staff and the plate as Longoria makes a late charge in his bid for the Rookie of the Year honors.

 

 

Rays 1, Blue Jays 0

 

 

 

 

The Rays truly dodged a bullet last night against Toronto starting pitcher David Purcey. The 6′ 5″ lefty was hitting all his spota and his curve had an amazing 5 inch break on it last night that promted 11 Rays to swing and miss. To put his game into prospective, Pursey came into the game with a 2-5 mark and a unimpressive 6.15 ERA. By the end of the night he had the Rays hoping they will not see the tall lefty again in Toronto next week.

 

 

 

 

In the 4th inning last night, Carlos Pena hit his 27th homer to right field and gave the Rays the lone run they would need for the victory. Pena went 2-3 on the night, also getting a single to right in the 1st inning.  Only Carlkos Quentin ( 14 ) of the White Sox has more homers since the All Star break than Pena (12).

Pena has 6 homers in his last 13 games, and 12 in his last 29 games for the Rays. Pena is batting .246, which is highest average he has had this year.  No other first baseman in the AL has more homers than Pena this season.  His 72 homers over 2007-2008, is second  in the AL only trailing the Yankees   Alex Rodriquez who has 82 homers in the two year span. 

 

 

                

 

 

Rays starter, Matt Garza  picked up his 11th victory last night in the pitchers duel. Garza was going for his 3rd victory this season over the Jays. In his last 3 starts against them, Garza was 2-1 with a 0.39 ERA. In his last start against Toronto Garza posted a 5-hit complete game in the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Garza last night pitched 7.2 innings of 6 hit ball and earned  his 3rd shutout of the season. Garza threw  115 pitches and got 5 strikeouts on the night. Garza  only had a small handful of men in scoing position last night.  The Jays ended up leaving 8 men stranded on base, with no baserunner getting past second base all night long. Garza had 4 innings of  4 batters or less on the night to secure his 11th win.

 

 

 

 

On the night, the play that would define this game was not a homer, or a well picthed curve. It was a high hit long fly ball to leftfield that Justin Ruggiano jumped up and took off the green wall to seal the win for the Rays. During the last homestand, Ruggiano made a questionable play in left during the late innings of a game against the L A Angels.

Tonight Ruggiano made up for that play and more on a running and leaping grab of  Rod Baraja’s  sure extra base hit off the plastic in leftfield. The play was worthy of a Top 5 ESPN play of the night, but the panel was in a “throwing mood” and only gave Ruggiano a Honorable Mention.

 

 

                                     

 

 

To put this play into prospective, the play would have put Barajas on second base and in postion to maybe tie the game for the Jays. Ruggiano was rewarded with a shaving cream pie from Rocco Baldelli during his interview with Todd Kalas on the Rays Television Network.

 

 

 

 

Last night was the Rays 80th victory of the season and puts their home record at  48-19, only 1 victory shy of the Chicago Cub’s major league high of 49 wins at home this year. The win was also 10 more than the Rays previous franchise win record and kept them 3.5 games above the Boston Red Sox for the division lead.

The Rays have currently 28 series wins this year, top spot in the majors this season. The Rays will be going for series number 29 as the Jays and Ray and are the best in the majors.

 

 

 

 

Pitcher’s Duel Dooms Rays

 

 

Blue Jays 6, Rays 2

 

 

I got to the stadium tonight at about 5 minutes before the gates opened as usual and was strolling around just saying hello to a few friends and fans. I got over by the Ted Williams Museum and saw one friend who told me a pretty distrubing bit of news about one of the Trop’s imfamous fans.

 

It seems tha Cowbell Kid had been on WDAE a local talk radio station some time during the day and had opened his mouth as bit about a certain mother-daughter pairing at the Trop. It seems that Cowbell found it a bit odd that a person who was born in New York city and wore a NY pendant around their neck can not be a true Rays fan.

 

He urged the radio audience to go up to her and yank that chain off her. Now the thought that some strange fan, or Cowbell-ite might go up and yank a chain off someone neck like a two-bit theft made me a bit more than angry. You see thei guy has been given multiple chances by the Rays management to try and be a positive influence to the fans.

 

I use another Myspace superfan as an example. If you got to a Chicago White Sox game, ask about Soxman. I have read alot of positive thing about him in the community, and in the press for his humanitarian and civic gestures.  Positive thing led to positive action from a team.

 

This latest flap has me all up in a roar and wanting this guy finally banished from the stadium. I love the fact he is a super fan. And I can truly understand and empathize about the struggles of being a Rays fan before this year. But to make a request that some do a crime against another fan, and someone he has also been on local television stations with is beyond belief and borders on insane.

 

For this reason, I am going to move thru the crowd at our annual Wall of Fame reception on Thursday and ask the Rays true faithful for their support in finally getting this guy either on page with the masses, or boot him to the Ferg’s parking lot where he can park cars in his Marge Simpson Wig and fake grill. 

 

I have spoken to the mother-daughter cheering team and let them know they have my total support in fighting this maniac. The word “fans” of course comes from the word “fanatic”. I enjoy fans, but you have to curb your fanatic edges sometimes, even for baseball.

 

 

Blue Jays 6, Rays 2

 

 

                          

Last night at the Trop we saw a classic pitchers duel unfold. We saw on e of the American Leagues primier pitchers thae last 5 years going against a Rays’ upstart. Roy Halladay had lost 3 pervious starts against the Rays squad this year, and the odds were that Halladay coulr rebound at any moment.

 

On the other hand, James Shields is being regarded by many around baseball as having some of the most explosive stuff in the league. Shields came to the mound seeking his 12th win of the season. What Shields ended up with was his 8th loss of the year in a hard fought game.

 

 

Shields went 6,2 innings and gave up 9-hits and 4-runs during the game. Shields got in trouble in the 4th inning as Toronto’s Alex Rios duobled to center and Adam Lind walked on 8 pitches. Lyle Overbay then  came up and sent the first pitch he saw to the deep centerfield gap and Rios and Lind scored to put the Jays up 3-0.

 

 

          

The energy level felt around the stadium tonight was at an all time low for this season. For some reason the stands as well as the players seemed to be in a bit of a lull instead of their usual upbeat, cowbell thumping  maniacs. I do not know what to contribute to this lack of  enegry tonight.

 

Maybe it is the fact that the contest Sunday could have been a emtional drain for the guys in the dugout, but with a day off on Monday you would think it would have washed off their psyches and they came out with a new attitude. You never know, but the Rays never seemed to have that visible spark or eruption of visual stimulation you usually see of from these guys on gameday.

 

Some people might have a unreal realization that this team no longer loses at home. Well, on most night’s that is true, but even tho we have one of the major’s best records at home doesn’t mean down this stressful last month we will not have mistakes or losses at home. But with only 15 games left in the home schedule, you would hope that the Rays could muster as many wins as possible to avoid having to pick up wins on the road.

 

 

The Ray finally got a huge offensive momentium going in the 6th innnig when Akinora Iwamura led off the inning with a single to center.  After B J Upton struck out, Carlos Pena hit a ball into left that moved Iwamura to seocnd base and in scoring position.

 

Then 5 pitches into Cliff Floyd’s at bat, Haladay threw a Wild Pitch and both runners advanced a base to put Iwamura 90 feet from the Rays’ first score of the night. Floyd ened up striking out and Willy aybar was hit by a pitch and loaded the bases for the Rays.  Eric Hinske came up with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the inning.  Hinske singled to left and scored both Iwamura and Pena to bring the Rays within striking range of the Jays, 3-2.

 

This was the last offensive surge for the Rays in the contest. 

 

 

In the game, the Rays had only three batters to the plate 5 times in the contest, including the 1-2-3 9th inning where the Rays struck out twice in the inning.  On the night the Jay’s pitching staff got 11 strikeouts and only produced 7 hits on the night.  Ben Zobrist and Junstin Ruggiano both came up as pinch-hiiter in the 9th inning and struck out for the Rays.

 

 

Worst thing about this contest is that the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees were battling in their contest during the Rays game. Boston ended up winning the game and moving 3 1/2 games behind the Rays. The next three series are critical for the Rays as we battle American League East foes who want to knock us off our perch on top of the standings.

 

Not since 1997 has another team beside the Yankees or Red Sox been at the top of the standings at this point in the season. In 1997, the Baltimore Orioles topped the Yankees for that position. In that season the Orioles ended up winning 98 games and only finished 2 games abive the Yankees.

 

 

 

 

Ray’s Run into Trouble with A’s

 

Athletics 2, Rays 1

 

 

The Rays Television networks had originally scheduled for three games to not be televised during this 10 game road trip. But the Ion network and FSN both picked up one contest in the Texas and the Mariner’s series to make only last night’s game the lone radio and MLB gamecast only game on this trip.;

Little did they know they might have picked the perfect game for no one to want to watch.  For people to view anything on this game, they would have had to purchase or already have the MLB Television package, and would have gotten the Oakland A’s broadcast team commenting on the game.

It is usually a wild night to hear another teams’ boradcast duo tell you things about your squad. Usually you only here the comments concerning their squad, which is acceptable, but every once in a while you hear and see something that makes you chuckle. Last night it was the comment near the end of the night that we were a team in flux, without two stars who spun the moon and created the heavens and we were not the same Rays team last night.

I know this team will be in that flux for a few weeks, but they also are professional players and need to suck it up and show that they have the gumption and the fortitude to climb this mountain without hesistation. I did not see that in their faces or actions last night, but I know it is just a small problem within the clubhouse that will get fixed immediately.

Either that, or our 3 game lead over Boston will be gone after Friday night’s game in Texas. The Rays have had a few key guys go down before this season. The must rebound and re-sound to the MLB nay-sayers that this team is about heart and hustle and not playing with a set of mirrors this season. If they do not make the strides to correct themselves, they will be victim to those October blues called the “what if’s”.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Rays starter Scott Kazmir has been off his game a few times this season. If you looked totally at the boxscore and did not venture to see what really happened in this contest, you would have thought he had another bad outing.

 Kazmir actually had a great outing, he was consistant in his placement of the ball over the plate and struck out 6 in the game while walking 2 batters.  He really only had otwo critical mistakes in his 2-run, 2-hit effort on the night. And both of those errors happened back to back to secure the win for the A’s.

Oakland’s Emil Brown started the 2nd inning off by walking on 6 pitches from Kazmir. Then Bobby Crosby battled Kazmir from a 3-2 count to hit a hanging pitch to left center to put the A’s up for good 2-0. In his 5 innings, Kazmir never had another rough inning but the 2nd inning. He retired the side, three up, three down in both the 1st, 4th,and 5th innings of the game.

 

 

Before the game it was announced that Rays leftfielder Carl Crawford will undergo surgery to correct his hans issues and will be out at least 6-8 weeks for the Rays. The injury happened during the 10th innnig of the Seattle Mariner’s game on Saturday night. Crawford heard a “popping” sound in his hand area and the Rays suggested immediate X-rays to rule out a break.

The Ray quickly put him and Evan Longoria on a red eye flight back to Tampa Bay to see the Rays doctors about their injuries. The X-rayson Crawford were examined by the Rays local doctor, who advised Crawford to have surgery on Thursday to eliminate any future  problems.

the injury is to his middle index finger on his right hand down near the joint area where the finger meets the hand. The tendon that rests on top of his fingers was being forced out by him swinging the bat at the plate. The tendon normally sets in a groove in this area and flexs and moves without incident. But Crawford’s tendon was flexing and not returning to it’s right position and had to be manually manipulated to be put back into it’s tendon area.

Crawford is expected to be out a maximum of 6-8 weeks, but the decision will be Crawfords and the medical staff to decide if the injury heals faster, or is season ending at that time.

 

 

 

 

The 4th inning of last night’s game did not look like a first place team playing another squad that was 20 games out of first place. It looked more like two struggling squads just trying to get a few runs and hold onto a lead to win a contest that neither wanted to lose.

In the 5th inning, with Ben Zorbrist on third and Jason Bartlett on first, Akinora Iwamura tried to put dowmn a safety squeeze play to get the Rays the tying run in the game.  Iwamura did get down a bunt on the play, but it was right in front of the mound and Zorbrist mis-read the play and sprinted for home.

In the run down, Zorbrist was tageed out between third and home to stop the Rays’ plans to score. Iwamura was safe on first with a fielder’s choice, and Bartlett moved to second on the play. Then  A’s starter, Gio Gonzalez picked off Bartlett on second and ended the Rays threat in the inning.

A good safety squeeze would put the ball towards the first base side so the pitcher would not have eye sight of the runner on thrid and take to logical raoute of getting the out at first base. With the play right in front of the mound, Gonzalez only had to look over his shoulder to see Zorbrist caught between the bases for an easy out. To make matters worse, B J Upton singled  following the play and would have scored either Zorbrist and possibly Bartlett to give the Rays the lead in the game.

 

 

The Rays scored their lone run of the game in the 3rd inning. Zorbrist walked on 4 pitches and went to third on Jason Bartlett’s double to deep left centerfield. Aki then hit a sacrifice fly to score Zorbrist from third and bring the Rays with in 1 run of the game 2-1. 

 

 

 The Rays would again threathen in the 4th inning when Rocco Baldeii and Willy Aybar both walked with 1 out, but Dioner Navarro and Justin Ruggiano both struck out to smother the threat for the Rays.  In the contest, the Rayts stranded 9 men on base without scoring a single run.

This has been a re-occuring theme in the Rays’ game this season. They have one of the leagues worst percentages of hitting with  men in scoring position. This is a statistic that will be further magnified in the coming weeks as to the either downfall or upward swing of the Ray’s season.  The Rays need to put the bat on the ball more in theses positions with postive results before the season comes down to missed opportunities on the basepaths.

 

 

Talking about the basepaths. In the 8th inning, Aybar started a rally off by singling to leftfield.   Eric Hinske then came on to pinch hit for Jusitn Ruggiano. Hinske hit a high fly ball to left field that was caught by Emil Brown.

 Aybar had taken off from first thinking the play was over Brown’s head and realized he had caught the ball as he rounded second halfway to third base. Brown noticed Aybar beyond second and knew he had no real chance of retreating to first and threw the ball to first baseman Daric Barton to double up Aybar on the play.

Now, I know Aybar was trying to make something happen, but even in Little League, we are told to keep our heads up and watch the ball before sprinting to another base on a fly ball hit deep. This is an example of the night’s errors that cost the Rays this game. I am not saying that the next batter would have gotten a needed hit to move Aybar, but the point is moot if he is not even on the basepaths.

 

 

A true positive in this game was the hitting of DH Bartlett. He went 2-4 on the night and hit for contact on his other two at-bats in the game. The Rays are expecting to put Bartlett back at shortstop during  Friday night’s in Texas.

The Rays have missed his offensive power in the past few games, but they did sandwich three great games in between their two losses during this roadtrip. Having Bartlett back in the hole will free up Zorbrist to either play third base, or even hit the outfield for a few innings.

Also of positive note for the Rays was the 8 innings of play by Rocco Baldelli in rightfield. Rocco seemd to be loose and calm out in right all game long. This is a good bit of news for the Rays as Rocco just might be that right-handed batter we have been seeking the past few months for our lineup.

Rocco only went 1-3 on the night to raise his average to .283, but he hit with power in his at-bats and could see the ball well at the plate. All good signs for the Rays.

Ray’s Run into Trouble with A’s

 

Athletics 2, Rays 1

 

 

The Rays Television networks had originally scheduled for three games to not be televised during this 10 game road trip. But the Ion network and FSN both picked up one contest in the Texas and the Mariner’s series to make only last night’s game the lone radio and MLB gamecast only game on this trip.;

Little did they know they might have picked the perfect game for no one to want to watch.  For people to view anything on this game, they would have had to purchase or already have the MLB Television package, and would have gotten the Oakland A’s broadcast team commenting on the game.

It is usually a wild night to hear another teams’ boradcast duo tell you things about your squad. Usually you only here the comments concerning their squad, which is acceptable, but every once in a while you hear and see something that makes you chuckle. Last night it was the comment near the end of the night that we were a team in flux, without two stars who spun the moon and created the heavens and we were not the same Rays team last night.

I know this team will be in that flux for a few weeks, but they also are professional players and need to suck it up and show that they have the gumption and the fortitude to climb this mountain without hesistation. I did not see that in their faces or actions last night, but I know it is just a small problem within the clubhouse that will get fixed immediately.

Either that, or our 3 game lead over Boston will be gone after Friday night’s game in Texas. The Rays have had a few key guys go down before this season. The must rebound and re-sound to the MLB nay-sayers that this team is about heart and hustle and not playing with a set of mirrors this season. If they do not make the strides to correct themselves, they will be victim to those October blues called the “what if’s”.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Rays starter Scott Kazmir has been off his game a few times this season. If you looked totally at the boxscore and did not venture to see what really happened in this contest, you would have thought he had another bad outing.

 Kazmir actually had a great outing, he was consistant in his placement of the ball over the plate and struck out 6 in the game while walking 2 batters.  He really only had otwo critical mistakes in his 2-run, 2-hit effort on the night. And both of those errors happened back to back to secure the win for the A’s.

Oakland’s Emil Brown started the 2nd inning off by walking on 6 pitches from Kazmir. Then Bobby Crosby battled Kazmir from a 3-2 count to hit a hanging pitch to left center to put the A’s up for good 2-0. In his 5 innings, Kazmir never had another rough inning but the 2nd inning. He retired the side, three up, three down in both the 1st, 4th,and 5th innings of the game.

 

 

Before the game it was announced that Rays leftfielder Carl Crawford will undergo surgery to correct his hans issues and will be out at least 6-8 weeks for the Rays. The injury happened during the 10th innnig of the Seattle Mariner’s game on Saturday night. Crawford heard a “popping” sound in his hand area and the Rays suggested immediate X-rays to rule out a break.

The Ray quickly put him and Evan Longoria on a red eye flight back to Tampa Bay to see the Rays doctors about their injuries. The X-rayson Crawford were examined by the Rays local doctor, who advised Crawford to have surgery on Thursday to eliminate any future  problems.

the injury is to his middle index finger on his right hand down near the joint area where the finger meets the hand. The tendon that rests on top of his fingers was being forced out by him swinging the bat at the plate. The tendon normally sets in a groove in this area and flexs and moves without incident. But Crawford’s tendon was flexing and not returning to it’s right position and had to be manually manipulated to be put back into it’s tendon area.

Crawford is expected to be out a maximum of 6-8 weeks, but the decision will be Crawfords and the medical staff to decide if the injury heals faster, or is season ending at that time.

 

 

 

 

The 4th inning of last night’s game did not look like a first place team playing another squad that was 20 games out of first place. It looked more like two struggling squads just trying to get a few runs and hold onto a lead to win a contest that neither wanted to lose.

In the 5th inning, with Ben Zorbrist on third and Jason Bartlett on first, Akinora Iwamura tried to put dowmn a safety squeeze play to get the Rays the tying run in the game.  Iwamura did get down a bunt on the play, but it was right in front of the mound and Zorbrist mis-read the play and sprinted for home.

In the run down, Zorbrist was tageed out between third and home to stop the Rays’ plans to score. Iwamura was safe on first with a fielder’s choice, and Bartlett moved to second on the play. Then  A’s starter, Gio Gonzalez picked off Bartlett on second and ended the Rays threat in the inning.

A good safety squeeze would put the ball towards the first base side so the pitcher would not have eye sight of the runner on thrid and take to logical raoute of getting the out at first base. With the play right in front of the mound, Gonzalez only had to look over his shoulder to see Zorbrist caught between the bases for an easy out. To make matters worse, B J Upton singled  following the play and would have scored either Zorbrist and possibly Bartlett to give the Rays the lead in the game.

 

 

The Rays scored their lone run of the game in the 3rd inning. Zorbrist walked on 4 pitches and went to third on Jason Bartlett’s double to deep left centerfield. Aki then hit a sacrifice fly to score Zorbrist from third and bring the Rays with in 1 run of the game 2-1. 

 

 

 The Rays would again threathen in the 4th inning when Rocco Baldeii and Willy Aybar both walked with 1 out, but Dioner Navarro and Justin Ruggiano both struck out to smother the threat for the Rays.  In the contest, the Rayts stranded 9 men on base without scoring a single run.

This has been a re-occuring theme in the Rays’ game this season. They have one of the leagues worst percentages of hitting with  men in scoring position. This is a statistic that will be further magnified in the coming weeks as to the either downfall or upward swing of the Ray’s season.  The Rays need to put the bat on the ball more in theses positions with postive results before the season comes down to missed opportunities on the basepaths.

 

 

Talking about the basepaths. In the 8th inning, Aybar started a rally off by singling to leftfield.   Eric Hinske then came on to pinch hit for Jusitn Ruggiano. Hinske hit a high fly ball to left field that was caught by Emil Brown.

 Aybar had taken off from first thinking the play was over Brown’s head and realized he had caught the ball as he rounded second halfway to third base. Brown noticed Aybar beyond second and knew he had no real chance of retreating to first and threw the ball to first baseman Daric Barton to double up Aybar on the play.

Now, I know Aybar was trying to make something happen, but even in Little League, we are told to keep our heads up and watch the ball before sprinting to another base on a fly ball hit deep. This is an example of the night’s errors that cost the Rays this game. I am not saying that the next batter would have gotten a needed hit to move Aybar, but the point is moot if he is not even on the basepaths.

 

 

A true positive in this game was the hitting of DH Bartlett. He went 2-4 on the night and hit for contact on his other two at-bats in the game. The Rays are expecting to put Bartlett back at shortstop during  Friday night’s in Texas.

The Rays have missed his offensive power in the past few games, but they did sandwich three great games in between their two losses during this roadtrip. Having Bartlett back in the hole will free up Zorbrist to either play third base, or even hit the outfield for a few innings.

Also of positive note for the Rays was the 8 innings of play by Rocco Baldelli in rightfield. Rocco seemd to be loose and calm out in right all game long. This is a good bit of news for the Rays as Rocco just might be that right-handed batter we have been seeking the past few months for our lineup.

Rocco only went 1-3 on the night to raise his average to .283, but he hit with power in his at-bats and could see the ball well at the plate. All good signs for the Rays.

Backe Hands Ex-Team a loss, and wake-up Call

 

  

Astros 3, Rays 2

 

 

I want to start tonight’s blog by thankng the Rays and their staff for a fantastic evening at Gameworks in Ybor City on Sunday night.

 

I know all the Rays’ Season Ticketholders’ will agree it was a great night with prizes, games and outstanding foods galore.

 

The chocolate fountains decked in the Rays’ light blue,yellow and white color scheme was a true hit both to the tastebuds and the eyes. 

 

Players’ like Edwin Jackson, Scott Kazmir, Justin Ruggiano, Gary Glover, Grant Balfour, Matt Garza and Andy Sonnanstine came and spent time with the Fans.  Oh, and Jonny Gomes was stationed at the front bar and was buzy with photo ops the entire night.

 

Rays Manager Joe Maddon was also there to hold court with the Rays faithful about the game and his views.

 

Thank you again to all the Rays staffers and the front office for offering such a great time at the halfway mark in our home 2008 schedule.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

Tony Cloninger is the only pitcher to ever hit 2 grand slams in the same game. He did it with the Atlanta Braves on July 3, 1966.

 

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The Rays let a good pitching performance by Scott Kazmir get away by not getting the usual timely hits and runs and ended up losing to the Astros on Sunday. Kazmir pitched 5.2 innings, and gave up 4 hits for 3 runs against the Astros. He also got 7 strikeouts to move up to 18th plce on th AL strikeout list with 68 K’s. Considering Kazmir missed about 4 starts due to his elbow strain, he might be on track to defend his A L Strikeout crown from last season.

 

 

 

I heard a Ray’s fan before the game on Sunday call Rays rookie Evan Longoria ,”The Natural.”  If he keeps hitting like this, and fielding like it is routine plays as usual, I can see him getting that moniker for  a long time with the team.

 

Longoria hit his 12th homer of the season to leftcenter in the 2nd inning off Astro’s starter, Brandon Backe.

 

Longoria had worked the count to 3-1 before Backe threw a soft curve over the plate, and Evan deposited it in Section 145 for a 2-run homer. Eric Hinske, who has walked on 4 pitches also scored on the play for the Rays. The blast tied Evan with Hinske for the team lead in homers, and also tied him for the MLB rookie lead with the Red’s Joey Votto, and Geovany Soto of the Cubs.

              

                             

 

B J Upton has some of the most misleading staistics on the Rays this season. This is a guy who some publications had thought might be the Rays first “30-30″ guy this season. That has not materialized yet, but some of his stats do show an aggressive nature and some play discipline at times. But his numbers are all over the place and did not show the consistant nature needed for the Rays right now in their 3 or 4 hitter.

 

B J  is first in the AL in being caught stealing with 9, but is also 3rd in steals with 22 for the year. He is also currently ranked 8th in the AL in On-Base Percentage (OPS) at .399, and is tied with Eric Hinske for top RBI’s on he Rays with 38 this year. Upton is also  not in the top 30 in extra base hits this year.

 

His outfield play has been remarkable going to the ball on a run, or over his head and running to the ball. But, his play with the ball in front of him, or communicating from his centerfield position have led to a few errors and hits for the opposition.  B J  is currently ted foir 1st with 8 outfield asists this year.

 

Upton is still learning the ways of playing center in the big leagues, and he is getting better every game, but at some point you have to take the gloves off and tell him to be aggressive coming in on the ball and demanding the ball with his voice if he has a play on it on the gaps. He will get better with time, and might just be one of the leagues best in a few seasons.

 

 

I really hate it when a bad play by the opposition gets turned 180 degrees and becomes a positive for them. Case in point on Sunday, Dioner Navarro reached base in the 4th inning with a double to center. Gabe Gross comes up next and lines a ball to right that trickles a bit to righfielder Hunter Pence.

 

Pence not known for his throwing arm , get an ugly and lazy throw to home redirected inflight about a quarter of the way up the line towards third base. Navarro is trying to score from second, and is way ahead of the throw to the plate, but as he rounds third, the ball comes up the line and meets him in stride to be tagged out by Astros’ catcher Humberto Quintero for an out.

 

In a perfect world, Navarro would have the wheels to beat the throw, but a bad throw turned into an out by pure luck, not by skill. So Pence ended up with an outfield assist on the play and should consider it a gift from the Rays.

 

 

After Sunday’s contest, the Rays made a roster move in an effort to bring in some infield help for the Marlins series. Starting shortstop Jason Bartlett will miss a few games to be with his wife for the birth of their child. 

The Rays sent Justin Ruggiano back to the Durham Bulls and brought up Ben Zobrist as an insurance policy if and when Bartlett leaves the team. Zobrist will play in place of Bartlett until his return during the Pittsburgh Pirates series this weekend. 

 

 

During the homestand, I met a few fans who were Chicago Cubs fans becuase they could notet the Rays telecasts all the time in the Fort Meyers, Naples area of the state.

 

Well, as of  June 29th, the Rays will be WXCW-TV. CW-6 will be te latest member in the growing Rays Network broadcast team.  The station canbe viewed on Cable Channel 6 in Ft. Meyers, Cape Coral and Naples.  In Port Charlotte, it is located on channel 11 as well as on the over-the-air antenna station 46. 

 

Both these stations will have a select number of Rays games for the rest of the season.  Check yourlocal listings for te games to be broadcast in this new Rays region.

 

 

Rays take “Celebration” to New Highs

 

 

Rays 4, Astros 3

 

Kool and the Gang is alive and well during 80′s Night at the Trop. The Band went wild and did their Caribbean Strut last night and reminded all of us why we loved the 80′s.

The hits came again, and again, and the dancing went on almost 7 rows behind me. The crowd was so into this band that if you were not there, you first missed a great ballgame, and you missed Kool and the Gang. I was a College lad in the early 80′s and I danced many a night to these songs in the low lite bars of Gainesville and the Tampa area hideaways.

It made me remember what I love about my early life. Clean, simple music with a message and a meaning.  Do not foget, on July 5th, the band Loverboy will be at the Trop trying to get everyone ready for the weekend, and I will be loving every minute of it ( sorry for the word puns).

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Triva Fact of the Night:

On October,9,1951, Gil McDougald became the first rookie to hit a grand slam in a Wrold Series game.

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During the game Saturday night, the Astros’ Carlos Lee came into Akinora Iwamura with a intended slide to disrupt his throw to first.

As you can see in the picture above, the umpires got it wrong when they decided the baserunner did not intentionally try and take out Aki outside the  2nd basepath area. The photo clearly shows Lee trying to do everything but take Aki down for a 3-point wrestling take-down.

Such a move is commendable if it is on-line with the base, and in the course of a game, used to disrupt, not hurt another player.

Lee might not intended for the play to go as violent as it did, but the end result was only a single out on the play instead of a sure double play.

If Lee had done the professional thing, and slide into the bag high and not outward toward the throw to take out the baseman outside the basepath. 

 Bush league in all the wrong ways here, in my opinion.

 

  

 

Rays starter Edwin Jackson pitched 6.1 innings and gave up 5 hits and 3 runs to the Astros. Jackson seemed to be in better control of his fastball tonight and used his off speed stuff to compliment the fasrball. Edwin is showing improvement everytime he steps on the mound for the Rays. Consider again, he was 0-8 last year at this time and had a ERA hovering above 6.0.

 

 

Cliff Floyd started the Rays 9th with a nice single to center to put hope into the Rays’ hopeful in the 9th inning.

Rays’ manager Joe Maddon has a way with his pinch-hitting results this season. More than once this season, the Rays savante’ has garnished fantastic results with his computer aided guidiance.

Saturday night might just be his best “braintrust” decision of his career with the Rays.  In the bottom of the 9th inning against Astros’ big time closer Doug Brocail, Maddon sent not one but 3 straight pinchhitters to the plate. What he got might make Casey Stengel proud.

Eric Hinske came up and batted for Justin Ruggiano in the 9th. Hinske responded with a single to left.

Maddon then sent up Dioner Navarro for Shawn Riggans. Navarro is hit by a pitch and threw a bit of dramatic overkill to the event.

 

 

Dioner took the hit-by-pitch ball like a  .38 slug to the shoulder area. Twisting and turning from the umpires view.  Oscar for Navvy next year. 

With 2 Rays on first and second, Joe Maddon again rolls the dice and send up Gabe Gross to hit for Jason Bartlett. 

Gross takes the first pitch and drills a  2-run double down the left field line that settles near the Visitor’s Bullpen mound in Left. Cliff Floyd and Eric Hinske score and the Rays agaib pull off a cardiac win over the Astros.  Maddon’s pinchhitters went 3-3, with 2 RBIs on the night.

 

                      

 

And Gross, for the third time this season, is the guy in the middle of the pile. Tell me that the Rays did not have a crystal ball when they asked about aquiring Gross from the Brewers’ earlier this season.

 

Lost in all this excitement was Justin Ruggiano’s 2-3 night with an RBI. Ruggiano picked up first homer with a shot to left in the 5th inning. He also got a nice single to right in the 7th, but was stranded on third for the Rays.

 

Carl Crawford also got his 5th triple of the year putting him in a tie with Baltimore’s Brian Roberts for the AL lead.  Willy Aybar scored on Crawford’s triple to give Carl his 38th RBI of the year.

                   

                              

 

The Rays 7 Walk-off wins are tied with the Reds for the most in the majors this year. Gabe Gross has tied a club single season record with his 3rd Walk-off hit of the year. He is tied with Fred McGriff (2000), and Travis Lee ( 2003).

The Cardinals Skip Schumaker also has three Walk-off  hits this season, and has the same sequence of hits as Gross. A single, double and a home run. 

 

Garza Returns to Form Against the Fish

 

 

Rays 4, Marlins 1

 

I have to tell you, I like Bobby Ramos. The guy can make you laugh in a second with just a simple Salsa step near the Bullpen mound. Put a International Recording Artist who specializes in Salsa music, and you got a night of abstract Rumba and Salsa steps to the Bullpen phone almost all night long.

I have seen Bobby go into the waterfall at the Colorado Rockies stadium, do a bit of chair humping on Youtube, and had the pleasure of talking to him on a multiple amount of times from my chair in rightfield.

He can make my night sometimes with just his flip of the cap towards our section, or a toss of a used BP ball for a young fan.  Bobby is a great example of what is great about this new Rays team. He is real, he is fun and he can be real fun.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

In 1979, Bob Watson became the first player to hit for a cycle in both leagues. John Olerud duplicated the feat in 2001.

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What a difference a week can make to a pitching battery. Last weekend in Texas, Dioner Navarro and Matt Garza ( 5-3) had a few meetings of the minds both on the mound and in the visiting dugout during the game.

 

Both guys came out of the game saying it was just like a family with the Rays, and the frustrations would be settled and cooled within the confines of the Rays’ family.  And on Sat. night, the proof was in the pudding,or the pitching.

                           

 

Matt turned in one of his best pitching performances by using his off speed pitches to dazzle the Marlins batters into his 5th victory of the season. Garza pitched 7 innings of 3-hit one run ball as the fish fell to the Rays 4-1.

 

 

DH Jonny Gomes has not had alot of opportunities the last few weeks to showcase himself. Sat. night, he needed just one swing, his first swing of the night to put the Rays up 1-0 in the 2nd inning. Jonny hit his 5th homer off former Rays Mark Hendrickson and looked to be in for a great night at the plate.

But, in his next 3 appearances at the plate, Jonny struck out 3 times, usually letting the first pitch go by to gauge the pitcher.  Jonny is getting limited at-bats right now, and needs to capitaslize by getting walks, singles and aggressive wood on the bats to show Rays Manager Joe Maddon that he too, can have a hot bat when pressed into service.   Jonny was trying too hard to put the ball into play and it showed in his at bats.

 

 

Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett went 1-2 with 2 RBI’s last night. In the last two nights, Jason has gone 4-5 at the plate bringing offensive power to the number 9 slot in the lineup. Bartlett got the scoring going in the 4th innings by singling to center and scoring B J Upton and Willy Aybar.
Bartlett also made several great plays at short to twarp Marlins scoring drives in the game.

 

 

Justin Ruggiano got a start in leftfield tonight for the suspended Carl Crawford. Justin used this opportunity to show the Rays why he should stay up here at this level. In the first inning he doubled to deep center and stole third base. He went 1-4 on paper, but he did so much more for the Rays in the field.

Justin went for a ball going foul into the Corona Beach bar area duirng the game and came flat onto the tabletops trying to catch the ball. Replays showed he got wiothin a cats’ whisker of getting the ball before it fell into the party area and he collided with the wall and got tossed onto the table top.  It was a valiant effort and just another example that this team will do what it takes to get it done this season.

 

 

BJ Upton made am incredible catch in left center in the game running from dead center to grab a ball backhanded in the gap in the 4th inning. B J  has shown remarkable improvement in his path to the balls hit into the gaps in recent games. Just another example of his willingess to upgrade himself to be a premier centerfielder in the sport.

 

               

 

Troy Percival came on in the 9th inning and shut down the Marlins for the second night in a row to record his 15th save of the year. For the second night in a row, 7 of Troy’s 12 pitches were strikes.

 Last night’s save was number 339, just two saves away from Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers’ totals for 9th place All-Time in saves in the MLB. Batters are hitting .123 against Troy this season, the lowest among relievers in the league.

 

 

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.

 

 

Rays Beat Back Birds 6-2

Orioles 2, Rays 6

You know, earlier in the year going .500 so early in the season
would be a upsetting situation. But with nine (9) current Rays players
on the disabled list, and a few hurting but gutting their way through
the games, it is totally satisfying at this moment. If we can go .500
without the big guns, what could happen when the firepower is back to
normal and the trigger is set……………..think about that for a
moment here.

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Trivia fact for the day


Tony Cloninger is the only pitcher to hit two grand slams in the same game. He did it for the Atlanta Braves on July 3,1966.

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                                       The Good,the Bad,and the Ugly

                             

B J Upton is starting to come into his own
at the plate.  Today he hit a monumental 3-run homer in the bottom of
the 5th inning. Upton also raised his average to .302 today, its
highest point in over a week. B J’s home run came in the 5th inning
where the Rays ignited and scored all of their 6 runs of the game.

 

Honorable mentions for “Good” today: 



                                                      



*          Jeff Niemann tossed  93 pitches today, in which the Orioles only scored  a lone run and scattered 6 hits against him.


This help Niemann collect his first MLB win.  At 6’9″, Niemann  got the ball down
consistantly during the game, and never got himself into a bad jam. The
lone run he gave up was to Baltimores’ Nick Markakis, who homered to
left field in the top of the 6th inning.

**        Rays outfielder Carl Crawford collected
two RBI’s today also in the 5th when he singled to center field and
Justin Ruggiano and Mike DeFelice scored to make it 3-0 before B J
Upton’s at bat. B J also currently has 11 RBI’s for the year and is in
the top 10 in the American League in that category.


***        Third baseman Evan Longoria (E-Love)
also collected another
hit today and walked and eventually scored a run
in the Rays big 5th innning today.

                                             The Bad

I know I have written about this
before, and I was chatting with a Rays broadcast guy and I have come
upon the conclusion that B J Upton has a “green light” when he is on the
bases. For those not knowing the phrase, a player having a “green
light” can make decisions for himself about base running and advancing
on plays after a ball is hit.  That is becoming more and more apparent
with each of his base running blunders.


Today it was a stagger step that cost him an extra base.  He was not caught stealing today, so I will be kind to him.



Another “Bad” that is starting to
rear its ugly head is the fact that Dan Wheeler is in a weird funk. I
saw a ball kinda float today and it did not get hit a ton, but it was a
great contact out, and could have been trouble for us.  I am not saying
there is a mechanics situation here, I am not a pitching coach. But,
with that said, I know it was a ball that could have been crushed if
the player got good wood on it. Last night a change-up that stayed in
the zone was crushed for the winning run.

                                              The Ugly

Not a lot of Ugly here except in
the starting shortstops batting average, and his wild throws at times.
Jason Bartlett should count his stars that he has a world class first
baseman like Carlos Pena. Pena had dug out a few balls that past first
baseman would have watched  the ball skirt to the wall or beyond.

That combined with his .158
average at this moment is cause for early worry. This is the guy we
were counting on for solid play and a good bat in the field.

 Ben Zobrist is still out for a
period of time after they inserted a pin in his broken finger to help
it heal better and faster. Until that time, we are limited to Bartlett
and Johnson at short, with neither player showing offensive numbers at
this time.


Former Rays Player of the Day:


I know it is early in the afternoon, but I am going to pick my former Rays player of the game for today.

It has to be Josh Hamilton of the Texas
Rangers. All of us Rays fans remember Josh as the hier apparent to
Right field before Delmon Young entered the picture.  Josh has been
hitting good this year and he is showing the talent we all knew he had
in prior Spring Training and minor league games.

During this afternoons’ game against the
Toronto Blue Jays, Hamilton has two RBI’s and hit a homer run to right
in the bottom of the 4th inning. He also singled and drove in Ian
Kinsler in the bottom of the first.

Hamilton is currently tied with the Rays Carlos Pena for first with 13 RBIs    

 



The forecast for tomorrow game is:

Ugly with a change for a smashing good time.  With that said, come
on out to the Trop. and watch your .500 Rays take on the “Evil Empire”
from the Bronx in a 7:10 PM Monday night game.


 

 


You know the Cowbell kid will be there to send kisses and wishes to his pal Joe Giardi and Shelly Duncan.



Post Script:

I want to thank Edwin Jackson, JP
Howell, Scott Dohmann and Andy Sonnastine for taking the all that time
today to sign for the 12 Little Leagues and their  players that were at
the ballgame.


Each of these Rays players stayed
out there a long time and signed everything put in front of them. I
even got a few autographs I was missing for my Rays collection. I even
saw Evan Longoria out there after stretching on the wall signing and
jawing with the Rays hopefuls.



So, as a Season Ticket holder and
a great Rays follower, Thank you gentleman for showing class and
community love by taking your time to show the kids of all ages
in Tampa Bay you are there for them……….

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