Results tagged ‘ Larry Rothechild ’

Rays Squander Chances versus Red Sox

 

 

Red Sox 3, Rays 0

 

Scott Kazmir will take the mound tonight in one of the most important games for the Tampa Bay Rays franchise tonight. If the Rays lose, they will be out of first place for the first time in almost 2 months. to add a bit more pressure to ther young lefty, the Rays have not won in Fenway now for 8 games, and the last time they won was on a night that Kazmir beat Curt Shilling 1-0.

 

Not lost on Kamir is also the bravado and vigor he has thrown out in the last week about accountability and playing for the moment.  The lefty is the youngest member of the starting rotation, but he has the demeanor at times of a 10 year veteran in the  MLB trenches. But that is also one of the things you love about they guy. He is not afraid to put it on his back and try to carry the team.

 

Considering if the Rays walk out of Fenway on Wed. night not getting a single win in Fenway this season, they will leave in second place, down by 1 1/2 games to the Red Sox. Not lost on the Rays or Bosotn is the fact that in 9 days they will do it all over again at the Trop., where the Rays have dominated the Red Sox this season.

 

Rays Manager Joe Maddon is quick to point out after a series whne reporters ask him what series is important. He has said almost reliously, “the next one” all year long. This series might be important more for the team’s morale and their confidience coming back home after 3 more in the Bronx.  This is the time of year where the winners step up, and the also rans get left by the roadside. And I can not see Maddon hitchhiking back to St. Petersburg.

 

 

Red Sox 3, Rays 0

 

 

It was one of those rare nights that you thought the league should not give a loss for such a pitching effort. Edwin Jackson might have lost the game to the red Sox 3-0, but it was his composure and his confidience after the 1st inning that registers high on my admiration meter. Jackson came into this first “must win” game probably a little more psyched and enegetic than he wanted to be when he tossed that first pitch to Mark Kotsay.

 

Jackson had a rough 1st inning against the Red Sox last night. Of course Kotsay started it all by walking on 5 pitches, but Jackson got the AL average leader, Dustin Pedroia to line out to Akinora Iwamura to set the defensive tons for the night.  David Ortiz then came up and hit a ball high off the Green Monster that if B J Upton would have hustled a throw to second, Ortiz would have been tagged out and sitting on the Boston bench. Ortiz’s blast scored Kotsay from first and gave the Sox an early 1-0 lead.

 

Kevin Youkilis ( You-kill-us) then came up and hit a ball up the middle that Upton got early and tried to get Ortiz at the plate, the throw was cut off and the Rays go Youkilis in a run down trying to advance to second on the throw for the second out. Jason Bay, who the Rays desperately tried to trade for at the trade deadline then came on and hit a solo homer over the Green Monster to put the Red Sox up 3-0.  In that first inning, Jackson ended up throwing 28 pitches and it looked like an early night for him.

 

 

 

 

 Jackson rebounded from the 1st inning to throw until J P Howell relieved him in the bottom of the 8th inning. Jackson ended up throwing  98 total pitches on the night. He threw 70 pitches from the 2nd inning on last night.

 

Jackson also shut the Boston offense down by only giving up 5 more hits the entire night before leaving with 6 strikeouts. The rebound by Jackson was a great pick-me-up for the Rays in that they saw this young pitcher battle through his demon 1st inning and regain control of the game and pitch effectively from that point on.  With that in mind, it is a pity that such a pitching display as to result in his 10th loss of the year.

 

 

The last time the Rays suffered back-to-back shutouts was against the Boston Red Sox in April 2004 at Fenway Park.

 

Several plays stick in my mind as to the tunring points in this first game of the series. In the 1st inning, Upton bunted a ball into the air and Red Sox starter, Jon Lester picked it out of the air and threw to first to double up Aki to get two quick outs on the Rays.  The Rays went down in order, 1-2-3 4 times until they came alive in the 5th inning against Lester. Rocco Baldelli ended up striking out on all 4 of his plate appearances last night.

 

 

                                    

 

 

The Rays finally showed a glimmer of offense in the 5th inning when Dioner Navarro started a potential rally by walking on 7 pitches. Jason Bartlett then came up and hit a single into left to advance Navarro to second base.  But Gabe Gross hit a weak grounder down the first base line and Youkilis tosed the ball to Lester to get out of the inning without a run.

 

 

 

The Rays again started a potential rally when Aki singled to left, and Ben Zobrist walked. Both men advanced on Carlos Pena long drive to centerfield, but were stranded when  Rocco Baldelli struck out to end the 6th inning. The again tried to mount an attack in the 8th inning when Ben Zobrist hit a ball off the upper half of the Green Monster for a long single.

 

Carlos Pena then hit a sharply hit ball down the first baseline that was grabbed by a fan with his white cap for a ground rule double. This put 2 rays in scoring position with 2 outs. Baldelli again struck out to end the inning. In the 9th inning, Eric Hinske came on as a pi9nch hitter for Jason Bartlett and delivered a single to centerfield and moved over on defensive indifference to get into scoring position with 2 outs.. Gabe Gross however struck out to end the game for the Rays.

 

                                  

 

 

B J Upton came out of the game in the beginning of the 3rd inning. Upton was hurt on the drive by Ortiz off the Green Monster in the 1st inning. It is a  pulled hamstring muscle and Upton will be day-today at this time.

 

The Rays did keep themselves in the game with some fantastic defensive play during the game. In the 1st inning, that play on Youkilis saved at least 1 run in the game on the quick decision by Navarro to cut off the throw and get the sneaky Youkilis at second base.  In the 4th inning, Jason Bay was awarded a single on a very close play at first on a fantastic backhand grab deep in the hole by Bartlett.

 

 

The Rays ended up with a 5-4-3- double play on the next pitch to Mike Lowell to erase Bay from the basepaths. In the 5th inning Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek tried to be a bit fancy and bunted towards thrid, and Aybar took the ball barehanded and threw out Varitek at first base.  Kotsay tried to advance on a single in the inning and was gunned down by Gross to get the 2nd out of the 5th inning.

 

 

Fernando Perez, who moved from  left to center with Upton out, made a great running catch on Dustin Pedroi’s deep fly out near the Red Sox Bullpen wall. And Rays reliever, J P Howell picked off Coco Crisp on first after a single to leftfield. Important is the fact that Howell had just come on to relieve Jackson and picked off Crisp before even throwing a pitch in the game.

 

Great news that Rays reliever Juan Salas is fine after suffering  a epileptic seizure prior to Monday night’s game vs. the Red Sox and was taken to a nearby hospital as a precautionary measure, but was released shortly after the contest began. 

 

“He’s had it before,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “It just normally takes hours to get him back and he should be back by tomorrow. … We’ve gone through it before. He’s fine, he’s fine.”

 

I  hope that Rays television analyst, Joe Magrane asked Rays equipment manger, Chris Westmoreland for a fielders’ glove after last nights game in Boston. Twice during the telecast, Magrane had to shimmy out of the way of wayward foul balls hit into the broadcast booth by Rocco Baldelli and Dioner Navarro. Magrane was okay on each incident and plowed onward and upward in his on camera moments. 

 

 

Rays Win Series Against Cubbies

 

 

Rays 5, Cubs 4

 

I saw a wild trio on the field on Tuesday night that brings back the saying “You Can’t Go Home Again”.

Well, you can go home, just do not expect a huge bucket of victories from this crappy Rays bunch. On the turf were current Manager Joe Maddon, departed chief Lou Piniella, and innaugural whipping boy Larry Rothechild.  Each manager was responsible for a different era of growth for this team.

Larry got the “younger years”. the time where veterans were hired to get the franchise through the lean years before the farm system could restock the team. He never got to see that dream.

Lou, sweet Lou, came here to teach more the aspects of being a Professional and how to carry your team on you back. He did that. He might not have gotten the end result he envisioned when he signed on, but a few of these guys are great players because Lou rode them hard and let them play their game. His era of the Era of development and toughness.

Last, but not least, is the Era of Joe-ism.  I can’t put a finger on the accomplishments yet in a nutshell, but this team blossomed under his letting go of the righs a bit with the guys. Letting them develop, but guide them in the same voice. Joe is a wise guy, with a theasarus for a mind. If you can’t play for Joe ( Delmon), you can’t play anywhere before adjusting yourself accordingly.

3 Masters of the Rays Universe all standing there looking at a team the two Chicago visitors only recognize in name and cetain players. The rest is the crown jewel of Joe Maddon. It is his team to lead upward and onward now. Larry Rothchild must love seeing smiles on the players’ faces, they were never contenders in the lean years. And I think in Lou’s mindset, this is the team he dreamed of for those many years. Joe, I think either of these guys would swap places with you in a heaetbeat and still know it was your baby all along here.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

Since 1876, there have been only 2 years that a triple play did not occur in the major leagues: 1961 and 1974.

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Thank You Mark DeRosa for getting the scoring started on Wed night in front of a ESPN audience. It must be hell to be you today with the cellphone messages, and the email bloopers, blunders and Cubbie jokes segment on the TV. But, we here in Rays-town know that feeling all too well.

 Even after a great vicotry over your team, most of the talking heads from Bristol still do not get it. The Rays just won their 9th Consecutive home series of the year.. NINE, never before have we gotten to this point before the All-Star break, but still we are considered the “Also-Rans” of the AL East.  I heard a comment recently on “Baseball Tonight” that the Rays will fade in time. I also read and heard that we are “playing above our heads”.

Both might be true, but I think this team is in for a “Miraculous Summer”. It is alreafy one of the best on  record for us, but might just surprise the nation real soon. You know, in the next homestand, the Red Sox come back to the A/C refines of the Trop.

 If we sweep them again, what will be the talk, that neither team can play in the opponents park, or Bosotn is not playing with “playoff intensity” right now.   Give credit where credit is due guys. This sqaud will make believers of you, but I guess winning two straight from the team with the BEST record in baseball is not a big thing to you guys.

 

 

Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine has the right stuff again. He mixed his pitches well last night and earned his 8th victory of the season. Sonnanstine pitched 5 innings of  7-hit, 3-run ball to help the Rays take the first 2 games against the Cubs.   Andy only threw 94 pitches tonight, but got 57 strikes out of his performance. Sonnanstine coming into the game has not given up a homer since Mat 21st in Oakland, and is curently 6th in the AL in runs allowed.

 

 

Eric Hinske has been so valuable to the Rays this season he should maybe be the next guy to see a renewed contract and a raise for his efforts. Anywhere you put him, he has come through this season for the team.

Eric was hitting in the clean-up spot for the first time this year and went 1-3 on the night with a RBI and a run scored for the Rays. Eric event got his 6th stolen base of the season last night in the 7th inning.

 Hinske came to this team in the spring just looking for a job, not even gauranteed a spot on the roster, and has produced more ans more for the upstart Rays.  The Rays are 19-3 when he homers, and 34-17 when he is in the lineup for the Rays.

 

 

Four different Rays got RBI’s last night in a total team effort to beat the Chicago Cubs. B J Upton, Evan Longoria, Hinske and Willy Aybar each got a single RBI for the team.

 

 

Speaking of teamwork, let me tell you a few stats on our Rays:

The Rays matched their season and franchsie record highwater mark at 13 games over .500. Before this season, the team had never been more than 4 games over .500 at any point in their history.

The Rays tied their record for most wins before the All-Star break with a victory last night. In 2004, under Lou Piniella, the Ray were 42-45 at the break.  The Rays have now won 24 of their last 28 at home, and the Ray have pitched to a 2.38 ERA at home, best in the majors this year.

According to “Elias Sports Bureau”, the last team with 9 straight  home series  won within a single season was the Colorado Rockies in 2007. The last AL squad was the Oakland A’s in 2005 ( 12 straight).  The Rays have won 13 series overall for the year, one shy of their entire amount in 2007.

 

 

I put this last guy in the end of the blog becuase that is where we all know he is the strongest member of the Bullpen crew. Troy Percival can be a monster most nights on the mound, he has only allowed 19 baserunners in 26 appearances, two of them last night. Of his 26 opportunities, 17 have been perfect innings. 19 of them have been scoreless innings for the Rays.

For his career, Troy has converted 340 out of 395 save opportunities, for a 89.1 percent save rate. Since saves became an official stat. in 1969, only 6 pitchers have bettered that mark.

And on Wed. night, without any hoopla or fanfare, Troy tied with the Hall-of Famer Rollie Fingers for 9th place on the All-Time saves list.  All this from a guy who at this point last year was considered retired by major league baseball.  Next up for Percival on the list is…………Randy Meyers in 8th, with 347 saves.

With success and a continued Rays winning attitude, Troy could be nearing Jeff Reardon in 7th with 367 by the end of the season, or pass him in 2009(?)

 

 

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