Results tagged ‘ R A Dickey ’
Does it really feel like it has only been just over 5 months since the Rays Republic got to witness something that doesn’t happen very often. Even more precious than a cycle, more compelling than a walk-off victory, on that June 13,2012 night all 18,496 of the Rays faithful and a huge television audience got to see the 2012 Cy Young winners do their stuff under the Teflon roof of Tropicana Field.
That’s right, in a Inter-League middle of a three-fer mid-week series Rays starter and now 2012 American League Cy Young winner David Price went up against New York Mets starter R A Dickey, the 2012 National League Cy Young winner. Who could have known history would again assemble their names together and my mind instantly goes to this past game with such fond memories. I remember it like it was just yesterday as Dickey brought a 9-1 record into the Trop while Price stood at 8-3 and wanted to check another notch in his “win” column.
Each hurler got to toss over 100 pitches( Dickey 106, Price 109) in this contest, as each took the hill wanting a piece of this moment not knowing it would or even could turn into a historic event so many months later. As we now know, it pitted right-handed Cy (Dickey) versus Southpaw Cy (Price) with the Rays (35-27) and Mets (34-29) both sitting with about the same record at the time. On this night it was not the slicing fastball or shifty change-up of Price that glided a path for victory, but instead it was the fierce high velocity butterfly pitch from Dickey that made 12 Rays leave the Batter’s Box wondering how to get to Dickey’s dancing knuckler.
Only one Rays got to put solid wood upon a Dickey offering, with B J Upton finally stroking a soft ground ball to Third Baseman David Wright and beating the throw by no more than a gnat’s eyelash. Immediately whispers and shouts came out with different opinions from either side of the field. Rays fans cheering for Upton hustling down the line and beating the throw from a fellow North Virgina baseball teammate. Met’s faithful in the stands wanted a review, but the play did not call for one, and their moans and groans could be heard loud and clear all over the blue-hued Trop.
How could we have know that ticket stub would be a slice of awesome baseball history. A moment when 2 Cy Young players took to the hill threw their arms out and the visitor got the final cap nod and victory. Upton’s hit came in the Rays first chance in the bottom of the 1st inning against Dickey, but no other Rays hitter from that moment on seemed to have a viable way to beat Dickey. Even Rays INF Elliot Johnson turning around and hitting right-handed against Dickey did not produce a cure or show a hint of damage.
On the night Dickey set a new Met’s scoreless streak of 32 2/3 innings just pushing past former P Jerry Koosman’s old mark of 31 2/3rds innings did Dickey show a sign of mortality in the bottom of the 9th watching Johnson reach on a throwing error by Wright, then Dickey showed his human side by helping produce 2-straight pass balls that got Johnson to Third Base and finally on a ground out by Desmond Jennings the lone Rays run on the board.
So here we are Nov 14, 2012 and I’m about to hit MLB.com and pull up this contests again and watch these two artists paint their pitching portraits again on the big screen. Sure Price did not come out on the winning side that night, but this contest showed us the resolve and composure of the guy who would end up with his own piece of Cy Young hardware.
Congrats again to Dickey who fought long ans hard to perfect that knuckleball and to our own Astro’s Dad, Price on an Cy Young award that possibly began on that June 13th evening, under the Teflon roof of the Trop. This just goes to prove, special moments can and do happen in the Rays hamlet of St. Petersburg, Florida under that tilted cap we call Tropicana Field.
I do not know why people are getting so upset about the New York Mets wanting to get a second opinion on whether or not the Rays official scorekeeper might have given a hometown lean towards Tampa Bay Rays speedster B J Upton being given a hit on his bouncing drive on Wednesday evening. Seems to me in the end it will end up further validating the great job Bill Mathews does on a nightly basis for the Rays.
Sure some people wonder aloud and in their minds if the person assigned the duty of reviewing and making this vital decision might try and bring some “pay back” to his old nemesis Tampa Bay, but I believe MLB’s representative Joe Torre has more credibility and honor for the game than to thrust his own agenda into the mix. I understand why Mets Manager Terry Collins went to bat for R A Dickey. You have to have your players’ backs if the lines and replays show their could be a shadow of a doubt.
But in the Rays favor is the particular history that not since 1917 has a scorekeeper’s decision been overturned and a 1-hitter turned into a “No-No”. I mean we can go even closer to today than 1917 to show evidence Torre will reject and stand by Mathew’s decision, or my name is not Armando Galarraga. Of course that is not my name, but if anyone deserved to have their 1-hitter turned into a No-Hitter with a clear mis-guided moment, it was that contest.
But this appeal is different than the Umpire missed call in Detroit, this one involves a field play that routinely is either a “ make or break” momentary decision that usually come with a warning label. A chopper down the Third Base line is always a precarious thing that calls for an instant judgment. It is totally realistic for Collins to take this moment, dissect it down into it’s intricate pieces and want official clarity from someone else.
You have to wonder if Met 3B David Wright who played baseball with Upton in Northern Virgina before his pro days made his momentary decision based on his chances to get Upton out, or was hoping more for a “fling and a prayer”. If you watch the replay of the questionable call, you have to also wonder if former All-Star Wright hesitated for a nano second seeing the ball might hit the precarious lip of the AstroTurf before it became clay. Could that small window of judgment and blink from extreme focus have caused a slight variation in Wright’s decision to hold back a step.
In some ways I think personally the point is moot because of Wright not getting control of the ball and throwing it with velocity towards Ike Davis at First Base. The fact Wright did not get a handle on the ball and it glanced towards his right making any attempt of even hurling the ball a foregone notion, this action only further illustrates he knew Upton had an infield single in his back pocket. If Wright had adequately handled the ball and got it to the bag with some form of making the play look suspicious, then I would of wanted clarity from a higher authority myself.
Who in their right mind would have guessed in the first inning this play would be so paramount to the total night. One solid swing of the bat that produced a bouncing ball that routinely can be either an our or hit was the deciding factor in Dickey’s historic moment. Would I have loved to see another No-Hitter, of course I would have (I have personally been at 3), but not at the expense of a questionable call that had legs to go either way.
If Wright had cleanly caught the ball as it was beginning to move away from him and thrown out Upton, this decision would not be hovering over the Trop. If Wright had caught the ball and held onto it trying to not make the matter worse by possibly overthrowing Davis and Upton advancing to second, this whole episode would be null and void.
But because there is a lingering shadow of doubt, a hint of a possibility and rationale reason for a second opinion, this small segment of Wednesday night game lingers on. Be calm Rays faithful, for before tonight’s series begin with the Marlins, Torre will most assuredly put this whole conspiracy to bed, and then we can go about our lives as the possibility of another No-Hitter being attached to the Rays sinks to the bottom of the Rays Tank.
I don’t care what you are doing tonight, cancel it and get down to Tropical Field. On tap tonight should be a classic pitcher’s match-up between two completely different style of starters who could put on a nice pitching clinic tonight that could be the eventual precursor to either of them getting a possible shot to hit the dirt first at this season’s All Star Game in Kansas City.
If a total of 17 combined wins between New York Mets hurler R A Dickey and Tampa Bay Rays southpaw starter David Price can not get you excited about this contest, you had better go have your pulse checked, because you might be dead. On tap tonight could be the premier InterLeague pitching match-up of not only this week, but the entire InterLeague sliver of the 2012 season, and it all will be played out under the tilted cap in St. Petersburg.
If that is not enough to make you pile into the jalopy and putter on down to 1 Tropicana Drive, in town for this limited engagement is a team that used to hold their annual Spring Training locally here in the ‘Burg, and is making their first trek into their old Spring home turf in 11 years. Member when the Mets used to come here every Spring from 1962 to1987 holding court over in the fields near the Jungle Prada section of the city.
I mean personally, I’m totally curious to see what a “hard knuckleball” looks like coming in at possibly 80 mph in comparison to the butterfly slow velocity knuckler thrown by former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield. I am truly eager to see not only how Dickey can adjust and pitch against this struggling Rays offense, but will keep a keen eye on the Mets catcher to see just how you can keep that fluttering white sphere in your glove. Looking at the opposite side of the spectrum, it should be another chance for Price to again show some of his tricks of the trade via a blazing fastball combined with a newly refined curve and change-up to keep the Mets bats honest.
Surely this contest is billed as a “pitcher’s duel” with the unique possibility of a 1-0 or 2-1 score deciding this contest. But do not forget, these two hurlers have also posted 148 K’s and each sports an impressive ERAs between 2.40 (Price) and 2.44 (Dickey) this season. They also both have held opposing batters to stellar opposition batting average that are just a tick South of .236 mark and both have 1 shutout and complete game to their credit this season.
Heck, the only blip on either pitcher’s radar to show any weakness might be the fact Price only went 5 innings in his last start against the Yankees in New York. You would have to dig all the way back to Price’s start on April 13th in Boston to find any sub 5 inning start by the consistent southpaws this season. Dickey also suffered his only sub 5 inning stint about the same time this season when he only lasted 4.2 innings on April 18th in a contest in Atlanta against the Braves. Both have been consistent in going into the late innings of games, with powerful pitches at their disposal.
Tonight it is a mano-on-mano match-up. Classic hard-nose power pitching against the crafty and frustrating ball that can come in hard, or flutter like a firefly under the dome’s lights. If you like the Chess match that can turn into a baseball game, this is the game for you. So, why aren’t you here already? This game has all the earmarks of possibly turning into an instant classic 2012 baseball moment.
I’ll save you a seat.
Who would have thought you could find a Hall of Famer in the Major League Baseball Rule 5 draft? You usually associate this draft with the marginal player who is not good enough for the 40-man roster, but still performing for his team. You would never think a player like Roberto Clemente would be subject to the Rule 5 Draft, but he was, as were notable players like former Oriole Paul Blair, current Met Johan Santana and Royals closer Joakim Soria. And can you even imagine that current Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino went through the Rule 5 Draft twice befores ticking with the Phillies and going on to win his first World Series ring this Fall.
But besides Clemente, the most recent addition to the Rule 5 Draft All- Dumb Move team was former Rays Josh Hamilton. He was left unprotected by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006 and was selected 3rd by the Chicago Cubs, who then sold his rights to the Cincinnati Reds where he played in 2006 all season long at the major league level. The Rays were trying to hide Hamilton off their 40-man roster because of recent re-instatement to baseball after 2 years of drug problems. But that did not deterr the Cubs, who quickly snatched Hamilton up before the Rays knew what had happened.
Will there be another ” Josh Hamilton or Johan Santana” in the 2008 Rule 5 draft being held on Thursday in Las Vegas? The answer is not that simple this year. This years draft might be the hardest to predict in the last several years. No one is a clear favorite in any of the three phases ( MLB, Triple-A, Double-A) to be selected this time around.
Alot of basbeball officials call this year’s Rule 5 Draft a bit of a bust. There is not a huge buzz about any one player, or the potential as in years past. The rules changes prior to last year, adding an extra year of protection for teams to keep players. Under the old rules, 2005 high school draft picks and 2006 college picks would have had to be protected (and most international players signed in ’04 as well).
Prep pitchers such as Sean West (Marlins), Chaz Roe (Rockies), Brandon Erbe (Orioles) and Will Inman (Padres) would have to be protected ,but are not on 40-man rosters. That leaves more room to protect fringy players who otherwise might not have made the cut. Some borderline players will get an extra reprieve this year thanks to the new rules, but will have to earn that spot come Spring time.
Similarly, the Pirates don’t have to make a 40-man call on 2006 first-rounder Brad Lincoln, who has missed a year with Tommy John surgery, and the Indians can wait on corner infielder Wes Hodges, who can hit but hasn’t shown he can handle third base.
That has left a thinner talent pool to choose from. The ’06 Rule 5 yielded stars such as Josh Hamilton and Joakim Soria, but the top talents in the ’07 class were players such as outfielder Brian Barton, who stuck all year with the Cardinals; knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, whom the Mariners swung a trade to keep; and lefthander Wesley Wright, who stuck as a reliever with the Astros.
Draft analysts agree there are few position players with Barton’s upside in this Rule 5 class, and and the quality and talent of players and pitchers has dipped accordingly with the rule changes. Big names such as Donald Veal (Cubs) and Eduardo Morlan (Rays) have attracted interest, but Veal pitched poorly all year and again in the Arizona Fall League, while Morlan’s velocity was back in the 89-92 mph range in Puerto Rico but not in the mid-90s he showed earlier in his minor league career. Morlan was the third player garnished by the Rays in the Matt Garza, Jason Barlett trade last November with the Minnesota Twins for ex-Rays badboy Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie.
The best comparisons to Barton are several prospects with injury questions, such as pitchers Alan Horne (Yankees), coming off rotator cuff surgery on his shoulder, and Pedro Strop (Rangers), a former Rockies farmhand coming off his own arm injury; and catcher Donny Lucy (White Sox), who is athletic and plays a premium position but has never quite performed.
What buzz there is has centered on Class A pitchers with stuff rather than track records. Among the names bandied about:
RHP Jordan Pratt, Dodgers ( above ) : The 2003 fifth-round pick out of an Oregon high school has yet to progress past Class A. He spent 2008 in high Class A Inland Empire and walked 67 (while striking out 80) in 69 innings. However, Pratt has premium stuff, with a fastball that consistently reaches 94 mph, and an inconsistent curveball and a premium cutter that helps him handle lefthanded hitters. They went 2-for-35 off him in Hawaii Winter Baseball, where Pratt showed off some smoother mechanics that helped him throw more strikes. Lefty David Pfeiffer of the Dodgers, a sidearmer, also was getting some attention.
LHP Jordan Norberto, Diamondbacks ( above ) : Norberto has upside, as he’s just 22 and has reached 96 mph with his fastball. He’s also spent the last two years in the low Class A Midwest League, striking out 220 in 204 innings while walking 102.
IF Corey Wimberly, Rockies ( above ) : No one in the class fits the utility profile better than Wimberly, a 5-foot-8 switch-hitter with plus speed and defensive versatility. Wimberly played second base, third base, shortstop and the outfield in ’08 at Double-A Tulsa while posting a .370 on-base percentage. He lacks strength but has a solid track record as a hitter.
RHP Loek Van Mil, Twins: The 7-foot-1 righthander has shown a fastball up to 97 mph in the past but has a partial ligament tear due after injuring his elbow just prior to the Beijing Olympics. Fellow Dutch national teamer Hainley Statia (Angels) remains the top middle-infield possibility in a thin group of players there.
Post Rule 5 Update:
Here is the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft with final results posted below. Check out the list and see if your favorite might have picked up a young player, or left someone unprotected and they were selected from your squad.
In the Rule 5 Draft, the Tampa Bay Rays lost the rights to Double-A closer Eduardo Morlan, who was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 15th pick of the draft. The Rays then selected starter-turned reliever Derek Rodriguez with the 19 th pick to swap pitchers with different aspects of the game.
Major League Phase
|2||Reegie Corona||INF||Seattle||New York (AL)||Trenton|
|3||Everth Cabrera||SS||San Diego||Colorado||Asheville|
|4||Donald Veal||LHP||Pittsburgh||Chicago (NL)||Tennessee|
|5||Lou Palmisano||C||Baltimore||Milwaukee||Brevard County|
|6||Luis Perdomo||RHP||San Francisco||St. Louis||Springfield|
|9||Jose Lugo||LHP||Kansas City**||Minnesota||Ft. Myers|
|10||Benjamin Copeland||CF||Oakland||San Francisco||Fresno|
|12||Zachary Kroenke||LHP||Florida||New York (AL)||Scranton/Wilkes-Barre|
|8||Los Angeles (NL)|
|13||Gilbert De La Vara||LHP||Houston||Kansas City||Northwest Arkansas|
|14||Jason Jones||RHP||Minnesota||New York (AL)||Scranton/Wilkes-Barre|
|15||Darren O’Day||RHP||New York (NL)||Los Angeles (AL)||Salt Lake|
|16||Eddie Morlan||RHP||Milwaukee||Tampa Bay||Montgomery|
|17||Robert Mosebach||RHP||Philadelphia||Los Angeles (AL)||Arkansas|
|18||Miguel Gonzalez||RHP||Boston||Los Angeles (AL)||DNP|
|19||Derek Rodriguez||RHP||Tampa Bay||Chicago (AL)||Charlotte|
|20||Ivan Nova||RHP||San Diego||New York (AL)||Tampa|
|21||Rocky Cherry||RHP||New York (NL)||Baltimore||Norfolk|
* Acquired by Chicago (NL) in exchange for cash considerations
** Acquired by Seattle in exchange for cash considerations