Tagged: Tampa Bay Rays

9/27 – Hold Your Breath

The American League Wild Card race is getting real interesting right now. With a Baltimore win over the Red Sox and the Rays downing the Yankees, the Rays and Sox are now tied atop the AL Wild Card standings. It looked for a while like the Red Sox may be able to hold their ground and continue this dominant season but the Rays have really come on strong and can smell the playoffs.

Josh Beckett pitched well against the Orioles last night but the Baltimore offense has decided to play the role of Major Spoiler and give the Rays some help. Chris Davis and Robert Andino were the unlikely heroes in Baltimore’s 6-3 victory over Boston, Davis driving in a pair and Andino scattering three RBI throughout the game.¬†Tonight the Red Sox will send veteran southpaw Erik Bedard (1-2, 3.63 ERA) to the mound against rookie and fellow left-hander Zach Britton (11-10, 4.44 ERA).

The Rays needed a big inning to bust through against the Yankees and that’s what they got in the bottom of the third. With the score at 2-0 Yankees, a two-run double off the bat of B.J. Upton and a Johnny Damon RBI single put the Rays up for good. Having James Shields on the mound gave the Rays that extra boost of confidence to overcome the Yankees as Shields pitched eight and two thirds innings of six-hit, two-run baseball. Kyle Farnsworth recorded his twenty-fourth save of the year. Tonight young righty Jeremy Hellickson (13-10, 2.90 ERA) will go against journeyman righty Bartolo Colon (8-10, 4.02 ERA) in a chance for the Rays to hop into first place in the Wild Card.

It’s Veteran vs. Youngster for the Sox and Youngster vs. Veteran for the Rays in what could be the biggest game of the season for both of these two playoff-bound teams.


9/24 Nothing Left…

…but the Wild Card. That’s right, all of the divisions have been decided except for the Wild Card.

NL West – Diamondbacks
NL Central – Brewers
NL East – Phillies

AL West – Rangers
AL Central – Tigers
AL East – Yankees

As of right now the Red Sox hold a 1.5 game lead over the Rays in the American League and the Braves have a slim 2 game lead over the Cardinals, with the Cardinals igniting over the last two weeks.

With four games left in the regular season losses are huge. Could there be two one-game playoff’s? One? Or will both Wild Card’s be decided in 162 games? We’ll know soon enough.

4/21 – Game 4 @ Rays

Wait, are we allowed to do this? The number in the “W” column – not quite sure what the W stands for, I’ll have to look it up – went up by one. Can we do that…? 

The W must stand for Wefinallywonagame…
Believe it or not, that is actually how I felt when the game was over. It feels so good to win a ballgame! Floyd pitched very well, everyone on the offense contributed, and our defense was more than average. Adam Dunn drove in a run! Ed Farmer thinks that it’ll take another few games before he’s completely re-acclimated to playing full-time, but as long as he drives in a run per game he can take as long as he needs to before he hits home runs again. 
Ohman, Santos, and Gray all pitched very well out of the bullpen. Somebody must’ve knocked out and bagged the old Will Ohman, stuck him in a closet, brought out this new guy, jersey’d him up, and told him that he is now Will Ohman and will pitch effectively. Whoever he is, I like him and he needs to stay. Two points for everybody. Hooray for good outings!
Bullpen Points Leaderboard
1. Sergio Santos – 10 points
2. Will Ohman – 9 points
3. Jesse Crain – 8 points
4. Will Ohman – 7 points
5. Chris Sale – 5 points
5. Tony Pena – 5 points
6. Jeff Gray – 4 points
7. Matt Thornton – 1 point

Thankfully I can now change my background theme, as you have seen already, as it was literally making me sad to look at the Rays theme even though it was only up for less than twenty
-four hours. 
Cleveland is still off to a white-hot start as they’re currently leading 2-0 over the Royals in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Tribe 13-5 on the season, which is ridiculous. Now that Grady Sizemore is back that team is looking really good. Choo, Hafner, Sizemore, Cabrera, Carmona, and Masterson are a pretty good core group of players. 
The Royals aren’t doing too bad, either, as they trail the Indians by two games in the AL Central standings. A lot of early walk-off wins for that young team (with a few veterans peppered in for good measure). 
And, saving the best for last, Joe Mauer is on the 15-day DL. I typically don’t smile at other peoples’ misfortune but I have the biggest grin on my face right now. I love seeing Twins go down. Call me horrible, but it’s true. 
Wow… can’t believe I said that… actually, I can. Nevermind. 
The Sox will head into Motown tomorrow as Mark Buehrle (1-1, 4.50) will take on Justin “Bunny” Verlander (1-2, 3.41). I’ll tell you the not-so-interesting story about that nickname tomorrow. 
Go Sox!!

4/20 – Game 3 @ Rays

Alright, well, obviously the Rays are a pretty good team. That much is clear. Cy Young’s people just told me that he has indeed extended an offer to change the name of his award to the “Wade Davis” award. We have yet to hear back from Davis’ representatives. 

Carlos Quentin hit a home run. *stands up and applauds* Good job there, buddy. I guess. It was a good attempt but in the end it didn’t really do much but dent Cy Davis’ ERA. At least he’s starting to swing the bat well. I’m sure everyone else is trying their best but I’m really noticing some improvement with Quentin over the past couple days. 
Speaking of Wade Young, he pitched seven innings of one-run ball. So yeah… that was pretty cool. That Tampa Bay pitching rotation is pretty solid, I’m not gonna lie. Shields and Price are always reliable but lately this Davis kid has been clutch – especially against the Sox. 
Someone has taken over Will Ohman’s body and he’s actually started to pitch well. It’s really throwing me off because I expect him to pitch poorly and when he doesn’t I’m disappointed (but in a good way). 

Bullpen Points Leaderboard
1. Jesse Crain – 9 points
2. Sergio Santos – 8 points
3. Will Ohman – 7 points
4. Chris Sale – 5 points
4. Tony Pena – 5 points
5. Jeff Gray – 2 points
6. Matt Thornton – 1 point

I apologize for the not-very-enthusiastic post. I’m just a tad on the frustrated side at the moment. And it’s all Jake Peavy’s fault. Until we win again I’m going to change my theme to the team we’re currently playing against. After tomorrow it’ll be the Tigers. 
Tomorrow’s match-up is Gavin Floyd (1-1, 4.29) against Grover Cleveland Niemann (0-2, 6.32). If we keep the ball out of the outfield we should be fine. The two exceptions to this: 1) A home run and 2) There isn’t really a 2 but it’d look weird if I had just one exception.   
Go Sox. Please. Go.  

4/19 – Game 2 @ Rays

Have we seen some stellar pitching so far this series or what? David Price yesterday and now James Shields owning the pants off of us tonight. I tell ya! Those kids they have in Tampa Bay are very impressive. 

I’m not even gonna be negative about the Sox tonight. We did everything we could and like last night we just got out-pitched. Jesse Crain did a good job out of the bullpen, two points for him, and Danks did very well in his seven innings of work. Unfortunately, just like in all of Danks’ starts so far this year, we just couldn’t get him a win. 
Nice RBI for Pierzynski in whatever inning that was (I wasn’t really paying attention cuz I was throwing a perfect game with Barry Zito in MVP Baseball 2004 – I finished the perfect game. Only my second of that dynasty but anyway) we needed it. 

Bullpen Points Leaderboard
1. Jesse Crain – 9 points
2. Sergio Santos – 8 points
3. Will Ohman – 5 points
3. Chris Sale – 5 points
3. Tony Pena – 5 points
4. Jeff Gray – 2 points
5. Matt Thornton – 1 point

Look at that! Crain has jumped ahead of Santos in the standings. Woo-hoo. 

Phil Humber (1-1, 3.46) will go against Wade Davis (1-2, 3.26) tomorrow at 5:40. Davis will most likely pitch so well that Cy Young will offer to change the name of the award. I mean seriously! Come on, guys. Six losses in a row? We’re playing like Baltimore. The bad Baltimore. Not that Baltimore has been good since the season started… well, actually, it’s all Buck Showalter’s fault. What a terrible manager. Yeah… blame it on Showalter. So then I guess we’ll blame it on Ozzie? Or Peavy? Yeah! It’s all Peavy’s fault! What a distraction that guy has been.

Exclamation signifying encouragement to the baseball team that plays on the South side of Chicago, Illinois!! Or something…

4/18 – Game 1 @ Rays

David Price is one heck of a pitcher. He definitely is not the same on the road as he is when pitching at home. I don’t know if it’s the crowd support or what but he was absolutely filthy tonight. Tip of the cap to you, sir. (*tips cap.*)
I can’t really say much about a 5-0 loss in which our offense only collected four hits. I could make up a bunch of positives that I noticed but the only real big one was Matt Thornton’s one decent inning. He allowed a homer to Felipe Lopez (who apparently has our number on speed dial) but other than that I think his performance merits one point. 
Once again, good job David Price. You’re one crazily talented guy. 
Sox play again tomorrow at 5:40. James Shields (0-1, 3.98) vs. John Danks (0-1, 3.15). Based on those numbers we should win a 4-3 ballgame. But Sam Fuld will probably make a diving catch on the outfield concourse.

Bullpen Points Leaderboard
1. Sergio Santos – 8 points
2. Jesse Crain – 7 points
3. Will Ohman – 5 points
3. Chris Sale – 5 points
3. Tony Pena – 5 points
4. Jeff Gray – 2 points
5. Matt Thornton – 1 point

Ugh… Go Sox. (*buries head in hands and plays Don’t Stop Believing for the ninth time in the last hour*)

4/17 – Game 3 vs. Angels

Fellow Sox blogger Catherine over at chisoxblog.mlblogs.com/ put it perfectly when she titled her post “Ick.” That sums up my thoughts as well, Catherine. That sums up my thoughts as well. 

I didn’t catch any of this game which means I’ve missed fourteen innings of Sox baseball this season. I was at my church, dressed up as one of the aliens from Toy Story, putting on a show for an awards ceremony. And it was pretty much awesome.

However, so as not to completely disappoint you, I was playing Strat-o-Matic baseball when I wasn’t on stage. I downloaded a baseball schedule generator and I’m replaying the 2003 season but with only sixteen teams (eight in each league). I’m playing the Cubs-Cardinals series first and Mark Prior completely dominated the Cards in game one of the 2003 season. Twelve strikeouts, three walks, five hits, and one earned run through eight innings. Kyle Farnsworth almost blew the save in the bottom of the ninth inning when he gave a up a lead-off home run to Eli Marrero. The Cubs ended up winning the game 3-2. Kerry Wood and Dan Haren will pitch in the second game of the series.

I do believe that’s the first time I’ve ever mentioned Strat-o-Matic baseball in one of my posts. It was my “big” present for Christmas and I haven’t really played it since February, when the excitement of finally owning the game wore off. I’m a huge fan of MVP Baseball 2004 and 2005 for Gamecube (I’ve played four seasons of a Marlins dynasty in MVP 2004. Don’t ask why I picked the Marlins cuz I don’t know either) but I don’t want to be starting at a screen all the time. I needed something portable, too. So I got Strat-o-Matic for Christmas and I’m just rediscovering it recently and I have no idea why I ever stopped playing it.

I should post more about Strat in the future. (And if you’ve never heard of it, http://www.strat-o-matic.com/products/baseball. It’s amazing.) 

Oh! The Sox lost 4-2 to Dan Haren. The Angels bullpen collected three holds and a save, so hats off to them. Jesse Crain struck out four batters out of the Sox ‘pen – two points for him.

The Sox are headed to Tampa to play another four-game series against the Rays. Edwin Jackson (2-0, 2.89) will pitch against David Price (1-2, 3.92). 

Bullpen Points Leaderboard
1. Sergio Santos – 8 points
2. Jesse Crain – 7 points
3. Will Ohman – 5 points
3. Chris Sale – 5 points
3. Tony Pena – 5 points
4. Jeff Gray – 2 points

Even though we can’t get our act together lately, I still love this team.
Go Sox!!
(What’s going on with the typeface? Notice how it just changes after the Strat-o-Matic link? Strange.)