The Tampa Bay Rays convincingly took game one of the 3 game set with the Chicago White Sox using outstanding pitching and offense. Edwin Jackson gave a very strong 6 inning performance giving up only 2 runs to the powerful White Sox lineup. E-Jax scattered 7 hits and 5 free passes within his 6 innings. Clearly he ran into trouble more than once during his time on the bump, the impressive thing was he did not break. He managed to get the outs when he needed them including 5 Ks. E-Jax had some help from the bench and his catcher, Dioner Navarro. The bench called for 2 pitch outs that led to outs at 2nd base. It was as if Joe Maddon knew something the rest of us did not. Nice job!
The offense came alive in this game in bug fashion! The Rays banged out a total of 14 hits – 9 of them for extra bases! The home run parade included Carlos Pena (26), Ben Zobrist (6) and Rocco Baldelli (1). That’s right folks! Rocco’s first dinger since May 3, 2007! Congrats Rocco! The hit parade did not stop here. Akinori Iwamura banged out a run scoring 3B to put the Rays ahead. And the 2B were many – Willy Aybar had 2 doubles. Dioner Navarro, Jason Bartlett and Pena also added to the 2B total.
The only negative in this game was the top of 2nd inning. There were 2 major base running mistakes that ended in 2 outs at home plate – never a good idea. Rocco decided to run on a dribbler in front of the plate – there were runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs at this point. It was clear it was his own decision and was not sent by Foley, but – bad idea. The SP Danks grabbed the ball and barely tagged Rocco out but he did. The next flub came with 1 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd. On a short line drive to LF Willy opted to tag and attempt to score. Once again, not a good idea. Willy was thrown out by a mile.
Aside from our mistakes in the 2nd inning this was a well played game on all sides of the ball. The pitching showed great poise and determination on the mound. The offense was patient and picked good pitches to hit and did so! The defense was exceptional as always! Nice way to begin this tough series.
Today the Rays get some much deserved national attention as the FOX game of the week! Scott Kazmir rides the bump and should show continued improvement on previous starts. Go Rays!