The Tampa Bay Rays took the series from the Oakland A’s in 12 innings taking this road trip’s record to 5-2 so far. They begin the last leg of this 10 game trip tonight in Texas. I’m not really sure how to characterize this victory. Was it a great victory in that the Rays kept grinding? Was it a lucky victory in that the Rays made a ton of mistakes? Was it a bad victory because we should have put this team away easily? Well…..I guess none of that really matters as WE WON!
The Bad: James Shields struggled through his 5 innings of work mightily. He allowed 5 hits, 5 free passes, 1 HR and 4 ER. Clearly James’ road woes haunted him in this game. BJ Upton was doubled off of first base on a fly ball that took the A’s RF to the wall. Upton forgot to retag 2nd base on his way back – are you kidding me with this??!! Troy Percival thought that cutting in front of Carlos Pena to field a late inning bunt then running down the runner rather than tossing it to first base was a good idea. WRONG — yes, we got the out, only because the runner ran out of the baseline, but Perci is probably going to join CC and Longo on the DL for his 3rd time this season with a sprained knee. Perci – you’re old dude, let the young guys take care of the details! Grant Balfour earned his first blown save of the season by giving up a game tying single to Frank Thomas.
The Better: The Ray offense banged out 13 hits and accumulated 7 free passes. Rocco Baldelli played 6 innings and made an outstanding diving catch in RF. Jason Bartlett returned to the game as a late inning replacement at SS.
The Best: Willy Aybar had a nice day at the plate going 2 for 5 with a 2B, 3B, 1 run scored, 2 RBIs and 1 BB. Cliff Floyd showed his great eye for the K zone by going 1 for 2 with 4 free passes, 2B, 4 runs scored. Carlos Pena broke the 5-5 tie in the 12th by crushing his 23rd HR of the season. But most importantly – WE WON!
Concerns for today’s game: The Rays used every pitcher in their bull pen in this game. If Garza cannot go deep we may have to use a few tired arms against a very potent Ranger offense. Rocco played hard and ran a lot in this game so he’s probably not available for the opening game in Texas.