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    Carlos Pena beats the Red SoxHey everyone, I’m filling in for Brenda as she will be away from the computer for a while. What a game last night in Boston as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Red Sox 4-2 in 14 innings of action. As I was watching the game on ESPN, I was thinking wow is this game every going to end lol.

    Carlos Pena delivered the big shot in the 14th inning when he hit an opposite field three-run home run to give the Rays the lead. It was a huge shot by Pena as he really picked up the team and that is what a leader has to do at this point in the season. Pena finished the game with three rbi Willy Aybar had one rbi on a triple in the second inning.

    The pitching staff did a great job of holding the Red Sox down. Starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine tossed seven innings and only allowed four hits and one run. The one run that Andy gave up was a rbi double to Dustin Pedroia in the third inning. Trever Miller ended up picking up the victory while Jason Hammel recorded all three outs in the bottom of the 14th inning for his first save of the season.

    Troy Percival attempted to get the save but loaded the bases up and then was taken out of the game even after trying to talk the manager into staying in. People have to wonder if Percival is still a little bit hurt. If he is, he shouldn’t be out there on the mound.

    We will be back blogging about the Rays on Friday when they take on the New York Yankees. Rays are up 2.5 games on the Red Sox and look to extend their lead this weekend!

    Rays Blog

    Post info: By TBRays01 on September 11th, 2008
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    Andy Sonnanstine pitched a nice 6 innings and was backed by his offense to notch his team leading 11th victory.  Sonny scattered 7 hits, 1 BB, 2 ER and 6 K’s in a complete 6 innings of work.  Al Reyes and Jason Hammel finished the game for him and, be it for a blip by Reyes allowing 1 ER, pitched effective and kept the powerful Tiger bats quiet.

    The big story of this game was the offensive explosion from the Rays!  They looked like the Rays we came to know and love from the first half of the season.  The offense banged out 11 hits – 5 of which were for extra bases.  Evan Longoria was the offense spark plug going 3 for 4 including his 2nd HR in as many days, a 2B, 3 RBI, 1 run and a stolen base.  The other Rays to add the 2B hit parade were BJ Upton, Jason Bartlett, Shawn Riggans and Akinori Iwamura.   

    The impressive thing about the offense was watching them work.  The intensity was higher than I’ve seen it in, oh, about a month.  They worked the counts for walks (7) and really looked like they were energized.  It made the lethargic and less than stellar month of July vanish into past.  It made the future for the Rays look like October was again a reality! 

    Go out today and support the team as they go for the sweep of the Detroit Tigers!  See you there!!  

    Post info: By Rays6 on August 3rd, 2008
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    I’m not quiet sure what team that was that appeared against the A’s yesterday but it sure didn’t look like the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays!  Not only was their offensive effort pathetic, the defense was slow and lazy and the bullpen imploded late in the game once again.  Andy Sonnanstine made 1 bad pitch to give up a 3-run blast to Jack Hannahan.  Other than that his effort was adequate as he left the game with Rays in position to win.  Sonny pitched 7 innings scattering 5 hits, only 1 BB and 5 K’s.  Trever Miller then entered the game in the 8th and it was downhill from there.  Miller, whose effectiveness has been declining with each passing month, did not record an out in the 8th but gave up 1 hit, 2 BB and 3 runs.  Al Reyes then followed Miller’s disappointing performance with one of his own.   Reyes actually recorded 3 outs but not before he gave up a hit, a BB and another run.  Jason Hammel capped the bull pen performance by “mopping up” the 9th inning allowing 1 run on 2 hits and a walk. 

     The offensive effort in this game matched the bullpens’.  The Rays actually had runners on base in just about every inning but only managed to push across 1 run.  A base running blunder by Carl Crawford took the Rays out of a possible scoring opportunity.  With bases loaded and 1 out Carlos Pena hit a sac fly to left field.  The throw in was cut off, as there was no play at the plate with Aki scoring the lone run, and CC was hung out to dry between 2nd and 3rd for the 3rd out of the inning.  The offense managed to rack up 7 hits and 5 BB with only 4 K’s.  Looking at that line you’d think we’d have won the game.   

    The defensive effort was less than stellar also.  Ben Zobrist was charged with 2 errors.    

    This performance was reminiscent of days gone by…..the old Devil Rays.  The team showed no hustle, no grit and determination.  They were standing out there just going through the motions.  Clearly the Rays front office must make some tough choices if we are to make a late season push for the playoffs.  The Red Legs are lurking only .5 games behind and playing a weak schedule.  Those that wear the pinstripes also gained a game and are now just 3.5 games back.   

    It seems painfully obvious they really need to make a deal for a RH hitter with some pop.  Someone we can sign to be a part of this team for years to come.  NOT a player on “loan” until the end of the season.  It seems pretty clear that bull pen changes need to be made also.  Rumor has it that Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon spent about an hour behind closed doors after the disappointing loss last night so stay tuned Rays fans…..trades/moves may be on the way!

    Post info: By Rays6 on July 23rd, 2008
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    The Tampa Bay Rays let the Pittsburgh Pirates off the hook Saturday night.  The Rays generated 10 hits and 4 walks but managed to leave 12 on base.  Anytime you see numbers like this you know the ending cannot be a good one, this was no different.  Jason Hammel gave up a 13th inning HR to Jason Bay for a walk off win.  Bay had gone 0 for 5 with 3 K’s up to this point.  It’s a mystery having had a guy figured out all game long how you serve up a HR pitch at this point in the game.  SP Edwin Jackson pitched well enough to win the game.  He went 6.2 innings giving up only 6 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB and 3 K’s.

    Johnny Gomes had tied the game at 3 with a pinch hit HR in the 8th.  The game remained knotted at 3 until the 13th.   Eric Hinske, Carlos Pena and Jason Bartlett led the offensive charge all hitting 2B’s. 

    The unfortunate fact of this game is that the Rays failed to get hits when they needed them.  Leaving multiple runners on base (12) and giving up a lot of strike outs (10) has been a trend for this team.  I thought that they had finally stepped beyond that point in their development with the offense they have shown on this road trip.   But, maybe that is wishful thinking on my part.  They had an opportunity to end the night sitting alone atop the AL East as the Red Legs lost.  The Rays must gain consistency in these areas to be able to continue to compete in the long term.  Don’t get me wrong, I know they are going to lose games.  If this were an isolated incident I would be ok with that.  It wasn’t, it has been a season long trend. 

    Today’s matchup pits Andy Sonnanstine (8-3, 4.85) toeing the rubber against Tom Gorzelanny (6-6, 6.43).  Gorzelanny has proven to be a model of inconsistency.  He has accumulated 55 walks to only 41 K’s.  If the Rays hitters are patient at the plate they WILL get on base one way or another. 

    This afternoon the Rays have the opportunity to end this road trip 5-1.  That would be a great boost to their confidence heading back home to The Trop for a match up against the Red Sox.  I’ll be watching to see how they improve or adjustments they make to score those runs when they have the opportunity. 

    Post info: By Rays6 on June 29th, 2008
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    WOW, the Tampa Bay Rays destroyed the Florida Marlins 15-3 Wednesday evening.  It was an amazing display offensive prowess!  The Rays banged out 15 hits including 2 HR by Carl Crawford, a HR by Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist, 2Bs by Eric Hinske, Akinori Iwamura and Longoria.  The Rays also showed their patience at the dish by collecting 9 walks.    

    James Shields pitched a strong 7 innings only giving up 1 run on 4 hits and collecting 5 strike outs.  This brings his overall record to 5-5, 3.76.  He was followed by Jason Hammel and Gary Glover who, combined, gave up 5 hits and 2 runs in 2 innings (they were trying out their best Percival imitation).

    It was nice to see the Rays run away with a victory!  They showed a bit more plate discipline that they have been lately.  This plate disciple allowed them to get the pitches to hit.  And they hit them!  The Rays now move 15 games above .500 at 46-31.  What an amazing season!

    Today the Rays go for the series sweep in Florida.  This will be a huge accomplishment for the Rays as they haven’t been a great road team.  A sweep of the Marlins, a very good NL team, may build the Rays “on the road” confidence.  I know I’ll be glued to my TV!

    Post info: By Rays6 on June 26th, 2008
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    The emotions of the Rays ran high in the series finale against Texas.  Matt Garza was obviously frustrated after another poor outing and took that frustration out on his catcher.  Dioner Navarro was sent back to the dish by pitching coach Jim Hickey as he walked out to talk with Garza.  The frustration pored over into the dugout between innings as Garza and Navarro had a bit of a shoving match.  Garza was pulled after the 4th inning after giving up 6 hits, 3 earned runs and 2 homeruns.  Jason Hammel came into relieve Garza and gave up 5 hits, 3 earned runs and 1 home run in 3.1 innings.  Grant Balfour took over for Hammel and promptly gave up a 2 BB but managed to wriggle out of it.

    The emotions continued to the offensive side of the ball.  Eric Hinske was ejected in the 6th inning for vehemently arguing balls and strikes with the home plate umpire.  Once again the strike zone moved for each hitter at each at bat.  The particular strike 3 call Hinske argued was CLEARLY outside.  Akinori Iwamura was called out with tying runs in scoring position in the 7th on a ball that was CLEARLY outside and low.  I’m not sure when the strike zone changed officially but someone forgot to tell the rest of the baseball community!  The umpires now have their own zone and it DOES NOT fit into the current zone as written.

    Pitching was poor, offensive production when opportunities presented was poor and emotions got the best of a few players.  This will be the biggest test for this team, recovering from internal strife.  Internal dissention can rip a team apart if not dealt with promptly and permanently.  Matt Garza needs to get a grip on his emotions.  He may have the ability physically but if he cannot hold it together during the tough times mentally he will not succeed in MLB.   

    Like Yogi said “90% of baseball is half mental.”

    See you in LA!

    Post info: By Rays6 on June 8th, 2008
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    The Tampa Bay Rays struggled on Thursday night as they lost to the Chicago White Sox by the score of 5-1.  The Rays just didn’t seem to get anything going all night and were never able to come up with a big hit to get a good rally going.

    Edwin Jackson took the loss for the Rays as he struggled on the mound.  Jackson gave up ten hits and four runs over six innings of action.  Jackson’s record is now 3-4 on the season.  Jason Hammel threw the last three innings of the game and allowed one run.  It seemed like the Rays coaching staff didn’t want to use any other bullpen arms in the game and give them some rest on the night.

    Carl Crawford had the only rbi in the game for the Rays when he singled to right field in the third inning and scored Willy Aybar.

    Post info: By TBRays01 on May 29th, 2008
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    The Tampa Bay Rays only recorded three hits on Wednesday as they lost to the Oakland Athletics by the score of 9-1.  The Rays were never really in this game as they got man handled the entire game at every aspect of the game.

    Andy Sonnanstine pitched six innings and allowed nine hits and seven runs as he took the loss for the Rays.  Sonnanstine is now 6-2 on the season.  He couldn’t keep the ball down as he gave up two home runs in the game.

    Jason Hammel pitched the seventh inning and did not fare well at all.  Hammel gave up two hits and two runs to go along with three walks.  Talk about having no control…  Trever Miller came in and pitched a scoreless eighth inning.

    The only Rays run came in the eighth inning when Jonny Gomes hit a solo home run.  Other then that the Rays only had two other hits in the game.  It just wasn’t the Rays day at the plate.

    Rays Blog

    Post info: By TBRays01 on May 21st, 2008
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    The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics played thirteen innings on Monday night and it was the Rays who came out on top with a 7-6 victory.  Evan Longoria hit a two run home run in the top of the 13th inning to provide the game winning runs for the Rays.

    Longoria finished the game with the rbi as he also had a rbi double in the sixth inning.  Eric Hinske had a two run home run in the fifth inning to finish with two rbi.  Akinori Iwamura and Cliff Floyd both had a rbi in the game as well.

    Jason Hammel pitched three innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win.  Hammel is now 3-2 on the season.  It was the first time in the last 11 games that Hammel got to see action in a game and he responded very well.  Troy Percival recorded his 12th save of the season as he gave up one run before recording all three outs in the 13th inning.

    Starting pitcher James Shields pitched 7 2/3 innings as he gave up eight hits and five runs.  Shields ended up getting a no decision in the game.

    Rays Blog

    Post info: By TBRays01 on May 20th, 2008
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    The Toronto Blue Jays held the Tampa Bay Rays to only four hits on Wednesday night as they beat the Rays by the score of 6-2.

    Matt Garza took the loss for the Rays even though he pitched pretty good.  Garza tossed six 1/3 innings and only gave up six hits and one run.  It was the bullpen for the Rays that cost them the game as they gave up a combined five runs.

    Scott Dohmann and Trever Miller both gave up two runs while Jason Hammel gave up one run.

    At the plate for the Rays, B.J. Upton was the only player to have any RBI in the game.  Upton had a two run double in the ninth inning to score both of the Rays runs.

    Rays Blog

    Post info: By TBRays01 on May 7th, 2008
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