Now that’s what I’m talking about! I told you that these 2 games would show us what the Rays are made of. We’d see how much desire they had to win and we did! They showed anyone questioning their heart that the Rays are going to make a run for October the last part of the season.
To me the big story was the pitching. The Rays flat out pitched much better than the Red Sox. Tuesday’s SP Matt Garza gave up 2 solo bombs but limited the damage to that alone. Matt’s fiery personality lent itself to focus and a great approach on the mound. Had it not been for 2 poorly located pitches he would have held the Sox scoreless. Wednesday’s SP David Price pitched his best game of the season. Price pitched 6 strong innings giving up 2 solo bombs as well. The important thing about Price’s performance – zero walks! Price had the best command of his fastball I have seen all season long.
The starting pitching was awesome for this 2 game set but more amazing was the performance of the bullpen. In 2 games the bullpen threw 9 innings allowing only 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 4. This bullpen was outstanding! Enough cannot be said about their progress as the season wears on. These guys had a bad start and are now one of the best in the business.
The offense did enough to win. Although they didn’t beat the cover off the ball they got the big hit when needed blasting out 6 HRs in 2 games. It was nice to see some of the guys who have come under fire for a lack of production respond to their critics with one swing of the bat. Evan Longoria was the big hero in game 1 hitting 2 HRs –one to tie the game and the other to win it in the 13th inning. Both Carlos Pena and Pat Burrell hit monster blasts into the outfield seats. Jason Bartlett has taken a definite liking to batting in the number 1 hole and blasted out his 9th HR of the season far surpassing last year’s total of 1. Carl Crawford also chipped in with a 2 run blast on his birthday – Happy Birthday CC!
These two victories in conjunction with Texas’ 3 game skid have placed the Rays 3 games out of the Wild Card race! The Rays travel to the left coast to take on the Mariners and the Angels over the next week. They’ll need to keep the momentum and focus on winning each series. The Yankees and Red Sox will spend the next 4 days beating up on each other so we can gain more ground on someone if we win. This is going to be an exciting year end! I still believe the race will be determined in head to head meetings with the Yankees and Red Sox in September.
Keep it going Rays, we’re behind you!