Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rays lose opener. Top of 6th sums up game

You can't ask for a better situation in a baseball game.  Second and third, nobody out, and your 3-4-5 batters coming to the plate. That was the situation the Rays found themselves in the sixth inning on opening day. Down 4-1 against Red Sox ace Josh Beckett, the Rays finally seemed to be getting through.  Aki Iwamura walked and Carl Crawford followed that up with a double.

Now, it was time to get to work. This was the chance the Rays had been looking for all day.  This is the chance you have to jump on when you're playing the Red Sox at Fenway. But, it wasn't to be: a fly out to the catcher, a strikeout, and grounder to third ended the Rays chances to get to Beckett.

Look, I'm not asking for much. While I would've loved to see Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, or Pat Burrell go yard, I would've been happy with just a sacrifice fly.  Instead, the meat of the order meekly gives in to Beckett and gives the Red Sox the opening day win.

The Rays 3-4-5 batters looked horrible today. At least Longo came up with a 2 RBI hit in the 8th to make it closer.  Pena didn't even sniff a hit... striking out all 4 times.  As for Burrell, we'll give him a pass today because he was playing in his first game in the American league battling a tough righty. My biggest concern is Pena. He's going up against a lefty tomorrow in Jon Lester that could give him all kinds of problems.  Just make contact, Carlos!

Other things I noticed

  • The umpire was a little friendly on the outside calls against the Rays.
  • The bullpen did an admirable job in relief of James Shields. It was good to get our first look at Cormier and Nelson.
  • Matt Joyce didn't impress me too much at the plate today.
  • The Rays don't play well in chilly weather.  I wonder if Shields first inning would've been different in a warmer environment.
  • I'm looking for the Kaz of old tomorrow. If the bats come through, we could get a W.

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