Monday, May 4, 2009

Rays fail to hold on to momentum

If the Rays have an Achilles heal this year, it appears to be the upstart Baltimore Orioles.  For the second time this season, the Orioles stopped any momentum the Rays gathered after winning a series against the Red Sox.  Again tonight, the Rays seemed uninterested.  They seemed as though they were sleepwalking through the game, figuring if they did just enough... they'd win. Unfortunately for the home team, the Orioles batters didn't get the memo.  They knocked in 4 runs of "Vulcan" reliever Joe Nelson and that was enough.

Here are some of the things I noticed:

  • So close, yet so far... again.  It's becoming a recurring theme this year. The Rays give up an early lead and spend the rest of the game chasing a carrot they'll never get.
  • Wild Thing or Kazmanian Devil.  Scott Kazmir's performance against the first three batters set the tone for the entire game.  Two walks, followed by a 3 run homer is not the way to start the game.  He did alright, once he settled in.  But, it's tough for any pitcher when you spot the other team 3 runs before even giving up an out.
  • The .150 Brothers make it hard to get a rally going.  Against the Red Sox, the .150 brothers (B.J. Upton and Dionar Navarro) weren't really a factor.  Michel Hernandez took over for Navarro a couple games and Bossman got a couple of hits.  But, tonight, they're struggles were spotlighted a couple of times late in the game.  Both failed to do anything all night going 0-9 between them. Now that Joe Maddon has moved Navarro down to the ninth spot, you get him and Bossman batting back to back.  It seems like an automatic 2 outs.
  • After the game, Maddon says he saw a lot of good stuff especially after giving up 3 runs early. He said the fight was good, but they just couldn't get the hit or the pitch they need.  He also addressed the .150 brothers saying Bossman had a couple of good shots at the shortstop and is further along than Navi.  Must be the wine talking!

  • I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the AL Player of the Week, Evan Longoria. In true Longo fashion, he credited his teammates for his success this year:"because they're worried about Carl stealing bases, so they have to throw me fastballs. And if [Pena] wasn't hitting, they'd probably just throw me breaking balls and let him steal, then just walk me and I'll go to first. But they can't do that with him hitting behind me."

    Is there any question that Longo should be the starting 3rd baseman for the AL All-Star Team this year? Sorry A-Roid, your days are over. 

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