Friday, May 22, 2009

Rays win: Zorilla becomes a cult figure

Once again, Ben Zobrist... inspired by his wife's music... comes up to the plate and saves the day for the Tampa Bay Rays.  This time it was an exciting 2-run shot in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and salvage a split against the Oakland A's.  Despite the late game heroics, the game was without its problems.  The offense was once again tight against a lefty starter.  While Matt Garza pitched well, the bullpen gave up some runs. But, in the end, the Rays got the W in exciting fashion. The .150 brothers (BJ Upton, Dioner "Pinkeye" Navarro) even contributed.

Here are some of the things I noticed:

  • Zorilla, a cult figure.  That's what Joe Maddon said after Ben Zobrist's 3rd pinch hit homer this year.  Zorilla is quickly winning the hearts and minds of Rays fans.  The one-time starting SS has carved a little niche for himself hitting late homers.  If I'm not mistaken, I even saw him intentionally walked the other day with the game on line.  Rays fans may hate Scott Kazmir and Troy Percival, but there's nothing but love for the Zorilla!
  • Speaking of Troy Percival, another rough outing from the big guy. He walked 2 and gave up a long fly to center field that Bossman lost in the lights.  It may be time to revisit my post on why Percy's still on the team. I did notice that Maddon already had Nelson up in the bullpen and didn't waste no time with the hook after the bases were loaded. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Mr. Spock was the answer.  He promptly gave up a hit and walked in a run.  I guess we should just be happy that none of the A's knocked that Vulcan change up to the back wall of the Trop.
  • The .150 brothers actually had a decent day.  Give credit to Dioner "Pinkeye" Navarro for coming up with a big hit after Zorilla's home run.  The game was tied at that point and it would've been easy for Pinkeye and Bossman to do their normal thing with all the excitement. Instead Pinkeye cranked a double and Bossman got a big walk to set up Carl Crawford's walk-off single.  It was great seeing Pinkeye hustle around 3rd to score that run and get mobbed by his teammates.  Between the two, they were 4 for 8... another night like that and they'll be off the right side of the blog.
  • Matt Garza is really putting up a great season.  Eight strikeouts and only 2 earned runs.  Too bad the offense couldn't help him out and get him some run support or he would've easily picked up another W.
  • The Steve Carlson Syndrome looked to be in full effect again for most of the game. Just like he did in April, Dallas Braden worked through the Rays lineup like clockwork.  They got to him in the 2nd, but he was sitting them down pretty easily after that. The Rays Party brought out the stats on the Rays vs Lefties.  I really think it's the lack of stolen bases against lefties.Fortunately, the A's bullpen was able to blow it worse than the Rays bullpen.  Steve Carlton loses. 
  • Jason Bartlett is still making a case for the All-Star team.  Nothing better than watching Bartlett tear it up while Garza's on the mound. 
Remember to follow me on twitter at  I've been doing real time discussions with Rays fans during the games.  It's great to get the perspective of Rays fans from all over the country, watching the game together.

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