Monday, June 22, 2009

Bossman's beautiful swing

For my money, nothing is more beautiful in Rays baseball than watching a B.J. Upton home run swing.  Watching the Bossman admire a deep shot to left after a fluid swing is like watching poetry in motion.  And it's even better on a day like Sunday, when its a big hit in a big ballpark. Bossman's homer to the 2nd deck of the Citi Field couldn't have come at a more opportune time. The Rays have had trouble playing from behind all week, and had just lost the lead.  Bossman set things straight and continued his hot streak.  We may finally be seeing the Bossman that Maddon's been looking for in the leadoff spot all year.

With the 10-6 win, the Rays bats and the bullpen helped make sure that the Rays finished the road trip at .500. Now, the Rays return home in a World Series rematch against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Here are some of the things I noticed:

  • Starting pitching still slumping.  While James Shields did his part to get the starters out of their slump on Saturday, Jeff Niemann did nothing to keep it going.  He pitched on the "verge of disaster," as Todd Kalas put it, all afternoon.  National League rules made it easy for Joe Maddon to go to the bullpen early and pinch hit for Niemann.  The Rays are still have trouble getting the starters, the bats, and the bullpen all playing well at the same time.
  • Bossman/Crawford/Longo drop it like it's hot.  The 1-2-3 batters were almost unstoppable yesterday going 11-16, 7 runs scored, and 7 RBI's.  The Rays aren't going to lose too many games with those guys playing like that.  The Rays offense really struggles when both Crawford and Longoria are slumping.  Hopefully, yesterday's performance was a sign of things to come.
  • Pat Burrell, National League DH?  I just enjoyed watching Pat the Bat get 2 at-bats in a National League game.  He led off the 8th inning with a hit and then ended the inning with an out.
  • Jason Bartlett's hit streak.  I've been remiss in pointing out Bartlett's 16-game hitting streak. The man is a monster this year.  The fact that he's picked up right where he left off before his ankle injury is remarkable.  If that man doesn't make the All-Star game, I'm calling it a travesty.
  • The middle of the AL East is starting to clog up.  The Rays are only 2 behind the Yankees and 1 behind the Blue Jays.  It's setting up for a sprint to the All-Star break.

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