Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cursed? We'll soon know

The Rays season this year almost seems to be cursed. Every time the Rays seem to make positive strides, they suffer another setback.  Last night was no different.  The Rays played a great team game, getting a quality start from Andy Sonnanstine and great offense from Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce. The bullpen even showed flashes of last year. But, just when we thought things were going to get better, Evan Longoria pulls up and grabs his hamstring running to first.  Longo was already DH'ing because of a sore arm. Now this.  Is there any question that we're not going to see much of Longo for the next few days?
Here are some of the other things I noticed last night:

  • Great start by Andy Sonnanstine. No walks. No big innings. Vintage Sonny showed up last night.  He's still have trouble giving up the long ball. But, all in all a good performance by the man some call the "Duke."  His season may have been on the line last night, and he pitched well enough to earn another start against the Yankees this weekend.  Also, I never get tired of Kevin Kennedy imploring Sonny to "change the eye level" of the hitters. Great stuff.
  • Big bullpen. Following Sonny's 6 2/3 innings, Grant Balfour and J.P. Howell went out and reminded us of what they did so well last year.  Between the 2 of them, they struck out 5 Royals and pretty much sealed the deal.  During last year's run, nights like that were common place for those two.  If they can keep that up, the Rays will be in good shape.
  • All hail Matt Joyce! The hometown boy couldn't wait to show off to his right-field fan club, This guy could have a big future with the Rays.  Here's a link to my post with more about Joyce.
  • Longoria's vote.  In what is a shock to the AL East establishment, Evan Longoria is quickly becoming a national phenomenon. Yankee fan is even going so far as to blame Red Sox fan for Longo's ascention in All-Star Voting.  Check out comment 3 on this site . Yankee fan says Sox fan has given up on Mike Lowell, so they're throwing their vote to Longo because of A-Rod's juicing.  Nice.
  • B.J. Upton's really coming on strong now.  His batting average is a .212 after a 2 for 3 night including a double. It almost seems as if now that there's no viable replacement for him at leadoff, he's more relaxed and hitting better. Maybe this is a bonus unintended consequence of the injuries to Akinori Iwamura and Jason Bartlett.
  • Caught stealing. Carl Crawford got caught stealing last night at 3rd. Of course, it just highlighted how hard it is to get him.  The catcher made a perfect throw right into the tag.  Every dog has its day.
  • Kaz's Mechanics.  Matty from St. Pete got to see Jim Hickey working with Kaz on his mechanics in the bullpen yesterday.  Matt told me that it looked like they were working on his landing spot.  We'll keep an eye on this.
And a reminder, don't forget to check out my Ray's Father's day gift guide for the Rays fan in your life.  Also, you can follow my every musing at . If you prefer to get my Rays posts sent to you, just punch in your e-mail address to the right of your screen.

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