Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nice win, now get me another

The Tampa Bay Rays did what they could to put the memory of their 3-game losing streak behind them last night at Tropicana Field.  Carlos Pena put the team on his back with  a rally starting hit in the 2nd followed by a homer in the 3rd.  The Rays won the game despite not getting the best pitching performance from Jeff Niemann. The bullpen and the bats were able to pick him up and bring the Rays a much-need win.  Now, they just need to do it again.  The Rays are not in a position to lose anymore series at home.  They need to finish this one off tonight and then feast on baseball's worst team: The Washington Nationals.

Here are some of the things I noticed:

  • Carlos Pena takes control.  Early last night, Pena was playing like a man possessed. Sometimes the Rays first baseman can get lost in the shuffle. Nobody really criticizes him when the team's not playing well. But, in the absence of some of the other starters, it's up to Pena to pick the team up and inspire them.  He seemed to do that last night at the bat and in the field.
  • Bullpen looked good. One constant about the Rays bullpen this year has been its inconsistency. Some nights, like last night, they're able to pick a struggling starter up and guide the team to the promised land.  Other times, they're blowing 2 run leads in the eighth to the New York Yankees. Last night's performance is something we're going to have to see more of if they Rays are going to climb back in the playoff hunt.   Lance Cromier, Jason Isringhausen, Joe Nelson, and Dan Wheeler only gave up 3 hits, no runs, and 1 walk over 5 2/3 innings.  That's what we need to see from those guys, every time out.
  • Dioner regressing.  In case you missed it, our stellar catcher has once again gone below the .200 mark  (.197).  He needs to get that back up before Sunday.  That's when the Rays give out the Dionar Navarro bobblehead doll.  It could end up be a collector's item for obscurity.
  • Pat and his new goatee.  Pat Burrell and Jason Bartlett are both going to get some work with the Charlotte Stone Crabs.  Pat the Bat will play tonight and then be evaluated for a return on Friday.  However, the schedule shows 6 out of the next 9 games in National League parks.  That mean's Pat the Bat's services may not be as needed. I'm not sure if the Ray can stretch the rehab assignment.  The main concern for me: Joe Dillionaire.  He could become the roster casualty when Pat the Bat comes back.
  • Really missing Bartlett.  Whenever I watch Reid Brignac, I'm reminded what it must be like for Red Sox fan, not having a real shortstop.  Brignac brings nothing to the plate and then turns around and makes errors in the field.  I can handle a hitti]ng shortstop that can't field or a fielding shortstop that can't hit. I can't deal with a guy who can do neither.  Jason Bartlett's going to get some work with the Stone Crabs on Friday.  He could be back real soon.
  • Kaz attack? Another of the wounded warriors is working his way back.  Scott Kazmir will do a little pitching simulation on Friday.  That could lead to a minor league start.  It looks like we may have to plan a road trip down to Port Charlotte this weekend. We could see better baseball than we will from the Nationals.
Don't forget to check out my Father's Day gifts post. You'll find all kinds of links to cool Father's day gifts for the Rays fan in your life.


Anonymous said...

Its funny how your are so quick to slam Brignac.. hes a 23 year old rookie and you think he should be equal to Bartlett right now. He made an error, doesnt do that very often, and only went 1-4 last night.. God Forbid! Jeez Give the kid a break.. Do you even notice all the plays he does well in the field? Just wondering. His improvements from last year are great and will continue to do so in the coming years. Get used to seeing him in our IF Go Rays!

Michael_Rays Rev said...

Sorry, I just call it like I see it. Maybe I went a little bit overboard, but I don't feel comfortable with him in the lineup. We'll see how Maddon feels soon enough when Bartlett comes back.

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