Friday, June 19, 2009

Rays limp out of Coors Field

When the series started, the Rays and Rockies were two of the hottest teams in baseball. The Rockies had won 11 straight, the Rays 5.  The Rays broke the Rockies streak at 11, but then over the next two days got them started on another one.  The Rockies beat the Rays in games 2 and 3 with solid starting pitching and capitalizing on Rays starter's mistakes. Now, the Rays head to visit CitiField for the first time and a date with the New York Mets.  The rest of the AL East seems to be handling the National League fairly well, so the Rays can't afford to drop 2 or more to the Mets.  They need to shore up the road attack and get another winning streak going.

Here are some things I noticed:

  • Starting pitching.  The Rockies Ubaldo Jiminez showed the importance of starting pitching yesterday.  He controlled the Rays keeping them off the board after a 2nd inning run.  That's no easy task against a lineup as potent as the Rays. On the other hand, both Matt Garza and David Price made mistake pitches that gave the Rockies just enough cushion to finish off the Rays.

  • Closer. I know this is touch subject for some people, but did you see how Hutson Street looked against the Rays in the ninth?  Yesterday, he was staring down the barrel of a loaded shotgun with Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena up, no outs, and 2 runners on.  What did he do? He struck them both out and, in doing so, pretty much ended the Rays comeback chances.  A guy like Street gives teams a chance to shorten the game. The Rays don't have that guy.  The Rockies do.

  • Forgot about them National League rules.  The Rays started to mount a little mini rally in the 4th inning. Gabe Gross and Jason Bartlett hit back to back singles, setting the stage for Dioner Navarro to knock in a couple of runs.  The only problem? He wasn't going to see anything to hit.  The Rockies decided to take their chances with Matt Garza, who not only struck out, but looked real bad doing so.

  • One game at a time. I've said it over and over again the season.  The Rays need to climb back in this thing one game at a time.  The Rockies are a hot team.  Sometimes it's real tough to get anything going against a team like that at home. Now, they've got the Mets.  The Rays need to get some good starting pitching from Andy Sonnanstine, James Shields, and Jeff Niemann.  It seems to me that is now the missing link.

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