Friday, June 5, 2009

Sweep! Now on to New Yankee Stadium.

New Yankee Stadium
Photo courtesy of Tom Petersen

The Tampa Bay Rays did what they've been unable to do all year... sweep a team! A great pitching performance from James Shields and a clutch homer by B.J. Upton gave the Rays the victory of the Kansas City Royals. The Rays finish up the home stand 5-1 and at .500.  Now, they have the opportunity to go over .500 for the first time since the 2nd week of the season.

The sweep was significant.  It showed that the Rays can roll a team that they should. And they didn't let off the gas after getting the first 2 in a series. This time last year, they already had 4 sweeps under their belts and were a game up on Boston. Now, the good news is that the Rays have the opportunity this weekend to make up some ground on the New York Yankees.  The bad news is that they're playing a red hot Yankee team at their new home. This isn't the same team the Rays beat earlier this year.  Alex Rodriguez is back.  And the Rays will get their first look at CC Sabathia. A tall (or wide) order. The flip side is: The Yankees get their first look this year at David Price.

Here are some of the things I noticed:

  • Bossman looking good.  It seems like I'm noticing Bossman every day as he finally comes around. He's on an 8 game hit streak right now.  Bossman is proving why the Rays are still a good team: He's picking up for his injured teammates.  Now, if he keeps hitting like this when they come back... the Rays will be in business.
  • James Shields and run support. It seems the Rays offense knows they have to show up when Scott Kazmir or Andy Sonnanstine are pitching. But, they get awfully quiet when Shields or Matt Garza is pitching.  As well as Shields pitched, you could tell he was getting frustrated as the Rays couldn't put up any runs until Carl Crawford and Bossman both went deep.
  • RISP? The Rays were horrendous yesterday with runners in scoring position.  They left seven guys yesterday.   The Rays were getting on base against Gil Meche, who looked like he was throwing some very hittable pitches.  They just couldn't close the deal.  Against the Yankees, they're going to have to get those guys in.
  • Joe Dillonaire watch. 3 for 4 as the designated hitter.  Where has this guy been all year?
  • Carlos and his friends.  You can really tell how bad Pena is missing Evan Longoria and Pat Burrell in the order. He's really not getting anything to hit right now.  The sooner those guys get back, the better.
  • Injury update.  Evan Longoria could be back as soon as today. The Rays are really going to need him.  Pat Burrell's going to need some rehab work before he gets back.  And Bartlett will be eligible to come back on Wednesday, but probably won't be ready.

Father's day is approaching faster than you can imagine.  Don't forget to check out my post, detailing some great Father's day gifts for the Rays Fan/Father in your life.

Also, follow me on Twitter to get all my musings about the Rays in 140 characters or less. We have quite a Rays Twitter community growing.  You can follow me to get started.  Just go to You'll see my posts and then you'll see who I'm chatting it up about the Rays with.

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