Saturday, July 18, 2009

Longo shows up with the big stick

It was looking a bit dire for the Rays last night.  "Big Game" James Shields turned into "Big Inning for the other team."  The bats were just puttering around.  Overall, the team looked like they didn't realize they don't have time for these types of games anymore. The Kansas City Royals were up 6-2 and the Rays season seemingly hang in the balance.  

Then somewhere, somehow the Rays began the turning around. It was instantaneous.  It was slow. But, it was forward movement. They started scraping some runs.  A Longo single knocks in one. Crawford scores on a past ball.  In the seventh, Pat Burrell welcomed himself to the 2nd half with a 2 run shot... bringing the score to within 1.

Then there's Longo. Our lovable All-Star who had to miss the game for a finger infection.  A guy who was even questionable for last night's game.  A guy who the Rays need to play well in order to be successful.  Down 1 run in the 8th inning with 2 outs and a runner on... Longo did what any MLB superstar would.  He brought out the big stick and showed why he is this organization.  In doing so, he sent a message to his teammates and the rest of the league.  The Rays are ready for the 2nd half.

Here are some things I noticed from the Rays 8-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals:

  • Sweet bullpen.  While Longo deserves plenty of adulation for that homer, the win wouldn't have been possible without the bullpen pitching 3 2/3 scoreless innings.  Joe Nelson, Randy Choate, and Chad Bradford all kept the Royals from scoring.  Dan Wheeler and J.P. Howell finished them off after the Rays took the lead.  There wasn't any margin for error. Wheeler and Howell came up big.
  • Pat the Bat's resurgence.  I know I've been hard on PTB and his lack of production. I'm sure PTB has been as hard on himself. And that will keep him from stepping up as a leader. PTB is familiar with tight pennant races. He needs to lead by example. Maybe a hot streak will get him going both  on the field and in the dugout.
  • Carl Crawford, All-Star MVP. This guy seems to be unstoppable right now. Last night: 3-5 with 3 runs scored and an RBI.  The fact that he started Longo's 8th inning at-bat on first made it much easier for Longo to time the fastball.  CC's a game-changer.
  • Tonight: A young ace-in-the-making versus a fallen ace.  Tonight, we get are first look at the 2nd half Scott Kazmir.  He has no easy task going up against Royals All-Star righty Zack Greinke. Kaz is very important to this team's 2nd half.   We'll see tonight if he has the make-up to go mono-y-mono with Greinke.

Post your comments

Post a Comment

Rays Revolutionary treated by Truly Nolen © Layout By Hugo Meira.