Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Return of the Kazmanian Devil, sort of

Looking at their stats coming into the game, last night's pitching match-up looked like a gimme win for the Royals... on paper.  However, the stats don't tell the whole story of Scott Kazmir, the Rays fallen ace. He took another step forward in his return to form battling Kansas City Royals ace Zack Greinke pitch for pitch, out for out. In the end, both gave up 1 run and didn't get a decision.  But, if you're looking for clues as to what to expect from Kaz in the 2nd half... this is a good sign.  Now, the Rays need to see if he can give this kind of performance again in 5 days.

Here are some of the things I noticed in the Rays 4-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals:

  • Kazmir's cramps.  Even though I'm complementary about Kaz's performance last night, I was a bit concerned when he called over the trainer before the 7th inning and essentially took himself out of the game.  Later, it was described as "mild forearm cramps."  Seriously? That's worse than a finger infection.
  • Applebottom jeans, boots wit da fur.  Joe Maddon is a genius or at least Willy Aybar makes him look like one.  The skipper pencilled in Aybar to start at 2nd because his research showed that he could have some success against Zach Grienke.  Whatever that research is, they need to patent it. Because Aybar went 3 for 3 against Grienke.  In the eighth, he atoned for an error by knocking in the go-ahead run. Someone has to make sure and introduce Willy to Flo Rida when he's at the Trop.
  • Wheeler & Howell.  For the 2nd night in a row, these 2 took care of the 8th and 9th innings with no drama whatsoever.  Both were very workman like and took care of business. Granted, the Kansas City Royals aren't the Red Sox or Yankees. But, it feels like it's been a long time since we've seen the 8th and 9th innings sewn up like that.  "He-who-must-not-be-named-closer" is really signing Troy Percival's retirement check now.
  • Pat the Bat streak.  PTB is really coming on.  Last night's game-tying double is just what the brought PTB in here for.  The Times reports that PTB made a swing adjustment to help offset the bad adjustment he made when he had a stiff neck. The Rays are going to win a lot of games with him hitting like that.
  • Joe Dillionaire appearance. We don't get to see Joe Dillionaire too often, but last night he scored the go-ahead run.  He was pinch running for PTB. He did get an at-bat later. He flew out.  Poor Dillionaire, we may not see him too much longer.
  • 2009 vs 2008. At 50-41, the Rays are 5 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox.  Coincidently, they're also 5 games behind the 2008 pace. However, the 2008 team was in the middle of a losing streak during this stretch. The 2009 could pick up 4 games on their 2008 counterparts with 4 wins in a row.
  • Looking ahead to tonight. Matt Garza gets to take the mound and start his second half off fresh. The Rays can finish off the Royals with a sweep tonight and position themselves well going into Chicago.  Maddon said on his twitter feed that the Rays need 5-5 on this trip.  6-4 sounds much better to me.


Anonymous said...

I really like reading your post game wrap ups. They are concise & informative. Any chance you'd do that for Yankee games? ;-) Seriously, isn't it hard to measure Kazmir's performance against a sub 500 team? However if Kazmir continues to improve that will be bad news for the Yankees in the upcoming series. And you know how I hate bad news for the Yankees. :)
I really do wish you'd come over to the Dark Side and do a Yankee blog.

Bud Light said...

The Rays young men are the most talented, 3rd grade, mental cases I have ever seen....I thought Kazmir was going to cry...cramp?
There has not been a body part that has been spared..I can't wait for a runny nose...Mother Maddon woud give a couple weeks off for that...

Matty said...

Kaz is the biggest wuss in baseball. He's not mentally tough, and obviously not physically tough. Keep CC's salary, and trade Kaz. Wade Davis will be a more than ample replacement.

Michael_Rays Rev said...

Lynn: Not a chance I go to the dark side unless they paid me real well.

Matty & Bud: I agree that Kaz's arm cramp was a little much to me. However, in his defense, he's extra sensitive to arm problems. That's how he got into the mess in the first place.

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