Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jeff Niemann, Rays' Ace

Jeff Niemann is the 1st Rays starter with double-digit wins. Let's repeat that, Jeff Niemann is the 1st Rays starter with double-digit wins. Not James "Big Game" Shields, not Matt "ALCS MVP" Garza, and certainly not Scott "AL Strikeout King" Kazmir... nope, it's Jeff "barely made the rotation because I'm out of options" Niemann.

Over the past couple of month, Niemann has become the most consistent pitcher of the starters. He's big. He's in control. And he's looking real good.  The Rays front office has been criticized all year for trading Edwin Jackson to the Tigers, but Niemann keeps showing why he's the #5 starter for this team.

Here are some things I noticed in the Rays 7-1 victory of the Kansas City Royals:

  • The Rays love playing the Royals. For some reason, the Rays absolutely own this team. They're 8-0 against the Royals and have outscored them 49-19. It's too bad they can't play like this against the other last place teams in the AL. The Rays have had trouble with both Oakland and Baltimore this year.
  • Scoring Early.  The Rays again set themselves up nicely, by jumping to an early 3-0 lead. Jason Bartlett got it going with a triple in which he scored on an error. That seemed to be more than enough for Jeff Niemann.
  • Run Prevention.  Andrew Friedman says that was the Rays motto in the trade deadline and the Rays are keeping it going.  Carl Crawford nailed Royals catcher Brayan Pena at the plate... keeping a crucial run off the board. Pitching and defense... pitching and defense.
  • The Angry New Pitcher. The Rays didn't waste any time getting Jeff Bennett, aka The Angry New Pitcher to the mound.  The came in for the last 2 outs of the ninth.  I saw Jason Bartlett run over to ANP and make sure everything was cool after he couldn't get to a grounder.  ANP's reputation precedes him.
  • Today is Scott Kazmir bobble head day for the children. I already have mine at my desk, but my kids will get theirs.  
  • Chicago White Sox vs AL East. The Yankees have lost 3 in a row, including an absolute annihilation at the hands of the Chicago White Sox. Ozzie Guillen really has his boys playing well against the AL East powerhouses. They're 8-2 against the Rays and Yankees combined. The good news for the Rays: They don't have to play them any more.  However, the Yankees still have 4 games versus the Sox and the Red Sox have 7.  Go Ozzie!
  • Red Sox brutal schedule. In case you're wondering about the Red Sox, their schedule goes like this: @TB, @NY, DET, @Texas.  Time for the Rays to make up some ground.


Bud Light said...

I almost welcome an "angry" player (pitcher) on this that can break his hand if he is getting beat...maybe he can break the ice cream social mentality that Maddon proudly presents!

Matty said...

Plus, "angry" pitcher is ready to brawl! Maybe it's roid rage. You know if Bennett does have roids, he should pass some to Pat the Bat.

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