Thursday, September 3, 2009

Carlos and the Rays remind me why I love this team

I know I've been spewing a lot of negativity on this blog since the Scott Kazmir trade. But right now, I'm putting all that aside in honor of last night's beating of Boston and Carlos Pena's emergence as the true leader of this team.

For a few moments last night, things looked a little hairy.  J.P. Howell came into a base-loaded situation in the eighth and threw a wild pitch that scored the tying run. It looked like the 2009 Rays were going to come up just short again.

But here comes Robo-Los.  With a strength unmatched, Robo-Los picked up the team and put it on his back. He started the bottom of the 8th with a double, followed by a Pat Burrell RBI single which was in turn followed by an Evan Longoria homer.  Three runs, no outs, bye-bye Boston. It was a beautiful reminder that the Rays are still the thorn in the side of the Boston Red Sox.

The Rays did a good job of turning it around last night. Let's see if they can ride the momentum into tonight's game.

Here are some things I noticed in the Rays 8-5 victory over the Red Sox:

  • Evan Longoria, Red Sox Slayer. In case you're wondering, Evan Longoria absolutely feasts on Red Sox pitching. He's batting .362 with 8 homers and 26 RBIs. Sick.
  • Bullpen Moves. I heard more than a few Red Sox fans questioning Joe Maddon's match-up pitching changes over the last two nights. But, one big difference between Tuesday and Wednesday was Boston's bullpen.  Terry Francona used Jonathan Papelbaun 2 innings on Tuesday, making him unavailable for Wednesday.  That probably changed the dynamics of the 8th and 9th for both teams.
  • Getting to Beckett early.  The Rays did a good job of getting to Beckett early before he settled it. Unfortunately, the Red Sox offense spent the evening chipping away at the lead the Rays built.

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