Category: Sports

Tampa Bay Rays Win on Opening Day

Happy Opening Day!!!

I hope everyone went to the doctor and received prescriptions for high blood pressure and anxiety medication over the off-season because this season is expected to be the most exciting one in Tampa Bay Rays’ history. Several sports analysts predict the Rays will make it to the World Series. Now before Rays fans get too excited, there are 162 regular season games to be played.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Jose Reyes SS (left with hamstring tightness) –> Ryan Goins
  • Melky Cabrera LF
  • Jose Bautista RF
  • Edwin Encarnacion
  • Dioner Navarro DH (remember him? 2008 Rays All-Star catcher)
  • Brett Lawrie 3B
  • Colby Rasmus CF
  • Maicer Izturis 2B
  • Josh Thole C –> Erik Kratz
  • R.A. Dickey SP

 

Tampa Bay Rays

  • David DeJesus LF –> Brandon Guyer
  • Wil Myers RF
  • Ben Zobrist 2B
  • Evan Longoria 3B
  • James Loney 1B
  • Desmond Jennings CF
  • Matt Joyce DH
  • Jose Molina C
  • Yunel Escobar SS
  • David Price SP

Game Recap

David Price looked ready for the 2014 baseball season as he walked to the mound. Price had a quick 1-2-3 inning by getting Jose Reyes to fly out to center, Melky Cabrera to ground out to shortstop, and Jose Bautista to strike out. Rays leadoff hitter David DeJesus popped out, but Wil Myers wasted no time showing fans what to expect of him this season by hitting a double. After Ben Zobrist struck out, Evan Longoria singled to bring Myers home. Isn’t the Myers-Longoria threat beautiful? Price repeated his awesomeness in the second inning, quickly bringing the Rays back up to bat. Both Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce are expected to be better offensively and both showed a positive sign that they were heading into that direction; Jennings doubled and Joyce walked. With two on, Jose Molina struck out, Yunel Escobar flied out to right, and DeJesus walked, bringing Myers up to bat in a bases-loaded situation. Myers being Myers, he singled to bring Jennings and Joyce home. At the end of the second inning, Rays lead 3-0.

In the third inning, Price allowed a walk to Colby Rasmus to end his 6-player retiring streak. Bautista singled, but Price was able to end the threat by getting Josh Thole to ground into a double play and Ryan Goins to ground out. The Rays added to their lead with Longoria leading off with a walk, Loney moving Longoria over by grounding out to pitcher, Longoria moving to third on a wild pitch, and scoring when Joyce hit a sacrifice fly to center. It looked as though the replay challenge was going to be used when Longoria slid into second base, but the Jays decided not to challenge it (Longoria was safe in the replays). The fourth inning was scary when Cabrera singled to center and Bautista singled to left, but Price was able to strike Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie out while getting Dioner Navarro to fly out to center.

At the bottom of the fifth inning, Zobrist led off with a walk. Longoria popped out to third (darn these infield popups), Loney walked, but then Jennings grounded out into a fielder’s choice, sending Loney back to the dugout. With two-on and two-out, Joyce doubled to right, bringing Zobrist and Jennings home. Molina flied out to center to end the inning, but the Rays now lead 6-0 over the Jays.

In the seventh inning, Loney lead off with a single and stole a base. Joyce doubled to send Loney to home plate where he was out. Molina ended the inning with a hit to shortstop (at least he hit the ball this time). Erik Kratz hits a 2-run homerun in the eighth inning. Kratz replaced pitch-hit for Thole, making his debut for his new team (so of course he hits a homerun on the first pitch against the Rays). After Price struck out Goins, Joe Maddon made the call to the bullpen and Joel Peralta was sent out. Price allowed 2 runs on 6 hits with 102 pitches. Peralta retires the next two batters to end the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Dejesus comes out after being hit by a pitch during a pickoff at first. Brandon Guyer replaces DeJesus and waits on first as Myers approaches the plate. Myers ends up scoring both Guyer and himself due to a throwing error by pitcher Jeremy Jeffress and a throwing error by Bautista. Zobrist walks his third walk of the game, Longoria singles, and Loney hits a sacrifice fly to score Zobrist. Jennings singles to load the bases, but Molina (once again) ends the inning by grounding out. Rays now lead 9-2.

In the ninth, Brandon Gomes struck out Encarnacion, gave up a hit to Navarro, struck out Lawrie, and gets Rasmus to ground out to end the game. Rays win 9-2!

1 game down, 161 to go…

What I like:

  • Offense: Almost every Ray contributed to the game today and some runs were even scored when the base runners were in scoring positions AND there were two outs. Crazy.
  • Defense: Desmond Jennings make a spectacular catch in the first, a great start for the team since the defense wasn’t the best last year. Minus a ball that past Yunel Escobar’s glove, the defense looked what it is expected to be all the time.
  • Pitching: David Price looked amazing – he wasn’t 100% perfect, but he looked ready to lead the team to plenty of wins his final year in Tampa Bay. Joel Peralta and Brandon Gomes.

What I didn’t like:

  • Evan Longoria and Wil Myers being separated. Joe Maddon probably has some explanation, but shush and put the powerhouses next to each other.
  • It’s still too early and I’m determined not to bring up the past, but certain players need to stop being an instant out (who know who I’m talking about).
  • The construction on I-275 is making the usual 30-45 minute drive to St. Petersburg to a 2-hour ordeal. For any Rays fans planning on making the trip to St. Pete this season, please leave early or expect some fun times on the Howard Franklin.

 

Game Stats

Jays haven’t won a series at the Trop since April 2007.

Replay challenge was used for the first time this season during the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates game. The play was upheld and took a long time of 2 minutes to decide it… Good-bye 10 minute yelling matches between managers and umpires.

 

Shields, Royals Embarrass Rays

Today the Tampa Bay Rays faced former Ray pitcher James Shield. As every fan knows, Shields has been part of the Rays organization for 12 years and leads many of the pitching records for the team. He (along with pitcher Wade Davis and infielder Elliot Johnson) was traded during the off-season for several prospects, including power-hitter Wil Myers. Before today’s game, several Rays’ players, coaches, and reporters spent time catching up with Shields.

 

Rays Lineup

 

  • Desmond Jennings CF
  • Matt Joyce LF
  • Ben Zobrist RF
  • Evan Longoria 3B
  • James Loney 1B
  • Yunel Escobar SS
  • Luke Scott DH
  • Jose Molina C
  • Ryan Roberts 2B
  • Alex Cobb P

Royals Lineup

 

  •  Alex Gordon LF
  • Alcides Escobar SS
  • Billy Butler DH
  •  Eric Hosmer 1B
  • Lorenzo Cain CF
  • Mike Moustakas 3B
  • Jeff Francoeur RF
  • Salvaador Perez C
  • Elliot Johnson 2B
  • James Shields P

Game Recap:

James Shields

James Shields (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Due to Cobb and Shields both being amazing pitchers, the game was expected to be a low-scoring game. To the surprise of many, the Rays quickly took the lead in the 1st inning. Lead-off hitter Desmond Jennings singled and then Matt Joyce hit a 2-run homerun, making it 2-0. Ben Zobrist flied out, Evan Longoria walked, and James Loney doubled to make it two-on, one-out, but Yunel Escobar and Luke Scott both struck out to end the inning. In the bottom of the 1st, Alex Cobb allowed only one hit to Billy Butler.
The Royals had a small threat in the bottom of the 2nd when there were two men on with two outs, but Cobb was able to get Elliot Johnson to fly out to left field. The Royals almost scored a run in the 5th inning when Johnson singled with two outs. Johnson stole 2nd then moved to 3rd on a wild pitch by Cobb. Luckily, Cobb struck out Alex Gordon.

 

In the 6th, Cobb was able to get Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler to ground out, but he allowed Eric Hosmer to double, Lorenzo Cain to single, and Mike Moustakas to homer, making it 3-2 in favor of the Royals. The Royals weren’t done – Jeff Francoeur doubled and Salvador Perez singled, making it 4-2. After allowing six straight hits with 2 outs, Cobb was replaced by Jamey Wright who was able to get Gordon to ground out. The Royals continued to score runs in the 7th inning while the Rays (pitching, defense, offense) all fell apart. With Brandon Gomes pitching in the 7th, Alcides Escobar singled and stole a base. Gomes struck out Butler and intentionally walked Eric Hosmer and then the Rays’ defense fell apart. Lorenzo Cain singled to center field – though three players were capable of catching the ball, none of them did. When Jeff Francoeur was batting, Cain stole 2nd base and Hosmer scored by a throwing error by catcher Jose Molina. Jeff Francoeur triples, making it 7-2.

 

In the top of the 8th, James Shields is replaced by Kelvin Herrera. Matt Joyce is the only player to make it to 1st – the Rays’ poor offense once again makes its appearance. When the Royals were batting, Cesar Ramos became the new pitcher and walked Elliot Johnson. Johnson ends up scoring a run  after a single and two sac-flies. In the 9th, Loney leads off with a single and makes to third when Escobar singles and gets thrown out at second. With Loney on third with one out, Scott flies out to center and Molina strikes out – Rays lose 8-2. What was supposed to be an exciting pitching match between Alex Cobb and James Shields ended up being an embarrassing Rays’ loss.

 

Random Facts

 

  • Alex Cobb entered the game with 10 wins since August 1, 2012 – tied for the most in MLB in that span.
  • With Matt Joye’s home run today, that is a team-record tying 15 straight games with a homer for the Rays (record was set in 2009).
  • Since Matt Joyce’s hit lead-off on Friday, he’s homered three times in four games, and has six RBI over that stretch
  • James Shields’ wife and parents came to the game today – they must be in a good mood.
  •  With Luke Scott being called up, Shelley Duncan was sent down to the minors.
  • 9 out of 14 games the Rays have lost after having the lead.

Around the League:

 

  • On Monday, the New York Yankees lost to the Houston Astros for the first time since 2003. Former Ray Carlos Pena had 1 RBI and 1 Run in that game for the Astros.
  • Kevin Youkilis is back on the DL for his sore back.
  • Another slow start for the Los Angeles Angels may mean coach Michael Scioscia may be out of a job.

David Price receives Bullet Rogan “Pitcher of the Year” Award

Before the Tampa Bay Rays played the Kansas City Royals, David Price was at the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City to receive his Bullet Rogan “Pitcher of the Year” Award. Charles Wilber “Bullet” Rogan was an American pitcher for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro baseball leagues from 1920-1938. He was considered one of the best (if not the best) pitcher in the Negro League. When Rogan wasn’t pitching, he was playing the outfield and hitting home runs. After receiving the award, Price toured the museum with first base coach George Hendrick, pitching coach Jim Hickey, and hitting coach Derek Shelton.

Jason Collins’ Announcement brings out the Worst in some People

When NBA basketball player Jason Collins announced he was gay on the cover of the new Sports Illustrated magazine, my first thought was “good for him.” Today, history was made – Collins became the first openly gay active player in the four major professional sports in the United States. Though majority of people supported him and his decision, some people decided it was their time to voice their opinions on homosexuality.

While Collins is the first openly gay athlete, Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Mike Wallace became the first athlete to post something stupid about homosexuals in reply to Collins’ coming out. On his Twitter, Wallace wrote “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH (Shakes my head)…” Though the post isn’t homophobic, the post is just plain stupid. If Wallace was never taught in genetics about how homosexuals are born gay, he should have just googled his questions or read a book. Instead, he made an ignorant comment that offended homosexuals. Seriously, what person would choose to love another person of the same sex, knowing that he will be teased, discriminated against, and possibly injured for his choice?


Another person that chose to speak against homosexuals today wasESPN’s Chris Broussard, a sports analyst on Outside the Lines. During the one-hour episode about Collins coming out as a gay man, Broussard decided to quote from the bible about how homosexuality is a sin – “If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that you that’s a sin.. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ.” Broussard was talking about how being gay, having premarital sex, and adultery are all sins. Even though Broussard believes that being gay is a sin, he should not voice his religious beliefs onto viewers on a sports show. As an analyst, he should realized that anything said on television cannot be taken back and could result in being told “you’re fired.”

Coming from a very open-minded Christian family, I have trouble with people who either think being gay is a choice or a sin. When I was in elementary school, I was making fun of a boy at school during dinner – he was chubby, had a weird face, and walked with a limp (I later learned that he had down syndrome). My parents glared at me in disappointment and then explained to me how he was born like that. Besides my parents, I was taught by both science and religion to be open-minded about homosexuals. Genetics class taught me that homosexuals do not have a choice, they are born gay. My church taught me about Jesus and how he preached “love thy neighbor” and that the church was open to everyone. Though some people follow every line from the Bible, many forget that it was written thousands of years. If we followed every rule in the Bible, we would not be watching football on Sunday.

Mike Wallace and Chris Broussard are examples of people that either don’t understand homosexuality or believe that it is a sin. Though I personally believe they are wrong to follow outdated beliefs, each is entitled to their own opinion; but they are wrong to voice their negative opinions publicly and not expect a public backlash. Within minutes of posting his status, Wallace apologized and took down his status while the Miami Dolphins made an official statement about how Wallace made a mistake and the Dolphins are an open-minded organization. Broussard has yet to apologize or to be punished for his statement, but ESPN is known for firing reporters for making controversial remarks. People like Wallace and Broussard are the reason why being an open gay athlete is still a big deal. Hopefully, Collins is just the first of many more people to “come out” so that being gay will no longer be a news story or a controversial topic.

Price loses Pitching Duel to Phil Hughes

The first game of the series involved the Tampa Bay Rays scoring four runs in the 1st inning. Today, the Rays struggled against the Phil Hughes to score runs, resulting in a loss.

Tampa Bay Rays Lineup

  • Desmond Jennings CF
  • Ryan Roberts 2B
  • Ben Zobrist RF
  • Evan Longoria 3B
  • Matt Joyce LF
  • Yunel Escobar SS
  • James Loney 1B
  • Jose Molina C
  • Kelley Johnson DH
  • David Price P

New York Yankees Lineup

  • Brett Gardner CF
  • Eduardo Nunez SS
  • Robinson Cano 2B
  • Vernon Wells LF
  • Ben Francisco DH
  • Lyle Overbay 1B
  • Chris Stewart C
  • Ichiro Suzuki RF
  • Jayson Nix 3B
  • Phil Hughes

Game Recap

In the first inning, David Price struck out Brett Gardner before allowing Eduardo Nunez to single. While Robinson Cano was batting, Nunenz stole second base but is stranded there after Price strikes out Cano and gets Vernon Wells to fly out to left field. At the bottom of the 1st, Desmond Jennings walks, Ryan Roberts doubles, and then Ben Zobrist hits a sacrifice fly, allowing Jennings to score. Pitcher Phil Hughes is able to get Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce to strike out, ending the inning.

In the 4th, Nunez strikes out but is able to make it to first base due to the wild pitch. Both Robinson Cano Vernon and Wells single, allowing Nunez to score. Price is able to recover and get Ben Francisco to fly out and Lyle Overbay to hit into a double-play, ending the Yankees’ threat.

Rays took the lead in the 7th after Matt Joyce leads off with a walk and scores after a single by James Loney and Jose Molina. James Loney is called out at 3rd and Kelly Johnson strikes out, making it 2-1. Rays wouldn’t lead long because Ichiro Suzuki singles and scores when Brett Gardner grounds out. In the 9th, Price gives up a single to Cano and a call to the bullpen is made. Fernando Rodney strikes out Vernon Wells, but Cano steals second base. Rodney intentionally walks Travis Hafner and then walks Lyle Overbay, even though it looked like strike 3…. Chris Stewart pops out but Ichiro hits a single, scoring 2 runs. Evan Longoria hits a homerun in the bottom of the 9th, but it is not enough and the Yankees win 4-3.

Summary:

Pretty much a pitching match between David Price and Phil Hughes. Price looked really good, so hopefully he gets his first win on his next start.

Around the League:

  • Oakland was beating Boston 13-0 when the game went into rain delay in the 7th inning. 

I’m just Tired of Violence

I had just witnessed the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays and decided to cool off by taking a shower. When I finished my shower, my phone was ringing; my dad asked “What’s going on in Boston? I heard there were explosions at the Boston Marathon?” As someone trying to get in shape, I was furious that some idiots attempted to hurt runners who had just ran 26 miles. As someone who loves history, I was upset that some idiots tried to ruin a celebration of Massachusetts’ involvement in the Revolutionary War. As a human, I am sad that someone decided to injure and kill innocent people.

I don’t know what’s going on, no one does. There were two explosions around 3 P.M. at the Boston Marathon finish line. Some thought it was a possible chemical leak, but now reports are saying that police have uncovered several other bombs. The police found one bomb under bleachers and purposely set it off when no one was around. John F. Kennedy Library might have a bomb. Three people are reported dead, dozens more injured. At 4:08: the official report is 2 dead, 22 injured in blasts. No terrorist group has come forward yet, so it might just be some loner who did this. Someone who is upset at the world. Someone who hates America. Someone who hates everything…

I’m tired of seeing terrorist attacks. When I was in 7th grade, I saw people fall to their deaths from the World Trade Center. I remember the planes flying into the towers, the Pentagon, and into the field – but seeing a bodies falling to their deaths is an image I’ll never get out of my head. Then the reports of attacks overseas involving America’s allies in Europe made me thankful for the Atlanta Ocean separating America from the Middle East and Africa – terrorists would have to board a plane to get here and security at the airport is very, very strict. But Boston shows that sometimes there is nothing we can do to prevent attacks – there is always going to be an upset person trying to bring everyone down to his level.

America has been gun-crazy since the Sandy Hook elementary shooting – one side gather their guns while the other side tries to take the guns. And you know what? Both sides are WRONG. I said months ago  that guns aren’t the problem nor are the bombs, it’s the people. The politicians have been spending all their time dealing with guns that they forgot about People – People Kill People. It’s the People who are uneducated that are more likely to be violent, yet the education budgets are always being cut. It’s the People who suffer from mental illness that are more likely to be involved in a mass attack, yet health care doesn’t cover the costs of all the help they need. It’s the People upset that America is involved in international conflicts, yet war continues to wage on (and for what?). Instead of wasting time fighting over guns, abortion, and other controversial laws that don’t do much good for society, how about America comes together to make sure that something like this won’t happen again, to make sure more children don’t grow up to be disgruntled adults pissed at society.

Tampa Bay Rays Pitchers shutdown Texas Rangers

After a 90 minute rain-delay, the Tampa Bay Rays took on the Texas Rangers…in 39 degrees weather. After been shut out the previous game, the Rays were ready to hit…or not.

 Rays Lineup

  • Desmond Jennings CF
  • Sean Rodriguez LF
  • Evan Longoria DH
  • Ben Zobrist RF
  • Shelley Duncan 1B
  • Yunel Escobar SS
  • Ryan Roberts 3B
  • Jose Lobaton C
  • Kelley Johnson 2B
  • Matt Moore P


Rangers Lineup

  • Ian Kinsler 2B
  • Elvis Andrus SS
  • Adrian Beltre 3B
  • Nelson Cruz DH
  • David Murphy LF
  • Jeff Baker RF
  • Mitch Moreland 1B
  • Geovany Soto C
  • Craig Gentry CF
  • Derek Holland P

Game Recap: 

Desmond Jennings opened the game with a hit to centerfield – but was caught by Craig Gentry to end the hopes that the Rays would be off to a quick start. Sean Rodriquez and Evan Longoria went down easy. At the bottom of the 1st, Matt Moore got Ian Kinsler to strike out but allowed Elvis Andrus to walk – Andrus then made his way to second on a wild pitch by Moore to Adrian Beltre. Moore, knowing a threat was brewing up, ended up striking Beltre out and getting Nelson Cruz to ground out. In the 2nd, Ben Zobrist doubled and Shelley Duncan singled – Rays now had two on with no outs. After a sac-bunt by Yunel Escobar, the runners were on third and second with only one out. Though a sac-fly would have led to a run, Ryan Roberts grounds out to the pitcher (seriously!?) and Jose Lobaton lines out to shortstop – Rays once again fail to bring the runners in with their weak bats. The Rays are last in the A.L. in batting average through the first six innings – meaning the Rays start scoring runs in the last three innings. Though it is exciting to come back and win, waiting until the last inning to score runs usually results in a loss or the umpires making a bad call.

The Rays took the lead in the 3rd inning after Kelly Johnson, Sean Rodriquez, and Evan Longoria walk to load the bases. As Rays fans know, the Rays are 0-for-10 with bases loaded this year. Suprisingly, the Rays score a run when Zobrist grounds into a force out, running fast enough to beat the potential double-play. The Rays add to their lead in the 5th when Jennings doubles and makes it to third on Sean Rodriquez’s ground out. Longoria hits a sac-fly to right field, making it 2-0.

The Rangers had a threat in the 6th when Matt Moore walks Nelson Cruz after getting Adrian Beltre to ground out. Due to his high pitch count, Cesar Ramos replaces Moore. The bullpen knows if they allow two runs, the Rays may lose – no pressure! David Murphy singles and Jeff Baker walks to load the bases, but Mitch Moreland grounds into a doubleplay, ending the inning. In order to break up the doubleplay, Baker reached out his arm while sliding into Yunel Escobar – a dirty play. Marty Foster (the same umpire who blew a call against the Rays two games ago) calls Baker out, ending the inning. Jake McGee pitches a solid 7th inning, only walking Craig Gentry (a lot of walks from Rays pitchers tonight). In the 8th, Rangers had two on, one out but Zobrist makes a catch in right field and throws to catcher Jose Lobaton, who tags out the base runner hoping to score. Peralta waited to tell Zobrist “thank you!” Closer Fernando Rodney allows one base runner, but is able to get the next three batters out. Rays win 2-0.

Summary:

Matt Moore had a good outing, minus the walks and only pitching six innings. The goal of the starting pitchers is to last to the 7th inning since James Shields is no longer with the Rays – Shields was known to pitch alot of innings, resting the bullpen. The bullpen did a great job to not allow any runs, especially McGee and Rodney. Rays’ offense still doesn’t exist: only Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria, and Desmond Jennings seem to get on base these days. Great day for Rays Pitchers!