Tagged: Baltimore Orioles

Chris Davis leads Orioles past Rays

Roberto Hernandez’s first start with the Tampa Bay Rays was overshadowed by Chris Davis’ unbelievable start this season. After driving in seven runs in the first two games of the season, one would expect the Rays to walk him each time at the plate. Today, he showed that he can hit, ball or strike.

Rays Lineup

  • Desmond Jennings CF
  • Matt Joyce LF
  • Ben Zobrist RF
  • Evan Longoria 3B
  • Shelley Duncan DH
  • Yunel Escobar SS
  • James Loney 1B
  • Jose Molina C
  • Ryan Roberts 2B
  • Roberto Hernandez P

Orioles Lineup

  • Nate McClouth LF
  • Manny Machado 3B
  • Nick Markakis RF
  • Adam Jones CF
  • Chris Davis 1B
  • Matt Wieters C
  • J. J. Hardy SS
  • Ryan Flaherty DH
  • Brian Roberts 2B
  • Miguel Gonzalez P

 

Game Recap:

Chris Davis

Chris Davis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The first inning went by smoothly for Roberto Hernandez – he struck out Nate McClouth and got the next two batters to ground out. For the Rays, Desmond Jennings led off with a walk, but he only manages to get to second base during the inning after being tagged out on his way to third base. In the 2nd inning, Adam Jones singles and then Chris Davis steps up to the plate… and hits a homerun. This makes homerun number three for Davis. In the bottom of the 2nd, Yunel Escobar walks but is caught stealing, ending any threat. In the 4th, Davis is hit by a pitch – probably intentional since Davis has been killing the Rays all series.

Rays finally get a hit in the 5th inning thanks to Evan Longoria. Yunel Escobar singles, James Loney singles, and Jose Molina singles, making it 2-2. The Orioles answer back in the 6th when Nick Markakis walks, Jones singles, and Davis doubles, making it 4-2. Rays should have just hit walked Davis again. In the 8th inning, Cesar Ramos is able to get Davis to ground out, but allows J.J. Hardy to homer with Matt Wieters on base. Orioles now lead the Rays 6-2. In the bottom of the 9th, Sean Rodriguez is hit by a pitch (probably retaliation for Davis being hit, through Rodriguez does get hit the most on the Rays team). Zobrist singles and then Longoria singles – the ball is almost a homerun and is almost caught by Jones. After Rodriquez scores, Longoria is thrown out of the game for passing Zobrist while they were running the bases. Coach Joe Maddon wants the umpires to huddle together to confirm the call, but they refuse. Replays show that the umpires got the call wrong, Longoria never passed Zobrist. The replay also showed that the umpire never witnessed it, meaning that once again, umpires interfere in the game. Though the Rays were down 3 runs, the umpires killed the momentum of the game.  Longoria and Zobrist both admit they should of ran the bases better, but baseball’s replay refusal continues to anger fans. Rays lose the game 6-3.

 

 

Summary:

It is only game 3 of the season – pitching isn’t perfect and neither is batting, but they aren’t bad either. Pitching will improve and hopefully so will the offense. So far, the thing that stands out as being “perfect” is the defense. Also, Chris Davis is crazy good and it’s a shame the Rays met him. As Evan Longoria said, “Without Chris Davis, we’re at 3-0 without him in their lineup.” The Orioles scored 20 runs this series and he is responsible for driving in 11 of them. The last baseball player with at least 11 RBI in the first 3 games was Dolph Camilli of Philadelphia in 1935 with 12 RBI. Besides Davis, Orioles’ other threat was the starting pitcher. Miguel Gonzalez in his past four games against the Rays has only allowed 2 or fewer runs. Today, he only allowed two.  When he entered the 5th inning today, he had tossed 17 1/3 scoreless innings at the Tropicana Field. Davis will cool down but the Rays need to figure out Gonzalez.

Around the League:

  • Cleveland Scott Kazmir has a right rib cage strain, will be placed on DL. Will miss 2-3 games.
  • The only teams not to win a game so far this year are the Miami Marlins.

 

 

Tampa Battles Back and Beats Baltimore

So, I thought the Rays lineup was interesting, surprised to see Sean Rodriguez batting second. The lefties were out of the game – disappointed at that because I believe lefties can hit no matter if the pitcher is a lefty or a righty. I’m also looking forward to the Rays’ offense since Jeremy Hellickson’s average run support was 3.86, the 3rd worst in the league in 2012.

Rays Lineup:

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

Orioles Lineup:

  • Nate McLouth LF
  • Manny Machado 3B
  • Nick Markakis RF
  • Adam Jones CF
  • Chris Davis 1B
  • Matt Wieters C
  • J.J. Hardy SS
  • Nolan Reimold DH
  • Brian Roberts 2B
  • Wei-Yin Chen P

Game Recap:

The Orioles quickly took a lead in the top of the 1st after Chris Davis hit a 3-HR – after Hellickson was able to get the first two batters out. Desmond Jennings led off with a single, but Sean Rodriguez hit into a double play. In the 2nd, Evan Longoria singled and then Shelley Duncan hit into a double play. In the 3rd, Jose Lobaton singled and then Jennings hit into a double play – yes, a lot of double plays today. Meanwhile, Hellickson had been pitching well. Up to this point, all 11 Orioles runs this series came with 2 outs. The Orioles extended their lead in the 6th when Davis singled, driving in Manny Machado. Chris Davis drove in 4 RBIs at this moment.

Rays answered back when Jennings doubled and Ben Zobrist drove him in. These two did the most damage in Game 1 and as usual, are the most dependable players on the game. After a pitching change by the Orioles, Longoria singled and then Shelley Duncan hit a homerun, tying the game. Ducan was supposed to be in the minors but was called up when Luke Scott started the season on the DL. Sadly, the game would not remain tied for long because Hellickson walked Nolan Reimold, Brian Roberts singled, and then Nate McClouth singled to drive in the run. Jose Lobaton almost tagged him out. Kyle Farnsworth replaced Hellickson and got Machago to ground into a double play, ending the threat. Orioles now lead 5-4.

In the 7th, Matt Joyce singled on a bunt (beautiful bunt) and then Kelly Johnson singled; with Jennings battering, a wild pitch by Pedro Strop allowed Joyce to score. James Loney replaces Rodriguez and hits a double, making it 6-6, and then Zobrist singled, driving in Loney to make it 7-5. Now, its up to the bullpen to win the game.

In the 8th, Joel Peralta gets two quick outs before allowing a double to Davis (I hate this guy) and then Matt Wieters singles, making it 7-6. Peralta strikes out J. Hardy. After 3 quick outs for the Rays in the 8th, its Fernando Rodney’s job to end the game. Rodney walks Nolan Reimold – though it should have been strike 3. Brian Roberts doubles, tying the game. Rodney’s first blown save of the year in 2012 was May 26 against Boston Red Sox, he blew only 2 saves last year, and it’s the 1st run he allowed since August 18, a string of 19 scoreless innings. Rodney gets the next two outs, giving the Rays batters one more time to win the game before going into extra innings. Matt Joyce steps up to the bat and swings, hitting a HIGH homerun. This was his first walk-off career. Rays win 8-7.

Summary:

What a great game between the Orioles and Rays. Though pitching wasn’t the best, it wasn’t too bad. Great to see Kyle Farnsworth end a threatening inning and there was no way Rodney could be better than last year, so at least he got his blown save out of the way now and not later on. I really wish coach Joe Maddon would let the lefties play, since Loney and Joyce helped win the game when they were allowed to play. Sorry, I just think lefties can play no matter who the pitcher is. Random fact: Rays only won 2 games in 2012 when they allowed 7+ runs.

Around the League:

  • Texas Rangers Yu Darvish was one out away from completing a perfect game against the Houston Astros.
  • New York Yankees starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda exits in the 2nd inning after a ball hit his hand. Red Sox have been killing the bullpen throughout the game.
  • Former Rays pitcher Scott Kazmir will not be making his pitching debut against the Rays on Saturday.

Tampa Bay Rays lose Opening Day

Happy Opening Day!!!!

The Tampa Bay Rays started the 2013 Baseball Season against the Baltimore Orioles. After the anthem by saxophonist B.K. Jackson and Rays senior advisor Don Zimmer throwing out the first pitch (Evan Longoria catching) Cy Young Pitcher David Price took the mound. Nearly all sports journalists believe the Toronto Blue Jays will win the A.L. East with the Rays finishing second – Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will be at the bottom. I, of course, predict the Rays will be back in the playoffs IF they can remain healthy and improve their offense.

Rays Lineup:

  • Desmond Jennings CF
  • Sam Fuld RF
  • Ben Zobrist 2B
  • Evan Longoria 3B
  • Matt Joyce LF
  • Yunel Escobar SS
  • James Loney 1B
  • Kelly Johnson DH (Luke Scott is on DL)
  • David Price P

Orioles Lineup:

  • Nick Markakis RF
  • Manny Machado 3B
  • Adam Jones CF
  • Matt Wieters C
  • Chris Davis 1B
  • J.J. Hardy SS
  • Nolan Reimold LF
  • Steve Pearce DH
  • Brian Roberts 2B
  • Jason Hammel P

Game Recap

The Orioles took the lead in the 1st after a double and a homerun made is 2-0. Ben Zobrist had the first hit of the year for the Rays in the 1st inning – always a great day in Tampa when the Rays don’t give up a perfect game. In the 2nd inning, Nolan Reimold was picked off and caught stealing 2nd base by Price to Zobrist. Price ran into trouble in the 3rd inning by loading the bases with one out. After a 13-pitch outing to Matt Wieters, Chris Davis grounds into a double play, ending the inning.

After three quick innings by the Rays’ offense, Ben Zobrist hit a homerun, making it 2-1. After the rough 3rd inning, Price becomes his usual Cy Young Winning Self, since he will need to be like that if the Rays fail to hit runs again this season. In the bottom of the 6th, Kelly Johnson led-off with a walk and then scored on Desmond Jennings’ double. Sam Fuld then moved Jennings to third on a bunt and Zobrist brought him home on a sac-fly, making it 3-2 in favor of the Rays.

Jake McGee entered the 7th inning after Price allowed 2 runs in 6 innings, throwing 100 pitches. McGee allowed two singles, a double, and a homerun to make it 7-3 in favor of the Orioles. Jamey Wright replaces McGee to get the final third out to end that horrible ending. When the Rays were up to bat, Ryan Roberts (replacing Mayy Joyce) singled, but Shelly Duncan (replacing James Loney) flied out and Jose Molina struck out. In the 8th, Jennings singles then with Fuld batting, he steals 2nd base and advances to 3rd base on a throwing error by Matt Wieters. When Fuld grounds out, Jennings scores, making it 7-4 in favor of the Orioles. Rays lose 7-4.

Summary

Well, the Rays may have lost but it is only the first day. David Price was able to settle down after a couple of rough innings and McGee wasn’t the best, but he has been a very dependable pitcher the past few years so it could have just been first-day jitters. The Rays’ defense was outstanding – Longoria and Fuld both made great catches throughout the day and the rest of the team handled the ball with ease. Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings continue to be the most consistent players on the Rays since they drove in and scored the runs today. The Baltimore Orioles looked like they don’t like all the attention the Toronto Blue Jays are receiving. Opening Day Attendance: 34,078. *Sellout*

 

Mumblings Around the Baseball:

  • Evan Longoria said “the scarring that James Shields and B.J. Upton endured in the rough Devil Rays days remained a clubhouse issue, and the current team is in ‘a better mental state’ with them gone.” Eh- that was a little harsh in my opinion since Shields and Upton were HUGE parts of the Rays’ past and current success.
  • Speaking of former Rays players, James Shields gave up one homerun on Opening Day; Kansas City Royals lost 1-0 against the Chicago White Sox. B.J. Upton went 0-4 for the Atlanta Braves (Braves won 7-5 over Philadelphia Phillies) and Carlos Pena went 1-4, scoring a run for the Houston Astros (Astros beat Texas Rangers 8-2).
  • One of the Rays first great pitcher, Scott Kazmir, will be pitching for the Cleveland Indians against the Rays on Saturday, April 6. Kazmir strained his ab during workout, may go on DL and therefore miss Saturday’s game.

Rays Lose to Themselves

The Tampa Bay Rays dropped another game to the Baltimore Orioles tonight, though I am not surprised. When I first saw the line-up, I was disappointed that Carlos Pena and Matt Joyce were not playing tonight. I understand that Orioles’ pitcher Brian Matusz is a lefty and Pena and Joyce are also lefties, but seriously I’m tired of the Rays creating a whole new line-up for lefty pitchers. A few weeks ago Pena and Joyce both had several hits off a lefty pitcher, so it is possible for them to hit against lefties. And even if they do not hit, I would rather see Pena at first instead of Jeff Keppinger and Joyce in left instead of Brandon Guyer.
It was probably one of the worst Rays’ games I have seen in a while, worse than the other games this past week. In the 1st inning, Ben Zobrist got a lead-off walk, but Sean Rodriquez hit into a double play. BJ Upton singed and stole second, but his threat ended when Keppinger struck out to end the inning. In the 2nd inning, Guyer hit a homerun, making it Rays 1-0. In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Adam Jones was safe at first on an error by Rodriquez; Rodriquez threw the ball over Keppinger’s head (Pena would not have been able to catch that ball). Jones was then safe at second on a throwing error by pitcher Matt Moore, who threw the ball into right field into of 1st base. After walked Matt Wieters, Moore struck out the next two batters but allowed Steve Tolleson to double, scoring two runs (run #2 was scored on an error caused by Guyer; the ball managed to roll by him into the corner of left field). Baltimore now led the Rays 2-1, all of the Orioles’ runs being scored because of errors. The Rays ended up committing three errors in the 2nd inning; making it the first time the Rays have committed that many errors in an inning since becoming the Rays instead of the Devil Rays.
In the 3rd, Will Rhymes hit a leadoff double but the next three Rays failed to bring him in. This seemed to be the theme of the week, the Rays manage to get on base but fail to bring the base runners home. In the 5th, Elliot Johnson was called out after bunting off his foot… enough with the bunting. In the bottom of the 5th, what would have been an easy pop-up ended up as catcher’s interference (error #4), this makes Chris Gimenez’s third error of the year. Moore began to fall apart and loaded the bases; to the horror of Rays’ fans, Jones was up to bat. Jones managed to single to centerfield, scoring two runs. BJ Upton committed an error by dropping the ball but even if he did not make the error, there was no one covering second base, allowing Jones to run to second base. Wade Davis was called in and he managed to get the final two outs. Moore failed once again to last past the fifth inning.
In the 6th, the Rays managed to score two runs due to the teamwork of Keppinger, Guyer, Luke Scott, and Orioles’ third baseman Tolleson committing an error. The error allowed Keppinger and Guyer to move up one base, thus allowing them to score on Scott’s single. The Orioles now led by only one run. None of the teams put up threats in the next several innings, minus a home run by the Orioles; thus the Rays lost to the Orioles again.

Player of the Game:

  1. Part of the Rays’ Bullpen: Wade Davis came in the 5th inning with two on, one out. He walked one Oriole, but was able to get two outs without giving up a run. In the 7th, Davis got all three batters to ground out. If Moore does not improve by the All-Star break, I would not be surprised to see Davis as a starting pitcher again. In the 7th, Burke Badenhop walked one, struck out three to end the inning. Badenhop’s last pitch was just amazing. The Bullpen worked several innings and did not give up any runs. JP Howell pitched the 8th inning, striking out the first batter but gave up a homerun in the 8th inning to make it 5-3. The homerun really did not effect the outcome of the game.

What I Liked:

  1. Bullpen: Reasons listed earlier

What I Didn’t’ Like:

  1. Lack of Aggressive Swinging: The Rays swung at balls out of the strike zone, but did not swing at fastballs done the middle (Rhymes and Keppinger for example). In majority of the strike outs tonight, the Rays did not swing on strike three. Several times, the Rays were about to swing, but held back for some reason. I also don’t think it’s a bad thing for Rays to hit balls out of the strike zone; Orioles’ Robert Adino managed to hit a double off a ball that was out of the strike zone. Rays are going to have to start being aggressive at the plate if they want to make it to the World Series.
  2. Bunting: There were two bunting attempts today, which resulted in two outs. I had no problem with bunting until this year because the bunt seems to be used in the wrong situations. As Brian Anderson said, why would Rhymes bunt at a ball “up and off the plate?” I’m for Carlos Pena bunting against the shift and Desmond Jennings bunting and beating the throw to first, but lately the Rays have looked awkward at the bunt.
  3. The five errors committed in today’s game were just plain awful and resulting in the Orioles winning the game. Rays have been known for pitching and defense, but today the Rays did not have either.
  4. Matt Moore’s Short Outing: Moore has the talent and I know he will be a great pitcher, but at the moment he is having trouble getting strike three. He drives his pitch count up high in the beginning of the game, resulting in him getting pulled in the 5th inning several times this season. It is becoming a burden on the bullpen who is forced to work four-five innings whenever Moore pitches.

Predictions: Rays will get out of this slump, but to do that these things need to happen:

  1. Matt Moore needs to last more than 5 innings. As soon as he does, he will have the confidence to be the Moore of last year. His problem is getting the final third strike due to command issues. If he fails to fix his problem by the All-Star break, I wonder what if the Rays will make a roster move.
  2. Aggressive Hitting: Rays are going to have to score at least four runs every game if they want to remain competitive. Walking is great, but walking does not score runs, hitting does. Scoring three runs may beat the Seattle Mariners, but not the Orioles, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, etc. Swinging at balls but not at strikes is baffling.
  3. Better Defense: The defense this season has just been awful. Tonight the Rays made five errors, that has not happened since 2001.

I believe the Rays are capable of winning without Evan Longoria; I mean they have done it before, they can do it again. Though I can’t wait to see Desmond Jennings and Longoria back.