Tagged: Baseball

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.

 

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David Price still hasn’t heard from MLB

After the “he-said, he-said” incident between Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price and homeplate umpire Tom Hallion, Price and several other Rays are waiting to hear if they will be fined by Major League Baseball. In 2012, MLB created a new law that forbids baseball players and coaches from criticizing umpires to the media – not surprising considering how much MLB protects the umpires. While players can be fined and suspended for one incident, it takes three incidents for an umpire to be suspended and even if he is punished, MLB will keep it a secret. Hallion was suspended in 1999 for bumping a player and a coach; he has a history of being an instigator.

Price also believes the ESPN video clip of him leaving the field distorts what happens – which is true. When I was watching ESPN, the clip made it seem that Price was talking to the umpire when he headed back to the dugout and that the umpire ejected him, but in reality, Price was just talking to himself (which he is known to do) and Jeremy Hellickson was actually ejected. Hellickson seemed to be the scapegoat since all the Rays were upset at Hallion because several players heard Hallion use the F-word to Price. Several sports analysts seemed to believe Price started the argument, when it was Hallion.

Price believes that none of the Rays players should be fined and that he was unaware of MLB’s social media that prohibits players from posting content “that questions the impartially of or otherwise denigrates a Major League umpire.” Besides Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, and Sean Rodriquez make comments on their Twitter accounts that criticized Hallion. Even if the four players are fined, MLB may choose to not punished Hallion at all. 

Sources:

Marc Topkin Price hasn’t heard from MLB yet, still upset at ump’s language  Tampa Bay Times

Umpire tells David Price “to throw the ball over the F-in Plate”

The game was tied 3-3 in the 7th inning when Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price stepped onto the mound. The Cy Young Winner has yet to win a game this year and he was determined to pitch a scoreless inning. After allowing a single to Conor  Gillaspie, Tyler Flowers hit into a double play. After David Price threw a “strike 3” pitch to Dewayne Wise, he and Rays fans were surprised to see the ball was called a “ball” instead. Throughout the game, homeplate umpire Tom Hallion had a strict strike zone – the pitch had to be perfect for it to be called a strike. Though Price was able to get Wise to ground out to him and end the inning, he was not happy.

After the commercial break ended, Rays announcer Todd Kalas announced that Rays pitcher Jeremy was ejected from the game. According to Price and several other players, after the inning was over Price was upset at the umpire, but did not say anything. The umpire, seeing Price was mad at him, told him to “throw the ball over the f-in plate.” This caused the Rays players, especially the pitchers, to get upset so Hallion pointed to Hellickson and ejected him. As fans know, Hellickson is the stereotypical country boy; he’s quiet, polite, and well-behaved so for him to get ejected is really surprising.

After the game, it wasn’t the win that the Rays were talking about first, it was the ejection of Hellickson. Coach Joe Maddon was surprised that of all the players, it was Hellickson that was ejected. When Hellickson was interviewed, he looked as though he couldn’t even harm a fly, much less cuss at an umpire. Hellickson has never been ejected, but less been in any kind of trouble. Price took to Twitter to defend him and Hellickson’s actions – asking his followers “Someone give me the definition of a coward please.”

Meanwhile, Hallion told a reporter, “I’ll come right out bluntly and say he’s a liar… I’m denying what he said I said, pretty strongly…I said ‘Just throw the ball.” That’s all I said to him.” Hallion also claims he ejected Hellickson because “He was told to know if off, him and Moore were at the dugout rail and I told them to knock it off, and he thought it was okay for him to have his final comment, at which time he was ejected.”

Once David Price heard the umpire called him a liar…

Price is not the only Rays player on Twitter upset. Fellow pitchers Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson, plus infielder Sean Rodriquez expressed their disgust at the umpire.

This episode shows that umpires need to be held accountable for their actions. Instead of claiming Price is a liar even though other players and fans at the game heard the “F” word, the umpire should of acknowledge his mistake, apologized to Price, and accepted his punishment. Instead, he called Price a liar and took his anger out on Hellickson. Umpires are supposed to be anonymous, not the antagonist of the show.

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. 

Moore takes on Sabathia

After a rough 2-7 road trip, the Tampa Bay Rays returned home to sweep the Oakland Athletics’s and continued their winning streak against the New York Yankees.

Rays Lineup

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

Yankees Lineup

  • Brett Gardener  CF
  • Ben Francisco DH
  • Robinson Cano 2B
  • Vernon Wells LF
  • Francisco Cervelli C
  • Brennan Boesch RF
  • Eduardo Nunez SS
  • Lyle Overbay 1B
  • Kevin Youkilis* Jayson Nix 3B
  • CC Sabathia P

*While Alex Rodriquez is recovering from steroid allegations and surgery, Kevin Youkilis is the new third baseman; but he was scratched from today’s game due to back pain. Youkilis had missed Sunday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays for the same reason.

Recap

Matt Moore

Matt Moore (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

While Rays and Yankees fans are used to seeing David Price and CC Sabathia match-ups, the match-up between Matt Moore and Sabathia was just as entertaining. Moore walked lead-off hitter Brett Gardner in the 1st inning, but quickly got the next three batters out. When the Rays were at-bat, Ryan Roberts (the one with all the tattoos) hit a homerun to left field. With two outs, Evan Longoria singled and then scored when Sean Rodriquez hit a triple. Yunel Escobar then hit a homerun, making it 4-0 at the end of the 1st inning.

In the 3rd inning, Roberts once again hit a homerun to left field (seriously, who does this against Sabathia?) The Yankees scored at the top of the 4th when Robinson Cano hit a homerun, but they never scored another run in the game. The Yankees had a threat in the 6th when Moore walked Gardner and Cano reached first base due to an error by Escobar – Gardener moved up to third base on this same error. Moore was able to get the next two batters out to end the threat. The rest of the game quickly went by – total game time was only 2:29.

Summary

Matt Moore became the first Rays pitcher in history to win his first four starts: he pitched 8 innings, struck out 9, and pitched a total of 117 pitches.

The attendance was 15,331 – meaning that the New York Yankees fans aren’t coming to the Rays games anymore. Gone are the days when Rays vs. Yankees brought 80% Yankees fans and 20% Rays fans. Is it because  the Rays have won 12 of its last 14 home games against the Yankees dating back to July 2011?

Also, Robinson Cano is being investigated for steroid use. A Biogenesis client roster lists the spokeswoman for Robinson Cano’s foundation, plus the fact that he’s friends with A-Roid and Melky Cabrera.  Hmm…he did hit a homerun today. But seriously, stop taking steroids and doing illegal drugs.

Around the League

  • Cy Younger Winner R.A. Dickey having back/neck problems, but will pitch against the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Felix Hernandez got win 100 today – pitched 6 scoreless innings against the Houston Astros.
  • Albert Pujols will be the Los Angeles Angels’ DH for a while due to foot pain.

Toronto’s David Price….Wait, What?

As I was looking for the Tampa Bay Rays game on television, I came across this

20130413-125915.jpg

Obviously, the guy in charge of typing the description copied and pasted the description from Toronto Blue Jays R.A. Dickey, who also had a bad outing the same day as Price, but why does this stuff always happen to the Rays?

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!