Tagged: Desmond Jennings

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. 
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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!

Who should be Batter Number 2 for the Rays?

When B.J. Upton left the Rays, not only did the Rays lose an amazing center-fielder and a playoff hitter, they lost a speedster. Upton was one of the fastest runners on the team; he and Desmond Jennings (or Carl Crawford) were known for getting on base,  stealing bases, and scoring when the power hitters were up at-bat. Now that Upton is gone, Jennings remains at the top of the batting order, but  the Rays haven’t decided who will be batter number two.

English: Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B. J. U...

Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B. J. Upton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to Wikipedia, the leadoff hitter is the fastest baserunner on the team and its his job to get on base and to score when the powerful hitters come up to bat – Jennings is the fastest player on the team and one of the most consistent batters on the team so it makes sense that he is the leadoff hitter. The second batter should be a “contact hitter with the ability to bunt a baserunner over or get a hit.” These baserunners should be quick to avoid batting into double plays and managers prefer left-handed batters because of the “gap in the infield cause by the first baseman holding the leadoff batter”.

Out of the nine games played so far this year, Sam Fuld (4), Matt Joyce (3), and Sean Rodriquez (2) have been in the two-hole.

  • Sam Fuld: Fuld is known for his speed and his batting average (BA) is .111 – the lowest on the team – with a on-base-percentage (OBP) of .241. His average BA is .241 and OBP is .322.
  • Matt Joyce: Joyce is a lefty and is batting .174 with a  OBP of .240. His average BA is .253 and OBP is .342.
  • Sean Rodriquez: Rodriquez is able to run and is  batting .143. with a OBP of .250.  His average BA is .225 and OMP is .301.

So far this season, none of the three have been impressive; but most of the Rays have not been hitting or getting on base. Fuld and Rodriquez are both fast baserunners and capable of bunting, while Joyce is more likely to get a hit and is a left-handed batter. Since Fuld and Rodriquez are utility players and Joyce only plays when  the pitcher is a right-handed pitcher, this could mean the Rays may not have a permanent two-hole batter this season.

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.

Spring Training Game 1: Rays v. Red Sox

While half of the team was in Port Charlotte playing against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the other half was battling the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers. The lineup:

  • Ben Zobrist (RF)
  • Desmond Jennings (CF)
  • Matt Joyce (LF)
  • Jack Cust (DH)
  • Ryan Roberts (2B)
  • Sean Rodriquez (3B)
  • Shelley Duncan (1B)
  • Jose Lobaton (C)
  • Hak-Ju Lee (SS)
  • Alex Colome (P)

Though it is only Spring Training, the Red Sox are the Ray’s #1 Rival so it is always a good game between the two, especially when the Rays win. The Rays scored the first run against John Lackey (who I am told did not look good). Ben Zobrist walked, Desmond Jennings singles, Matt Joyce was hit by pitch, and Ryan Roberts hit a sac-fly to take the lead. In the 3rd, Jennings doubled, stole third base, and scored due to a throwing error by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

The Rays Pitchers were Alex Colome  (1 IP), Brandon Gomes (1 IP), Felipe Rivero (1 IP), Josh Lueke (2 IP), Marquis Fleming (2 IP), and Matt Buschmann (2 IP). Fleming gave up a homerun, leading to the Red Sox tying the game. Fleming also hit Daniel Nava – two hit batters in a game between the Rays and the Red Sox is always good entertainment. With Shawn O’Malley on 2nd, Leslie Anderson homers to bring the game to 4-2. Buschmann would give up a run in the 9th, but holds onto the win to earn a save. Rays beat Red Sox 4-3.

Desmond Jennings was the most impressive player of the day, scoring a run all by himself. Also happy to see a Red Sox player get hit after Joyce was hit by a ball. The hero of the game, Leslie Anderson, is a left-handed first baseman/outfielder from Cuba.

Who to Follow on Twitter: Tampa Bay Rays Edition

I mainly use Twitter for the latest sports news, especially Tampa Bay Rays baseball news. Here are the players/coaches to follow on Twitter.

@RaysBaseball Official Twitter of the Tampa Bay Rays

@SunSportsFOXFL Fox Sports Florida Television Station: Covers Florida Teams

Players/Coaches

@RaysJoeMaddon Rays Coach Joe Maddon

@jamesloney_7 First Baseman James Loney

@TheZobrists Second baseman Ben Zobrist (shares account with his wife)

@Evan3Longoria Third baseman Evan Longoria

@d_jennings8 Center Fielder Desmond Jennings

@sweetswingin20 Right Fielder Matt Joyce

@DAVIDprice14 Cy Young Pitcher David Price

@JHell58 Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson

@mattymoe55 Pitcher Matt Moore

@Acobb53 Pitcher Alex Cobb

@Joeycatch8 Catcher Jose Molina

@SamFuld5 Outfielder Sam Fuld

@Alex21Torres Pitcher Alex Torres

@ChrisArcher42 Pitcher Chris Archer

@wilmyers Outfielder Wil Myers

@SVogt1229 Utility Player Stephen Vogt

@SeanJRodriguez1 Utility Player Sean Rodriguez

@robinson28ch Catcher Robinson Chirinos

@rroberts19 Ryan Roberts Utility Player

@ChrisGimenez5 Catcher Chris Gimenez

@JLobaton21 Catcher Jose Lobaton

@BrandonGuyer Outfielder Brandon Guyer

@Josh_Lueke Pitcher Josh Lueke

Twitter of Past Rays:

 Centerfielder BJ Upton 

@reidbrignac Shortstop Reid Brignac

@ElliotJohnson9 Utility Player Elliot Johnson

@Gdeuceswild Pitcher Matt Garza

@JKeppinger Third Baseman Jeff Keppinger

@AdamRussell36 Pitcher Adam Russell

@ShopHouse10 Kelly Shoppach