Tagged: Evan Longoria

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.

 

Advertisements

Miles for Moffitt

I am excited to announce that I will be running my first 5K Race this Saturday. On May 11, 2013, PNC Bank Miles for Moffitt will be taking place at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Miles for Moffitt consists of several races in which 100% of all donations and registration fees will benefit H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research. I personally volunteer with Moffitt cancer patients and have heard wonderful stories about Moffitt’s staff; I’m excited to help Moffitt with its goal of getting rid of cancer.

Besides the 5k, there is also a 5 mile, a 1 mile, and a run with the Tampa Bay Rays’ mascot Raymond (each child also receives a finisher medal). Raymond is not the only Ray participating in the race – Rays third baseman Evan Longoria created a team (Team Longo). And yes, being a huge Rays fan I had to join his team.

Longoria had this to say:

Moffitt Cancer Center supporters, 

As many of you know, I am a fan of the work Moffitt Cancer Center does in the Tampa Bay community and want to support it in many ways. 

I would be honored if you would join my Race Team and help me raise money for the life-saving research at Moffitt Cancer Center.

You can join my team and run in one of the races on race day, or support Moffitt as a Virtual Runner (and still get the t-shirt!). 

To sweeten the deal, I’ve committed to the following incentives for those who sign up to be on my Race Team: 
1) Each individual team member who raises $500 will be entered into a random drawing for baseball autographed by me
2) Each individual team member who raises $1,000 will be entered into a random drawing to watch the Rays batting practice and personally meet me prior to a mutually agreed upon Rays home game in the 2013 season 

Please join my team to help save lives!

For more information of Miles for Moffitt, click here.

If you would like to donate to my team or leave a positive word of encouragement, click here.

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.

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!

Rays’ bats remain quiet against Rangers

 

After last night’s game that ended on a controversial call, Tampa Bay Rays fans expected the Rays coming in tonight’s game full of anger and ready to make the Texas Rangers suffer. Instead, the Rays only had one run and four hits throughout the game. They lose to the Texas Rangers 6-1. This time, the Rays had no one but themselves to blame for the loss.

Rays Lineup

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

Rangers Lineup

  • Ian Kinsler 2B
  • Elvis Andrus SS
  • Lance Berkman DH
  • Adrian Beltre 3B
  • David Murphy LF
  • Nelson Cruz
  • A.J. Pierzynski C
  • Mitch Moreland 1B
  • Leonys Martin CF
  • Nick Tepesch P

Game Recap

Texas Rangers right-handed, 24-year-old pitcher Nick Tepesch made his major league debut tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays. He quickly got the first three Rays batters out. When the Rangers were up to bat, Rays pitcher Roberto Hernandez hit Ian Kinsler on the first pitch. It was probably just bad command because Hernandez hits Nelson Cruz later on in the game. Kinsler made his way to third base but failed to reach home after Adrian Beltre grounded out to Yunel Escobar. In the 2nd inning, Evan Longoria leads off with a walk and makes it to second after James Loney and Shelley Duncan ground out, but Yunel Escobar and Jose Molina walk to load the bases. At this point, the Rays are 0-for-9 (with 2 walks) in bases loaded situations this year. Pitcher Tepesch manages to strike Kelly Johnson out, making it 0-for-10 for the Rays in bases loaded situations.

The Rays take the lead in the 3rd after Desmond Jennings doubles and makes his way home after Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist both ground out. The lead doesn’t last long after Leonys Martin walks and Ian Kinsler singles. With two outs, Lance Berkman singles to center field, allowing Martin and Kinsler to score. At this moment, 26 of 40 (65%) runs against Rays scoring w/2 out this season. Last year, it was 41%, the third lowest in the American League.

In the 4th, James Loney singles but the Rays fail to move him further than first base. Hernandez once again hits a batter, Nelson Cruz, but is able to get the next two batters out. At the bottom of the 5th, the Rangers score two runs thanks to Martin, Elvis Andrus, Berkman, and Beltre. Rangers now lead 4-1. The Rangers extended their lead in the 7th to 5-1 after Martin singles and makes it home on Kinsler’s single and Andrus’ ground out. Jake McGee replaces Hernandez, but an error by Loney allows Craig Gentry to score. Rangers lead 6-1. The Rays had a threat in the 8th inning with runners at 3rd and 2nd, but Sean Rodriquez pops out and Zobrist grounds out to the pitcher to end the threat.

Summary

I will not question the pitching, the bull pen, or the defense because baseball season has only been here for one week; but, I will question the Rays’ offense. Rays are known for having a bad offense  and the goal of the 2013 was to have hitters to support the pitching staff. The Rays only managed to score one run against a young pitcher making his pitching debut – this pitcher barely made the Rangers’ roster. Rays can take down CY Young winners, but not rookie pitchers. At the moment, Zobrist and Longoria are the only Rays batting over .250. Desmond Jennings and James Loney show potential, but Matt Joyce and Yunel Escobar have had weak at-bats this season. The Rays continue to show that they either score numerous runs when everyone can hit, or no runs when only a few players hit. This puts more pressure on the pitchers because they know that if they give up a run, that could be the game.

Other Rays News

  • Pitcher Jeff Niemann will have right shoulder surgery tomorrow – it will take 9-12 months to recover. The season is over for him.
  • Coach Joe Maddon signed the lineup card for Joe Nathan’s 300th career save and gave it to him. Maddon wrote “Congrats. Outstanding career. Keep it going!”
  • Matt Joyce may have injured his neck attempting to make a leaping catch in right field.
  • Luke Scott took batting practice today and ran in the outfield while being watched by trainers.
  • Rays have scored 3 or less runs four games so far this year – that is 50% of games.

Around the League

  • New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 14-1 and the Toronto Blue Jays lost 7-3 to the Detroit Tigers.
  • Angels Pitcher Jered Weaver was placed on the DL for his fractured left elbow. He will be out at least for a month.
  • Phillies Pitcher Roy Halladay has given up 12 runs in 7 innings this year.

Umps Continue to make Bad Calls Against the Rays

It was the bottom of the ninth, two outs, a runner on first, and a 3-2 count – the Tampa Bay Rays had a nine inning rally going on. Ben Zobrist was batting and Evan Longoria was up next; the two best Rays hitters were up and could make a difference in the game. Texas Ranger closer Joe Nathan threw what appeared to be a ball; catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s glove touched the ground when he caught the ball. As Zobrist began his trot toward first base, home plate umpire Marty Foster shouted “strike!” The game was over – Rays lose 5-4.

It was obvious to me and viewers everywhere that it was a ball – it was low and nearly bounced into Pierzynski’s Sports analysts, sports journalists, baseball fans, Rangers fans, and even football players took to Twitter to comment on how that was obviously a ball. Rays fans took to Twitter to express their anger about the call; how once again, the Rays lost because of bad umpiring. Now, there are those who will say “the game shouldn’t have been that close to begin with” or “mistakes happen, you try being an umpire” and I would go to bed angry and wake up in a better mood, except I’m tired of hearing those excuses. Why do umpires continue to determine the outcome of a Rays game? This is hardly the first time an umpire made a bad call against the Rays, it is becoming way too common for Rays fans to witness umpires controlling the game. Former Rays pitcher Matt Garza was switched in the pitching rotation because one home plate umpire believed Garza’s strikes were actually balls. Another umpire had trouble with B.J. Upton’s batting – the two would argue every year they met. And if the Rays are playing the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, Rays fans expect to different strike zones – one zone favored the big market team, the other ruined the Rays’ chances to win. As a low-market team with a small fan-base  Major League Baseball (MLB) probably prefers a team that will bring in television ratings in October.

There has been seven baseball games this season and already two of the games involved umpires making bad calls against the Rays when they had momentum on their side. On April 4th, the Rays had another ninth-inning rally going on when Evan Longoria was called out for passing up Ben Zobrist while they were running bases. The cameras show that all the umpires were looking toward outfield to see if the ball was a homerun, none of them were watching Longoria and Zobrist running. When coach Joe Maddon asked them to huddle together to make sure one of them saw Longoria pass Zobrist, they refused.

Now, umpires will make mistakes because they are human, so why does MLB continue to believe technology will hurt the game? Maddon could have “challenged” a call and had it reviewed – it would take a minute and all fans would be satisfied with the call.  Other sports like football, basketball, and hockey use video-replay and the games have not gone on for half-a-day. As long as MLB continues to favor umpires, the umpires will continue to be the bad guys. MLB made a rule that coaches and players cannot argue balls and strikes, meaning umpires can get away with an unique zone. If a player complains about an umpire, he is fined but some umpires were allowed to complain about certain teams making the games last more than 3 hours. Now there is a possibility that certain umpires may try to hurry games along by using the strike zone to their advantage. But as baseball fans know, baseball is played in all 9 innings – the Cincinnati Reds scored 9 runs in the 9th to beat the St. Louis Cardinals just the other day. And if an umpire is ever in trouble for making a bad call, it is not made public like coaches and players. If MLB continues to let umpires take the blame, fans will continue to believe that baseball favors certain teams over others. Its time for MLB to stop letting umpires get away with bad calls but removing some of the human element and replacing it with technology – it is 2013, not 1913.