Due to the past weekend being dedicated to my birthday celebration and a Bridal Shower, I have missed the past few Rays games; but, I have heard nothing about sorrow about the Rays. Today, I was hoping the Rays would win the game due to the win yesterday; but, after seeing Kelly Shoppach and Felipe Lopez were in the line-up, I was becoming a doubter. But in the 2nd inning, Shoppach doubled, which led to a run. In the 3rd inning, B.J. Upton and Lopez both drove in runs. In other words, even the worst Rays batters were batting.
Then it got scary in the bottom of the 3rd when the Seattle Mariners were up to bat. Wade Davis began the inning by walking the lead off batter Carlos Peguero, then allowed a single, triple, sac-bunt, and a single. At the end of the 3rd inning, the Mariners had tied the inning up. Through the next several innings, both pitchers managed to prevent base runners until the top of the 7th inning. Davis walked the lead-off hitter then allowed a single by Peguero. I was hoping Davis would be taken out to prevent another inning in which he blew the lead, but Davis stayed in. He kept throwing balls and looked awful and allowed the Mariners to take the lead at 5-3.
Things were looking bleak for the Rays but luckily Damon, Zobrist, and Joyce helped the Rays tie the game. With 2 out, Evan Longoria was called in to pinch-hit. Longo had been out due to soreness, but is expected to play tomorrow against Anaheim Angels. Longo singled, allowing the Rays to take the lead at 6-5.
Now there was only 6 outs left before the Rays could get the win, but J.P. Howell was up. Recently, Howell blew a Rays’ lead, so I was once again worried. Howell was injured at the end of 2009 and has recently returned to the Rays, but he has not been dominant. IF I was Maddon, I would only put Howell in if 1) the Rays were up by 5 runs so in case Howell messed up, they would still win or 2) if Howell was to come out to get the final out in the 7th/8th with no runners on. Thus, if Howell succeeds, it will bring his confidence up; but if Howell failed, it would not cost the Rays game. At the moment, Howell has shown no reason to be the pitcher for the 8th inning in a close game. Today, Howell showed he should not be the pitcher in the 8th inning.
Howell was able to get the first out, but he walked and allowed a single. With 2 on and 1 out, Maddon should have taken Howell out (this is not hindsight, I was shouting at my TV for Maddon to take Howell out), but he left Howell in, even though he was having trouble finding the strike zone. Howell allows a single and leaves with the Rays tied at 6-6.
Then Maddon made one of the worst calls ever (maybe not ever, but it was super bad). Last night, Rays pitcher Joel Peralta replaced Jeremy Hellickson in the 8th inning (Rays were winning 3-0 at this time). Peralta allowed pinch-hitter Miguel Olivo to hit a 2-run homerun, cutting the Rays’ lead to 3-2. TODAY, Maddon replaced Howell with Peralta with Olivo batting! It was déjà vu – Olivo hit a 3-run homerun and the Mariners won a few minutes later.
Maddon is supposed to be a stat-coach, yet he didn’t realize that Peralta allowed a home run by Olivo yesterday? Maddon didn’t realize that Howell allowed 4 runs (3 unearned) and retired 0 batters in the 8th inning against the Cleveland Indians about a week ago? I appreciate all that Howell did in 2009 with the Rays, but he does not deserved to pitch in a stressful situtation. Howell needs to build his confidence up again before he (if he can) return to his old form.
Though the Rays’ offense was great, Rays’ pitching was horrible and mismanaged. With the Rays now tied with the Toronto Blue Jays with being 4 games out of 1st in the A.L East, they better start winning games and series again soon before they fall too far behind.
I am starting to wish that the Rays baseball game was postponed due to rain so the Rays would in first place alone. Anyways, the Rays’ offense was just horrible AGAIN!!! Detroit’s record
is was 23-23, so they are only a decent team, yet the Rays found a way to lose to them 6-3.
How can Maddon not play Joyce???
So I saw the line-up and noticed that A.L. leading batter Matt Joyce was not in the line-up due to a lefty pitching. Joyce is hitting .385 against right-handed pitchers, but only .158 against left-handed pitchers. Meanwhile, Felipe Lopez is hitting .240 against left-handed pitchers. When Lopez was subbing for Longoria, he did not bat well or play defense well. I understand that Joyce isn’t super amazing against left-handed pitchers, but that is because Maddon gets the Rays players all freaked out against lefties. Instead of keeping the same players in, like most teams, he rearranges the line-up and moves players around. It is common knowledge that the Rays can’t bat against lefties; in my opinion it is because they are told they can’t. Rays coaches need to stop making a big deal about going against a lefty and let players build up their averages against lefties.
In the 4th inning, the Rays had bases loaded, 1 out but could not bring them in- thanks to Shoppach and Lopez striking out. Who knows what could have happened if the Rays blew that came out of proportion.
In the 6th inning, Detroit was batting with 2 outs and one on second. Cabrera singled to right and Joyce made this amazing throw to home plate, but for some reason Shoppach was several feet in front of the plate. By the time he made it back to home, Boesch already scored. Seriously, Shoppach is the only catcher in MLB that does not try to block the runner. If Shoppach just stood on the line between third and home, the runner would have been forced to make a turn and Shoppach could have tagged him. Even if Shoppach didn’t get an out, at least he would have looked like he was doing his job.
So the Rays kept the game 2-1 (Detroit had 2) until the bottom of the 8th. J.P. Howell gave up a walk and a hit, but struck one out. Of course as soon as the pitcher gets an out, Maddon calls him back in. Howell was replaced by Cruz, who ended up throwing a wild pitch, walking Cabrera, and allowing Martinez to double, scoring 2 runs. Then Dirks was intentionally walked, so of course Peralta singles, scoring 2 runs. Cruz was replaced by Ramos to get the final out.
Pitcher Helickson: though he has good stuff, he uses a large number of pitches to get batters out.
Bullpen: failed to keep the game close today
B.J Upton: scored the only run in the game due to a sac-fly by Longo. Though he struck out, as usual, he made an amazing double play in the 5th inning. He managed to walk in the ninth.
Damon: Had 2 hits today against his former team. Had a lead-off double at one point, but Rays failed to bring him in.
Longoria: hit a sac-fly to drive in a run, but he still isn’t coming up with important bats. He’s batting .221 now.
Zobrist: had 1 hit, but didn’t do too much today.
Rodriquez: walked in the 4th.
Lopez: Don’t know why he played today. He’s only hitting .213. He played first base, though we do have Kitchman who is batting .3498.
*Kotchman: only had 1-at-bat, don’t know why he wasn’t playing.
Shoppach: struck out in the 4th when it mattered most. Only got on when he was hit by a pitch. He’s only batting .222 against lefties and .118 against righties.
*Jaso: walked and scored a run in the ninth. He’s batting .375 against lefties and .195 against righties. I don’t know why he wasn’t starting today since his stats are better than Shoppach’s.
*Joyce: Singled and scored a run in the ninth.
Fuld: singled to right and scored two runs in the ninth.
*players that pinch-hitted
Also, Brignac’s grandfather died so keep him and his family in your prayers.
Boston Red Sox was leading Cleveland Indians, 2-1, but allowed 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th. In the top of the 9th, Red Sox had Drew on third and Lowrie on first with one out, but former Ray, Crawford, hit into a double play. Crawford is still making big plays for the Rays.