Tagged: Matt Joyce

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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Shields, Royals Embarrass Rays

Today the Tampa Bay Rays faced former Ray pitcher James Shield. As every fan knows, Shields has been part of the Rays organization for 12 years and leads many of the pitching records for the team. He (along with pitcher Wade Davis and infielder Elliot Johnson) was traded during the off-season for several prospects, including power-hitter Wil Myers. Before today’s game, several Rays’ players, coaches, and reporters spent time catching up with Shields.

 

Rays Lineup

 

  • Desmond Jennings CF
  • Matt Joyce LF
  • Ben Zobrist RF
  • Evan Longoria 3B
  • James Loney 1B
  • Yunel Escobar SS
  • Luke Scott DH
  • Jose Molina C
  • Ryan Roberts 2B
  • Alex Cobb P

Royals Lineup

 

  •  Alex Gordon LF
  • Alcides Escobar SS
  • Billy Butler DH
  •  Eric Hosmer 1B
  • Lorenzo Cain CF
  • Mike Moustakas 3B
  • Jeff Francoeur RF
  • Salvaador Perez C
  • Elliot Johnson 2B
  • James Shields P

Game Recap:

James Shields

James Shields (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Due to Cobb and Shields both being amazing pitchers, the game was expected to be a low-scoring game. To the surprise of many, the Rays quickly took the lead in the 1st inning. Lead-off hitter Desmond Jennings singled and then Matt Joyce hit a 2-run homerun, making it 2-0. Ben Zobrist flied out, Evan Longoria walked, and James Loney doubled to make it two-on, one-out, but Yunel Escobar and Luke Scott both struck out to end the inning. In the bottom of the 1st, Alex Cobb allowed only one hit to Billy Butler.
The Royals had a small threat in the bottom of the 2nd when there were two men on with two outs, but Cobb was able to get Elliot Johnson to fly out to left field. The Royals almost scored a run in the 5th inning when Johnson singled with two outs. Johnson stole 2nd then moved to 3rd on a wild pitch by Cobb. Luckily, Cobb struck out Alex Gordon.

 

In the 6th, Cobb was able to get Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler to ground out, but he allowed Eric Hosmer to double, Lorenzo Cain to single, and Mike Moustakas to homer, making it 3-2 in favor of the Royals. The Royals weren’t done – Jeff Francoeur doubled and Salvador Perez singled, making it 4-2. After allowing six straight hits with 2 outs, Cobb was replaced by Jamey Wright who was able to get Gordon to ground out. The Royals continued to score runs in the 7th inning while the Rays (pitching, defense, offense) all fell apart. With Brandon Gomes pitching in the 7th, Alcides Escobar singled and stole a base. Gomes struck out Butler and intentionally walked Eric Hosmer and then the Rays’ defense fell apart. Lorenzo Cain singled to center field – though three players were capable of catching the ball, none of them did. When Jeff Francoeur was batting, Cain stole 2nd base and Hosmer scored by a throwing error by catcher Jose Molina. Jeff Francoeur triples, making it 7-2.

 

In the top of the 8th, James Shields is replaced by Kelvin Herrera. Matt Joyce is the only player to make it to 1st – the Rays’ poor offense once again makes its appearance. When the Royals were batting, Cesar Ramos became the new pitcher and walked Elliot Johnson. Johnson ends up scoring a run  after a single and two sac-flies. In the 9th, Loney leads off with a single and makes to third when Escobar singles and gets thrown out at second. With Loney on third with one out, Scott flies out to center and Molina strikes out – Rays lose 8-2. What was supposed to be an exciting pitching match between Alex Cobb and James Shields ended up being an embarrassing Rays’ loss.

 

Random Facts

 

  • Alex Cobb entered the game with 10 wins since August 1, 2012 – tied for the most in MLB in that span.
  • With Matt Joye’s home run today, that is a team-record tying 15 straight games with a homer for the Rays (record was set in 2009).
  • Since Matt Joyce’s hit lead-off on Friday, he’s homered three times in four games, and has six RBI over that stretch
  • James Shields’ wife and parents came to the game today – they must be in a good mood.
  •  With Luke Scott being called up, Shelley Duncan was sent down to the minors.
  • 9 out of 14 games the Rays have lost after having the lead.

Around the League:

 

  • On Monday, the New York Yankees lost to the Houston Astros for the first time since 2003. Former Ray Carlos Pena had 1 RBI and 1 Run in that game for the Astros.
  • Kevin Youkilis is back on the DL for his sore back.
  • Another slow start for the Los Angeles Angels may mean coach Michael Scioscia may be out of a job.

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.

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

Tampa Bay Rays Promotion Schedule


The Tampa Bay Rays have released the promotion schedule for the 2013 baseball season.

Promotion

Date

Time

Opponent

Requirement

Schedule Magnet

April 2
Tuesday

3:10

Orioles

All Fans

David Price Cy Young Figurine

April 6
Saturday
7:10 Indians First 20,000 Fans
Evan Longoria Wall Cling April 7
Sunday
1:40 Indians Kids 14 & Under
Drawstring Bag April 21
Sunday
1:40 Athletics Kids 14 & Under
Joe Maddon Gnome April 24
Wednesday
7:10 Yankees First 10,000 Fans
Rays Flower Pot May 12
Sunday
1:40 Padres First 10,000 Women
Rays Snap Watch May 26
Sunday
1:40 Yankees Kids 14 & Under
Rays Rope Necklaces June 9
Sunday
1:40 Orioles Kids 14 & Under
Jeremy Hellickson Headphones June 16
Sunday
1:40 Royals Kids 14 & Under
Cheer Stix June 26
Wednesday
12:10 Blue jays Kids 14 & Under
Matt Joyce Race Car June 30
Sunday
1:40 Tigers Kids 14 & Under
Evan Longoria Retro Bobblehead July 6
Saturday
7:15 White Sox First 20,000 Fans
Super Zo Utility Belt July 7
Sunday
1:40 White Sox Kids 14 & Under
Cheer Stix July 11
Thursday
12:10 Twins Kids 14 & Under
DJ Kitty Confetti Globe July 14
Sunday
1:40 Astros Kids 14 & Under
Rays Backpack August 4
Sunday
1:40 Giants Kids 14 & Under
Rays Lunchbox August 18
Sunday
1:40 Blue Jays Kids 14 & Under
Moore Cowbell August 24
Saturday
7:10 Yankees First 10,000 Fans
Jennings the Jet Action Figure August 25
Sunday
1:40 Yankees Kids 14 & Under
Raymond Bobble Belly September 22
Sunday
1:40 Orioles Kids 14 & Under