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.
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.
My sister is a University of South Florida College Nursing student and when she told me that she was going to meet Sam Fuld and then go to the Tampa Bay Rays game, I knew I had to come along. Fuld was going to talk to the nursing students about his experience with type 1 diabetes so that the nurses will know more about it and know how to take care of a child with it. At 11 a.m. on April 4, 2013, the nursing faculty and students were to meet at Gate 4 at Tropicana Field. After parking in the main parking lot, my sister and I walked through the rain to Gate 4. We took elevators down to the field, crossed home plate, and headed to a section in left field to where Fuld would be talking to us. In left field was David Price tossing a ball around, practicing before batting practice even started. After sitting in the stands, an employee announced Sam Fuld, “Or as we call him around here, Super Sam.”
Fuld took the microphone and told us about his experience with diabetes. When he was ten, he was always thirsty and using the restroom, but when he lost ten pounds, his parents knew something was wrong. After taking him to a doctor, the family was told that Fuld’s sugar blood levels were at 500 milligrams per deciliter, way above average. When his parents found out he had type 1 diabetes, they were more worried about him than than he was while his younger sister was wondering why Fuld was receiving more attention than she was. But Fuld’s family always supported him his whole life; whether it was teaching him how to use insulin injections and keep track of his food or cheering him on at little league baseball games or professional baseball.
When Fuld went to college, he realized (like all college students) that mom and dad are not there to make sure you are taking care of yourself. But baseball made him stay disciplined. At a time when some athletes become more concern about girls and parties, Fuld stayed focus on baseball which paid off when he was drafted by Chicago Clubs in 2004. Fuld is now one of the outfielders with the Rays and is known for making tough catches in the outfield, as reason why is nickname is Super Sam. Besides playing baseball, Fuld talks to children with type 1 diabetes to inspire them that they too can lead normal lives. For Sam, he is just paying-it-forward. When he was 12, he met major league pitcher Bill Gullickson. Gullickson also had type 1 diabetes, but still played a professional sport. Gullickson inspired Fuld and Fuld hopes that he will be able to inspire children by hosting “USF Diabetes Sports Camp” in February. At the camp, coaches and athletes with type 1 diabetes teach children with type 1 diabetes how to play sports. Last February, Gullickson was one of these coaches. Fuld hopes that he too can be an idol to children just like Gullickson was to him.
After Fuld was done talking, he allowed the students to ask a few questions. I raised my hand and asked him “ Did anyone ever say to you that you shouldn’t play sports?” He said he wanted to say that “Someone told me no and I showed him” but he actually had encouraging family, coaches, and doctors. But he has heard of coaches being hesitant to put kids in, but he is hoping that the stigma associated with type 1 diabetes will soon die. After the question session, Fuld was whisked away to get ready for batting practice. As he walked by, I told him “Have a great game” to which he replied “thanks!” Because of Fuld, there are now 50 nursing students that are better prepared to take care of a child with type 1 diabetes and his family.
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.
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
Today, April 11th, 2011, the Rays defeated the Red Sox 16-5. If the Rays had a home opener against the Red Sox, the Rays would be at 8-1 instead of 1-8. Stupid Espn and their stupid writers writing about much the Rays suck and will suck all year. Ha! Red Sox suck. At least the Rays are off to a slow start b/c they lost 75% of their players due to money issues and Manny
quit retired from baseball (after the Rays finally had a DH for the first time in years).
- Only Dan Johnson did not have a hit tonight. (On the starting line up).
- Sam Fuld went for the cycle and fell a single short. (Yes, a single- he’d rather hit another double)
- Ortiz hit a triple today (crazy!)
- Former Ray Dan Wheeler pitched today. He’s also Rays’ announcer Dewayne Staat’s son-in-law.
- Rays have a better away record than home record (2-0)
- The Whole Team
- Sam Fuld
- Johnny Damon