Tagged: Texas Rangers

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!

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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.