Tagged: Jason Hammel

Spring watch – 28/2-2/3

As it turns out, I got home in plenty of time to watch the Rays-Phillies matchup on Saturday evening. And it turned out to be a bit of a slugfest at a breezy Bright House Field in Clearwater. Mitch Talbot  – one of the outsiders for the rotation’s fifth spot – was starting for the Rays, and suffered a rough first inning. He gave up five runs and three homeruns before getting out of it. Still, he came back and pitched a scoreless second and third, so it wasn’t a total disaster for him…

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The little team that could

How else could the season end?

Its like the team squeezed down the essence of the year and filled it all into game 162, just to show the world, if they didn’t know already, what these Rays are all about.

A come-from-behind, battling, never-give-up, blown save, extra innings, come-back-again, amazing defense, unlikely hero win. A story that has almost become the norm rather than the exception this season. Indeed, I can barely remember a single win out of the 97 (yes, ninety-seven) this year that hasn’t either been come-from-behind, battling, or involved an unlikely hero. Its just the way things happen these days when you’re watching the Rays.

Consider that the Rays, in a final warm-up before the playoffs (how great does that sound?!) used 8 pitchers and 14 position players…

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Net lagged: The Rays effect

You know the story. A nightmare start to the roadtrip. More injuries. A struggling offense.

And then the Rays effect takes over.

Due to one thing and another, I’ve just finished watching Wednesday night’s game three of the Boston series. I watched games one and two on Wednesday and Thursday, hence the longer than usual net lag delay. But, in the end, it was worth the wait.

After arriving in Boston, things started with a scare as reliever Juan Salas had an epileptic seizure. He’s fine, and back with the team, but its harldly a calming way to start a crucial series. Then the game came, Edwin Jackson gave up three runs in the first inning, and things looked grim…

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The rookie marches on

So, the Tigers have had to wait until August to get a firsthand look at Evan Longoria. Two games into the series, and I think that it is fair to say that they now believe the hype. He followed up a homerun on Friday night with a 3-5, 3 RBI effort last night, including his team-high 21st homerun of the season, a number that ties Jonny Gomes’ team rookie record. He obviously continued his sharp play in the field as well, and swiped his seventh base of the season to boot. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, then seriously, whats stopping you?!

That steal came on the back-end of a double steal, led by Carl Crawford – his first stolen base for 18 games. But while he hasn’t been swiping much of late, CC has found his bat stroke a bit more, not to mention his wheels out of the batters box. He tripled on friday night, to make it 5 three-baggers in 6 games, and move his AL-high mark to 10. I’ve said it before, but there is no play in baseball that is more fun to watch than CC flying around the bases on his way to a triple…

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Net lag: Lucky 13

Watching Monday night’s game yesterday, I was struck by just one single thought as the game neared its finish – “please, not another walk-off!” And, after falling to two consecutive walk-off defeats in St Louis, the bullpen was indeed back on form yesterday, denying Oakland 5 opportunities to wrap up the game with a single swing…

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The plot thickens…

The fun in Rays-world continues! Three games at Camdem Yards, 2 wins, and suddenly its May 2 and the Rays are sitting in first place in the AL East (on percentage points) at 16-12. How ’bout that?!

I watched games one and two of the series, but missed the finale yesterday afternoon…

………………………………………..

Right, so that brings us up to date with the action, but not on the big decision that is coming the Rays’ way this weekend. Who should stay and who should go?

Here is the Rays’ pitching staff as is currently stands…

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Sox sweep!

Don’t worry, I’m changing the record – last night wasn’t a battling performance by the Rays. It was a simply brilliant performance. And it rounded off one of the best series I have ever watched – not just because the Rays swept the BoSox; not just because of how well the Rays played; but because it was some of the highest quality baseball you will see.

Ok, so the bats for both teams were somewhat quiet. But that was for no other reason than the outstanding pitching that was on display…

You can read the rest of this entry HERE at RAP’s new home