Rays Bounce to Win over the Cubbies


Rays 3, Cubs 2


Most people who go to Rays game would be upset with the chant, “Let’s Go Cubbies!”, in the top of the 9th inning last night. To me, it was a sweet melody to savor and enjoy. For the world’s loveable losers were in town for three games, and brought a few thousand of her friends.

I saw people who are normally Rays supporters in Cubbie colors, I saw thousands stand and cheer with Chicago wear on for the Rays after the game. Why don’t Boston and New York fans act like Cubbies?  Because Cub fans relish  winning just like we do.

They do not throw World Series B S in our faces with every at-bat. They know that a simple play or a hot batter can ruin even a Red Sox’s wet dream.

Come again Cubbies, it was fun to chat and bark back and forth with you. You actually have an intelligent way to argue.  You spoke facts and truths, not notions and myths.  Come Back Cubbies, we enjoy a large town fan who can also respect their opponent, plus give credit where credit is due………..And you also got Lou.



Trivia Fact of the Night:

Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson are the only 2 pitchers to ever win the 4 consecutive Cy Young awards.




Evan Longoria must be blessed by the baseball Gods. This rookie has handled more pressure than a tea kettle this season, and responded like an old pro. In the bottom of the 9th inning last night, with the tying run on third, the young Brooks Robinson clone threw a 1-hop throw to first that will live in my mind as a “play to remember” in Rays lore.

Cubbie Reed Johnson, always a true thron in the Rays side, took it upon himself to try and put down a suicide squeeze bunt down the 3rd base side. Longoria was playing a bit deep and had to hustle and bare-hand the ball. He threw a wobbly one-bounce throw to Willy Aybar at first that just got Johnson by a 1/4 of a step to secure the Rays win over the Cubs.



Drama, Drama, Drama.  This team is beginning to believe it can win every night it steps on the turf. Plays like this one can motivate and perculate a team to explode into contenders.  Every year, a team can point to a handful of plays that  turned their seasons upward. I think Longoria, a rookie, even showed a few veterans what it takes last night.

“We were trying to get Longoria to move in, but we’re having this new problem: We can’t hear,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “Our players aren’t used to not being able to hear from the dugout, so we have to do some things signal-wise. He was playing too deep.”



Cliff Floyd quickly ruined our pitcher’s duel by slamming a ball into the rightfield stands in the 2nd inning. It was Floyd’s 6th homer of the season and came against his former team, the Cubs. Floyd also has a 3-game hitting streak going for the Rays.




Scott Kazmir did not start out like our ace tonight. His fastball command and placement was off a bit and he was not getting the plate calls he usually gets from the umpires. 

 Could some of that be backlash for comments made in LA about the umpiring there?  I am not sure that an umpire would purposely blow calls against another pitchers, but some of the calls did smell a little fishy at times. If the ball hits the black it should be called, not rejected by a player’s opinions.

Kazmir did have great movement and placement on his slider and curve and he used those pitches well to set up his fastball. Coming into the game Kazmir was the third most dificult  MLB pitcher to hit off of in the majors. His .187 opposition batting average was only .002 points off the average of Chicago starter Ryan Dempster.


Scott pitched 4.2 innings tonight and was lifted after making 110 pitches.  Kazmir gave up 3-hits and 1-run in that time and got 7 strikeouts before leaving for the night.



Evan Longoria seemed to be in all the right places last night. Be it at the plate or in the field. In the 6th inning, Longoria hit a ball to rightcenter that went off the Rays Tank facing. ( No Rays were hurt in the play. )

It was Evan’s 11th homer of the season, tying him with Carlos Pena for second on the team.  Longoria also currently is 4th in the majors and second in the AL in RBI’s with 33.  Longoria has not hit safely in 38 of his 59 games with the Rays this season. The homer also tied him with Cincy’s Joey Votto and Cubbie Genvany Soto for the lead in the Rookie’s standings.



Rich Herrera, who does the Rays’ post and pre-game shows for the Rays Radio Network walked by me last night and said that, “Troy Percival has really big ones.”

Troy had not one, but two Wild Pitches to the backstop that could have tied up this game last night. Big shiny Balls of steel that clang like a cowbells when he walks from the Bullpen.

In the past, if a team had started to unravel our game like the Cubs did in the 9th inning, Esteban Yan would be sweating up a thunderstorm on the mound. Roberto Henandez would be looking for someone to hit with the ball, and Seth McClung would be talking to himself a mile a minute on the mound.

But then  again, these guys are not first ballot Hall-of -Famers either.

Troy reached back last night and had a consistant low 90’s pumping to the plate. I do not see alot of 94’s and above from him this season, but last night he was pumped up and knew the game was an important one for this young squad.

Percival threw 23 pitches last night, 15 for strikes and really earned his 16th save of the year. The save also puts him within 1 save of  tying Rollie Fingers for 9th All-Time.

Troy is the perfect veteran to have on this squad. He is all business on the field, and is a great example of iced confidience and cold stares in a sea of boiling water. 

This is a huge piece of our puzzle this season. To have Troy and the Bullpen pull up the bootstrings and keep the Rays in the game every night. But Troy, can we make it alittle less Dramatic..my young heart will implode with much more of this every night.



Okay, we had 31,607 fans in the seats last night, that puts the Trop at 76.5 percent full.  Tonight’s game is a another great pitching matchup with Carlos Zambrano going against Andy Sonnanstine. It should be another great barnburner tonight with both teams smelling a win.  A Rays win would give them their 9th straight series win at home this season.

Also of importance, is that this contest will be the featured game on ESPN tonight. For that reason, it is important that as many Rays fans as possible get to the game and show these talking heads in Bristol, Conn., that the Rays do have fans, and that they are for real this season.

Hopefully we can get John Kruk to stumble and stammer on his words after another Rays win………………See you at the Trop!!!!!

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