Rays bats silent in Loss to A’s
I heard a few grumbles and mumbles through the crowds last night with phrases like, “Same old Rays,” or ” Here we go again.”
What is it with people and having faith in this team? Why is it that it has to be a blowout or a 7-game winning streak before the mindset changes and we start to believe. Did the Tampa Bay Bucs not winning a game for a few season sour our optimism that much? Did the Lightning having minimum success the first two years also deminish their Stanley Cup years?
People, we are watching a game where if you get lucky enough to hit a ball 3 times out of 10 chances you are a success. We are watching a game that doesn’t need parity like football, every night any team can win. I do admit, that second thought did creak into my mind for a second last night, but I also know that you can’t win 162 games, and we are only 5 wins away from a winning season.
That is right, with 58 wins in the bucket, we needs 5 to hit 62 and have a winning season. Small goal, but achieveable every year. I am also one of the guys who set 82 wins as my personal goal for the season, but in my mind would have loved 90 plus wins.
This is crunchtime. This is the roadtrip that will set the last few months for the Rays. For that reason, I stay ’til the last out, I stay until I see the guys leave the field and I watch them. I will believe in this team as long as people are upset with a loss, are not settling for excuses and knows they robbed themselves on the turf. I, as a fan, will support them because they will give the effort and sweat nightly.
Last night, the guys seemed to be a bit off center and mentally not there. Maybe we needed this type of game to remind us and themselves that these games are the ones we need to win and show ourselves and others that we are here to stay.
Mentally, the Rays made mistakes on the basepaths and in the field. Had a few brain malfunctions in the box, and played without emotion for the first time in a long while. Maybe the strain of facing 3 straight leftys’ got to our heads. Maybe we just took a night off inside and forgot to tell our bodies.
Carl Crawford went 2-4, with two sizzling singles last night, but the play that you will remember is the baserunning error that caused him to be doubled up at second. On Carlos Pena’s Sacrifice Fly to left, Carl got caught in “no-man’s” land between secoind and third on the play. Instead of heading to third and letting Evan Longoria get to second, Crawford stooped mid base and seemed lost in the basepaths.
He might have no gotten in at third, but he would have made it close. Instead, he wandered between the two bases and was tagged out for the 3rd out of the 3rd inning. Worse part of it, Longoria was stranded on second base.
Then, later in the game, Ben Zorbrist went out to collect a ball from Crawford on a cut-off play and threw the ball past Longoria at third to let Oakland score another run on the overthrow. The Rays had Carlos Gonzalez at thrid on the play with an accurate throw, but Gonzalez was able to score from second on the error from the Rays shortstop.
It was Zorbrist’s second error of the night. His second error was on a catch in the 9th inning that allowed Oakland’s Ryan Sweeney to score and raise the score to 8-1.
Andy Sonnanstaine was going for his 11th win of the season. Only Rolando Arroyo in the Rays first season has hit that plateau this early in the year. Since last Aug. 15th, Sonnanstine is tied for third with Mike Mussina of the Yankees with 15 wins over that peiod of time. Sonnanstine is also only Rays pitcher, besides James Shields, this season to go over 100 innings pitched this season.
With that in mind, you would think if a guy pitched 7 innings and only made one critical mistake, you have a chance to win the ballgame. His mistake was giving a rolling breaking ball to Jack Hananhan that he deposited in Section 148 for a 3-run homer.
Even with a 3 run lead, you would think the Rays could muster enough support for Sonnanstine to get him a win. The fact that the Rays offense have staked Sonnanstine with an average of 3.87 runs a game he starts, should have been enough for a win.
But the Rays bat went silent in the game. Carlos Pena’s Sac. Fly brought in Akinora Iwamura from third for the lone Tampa Bay run in the 3rd inning. It gave the Rays the first lead of the game, and it lasted until Hanahan’s homer in the 4th inning.
Besides Crawford’s 2 hits, Iwamura, Pena, Longoria and Dioner Navarro and Zorbrist also hit singles for the Rays. In all, the Rays managed 7 hits off rookie Dallas Braden. Braden handcuffed the Rays for 5 innings, giving up only 4 of those hits before the A’s bullpen finished the job.
Tampa Bay did only strike out 4 times in the game, a sign that the Rays batter’s were being patient with the rookie. The Rays Jonny Gomes, Navarro,Longoria and Iwamura got walks in the contest.
On the radio on the way home, people were blasting Rays reliever Trever Miller on the radio. I sit behind the Bullpen mound and I can tell you, I did not see his best stuff tonight, but I also know that control has never been a huge issue with Miller in the past. He is having a bit of a control situation right now, and becuase he is a veteran, people are turning on him.
People, not every night can you have your best stuff. For most of the year, Trever has been “lights out” for us. The past three games he has had some control and pitch placement situations. But, as a professional, I know he will work on it and be back to his old self.
It is real easy for us in the stands to say a negative comment. But if you have never played beyond Little League, you have no idea of what you are talking about here. Pitching is a artform where it is more a feel for the ball then a mechanical manuver. For a pitcher to be great, he has to feel the ball is coming off his hand right, or adjust on the fly to get it past the batter.
Some nights that doesn’t happen. Everyone has a bad night. Trever is due to at least have us be patient and not throw him under the bus for a few select bad nights.
Bad news is, the Boston Red Soxs won in Seattle last night 4-2. That pulls them within 1/2 game of first place in the AL East.
But the team had better keep a closer eye on is the streaking New York Yankees who are now only 3 1/2 games behind us. If you remember, the Yankees were 6 games back last week, and they have won 5 straight ballgames.