Rays Power Their Way Past Halos




Rays 6, Angels 4



During this series, we will learn more about our club than if we can win or lose these three contests. We might just see if we can stay in a game with a team that matches up quite perfect for us. Both the Angels and the Rays have a superior home win record to boast a pretty even series if played on either teams’ home turf.

But, if we can win our division and have the best record in the AL, it might just trigger something extra special in that the 3, or 4 games needed to win a playoff series could come out of the Trop. And as we all know, the Trop is a pit of cowbells and mass noise this season.

By our sweep victories against the Angels and Red Sox this season, we can establish that a short series could benefit and work into the Rays favor this year. No one other than the Angels in the AL, can boast to have a advantage in their home park like we have encountered this season. And if these two teams meet in the post season, it will be fireworks from the first pitch.

Some teams just match up well becuase of the players and the pitchers on a squad. These two teams match up well because they have both been built on the same premise. Every player believes he can make a contribution. Every pitcher believes he can win when he hits the mound, and every fan believe in both of those thoughts. These three factors can have a monsterious effect on a team’s mental and emotional outlook. And if good vibrations is just a Cali thing, then we have packaged some up and sent it to be transplanted in the Florida sunshine.







Andy Sonnanstine is a pretty mild-mannered guy. You would not expect him to be the guy at the forefront of this playoff push with 13 wins in the season. He is guy who just goes out and competes, and if the cards are lined up right, he will come home with a win. Sonnanstine has average pitches, but fantastic control to enable him to hit the black on the corner of the plate, and not be afraid to throw a breaking ball even with a 3-2 count to a batter.

 It is this confidience and ability that has shown brightly for Sonnanstine this year for the Rays. In one of his biggest starts  of the season, Sonnanstine effectively handled the high scoring Angels to 3 runs over 5.1 innings and improved to 13-6 for the Rays this year. Sonnanstine threw 104 pitches and effectively used his slider and change up to keep the Angels bats at bay for much of the contest.

In his 25th start of the season, Sonnanstine tied Scott Kazmir’s 2007 record with his 13th vicotyr of the season. The all-time leader in wins for the Rays , Rolando Arrojo has 14th wins, and is in jeapoardy of losing that record in Sonnanstine’s next start.  Sonnanstine is a combined 2-4 against the AL West this season, and 11-2 against everyone else in the majors this year. Andy has now allowed 3 earned runs or less in 13 of his last 15 starts for the Rays.



B J Upton again learned the value of knowning your surroundings as he was picked off by a heads up play by Angels first baseman, Mark Teixeria on a ball hit to deep right center in the bottom of the 4th inning. Teixieria was trailing the play, when Upton broke for second base for a double. Teixeria sneaked in behind Upton and tagged him as he was strolling into second base to end the Rays’ offensive spurt.

Upton looked dazed and confused as he lingered on second for a few moments before surrendering to the fact that the Angel got him again not huslting at 100 percent. Upton was expecting to go into second without incident, before Teixeria tagged him out.  I do not expect a disciplinary action after this, it is just that Upton might have finally gotten that wake up call he has been sleeping through by the Angel’s hustling effort.

Cliff Floyd said before Sunday’s contest that he could see himself watching television after he retires and still see Upton playing ball, but that the desire and the hustle have to be there for him to be successful.  Amen, Cliff, Amen.



To Upton’s credit, he did have an impressive play in the outfield in the 6th inning to rob Juan Riveria of a extra base hit. Upton took a great route on a fluttering ball to deep center over his shoulder to keep the Angels from having a big inning on the Rays.





Eric Hinske has been on a bit of a homer roll lately for the Rays. This is not a huge surprise to the team, and is a welcome sight because of his increased playing time since Carl Crawford’s injury. Hinske hit a 2-run homer in the 2nd inning to give the Rays an earlyt lead in this ballgame, 2-0.

Hinske’s homer was his 19th of the season. Hinske also had an RBI single in the 3rd inning after Cliff Floyd’s homer to  right.  In his last 6 games, Hinske is batting .434, with 10 hits in his last 23 at bats.  He also has 10 RBI’s in his last 37 games . Hinske went 2-3 in the game and has inceased his average to .256 this season.

Since Crawford’s injury, Hinske has been effective as a replacement in leftffield handling the task with great ease. But it is his bat at the plate that has stood out for the Rays’ since Crawford’s absence. Hinske has responded by hitting the ball cleanly and effectively to help the Rays in this injury-plaqued month. Hinske has to consider this a great time to come alive both in the field and at the plate to help secure a spot with the Rays in 2009.







Cliff Floyd has been on fire lately at the plate for the Rays. Floyd is actually looking as calm and collected at the plate as when he was a member of the World Champion Marlins’ in 1997. Floyd has been a monster on the basepaths, and has not shown any effects of his two sore knees during this past two weeks.

Floyd has gone 8-20 in the last 5 games, with 8 runs scored. Prior to this offensive outspurt, Floyd was hitting .156 on the road for the Rays. Last night, Floyd hit a liner drive 2-run homer to right that just cleared the yellow line to put the Rays up 5-0 on the Angels. Floyd also had a infield hit to first in the 5th inning.

Floyd has been the emotional leader in the Rays clubhouse all year, but now that the playoff push is in full gear, he has been more and more vocal almost nightly into the Ray’s push for their first playoff spot. Floyd has been a excellient example on the baepaths and at the plate in what it will take to finally get that spot and succeed in the playoffs.






Also having a huge week for the Rays has been Willy Aybar. Aybar filling in for the injured Evan Longoria at third base hit .306 on the recent roadtrip, with 7 extra base hits. Aybar has been another great example of players coming off the bench and filling the offensive void for the Rays during this recent injury situation. Aybar went 3-4 last night with 3 singles last night. Aybar also scored 2 runs last night for the Rays.



Gabe Gross also had an RBI single to complete the Rays’ scoring last night in the 8th inning. The run helped boost the Rays to 6-4, and cushion the victory margin for the Rays. Gross did hesitate a moment on his advancement  from first to second, and almost repeated the Upton error situation from prior in the game. Gross did get into second without incident.



With the victory, the Rays have tied the Angels for wins in tha AL, with 74 wins. This will be significant in the coming weeks to help determine the opponent, and the team we face in the playoffs. I know I am talking all “playoffs” right now, but I also feel it is better to be positive than to struggle with phrase like, “need to”, or ” critical that we….”  right now.

When on a win “high” it seems also most intoxicating to just keep the positives and the high-fives coming. I have no reason to doubt that the Rays can keep this momentium going for the next month, even with 28 of the following game against teams above .500 right now.

The level of competition will actually help the Rays more than it hurts them. By playing at a optimium level, the team will keep their emotional level and expectations high for the next month. And that could just be the simple answer to winning in September.









Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: