Rocco Helps Rays beat White Sox




Rays 9, White Sox 4



I always look forward to the Chicago White Sox and Rays series during the year. White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen always has a few surprises in his oral comments, and usually has a few up his sleeves for the Rays on the basepaths.


And in this series, Ozzie did something I thought would not happen, he was actually commenting positive about the Rays upward climb through the league. Guillen finished his playing career as a Tampa Bay Devilray. He then went into coaching in the minors before getting his shot with the White Sox.


Guillen has always been counted on for saying his mind and not worrying about the backlash or the pitfalls. you got to respect a guy for not being afraid of even the MLB office when you comment that “I do throws at guys,” pertaining to the plucking of batters by pitching staffs throughout the league. Such a vocal hurricane can get you in a mountain of trouble with the league and even your own team management. But Guillen plays it all off as part of the game, and if they are that sensitive, they should find another line of work.  Gotta love Ozzie!




Edwin Jackson is showing more and more ever start that he can be the pitcher the Rays can depend on come playoff time. Jackson got his 10th win of the season Friday night by throwing 97 pitches over 6 innings and leaving the game with the Rays up 3-2.


Jackson can attribute his new found success to his late breaking slider that has become a great weapon to catch AL batters’ off guard this season. On the night, Jackson was determined to make as many first pitch strikes as possible to put the White Sox batters’ in an early hole.  This was the third time this season that Jon Danks and Jackson have toed the mound against each other, with Danks winning 2 out of 3 against Jackson.



Edwin got in trouble in the bottom of the 4th inning as Ken Griffey Jr. got a lead-off single to leftfield for the Sox.  Nick Swisher then came up and hit a  2-run homer on a 3-2 count to put the White Sox up early 2-0. 



In the 4th inning, Rays Manager, Joe Maddon saw something in the way the baserunners were leaning and called two straight pitchouts on Juan Uribe and Orlando Cabrera to record two straight putouts at second base. The  caught stealing calls erased a single by Uribe and a walk to Cabrera to smother the White Sox threat.



The Rays tried to get a lead early in the 2nd inning, but Rocco Baldelli was tagged out by Danks at home.  Baldelli got walked by Danks and advanced on Willy Aybar broken bat hit to left. Baldelli tried to score on Ben Zobrists’ short grounder in front of the plate, in which Danks tagged Baldelli out at home.



Dioner Navarro then hit a sacrifice fly to left, and Aybar was also tagged out at home by A J Pierzenski to end the 2nd inning. In the 5th inning, the Rays finally  put a run across the plate when Akinora Iwamura hit a triple that 1-hopped to the  leftfield  wall and Navarro came in to put the Rays on the board.



In the 6th inning, Carlos Pena hit his 26th homer on a 3-2 count to center to tie the score 2-2. The homer was only the 12th homer given up by Danks this season. In the 7th inning, Navarro lead off with a double down the leftfield line, and then scored on Jason Bartlett’s 1-hop double to leftcenter. At that point, Danks had thrown 100 pitches and he was replaced by Guillen.


In the 8th inning, the Rays exploded for 3 runs against the White Sox relievers. Rocco Baldelli started the scoring with his first homer since May 3, 2007 to the leftfield bleachers. Baldelli hit a 0-1 pitch off   White Sox reliever Matt Thorton for his first of the year. Willy Aybar hit a ball off the leftfield wall to end up at second base with Zobrist at the plate.


Zobrist then connected on  a 2-run homer to complete the Rays scoring in the inning. In the 9th inning, the Rays again put up 3 runs as B J Upton lead off the inning with his third walk of the night. Upton then beat out a pick-off play by the White Sox when Nick Swisher tried to go across BJ’s body to get the throw to first base. Swisher’s throw did not get Upton at second base in time.


 Upton then  came around to score on Pena’s blast into the rightfield corner that bounced away from Jermain Dye and put the Rays up 7-4. Baldelli then came up and hit an RBI single that scored Pena. Baldelli ended up coming around and scoring on Zobrists’ single to leftfield.



The win gave the Rays the best record in baseball at 78-49 on the year. It was also a memorible night for Joe Maddon who tied Rays’ ex-Manager, Larry Rothchild for overall team victories.  Maddon now has 205 wins as the Rays skipper and will be going for the all time lead tomorrow afternoon against the White Sox. The win also help give the Rays a leg up as they are going for their first series win at U S Cellular Field since April 1998.



Coming into this series, White Sox starting catcher AJ Pierzynski has allowed 80 stolen bases this season. That is second worst in the AL this year.



Rays reliever J P Howell had a bad night in Chicago giving up 2 runs on 1 hit and letting the Sox back into the game at the time 6-4. Howell has been alsmost automatic at times this season, but seemed to be struggling with his off speed pitches against the White Sox. At one point, it seemed that the Sox were waiting on Howell’s slider and setting up for it. Howell pitched one inning for the Rays before leaving the game.



Jason Hammel then came on to pitch in the bottom of the 9th inning and got the White Sox 1-2-3 to end the game for the Rays.





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