Red Sox Dissect Rays Pitching for Win



here we are with the second half of the home and home series today in Fort
Myers. The Rays kind of put the Red Sox fans in the back of their seats
yesterday, but today’s contest is a whole different ball game. Not only will the
Red Sox be in their home stadium, but they will have the multitudes of Red Sox
fans who love to cheer on their team. I do have to make a note that yesterday’s
game had a total of 7,148 fans in and around the stadium, which is a new record
for this young stadium location. I do have to say that at some point in the
berms and the outfield it was total standing room


I do
have a huge suggestion to the Rays and the Sandcrabs for future games in this
stadium. It seems that we need a secondary speaker system throughout the
outfield section of the stadium. Maybe a series of those upside down speakers
that look like  free standing light poles could be put in areas around the kids
area and near the boardwalk and Tiki Hut. You can hear the game, but you get a
delayed  sight to sound response because of no audio out in that area of the
ball park. I play my game day audio from my laptop to hear it no matter where I
am in the stadium, but some games are not on the radio.  Just a thought. Now
let’s get back to our Sunday recap of the Rays versus the Red Sox


The Rays
sent Wade Davis, one of their top prospects from Triple-A to the mound today.
Davis has been tweaking a few of his pitches and has had a few outstanding
performances this spring. But he is penciled into be sent to the minor league
camp sometime in the near future to begin his season in Triple-A again for the
Durham Bulls. Davis will make his major league debut sometime in 2009 with the
club, but I do not see him winning the fifth rotation spot this spring. With
that said, another guy who might have pitched his way out of contention for the
fifth spot is Mitch Talbot. But if you really consider the top three pitchers
for the Rays at their Triple-A level in 2009 of David Price, Davis and Talbot.
There are club throughout baseball who would love to have that kind of
consistent staff starters in their

game got off to start with the Boston Red Sox sending Justin Masterson to the
mound. The wild thing about Masterson is that he can be in the same boat as Jeff
Niemann and Jason Hammel this year. He can be both a starter or a reliever for
the team and might make some heads turn with a great outing today. With Brad
Penny not throwing yet in Spring Training, he could get a start or two early in
the year, then settle into the Bullpen for 2009.  Fernando Perez lead off for
the Rays today and quickly hit a grounder to Julio Lugo, who was
playing shortstop today for Boston. Adam Kennedy then struck out. Evan Longoria
then hit another grounder to Nick Green  who threw out Longoria to end the
inning 1-2-3 for Boston.


Davis came out for the Rays and gave up a sharply hit single down the third base
line that eluded Longoria. Rocco Baldelli then came up and hit a ball to
Longoria that he quickly threw to Kennedy at second base to force out Lugo.
Jason Varitek then came up and struck out.  J D Drew then walked to put me at
first and second base. Lars Anderson then hit a RBI single through the hole at
short into left field and the throw to the plate was cut off and Baldelli scored
to put Boston in front 1-0. Zack Deages then struck out to end the Boston rally
stranding two runners on base.


Masterson again came out for the top of the second inning and got
Carlos Pena to strike out to lead off the inning. Dioner Navarro then hit a long
fly ball to left field that Zack Daeges caught for the second out. Gabe Gross
then hit a single to right center field for the first Rays hot of the day.Morgan
Ensberg then came up and struck out to end the Rays chances in the


also again took the mound for the Rays  and got Jonathan Van Every to hit a ball
down the first base line and covered first for a flip from Pena for the first
out. Green then took the first pitch from Davis and drilled it past the left
field fence and onto the adjacent field’s dugout for a solo home run. Ivan Ochoa
then put a nice bunt down the third base line to get an infield single. Lugo
then came up and hit a screaming RBI double to left center field to easily score
Ochoa. Baldelli then struck out. Varitek came up and hit a single to left field
that split the outfielders, but Lugo tired to score from second base and was
thrown out at the plate by Ray Sadler in left field to end the inning. Boston
was ahead at that point 3-0 over the


Masterson came out for his third inning and quickly got Sadler to
hit a grounder to Lugo, who got him in time at first base. Elliot Johnson then
hit a  fly ball to Drew in right field for the second out of the inning. Perez
then came up and hit  a ball to the left of Masterson that he quickly picked up
and fired to first barely getting Perez in time. At that point, Masterson had
gone 3 innings and had given up only 1 hit, with 3 strike outs against the


came to the mound in the top of the third again for the Rays and got Drew to hit
a quick fly ball to Gross in right field for the first out.  Anderson then
walked to give Boston their first runner of the inning. Daeges then hit a
2-run home run to right-center field. Van Every hit a foul pop-out to Longoria
and quickly the Red Sox had two outs in the inning. Green then came up and hit a
double to left field and after that Rays Manager Joe Maddon came out to make a
pitching change. The Rays brought in Calvin Medlock, who quickly gave up a RBI
single to Ochoa to right field.  Lugo then came up and hit a double to left
field that scored Ochoa. For the day, Lugo went 3-3 against Rays pitching.
Baldelli then came up and hit a foul pop-up to first base to end the inning with
the Red Sox up 7-0.



In the fourth inning, the Red Sox sent closer Jonathan Papelbon to
the mound to face the Rays. He got Kennedy to strike out to lead off the inning.
Longoria then took his first pitch to right-center field for a single. Pena then
struck out to give the Rays one last out in the inning. Navarro hit a single to
left field, but Longoria stopped at second on the play.  Gross then came up and
struck out to end the inning. Even though Papelbon gave up two hits in the
inning, all three outs were


Day came out for the Rays in the bottom of the fourth inning. He quickly got
Varitek to ground out. He then fooled Drew with a nice breaking ball for a
strikeout.  Anderson then came on and hit a hard smash to Chris Richard, who was
now on first for the Rays. Day was backing up Richards on the play and Richards
tossed the ball to Day, who dropped the ball. Day was given an error on the play.
Daeges struck out to end the Red Sox


heralded prospect Daniel Bard then took the mound for the Red Sox. In a recent
game, Bard had thrown over 100 mph on the stadium’s jugs gun.  He got Ensberg to
strikeout for the first out of the inning. Sadler then followed with a
strikeout. Bard completed the trio as he got Johnson to also strike out to send
the Rays down 1-2-3 in the inning. At that point in the game, the Rays had
struck out swinging in six straight at bats, with only Gross being a called
third strike.


Day came
out again for the Rays and walked Van Every to lead off the inning. Green then
hit a fly out to Sadler that he easily caught for the first out. Ochoa was
fooled on a breaking pitch outside for a strikeout. Lugo then walked to give
Boston two men on base in the inning. George Kottaras then pinch hit and was hit
by the pitch to load the bases with two outs. With Varitek at the plate, Day
threw a wild pitch and Van Every tried to score from third base on the play.
Navarro quickly got the ball to Day, who tagged out Van Every before he reached
the plate for the third out of the



pitcher Junichi Tazawa then came on to pitch for Boston. Tazawa was the young
pitcher that did not go into the Japanese Baseball League before signing with
Boston this off season.  He might not make the 25-man roster of the big club
this year, but this was the first time the Rays would see him pitch outside of
Japan.  Tazawa’s first pitch to Perez was rifled into center field for a lead
off single. Kennedy then hit a double into left center field that scored Perez
from first base.  Longoria then struck out for the first out of the inning.
Richard also struck out, and Varitek threw a strike to third base to nail
Kennedy who was trying to advance on the play for the final out of the


Abreu then took the mound for the Rays. He got Varitek to quickly fly out to
right field for the first out. Josh Reddick, who came in to replace Drew in
right field then hit a fly ball to Johnson at shortstop. Anderson then hit a fly
to Longoria to complete the first 1-2-3 inning for the Rays today.  But Boston
still lead 7-1 in the game.
Tazawa came back out for the eighth inning and quickly got Reid
Brignac, who came in to play shortstop to strike out. He then got Ben Zorbrist,
who came in to play second base to fly out to center field, The Ensberg struck
out to give Boston a 1-2-3 inning against the




again took the mound for Tampa Bay and he went straight to work striking out
Daeges to lead off the inning.  At that point, Abreu had gone 4-up, 4- down for
the Rays Maddon again came out and swapped Abreu for Chad Orvella with one out
in the inning. Orvella, who is fighting for a roster spot after coming back from
a shoulder injury gave up a towering solo shot to right field to the next
batter, Van Every. This is the second homer in two days against the Rays for Van
Every.  Gil Velazquez  then hit ball to Chris Nowak at third base. Nowak got off
a bad throw that seemed to two-hop before Richard dug it out at first for an out.
Ochoa ended the inning by striking


The Rays
sent Rule-5 player Derek Rodriguez to the mound for the 8th inning.  Rodriguez,
who the Rays picked up off the Rule 5 draft from the Red Sox, quickly got
Argenis Diaz to fly out to right to start off the inning.  Kottaras also hit a
long fly ball to right that Justin Ruggiano caught for the second out. Pinch
hitter Carlos Maldonado then hit a slicer to Brignac at shortstop that he
quickly threw to first to get Boston 1-2-3 in the
inning . In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Red Sox sent Michael Bowden to the mound. Rugginao lead off the inning with a single to center field. He then stole second base to put himself in scoring position for the Rays. Johnson then walked. The Rays then attempted a double-steal with Johnson and Ruggiano taking second and third base respectively. John Jaso the  struck out for the first out of the inning. Jon Weber then hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Ruggiano. Weber has no produced 7 RBI’s in the last two games for the Rays. Chris Nowak then hit a pop-out to first base to end the rally for the Rays.


Jones took the mound to try and preserve the Red Sox victory. Jones is a
prospect in the Red Sox system who once broke his arm in three spots and had to
have multiple plates in his arm to heal the bones correctly. He gave up a
lead-off single to Richard to right center field. Brignac then struck out on a
nice called third strike. Zorbrist hit a ball to center that was easily caught
by Van Every. that left the Rays with one out to play with against the Red Sox.
Tim Beckham came up as a pinch hitter and hit a sharp ball to Diaz, but he
quickly threw the ball to end the game for the Rays. the final score was 8-2
Boston. It also marked the first win in three tries against the Rays this


For the
Rays, the game seemed to bring out some impatience in the Rays batters. For the
day they struck out 15 times, including 4 times to Tazawa in the game. For the Rays to
be productive against any team, mush less the Red Sox, they must be patient at
the plate. Tomorrow the Rays will again travel to Fort Myers where they will
take on the Minnesota Twins in a 1:05 contest. Leftie Scott Kazmir will be
making his spring debut on the mound for the

Photo credits for today’s blog
go to,



It’s still spring training and I will not panic. I’ll just keep reminding myself that this is not the team that we’re going to break camp with. I really wish I could get some of these games… But come hell or high water I WILL find a way to follow the game tomorrow afternoon. There HAS to be a way…I simply refuse to miss any of Kaz’s games this year. (I didn’t last year – so why start now!) I just hope when I go to the game in Toronto in early July that he’ll be pitching. ***fingers crossed***

I was wondering if you were at this game! I love the picture of Johnny Pesky. I know it’s just Spring Training – but I thought my boys looked good in this game and I just can’t get use to Papelbon coming in in the 4th inning!


The game was not on MLB Game cast today. But he did okay for his first start of the year.
He went 2 innings and gave up 3 hits and 1 earned run.
The biggest play of the game might be the 4 shutout innings by Jeff Niemann today.
If he doesn’t falter, I think the 5-slot is his come April.

Rays Renegade

I was at the game only because I left my laptop in Port Charlotte and had to go get it last night. I was going to stay for the Twins game, but decided I would be in enough trouble if I did not pick up the munchkins from school today.

Because they are so close, there will be more games in 2010 between these two teams. I actually think they make both teams better for the season. Good competition breeds good instincts at the plate and the mound.

Rays Renegade

I found a place where I can listen to the games…on an American radio station that I can get on cloudy days…sometimes I like living close to upstate NY…too bad the game was OVER when I found the station…
Oh well, I guess missing one spring training game won’t kill me. It’s the regular season that counts…right? Glad to hear Scott did well. :0) Neimann has impressed me. From all the reviews I hear of him, he’s going to be a good addition!

All he has to do now is just be consistent and the Rays will love him. But considering he is a 6 foot 9 inch pitcher, the prospect of having someone throwing downhill at batters is a great thing for the 5-spot.

He was hurt for two years and almost got labeled in the minor leagues. I am glad he had put up great number ( 1.0 ERA this spring).

Rays Renegade

Wow the Renegade is now giving recommendations on stadium accoustics?! What can’t this guy do?!

it is an outdoor stadium that you can not hear the game being called until a few seconds after the play. I think it is a good thing to have a speak down by the kids area so they can hear that a ball might be heading that way.

There are no spotter down there and I think it is only time until someone gets pegged either in B P or a game down there. I love sitting at the Tiki Bar, and they like the fact I have a MLB.TV feature so I can hear the game live. Make friends for you real fast.

As usual, they are suggestions that will never be seen by the team, so they might never be addressed until 2010.

Rays Renegade

Yeah, I think picking the kids up from school would be a good idea. Schools seem to frown on parents leaving them there. Although tempting for parents from time to time…(Joking)
Seriouly he’s 6 foot 9? Ok, that’s pretty much giant status to me…and I thought Lackey was tall at 6 foot 6!

Oh they are not mine.
I am just helping a neighbor out. Mine are grown and gone already. But I do watch them from about 1 :30 to 6 every day until baseball season starts..then they are on their own.

Rays Renegade

Hasn’t baseball season started? Oh wait, the regular season, gotcha! :) I hear ya, I seem to be the resident babysitter around my neighborhood! LOL!
When are batting practices usually held? I want to take my son to a ball game this summer, but he really wants meet some of the Rays (ok, so do I!). Is there a way to find out when to get to the field for that?

The Rays are usually on the field when they let fans in on Friday and Sat night games 2 hours before the first pitch.

Sometimes for the other games we can see the last 15 minutes of the Rays B P.

Rays Renegade

The Ray’s are my A.L. favorite! Gotta pull for these guys after their amazing season last year!

Back to the real business…Go Brewers!

Man I wish I can catch a spring game and have a hot dog and a beer. Instead I’m stuck working. lol

~King of Cali

I can honestly say they are my favorite too, but there will be some interesting battles in the AL Central and West this year too. The Twins, White Sox and maybe even the Indians and Tigers will battle it out for that division.

And I think that L A might have their hands full this year with a better Oakland and Texas team. And do not forget Seattle has a mountain of potential and will scare a few folks during the year.

It is going to be fun this year!!!

Rays Renegade

That is one of thrills of being unemployed.
I hate not working, but it gives me ample time to check out games. Thank goodness I did that 401K back in 1986, or I would be in a refrigerator box somewhere.

Not since I did the clubhouse deliveries and the stadium beverage needs have I spent as much time at the ball park in the spring. So far I have not burned my skin beyond recognition, or ran out of gas…both major plusses.

Rays Renegade

That’s always good to know if I can ever get to Tampa! 2 hours before the game. check. But what about up here in Toronto? Will we still be able to find the guys before the game? Or will they close it to the public because they are on the road?

I do not know the answer to that.

I will get back to you later on it. I am going to ask a friend on the team about their Toronto usual game day activities and see if I can find out for you.

Up in Toronto, usually the home team takes B P last, so that might be the best answer. I will ask Scott when I see him in a few days.

Rays Renegade

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