Results tagged ‘ Rollie Fingers ’

Rays Win Series Against Cubbies



Rays 5, Cubs 4


I saw a wild trio on the field on Tuesday night that brings back the saying “You Can’t Go Home Again”.

Well, you can go home, just do not expect a huge bucket of victories from this crappy Rays bunch. On the turf were current Manager Joe Maddon, departed chief Lou Piniella, and innaugural whipping boy Larry Rothechild.  Each manager was responsible for a different era of growth for this team.

Larry got the “younger years”. the time where veterans were hired to get the franchise through the lean years before the farm system could restock the team. He never got to see that dream.

Lou, sweet Lou, came here to teach more the aspects of being a Professional and how to carry your team on you back. He did that. He might not have gotten the end result he envisioned when he signed on, but a few of these guys are great players because Lou rode them hard and let them play their game. His era of the Era of development and toughness.

Last, but not least, is the Era of Joe-ism.  I can’t put a finger on the accomplishments yet in a nutshell, but this team blossomed under his letting go of the righs a bit with the guys. Letting them develop, but guide them in the same voice. Joe is a wise guy, with a theasarus for a mind. If you can’t play for Joe ( Delmon), you can’t play anywhere before adjusting yourself accordingly.

3 Masters of the Rays Universe all standing there looking at a team the two Chicago visitors only recognize in name and cetain players. The rest is the crown jewel of Joe Maddon. It is his team to lead upward and onward now. Larry Rothchild must love seeing smiles on the players’ faces, they were never contenders in the lean years. And I think in Lou’s mindset, this is the team he dreamed of for those many years. Joe, I think either of these guys would swap places with you in a heaetbeat and still know it was your baby all along here.


Trivia Fact of the Night:

Since 1876, there have been only 2 years that a triple play did not occur in the major leagues: 1961 and 1974.




Thank You Mark DeRosa for getting the scoring started on Wed night in front of a ESPN audience. It must be hell to be you today with the cellphone messages, and the email bloopers, blunders and Cubbie jokes segment on the TV. But, we here in Rays-town know that feeling all too well.

 Even after a great vicotry over your team, most of the talking heads from Bristol still do not get it. The Rays just won their 9th Consecutive home series of the year.. NINE, never before have we gotten to this point before the All-Star break, but still we are considered the “Also-Rans” of the AL East.  I heard a comment recently on “Baseball Tonight” that the Rays will fade in time. I also read and heard that we are “playing above our heads”.

Both might be true, but I think this team is in for a “Miraculous Summer”. It is alreafy one of the best on  record for us, but might just surprise the nation real soon. You know, in the next homestand, the Red Sox come back to the A/C refines of the Trop.

 If we sweep them again, what will be the talk, that neither team can play in the opponents park, or Bosotn is not playing with “playoff intensity” right now.   Give credit where credit is due guys. This sqaud will make believers of you, but I guess winning two straight from the team with the BEST record in baseball is not a big thing to you guys.



Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine has the right stuff again. He mixed his pitches well last night and earned his 8th victory of the season. Sonnanstine pitched 5 innings of  7-hit, 3-run ball to help the Rays take the first 2 games against the Cubs.   Andy only threw 94 pitches tonight, but got 57 strikes out of his performance. Sonnanstine coming into the game has not given up a homer since Mat 21st in Oakland, and is curently 6th in the AL in runs allowed.



Eric Hinske has been so valuable to the Rays this season he should maybe be the next guy to see a renewed contract and a raise for his efforts. Anywhere you put him, he has come through this season for the team.

Eric was hitting in the clean-up spot for the first time this year and went 1-3 on the night with a RBI and a run scored for the Rays. Eric event got his 6th stolen base of the season last night in the 7th inning.

 Hinske came to this team in the spring just looking for a job, not even gauranteed a spot on the roster, and has produced more ans more for the upstart Rays.  The Rays are 19-3 when he homers, and 34-17 when he is in the lineup for the Rays.



Four different Rays got RBI’s last night in a total team effort to beat the Chicago Cubs. B J Upton, Evan Longoria, Hinske and Willy Aybar each got a single RBI for the team.



Speaking of teamwork, let me tell you a few stats on our Rays:

The Rays matched their season and franchsie record highwater mark at 13 games over .500. Before this season, the team had never been more than 4 games over .500 at any point in their history.

The Rays tied their record for most wins before the All-Star break with a victory last night. In 2004, under Lou Piniella, the Ray were 42-45 at the break.  The Rays have now won 24 of their last 28 at home, and the Ray have pitched to a 2.38 ERA at home, best in the majors this year.

According to “Elias Sports Bureau”, the last team with 9 straight  home series  won within a single season was the Colorado Rockies in 2007. The last AL squad was the Oakland A’s in 2005 ( 12 straight).  The Rays have won 13 series overall for the year, one shy of their entire amount in 2007.



I put this last guy in the end of the blog becuase that is where we all know he is the strongest member of the Bullpen crew. Troy Percival can be a monster most nights on the mound, he has only allowed 19 baserunners in 26 appearances, two of them last night. Of his 26 opportunities, 17 have been perfect innings. 19 of them have been scoreless innings for the Rays.

For his career, Troy has converted 340 out of 395 save opportunities, for a 89.1 percent save rate. Since saves became an official stat. in 1969, only 6 pitchers have bettered that mark.

And on Wed. night, without any hoopla or fanfare, Troy tied with the Hall-of Famer Rollie Fingers for 9th place on the All-Time saves list.  All this from a guy who at this point last year was considered retired by major league baseball.  Next up for Percival on the list is…………Randy Meyers in 8th, with 347 saves.

With success and a continued Rays winning attitude, Troy could be nearing Jeff Reardon in 7th with 367 by the end of the season, or pass him in 2009(?)



Kazmir Sends Yankees Out of Town With a Frown


Rays 5, Yankees 2


You know what is so weird about an afternoon game, you are not hungry when you get there. But when you leave, you are screaming for the nearest drive-thru window.

I did the next best thing today and did the $5 Subway Sub to honor the “dive” the Yankees have done so far this year. I am sorry we beat you three times and sent you to the AL East cellar. Check out the dunegeon bar and grill, they have fine chicken wings, but are hot as hell.



Trivia Fact of the Night:

On July 4th 1939,
Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees, was the first man to have his number(4) retired.




The Good, the Bad and the Ugly PostersThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly PostersThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly PostersThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly Posters


                                         The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly


                                               The Good


Rays starter Scott Kazmir(2-1), who just inked a serious contract extention pitched a gem to show not onl,y good faith in the signing, but a sign of things to come for the power lefty. Scott pitched 6 innings of 3-hit shutout ball before leaving after throwing 100 pitches exactly today. At the time he left the game,  the Rays had a 5-0 lead for Kazmir.  Scott also struck out only three today, while walking three. It seemed he was in control of his primary pitches, but was having a bit of trouble with his slider today.


Honorable Mention “Good Guys”:


*** Aki Iwamura, who just finished a 11-game hitting streak got the scoring started with a  solo blast to right in the first innig to get the scoring started for the Rays. Aki also went 2-3 and scored two runs today. Aki has lifted his average to .265. That is 55 point better than a week ago, and he is getting better at bats and pitches right now.


** Rays closer extrodinare Troy Percival put hid own personal stamp on tonight’s win. Troy entered the game in the top of the 9th and retired the first two batters with strikeouts before Johnny Damon hit a fly ball to Carl crawford to end the game, and give Percival his 10th save of the year. Percival is slowly gaining on Rollie Fingers, who is next in line on the All-Time saves list for Percival.


* I call this guy the “Brad Pitt” of the minors. He is so devil-may-care, and totally likeable you wanrt him to succeed. With the success of Dioner Navarro lately, Shawn Riggans has seen his playing time go to a crawl. But after today, 2-3 performance, Rays manager Joe Maddon might have two options at catcher in the coming weeks. Riggans helped his cause with a two-run homer in the bottom of the 4th, that also scored Eric Hinske. Riggans is now hitting .250, but also scored two runs to go along with his two RBI’s.


                                                 The Bad


Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett was a late scratch today  to take care of a family matter. Rays super sub, Ben Zobrist saw his first action of the year since coming off the DL this week. Zobrist looked a bit aprehensive at the plate and went 0-2 today. Ben is a great defensive shortstop, and  made several key plays today.

Carlos Pena is still having trouble getting the men in scoring position home today. Carlos had two opportunites today and struck out twice today. Pena is leading the AL in strikeouts with 50.


                                             The Ugly


I know the flight from Tampa to New York is usually about 3 hours long, but I can feel the tension that this one will feel like an allnighter for the Yankee team. Yankee honco Hank Steinbrenner the other day called out the players by saying “They should play like the Rays”.

I do not know where he is getting that, but I hope he means that the Rays are playing hustle, no-quit baseball with a agressive batting style.

I know that several key Yankees are hurt or rehabbing and will be aback soon, but the lack of adequate replacemtns shows the team’s farm system woes right now. The Yankees promoted two minor relievers this week from their lower  minor league squads to hasten their learning curve and hope to be a help come Summer time.

 It is going to be a long couple of months in NY until all players are healthy and their pitching situation is stabilized to suit the owner’s box.

I expect to see a few heads roll in the mean time, and I would not be putting my neck out to say, Jose Molina might not be the back-up catcher for long.  Before todays game, the Yankees sent reliever Kei Igawa to the minors to bring Ian Kennedy in for today’s game.


Former Rays Players’ of the Night:

Being that this is a early blog post, since it was a day game today, I have not gotten the finishing totals of all players in the MLB tonight.

So, with that in mind, I was thinking of just listing 10 former Rays’ players tonight and their respective teams for 2008:


Marlon Anderson                                                New York Mets

Chad Gaudin                                                     Oakland A’s starter

Doug Waechter                                                  Florida Marlins reliever

Mark Hendrickson                                            Florida Marlins  starter

Geoff Blum                                                       Houston Astros utility guy

Ty Wiggington                                            Houston Astros third baseman

Brandon Backe                                                Houston Astros starter

Damion Easley                                                New York Mets infielder

Shawn Camp                                                   Toronto Blue Jays reliever

Seth McClung                                                 Milwaukee Brewers reliever

Sonnanstine Improves to 5-1 Against Jays



Rays 5, Blue Jays 4


It was a welcome sight to see our favorite team in the last leg of this roadtrip. We have a perfect record against our AL East opponent, the Blue Jays this year (4-0). The Rays took some time to get going, but Troy Percival helped close the contest and end our losing streak after the dismal Boston leg of the trip.



Trivia Fact of the Night:

On August5,1921, the first radio play-by-play of a major league game was broadcast. The game was Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia on station  KDKA. The Pirate won 8-5.




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                                        The Good,The Bad,and the Ugly



                                                 The Good


The Rays had the right pitcher on the mound for the first game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Andy Sonnanstine is the hottest pitcher in the Rays rotation right now. Tonight, he improved his record to 5-1 in a Rays 5-4 victory in the Rogers Centre.


Andy became the quickest pitcher to 5 victories in Rays history. The previous record was Scott Kazmir who performed the feat in 35 games. He is also 9-3 in his last 15 starts for the Rays.


Honorable mention “Good ” guys:




*** Aki Iwamura had a great night tonight going 2-5 and collecting 2 RBI’s to up his average to .228 for the season. Iwamura was also the middle man in the Rays 5-4-3 double play in the bottom of the 6th inning. Aki knocked in Dioner Navarro in the top of the third inning with a single to rightfield. Aki got his second RBI of the night with a double to center that scored Jason Bartlett, but Aki was cut down at third by Vernon Well.


** Eric Hinske has done everything asked of him since he joined the team in March. Eric is currently tied with Carlos Pena for the team homer lead with 7. Eric also is leads the Rays with 13 extra base hits and is currently second in the American League in slugging percentage with a .581 average.

* I have to give number  1 star  honors to a future Hall of Famer.

Rays closer Troy Percival may not be the Rays MVP this year, but he is truly the most valuable mentor to our players both on the field and on the mound. Troy moved past John Wetteland tonight for sole possession of 10th place on the All-Time Save list. Such a event might not have happened if he did not decide to un-retire last year and still felt the desire and the want to put on a MLB uniform again this season.


Congrats Troy, now let’s go get Rollie Fingers and 9th place.


                                           The Bad


The Rays put up 9 hits tonight, but left 9 men on base. Tonight,  Carlos Pena and Gabe Gross each left two runners on base in scoring position. That is the statistic that can mean the difference between an October game and watching it on the TV.


 Leaving men in scoring position is actually like letting the pitcher forget he was on the ropes, and you almost had him that inning. Both of these players are experiencing a situation where they have adjusted and shown improvement in their batting stroke and in the contact with the ball.   Time will tell what will happen in the next few months.





                                                         The Ugly


The ugly moment of the night is not a Rays situation tonight, but a play that happened to a Toronto infielder.


Toronto Blue Jays shortstop John McDonald rolls on the ground after hurting his ankle while chasing down a ground ball hit by the Rays Gabe Gross during the sixth inning.  McDonald was replaced by Marc Scutaro and is listed as day-to-day at this moment.



Former Rays’ player of the Night:



Tonight’s former Rays is current Pittsburgh Pirate Chris Gomez. He has been a journeyman infielder for several teams during his career, but is getting his shot at his best position, shortstop with the Pirates.


Gomez went  2-4 with 2 runs cored and a RBI tonight. He is currently hitting .276 for the year. Gomez  singled to left center in the bottom of the 7th inning to score Jose  Bastista. 





Rays Take Series Against the Birds


Rays 4, Orioles 2


What a thrill it is to turn on your car radio just as Jonny Gomes is rounding third on his way home after touching  Baltimore starter Brian Burgess for a blast to leftfield.



Trivia Fact of the Night:

In 1960, White Sox owner Bill Veek was the first to put the player’s names on their uniforms.




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                                  The Good,The Bad,and the Ugly



                                                 The Good


The Rays’ Carl Crawford hit a single to center in the top of the 7th inning to secure the win for the Rays’ 4-2. Carl Crawford also scored a run and currently is the American League leader in runs scored.  Carl currently has 26 runs and the closest player to him is White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin with 21 runs.



Honorable mention “Good” guys:


*** Carlos Pena grounded out to secons base in the top of the 1st inning, but got an RBI when Crawford crossed the plate to put the Rays up early 1-0.


** DH/outfielder Jonny Gomes hit a blast to leftfield off Brian Burgess in the 4th inning. It was Gome’s third homer of the year.




* Rays closer Troy Percival recorded his 6th save of the year. In recording the save, Percival now has 330 saves for his career. that ties him with John Wetteland for 10th place on the all-time save list. Up next for Troy is former Oakland A’s pitcher and moustache pirate Rollie Fingers with 341 saves. 



                                                   The Bad


Only two Rays did not get a hit today in the game. Aki Iwamura and Evan Longoria put up goose eggs in the hits department today. The Rays offense also stranded 10 men on the bases today.



A near disaster almost happened in the 4th inning today. An unexpected rain shower began to pelt the turf before the grounds crew could get the tarp out on the pitching mound. After tossing dry on the mound and working the dirt, the crew got the mound in shape to resume the game


Had the game been cancelled, it would have been a double re-scheduling for the Rays against the Orioles this year. In the opening series, the Rays had their second game of the season cancelled by rain.



                                                The Ugly


B J Upton went to the turf in the top of the fifth inning while in the batter’s box. B J had just swung on a pitch and camw out of the box grabbing his shoulder area.


After Rays head trainer Ron Porterfield examined Upton, he was replaced by Nathan Haynes at the plate and in the field. Upton is going to be re-evaluated in the morning, and is listed as day-to-day right now. Upton’s injury would have been a major blow to the Rays offense and outfield defense.



Former Rays Player of the Night:

Alot of Rays faithful might not remember Joe Biemel. He was with the club in 2005, and appeared in 7 games for the team. Biemel was traded to the L A Dodgers at the deadline in 2005 and has been with the team since that trade.

Today Biemel got another win for the dodgers. Joe currently is tied for 13th in the win category with 3 for the year. As a reliever, it is unusual for a relief pitcher to have three wins at this point in the season. Biemel currently has a .90 ERA in 10 games this year.



The Rays are currently enroute to Boston for their weekend three game series that will decide the early leader in the American League East. Boston and Tampa Bay are currently only a half a game apart before the Thursday night result of Boston’s game against the Blue Jays.

If Boston falls to Toronto, the Rays could find themselves in first before their game tomrrow night at 7:05 P.M.

UPDATE   11 P.M.

As of an hour ago, we are tied for first, but in first position because of winning percentage only. Winner of this series does alot to set the bar for the rest of the series aginst each other.  Do not forget we play each other 17 times a year, and this thing is far from over folks.