The pitching match up looked to be in the Rays favor on Opening Day with ace Scott Kazmir going up against Carl Pavano, who had not thrown a pitch in the major leagues in over a year. Crawford led off the Rays season with a single to left field and then promptly stole second base, but just as the Rays in the past, these Rays could do nothing with runners in scoring position and left Crawford stranded in the first inning. The youngsters did respond later in the game with Upton, Young, Dukes, and Crawford leading the charge. Dukes not only had a solo shot, but gunned down Melky Cabrera trying to tag back up after Dukes made a catch in center. As usual though the 5 runs scored by the Rays would not be enough.
Scotty did not have his best stuff, but he had enough to hold one of the most potent offenses in the league to 3 runs in 5 1/3 innings before handing it over to the bullpen. The bullpen blew it just as they have done the past couple of years. Sean Camp, Brian Stokes, Ruddy Lugo, and Juan Salas combined for 6 Hits, 4 ER with no K's in 3 innings of relief work. Once again a good offensive production was spoiled by the bullpen. Where is Chad Orvella who pitched stealer in Spring Training, oh yea he was demoted to Durham to make room for the other bums we have in the pen.
The Rays have the offense and decent enough Starters to win a good number of games, but with the crap that they have in the bullpen they will need the starters to either go the whole game or for the offense to put up 10 runs. This problem is not a new one for the Rays and it will last a long time until they address this mess. The Rays have the talent on offense and have some young starters who can get this team to compete, but when the bullpen blows every game all it will accomplish is to demoralize the team and the starters who busted there butt on the mound.
Highlights of the game included:
Crawford 2-4 RBI, R and SB
Dukes 1-3 Solo HR
Upton 2-4 R, RBI, SB
Great defense all around by the guys. Had the bullpen been able to pitch at all, the Rays would have won on opening day.