Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gomes and Harris lead Rays bast D-Backs

Coming into tonight's game the Rays had never lost to the Diamondbacks, going 6-0 in two series against the D-Backs in inter league play. The D-Backs had been on a nice run and were coming off of a good series against the Orioles and the Rays are coming off of a 2-4 game stretch against the Padres and Rockies. The Diamondbacks looked poised to finally beat the Rays as the Rays sent Edwin Jackson to the mound, who is still seeking his first win as a Ray, against experienced Livan Hernandez.

Jackson, whose job has been in jeopardy after bad outings most of the year and Jason Hammel being called up, looked very good until he was pulled due to injury. Jackson left the game with a fatigued and strained middle finger ligament on his pitching hand. Jackson did not want to leave the game and could be seen telling the coaches and trainers no as they told him he was coming out. You have to feel for Jackson who needed only 1/3 more of an inning to qualify for the win. Jackson went 4 1/3 innings giving up two runs on four hits and four walks. Jackson looked impressive most of the night except for a rough 3rd inning. Jackson wanted to stay in for the win, but the Rays don't want him injured, and I hope he makes his next start as he proved he deserved it.

While getting a good pitching performance from Jackson, Hammel, and Glover the Rays offense definitely scored enough runs led by Brendan Harris and Jonny Gomes. Harris almost became the first Ray in history to hit for the cycle coming up a double short. Gomes continued his torrid pace since coming up from the minors hitting another home run, his fourth since being called up on June 14th. Crawford also contributed to the effort with two rbi and a stolen base. The Rays bats which had been held silent since the start of the Padres series have come alive the last two games and they hope to continue that through this series and when they come home to play the Dodgers.

This tear that Gomes has been on is reminiscent of the one he went on two years ago after being sent down and called back up and I hope he can keep it up. Gomes has struggled since May of last year and has had trouble hitting the off speed pitches. Gomes claimed he needed more AB's to get it worked out, but most including me, felt he needed to go back down and learn to adjust in Durham. There is no doubt that Gomes has power and can hit the ball a long way, he just needs to learn to take pitches and hit the off speed stuff. We all love the way Jonny plays the game and so does the Rays organization. Look for Gomes to get regular time in RF for the foreseeable future as he his bat is leaving him in the lineup. Rocco Baldelli is expected to return to the team on Friday, but should play a decent amount of DH to try and keep his hamstrings uninjured, which will give Gomes time in RF when Rocco DH's and time at DH when Rocco is CF. The concern for Johnny will be when BJ and Rocco are in the lineup everyday, Gomes may find it hard to get AB's than, unless the Rays do trade Ty Wigginton, which has been discussed.

The Rays will look to continue the winning ways tomorrow as they take on the Diamondbacks again. The Rays will send J.P. Howell to the mound (1-1 with a 3.60 ERA) and he will be opposed by Doug Davis (4-8 with a 3.70 ERA).

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