Friday, July 6, 2007
Blow Pen Tries to Keep Streak Going, but Rays Still Win
With the Rays up 6-3 in the 8th inning, Casey Fossum was asked to come in and get one out. He threw one pitch, which was hit for a double by Alex Gordon and got the Royals back in the game. Luckily Jay Witasik was able to come in and stop the bleeding and get the final out of the 8th. With Al Reyes on the DL Gary Glover was called on to get the save. Glover promptly gave up a home run to John Buck and than an infield single to Joey Gaithright. Glover settled down and got the next three outs to close out the game.
Their best chance to stop the 11 game losing streak was tonight against the Royals. Ace James Shields was on the mound facing off against Odalis Perez, who came into the game with over a 5 ERA. Shields pitched a great game as usual and the bats answered the call for run support Shields needed to win the game. Shields pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing 4 ER on 7 hits, walking none, and striking out 6.
The Rays scrapped and fought this game and it was great to see them get the win. You could tell that these guys wanted this win very badly. From Wigginton's diving play at second base to Gomes hustle plays on the bases; you could tell that Shields and the position players wanted this misery to end.
Now a win is a win, and right now I will take what i can get, but there is still something that bothered me about decision making. I understand that Shields had over 100 pitches and Casey is left-handed, but Casey is allowing batters to hit over .320, while Shields and Witasik are allowing much lower averages. Guys like Fossum and Stokes have to be in the bullpen because we need arms, but they should only be in the game when we are being blown out or up by 10 runs. They both suck and should not be trusted in a game with a lead. I understand that Maddon can only use what he is given, but in this instance he did not have to use Fossum.
Good news for the Rays is that the bats seem to have come alive these past couple games and hopefully they will stay that way and the Rays can get solid starting pitching. Crawford has really come into his own at the 2 hole and has looked much better since moving up in the lineup. Delmon Young has been on fire and seems like a natural 5 hitter in this lineup. The return of BJ Upton will only help this lineup get back to where it was at the beginning of the year and hopefully hey can score enough runs that the blowpen can't lose it for us.
The Rays finally showed some fire and desire that is needed to win the game. I don't know where it came from, but where ever it did I hope it is here to stay.