Friday, August 31, 2007

Rays Earn First Road Sweep in 2 Years

The Rays road their hot bats to a sweep of the Orioles in Camden yards. This was the first time in over 2 years that the Rays swept someone on the road. The last time the Rays swept a series was against the Indians in August 2005. The Rays have not played well against the Orioles in the past, but they made up for that in this series. The series was a slug fest and the Rays ended up on top.

The Orioles have been in a long slump and the Rays took advantage of that especially the O's bullpen. In two of the three games in the series the Rays went into the 8th inning down in the game. For the first time all season the Rays were on the other end of a bullpen blowing leads during the series and they took advantage of it. On top of the Rays taking advantage of the O's pen, the Rays bullpen stepped up and halted the Orioles offense and late rallies. Grant Balfour had an outstanding two innings in Wednesdays game to earn the win, and others also chipped in to keep the game close. The Rays offense seemed to be effected by the change of momentum that was felt in the game and seemed to gain confidence with every out that the Rays bullpen got.

The top 5 of the Rays order was dominant during the series. Of the 28 runs the Rays scored, the top 5 in the order accounted for 18 of the runs while driving in 14 of the 28 runs. The top 5 also accounted for 3 home runs and had a .311 average during the series. I do not know what coach Henderson said to these guys, but what ever it was it has worked rather well. The Rays hitters seem more confident and relaxed at the plate and it looks like they believe they will win the game. Part of the confidence may have come from the talk Henderson gave, but I also think the fact that the bullpen is holding leads and not blowing them the Rays feel that if they do score and get a lead they will win the game and not lose in a heart breaker. The Rays are starting to make a nice run toward the end of the season. This is an important time to make a run and get some momentum going into next year. Lets hope the Rays can keep it up and get fan excitement around the team so that the Rays organization goes out and spends in the off season.

Next up for the Rays is a 3 game set against the Yankmes in New York. The Yankmes are coming off of a sweep of Boston so they have some momentum as well. Now is the time for the Rays to show the nation that they are for real.

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