After the Delmon Young incident and a mini-vacation, we will attempt to return to some sort of normalcy today…we will start with a quick review of this past weekend. Apparently there was other stuff going on in the world of sports besides the NFL draft. Personally we started getting nauseous about a week ago, every time somebody mentioned the NFL draft. We here at Rays Index, are Bucs season ticket holders and we love them dearly, but someone explain to me why everyone gets so worked up and suddenly have strong opinions on players they have NEVER seen play a single down. For the record, one quick review of all the “Mock Drafts” out there, showed that THEY AVERAGED 2.6 PICKS CORRECT OUT OF 32!!! We must have seen 30 mock drafts that had 28 different players going to the Bucs and NONE OF THEM picked the right player. I think only one had they correct position! Let’s hope others pick up on this and the NFL draft is reeled in a bit next year.
D-Rays 5, Boston 2. Tyler Walker arrived at the Trop just before game time and 3 hours later, Joe Maddon, handed him the ball to close out the 5-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
And just like that the Rays’ bullpen seemed to be taking shape. Bullpen-By-Committees rarely work in the major leagues (ie. 2003 Boston Red Sox). If Walker can show that he can be an effective closer, the rest of the bullpen will be slotted more appropriately and effectively, with Dan Micelli working the 8th inning and Chad Orvella and Shawn Camp bridging the gap between the starters and Micelli. Casey Fossum (1-1) pitched effectively, going 6 and giving up 3 hits and no runs, to earn his first win. However, he is still walking too many batter (5).
Boston 9, D-Rays 6. And just like that the bullpen blows a lead and we all realize that there must have been a good reason that the first-place San Francisco Giants gave up on their set-up man. Walker came into the 9th with the Rays leading 6-5. He face 6 batters, retiring only one and giving up 2 hits and 3 walks, ultimately responsible walking in the tying run and surrendering the go-ahead run on a base hit. In all, 4 of the 6 batters he faced would score. Jonny Gomes continues to swing a hot bat with his 11th home run of the season. Toby Hall hit his second and looks like he may be finally maturing into a significant hitter as his batting average now sits at .364. Greg Norton, who was recently recalled from Durham and who has played parts of 10 different season in the major, hit his first home run for the Rays as he filled in at 1B. Norton is trying to show that his outstanding spring training, in which he led the team in hitting, was no fluke. Doug Waechter continues to struggle with his command. He did work into the 6th and gave up only 3 hits and 3 runs, but he walked 4 in 5.1 innings.
D-rays 5, Boston 4. Watching this team’s bullpen is a testament in patience. They tried hard yesterday to blow it again. Scott Kazmir was outstanding once again, going 7 innings and giving up 5 hits and 2 runs (1 earned). His most impressive stat was 10:1. That was the ratio of strikeouts to walks. If a pitcher can do that consistently in the major leagues they will win a lot of ballgames. Then again, that assumes the bullpen doesn’t cough up a lung on the mound. Orvella, who looked solid in the 8th inning gave up back-to-back home runs to lead off the 9th to allow the Red Sox to pull within one run. Walker then relieved and walked the first and only batter he faced before giving way to Camp. Camp was able to stop the bleeding and retire the two batters he faced for his 3rd save. Hall and Carl Crawford each had two-run hoe runs for Tampa.