D-Rays 7, Detroit 3. Some things change…Julio Lugo is out as the Rays shortstop…Kid K and Wiggy are on the DL…B. J. Upton, Ben Zobrist and J. P. Howell are on their way…All of those changes? Nothing compared to what happened last night at The Pit. It is not that strange for the Rays to have beaten the best team in baseball and the All-Star game starter. After all, bad teams win at least 60 games every year and good teams lose at least 60 every year. It was a little strange that the Rays seemed to handle the Tigers as easily as they did. But, what was very strange was how they managed to do it. The Rays beat the best team in baseball (a team the Rays were 27.5 games behind in the standings) behind the pitching of Casey Fossum and the hitting of Travis Lee. Casey Fossum and Travis Lee? Lee hit a 2-run home run in the 6th to put the game out of reach. Fossum struck out a season high 10 in 7 innings of work allowing 6 hits and no walks. And herein lies the problem with Fossum. He is just good enough, just often enough to give you a sense that he could be better than he is. Of course it doesn’t hurt that he is left-handed. In other words, he is the younger version of Jamie Moyer. Some numbers on Jamie Moyer. In 506 starts, he has managed to win only 211 games. For his career, it took Moyer more starts than any other pitcher in history to win 200 games. He has been All-Star one time and only 2 times has he finished in the top 5 in the Cy Young balloting. Yet somehow he has managed to put together a 21 year major league career.
But let’s be honest, last night’s game was merely a warm up for the main attraction. Tonight is the night that many fans have been waiting for. J. P. Howell will be on the mound going against one of the better young pitchers in the American League and the left side of the infield will have a decidedly new look with Ben Zobrist at shortstop and B. J. Upton at third base.
Boston 9, Cleveland 8. …and some things stay the same. A good home run hitter in the Majors might hit a home run every 15-20 at bats. A great home run hitter might hit one every 10-12 at bats. The number of home runs that are hit in pressure situations is probably less than that. Given those numbers, a home run hitter has approximately a 5% chance to hit a home run in a pressure situation. Not the best odds in the world. That being said, it is still not surprising that we immediately switch over to the Sox game when our budy calls up to tell us the Sox are in the bottom of the 9th and if one or two guys get on, Big Papi will have a chance to tie or win the game. What is amazing is that when Big Papi does come up with 2 on, we expect him to hit a home run and win the game. At that very moment all we could do is put our hands on our head and smile. Still, our reaction does not give it justice. Here is the reaction from a couple of Red Sox sites.
Seattle 10, Baltimore 5. Oh yeah. The Horioles lost. And Peter Angelos lost his mind. In the span of 24 hours, Angelos rejected a trade for Miguel Tejada from the Angels that would have given the Orioles a great young pitcher in Ervin Santana and and a top shortstop prospect, Erick Aybar. He then rejected an offer from the Astros for Tejada that would have given the O’s Roy Oswalt, Morgan Ensberg and Adam Everett. That’s right folks, he turned down a trade that would have given the O’s the only pitcher to win 20 games the last two years! We’re speechless.