Devil Rays 4, Tiggers 0.
We have a favorite saying around these parts.
Baseball is about three things…Pitching, pitching, pitching.
We can’t emphasize it enough. It is amazing how good a team can look when they get good pitching. After losing their previous three games and last eight road games, the Rays entered the final two games with the Tigers with their two aces, Scott Kazmir and James Shields. The two combined to throw 13 innings and allowed only 1 run on 8 hits and 1 walk while striking out 16. With only 94 pitches, Kid K could have pitched the 7th inning, but with an 8-0 lead, there was no need. In the two games, the bullpen combined to allow only 1 run in 5 innings.
The result was two wins and a series split against the defending AL champs in their ballpark.
Of course the downside is three games in Arlington against the Rangers during which neither Shields nor Kazmir will make a start. With Duke, Nuke and the Hammer going in each of the next three games, two out of three is probably hoping for too much. Of course, if the Rays lose tonight, that might change to “hope we don’t get swept”.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Finally…The Rays beat a team and another site actually gives them credit, rather than predicting Armageddon or blaming a late night at Tampa strip clubs and an outbreak of herpes. [Bless You Boys]
- Carl Crawford was 3-4 and now leads the majors with a .417 average during day games. He also stole his 37th base which leads the AL.
- The Devil Rays are 3rd in the AL in home runs (132), but only 8th in runs scored (537). Joe Maddon believes this is because the players hit too many flyballs and strikeout way too often. They lead the AL with 885 strikeouts. [Devil Rays]
“What would you think the league average for two-strike batting average? How about .197,” Maddon said. “What do you think ours is? Try .179. Then you see why we don’t score runners from third with less than two outs because we strike out too much. We don’t put the ball in play enough.”
- The Rays begin a 3-game series in Arlington tonight against the Rangers. The Rays swept the Rangers in 3 games earlier this season in Orlando. The Rays enter the game with a 2-game winning streak on the road. The Rays have not won 3 straight on the road since September 2005.
- Each of the Rays regular outfielders will serve as DH once in the Ranger series. [TBO]
- Jonny Gomes on the new D-Rays bullpen. [USA Today]
It’s confidence those guys have earned. It’s not in the past, when people didn’t really earn jobs and they were given jobs. These guys have earned their spot and they have career numbers, and it’s a good thing to watch them work.