The Rays were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position tonight. They deserved to lose to the Rangers. And you put an exclamation point at the end of it with Karlos Pena taking a called third strike with the game on line in the 10th.
Yeah, the pitch was off the plate, but Pena still has to swing. The Rays aren’t paying him in that spot to eagle-eye a walk with Sam Fuld on deck and needing two runs to tie. Of course, the notion of taking a fastball the other way is foreign to the 2012 Pena.
But Joe watched 23-year-old Chris Archer be dominant and aggressive against the Rangers tonight and walked away with at least a little excitement.
Rays fans have seen Archer’s talent before, but this was his best display, and it was against Texas under September pressure. You have to wonder how this kid has a losing record down in Durham?
It sickens Joe that the home plate umpire perpetuated the neutering of baseball and warned Archer and the Rangers about pitching inside. Archer was masterfully old school keeping the Rangers big bats off the plate. It was obvious that he wasn’t trying to bean Josh Hamilton on an 0-2 count with two outs. But there was the ump needlessly stepping in to make sure baseball doesn’t get manly like it used to be.
Joe hopes Jim Hickey and Joe Maddon make sure Archer goes to bed tonight knowing it’s ok to pump fastballs inside. It would be a damn shame to see this kid lose some of his swagger and command for no good reason.