Saturday, April 12, 2008

Carlos Comes Through, E-Day Is Upon Us.

The Rays won 10-5 last night on the strength of Carlos Pena's bat. The first basemen is showing that last season was no fluke, hitting two home runs and gaining 6 RBI. The latter of the shots was the most important, coming in the 7th inning to tie the game. Jason Bartlett made a costly error in the first, throwing wide of Pena on a play that would have ended the inning. Instead the Orioles had two men on for the red hot Luke Scott who hit a double to center, scoring both. As Tommy noted before, tonight will be Evan Longoria's first game and we're hoping Maddon plays him. I'm going to be at the game hoping to get some pictures of the young star for everyone. Also as previously noted I met David Price last night. I was walking to my booth at the Ale House on 9th street in St. Pete when I look over to the right at the bar and see D-Price sitting there eating dinner alone. I was pretty sure it was him, but his Columbus Catfish hat gave it away. I walked up to him and said I was a big fan and asked him how his elbow was. He said it was good and that he was going to start throwing bullpen next week. If there is a nicer more polite player out there I haven't met him. Glad he's with the Rays.

At The Plate: This game was the Carlos Pena show. He followed up a two run homer in the second inning with a game tying three run jack in the 7th. Pena was even got the easiest RBI in baseball when he was walked with the bases loaded in the 8th. BJ Upton had a nice night going 3-5 with a double and two RBI. Eric Hinske doubled in a run and was knocked in on a single by Shawn Riggans.

Not to be forgotten was Carl Crawford's 1000th career hit. Carl became the eighth player since 1900 to record 1000 hits and 250 steals before his 27th birthday. He also joins ARod, Jeter, Beltre, Pudge, Junior Griffey, Pujols, Andruw Jones and Vlad Guerrero as the only active players to have 1000 hits at age 26 or younger. Pretty nice company.

On The Mound: Shields pitched well, going 6 innings and giving up five runs, but only two earned. He struck out four and only walked one, which seems to fit with his 4:1 K/BB ratio from last season. Sadly he couldn't leave the game with the lead. The bullpen pitched three innings of one hit baseball, with Al Reyes gaining the victory after being tasered twice a mere 16 hours prior. Percival worked the 9th in a non-save situation.

Erik's Take: I never felt the Rays were out of it, even when they were down three runs in the 7th. They had been hitting Guthrie pretty well through six innings, getting eight hits. They continued hitting the ball well, crushing the O's pen after Guthrie was pulled. Besides the one error that Bartlett made I'd say the team played a pretty well rounded game. I'm still not breathing easy when the bullpen is called and the Rays have a lead, but a few more nights like this and I'll be able to sleep better at night. Of course the Rays wouldn't have had a lead if Pena hadn't tied it up in the 7th. He was the hero tonight, and I don't think that's the last time I'll be writing that this year.

Tommy's Take: Never doubt the genius that is Joe Maddon. Before the game Joe worked with two players; Nathan Haynes who had three hits and Carlos Pena. Maddon said they notice a small mechanical flaw in Pena's swing and they corrected it before the game. He joked with the Radio broadcasters that Pena would hit two two-run home runs, but would settle for one. Well Maddon's prediction came through and more. As long as Carlos Pena comes up with the lead in reach other teams better be sweating. Carlos Pena is off to a better start than last year and now has five home runs in only 10 games. Congrats to CC for becoming the first Mr. 1,000 in Rays history. The Longoria Era begins tonight and lets hope this is the beginning of a 15 year all star career. How fitting was it that AL Reyes got the win in a game where a guy named "Mora" got the final out?