Every team in baseball enters today knowing that they will not play another meaningful game until Friday. For some players it will be a nice break. For others, it will mean catching a flight to St. Louis for the All-Star Game.
Let’s hope the Rays don’t let the appeal of a vacation distract them from the business they need to take care of today.
Our Boys by the Bay will take on the Oakland A’s today in the rubber game of their three-game set this weekend. After taking a terrible loss last night 7-2, the Rays will be looking to rebound and head into the break on a high note.
“Big Game” James takes the mound for the Rays, sporting a relatively disappointing 6-6 record but with a stout 3.37 ERA. He has been hit-and-miss this season with regard to his performance, yet has not received the run support he deserves. This guy could easily be 10-4, but the Rays don’t score runs for him.
Here’s an upsetting stat if you are a Rays fan: in Shields’ 18 starts this season the Rays have scored 3 or fewer runs 10 times. Wow. That must be frustrating.
He will be opposed by ANOTHER rookie in Brett Anderson (5-7, 4.86). He is coming off a complete game shutout against no less than the Boston Red Sox and has given up only 1 earned run in his last 14 1/3 with 16 Ks and only 6 hits.
That is a guy on a tear.
Last night I thought the Rays needed to do several things to win. In a nutshell they needed a patient plate discipline and a conservative hitting approach.
They did neither, striking out 13 times, walking 3 times, and scoring only 2 runs.
Today is anybody’s guess on what the Rays need to do to win. When the Boys in Blue come off a game like last night’s things get a little crazy the next day.
You could tell that something was frustrating Joe Maddon last night as he was ejected last in the game for arguing a call that even he, after the game, admitted was the right call. Joe is a great manager, so perhaps it was a way of trying to get a lethargic team a little more fired up. Sometimes that works.
It didn’t last night.
Anderson faced the Rays May 20th and got the win by going 6 innings, giving up 4 runs, and striking out 5. He walked none.
We know that the Rays are at their best when they are taking pitches and working the count. Obviously they did not do that last time.
They also managed only 4 hits in that game.
Granted, it was a West Coast game and those are always difficult for East Coast teams to play. Things get wacky out there. And they did put up 4 runs in that game, despite the loss.
I think that 4 runs will hold up today if the Rays can manage them.
The energy has been lacking in the last week. I am looking to see somebody get the guys ready to rumble in this one. Oh, if only we still had the ultra-hyper Jonny Gomes on the roster!
Let’s hope they learn from their mistakes.