Wheels Come Off in 7th

Finally the White Sox had a closer who could end a game with little fanfare.  This time it was Matt Thornton.  And although the Rays tried to make it more interesting in the bottom of the 9th, they came up one hit/wild pitch short. 

C’est la vie.

This time it was not the Rays who mounted a big comeback late in the game.  Tonight they got a taste of their own medicine from the Sox.



“Big Game” Let Down

James Shields deserved better.  Once again, he turned in a gem of a performance only to have the offense fail to show up.  Shields pitched 6 2/3 innings of 4-hit, 2-run baseball.  He struck out 4 and had his changeup working well tonight.

However, as is the case in almost every Shields start, the offense was unable to give James more than 3 runs.  He entered the game as one of the least-supported pitchers in the league, he left the game the same way.

In 9 of Shields’ 21 starts this year the Rays have score more than 3 runs.  Less than half the time!  In 6 of those 9 games the Rays have won and in 4 of those 6 wins the W has gone to Shields. 

He has alot to complain about.

A pitcher who is 6-6 with a sub-4.00 ERA getting run support like that might need special help to deal with those issues.  Easily Shields could be a 10-game winnner.  Instead his record stands at .500.


A Craptastic 7th Inning

The Rays entered the 7th with a 3-1 lead.  They left it down 4-3.  What happened?  Tough to imagine.

The Rays used 5 pitchers total in the frame, 4 of them in relief of Shields.  Three of those 5 pitchers failed to record an out!  Yep, you read that right.


Shields got the first two outs of the inning.  Then reliable Randy Choate entered and gave up a fluke hit that All-Star SS Jason Bartlett made worse by throwing the ball into the stands.  That put runners at the corners with 2 outs.

No problem, right?  Wrong.

Chad Bradford entered the game.  He felt a twinge in his back and had to be removed.  That brought on Dan Wheeler.

“Wheels” for short.

Wheels got two quick strikes on free-swinging Alexei Ramirez.  Then Dan threw strike three on the outside corner.  Only problem was the umpire didn’t call it.  The Rays dugout was not happy about it and clearly Wheels was rattled. 

Next pitch was lined into center.

Right at BJ Upton.

Right over BJ Upton and to the wall.

It was a catchable fly, but BJ turned it into a game-tying triple.  Jermaine Dye blooped a single into center to give the Sox the lead and that was how it ended.



This Was Not Raysball

The Rays did not play their brand of baseball tonight.  Among the things they did poorly:

1The Rays did not hit.  The offense mustered 8 hits and scored only 3 runs.  Their top hitters let them down all night, culminating on a weak pop out by Evan Longoria to end the game.  Pat Burrell did hit a home run, but it was not enough.

2The Rays did not pitch.  The bullpen didn’t anyway.  Any time you have to use 4 pitchers to get 1 out, there is a problem.

3The Rays did not play defense.  Bartlett’s poor throw paired with Upton’s misplay spelled doom for the Rays.  They gave the Sox 5 outs in a crucial inning–something you cannot do to good teams.


The Rays will need to regroup to figure out how to score runs and get outs.  Every game on this road trip has been decided by 1 or 2 runs.  That says that our guys aren’t scoring runs and that it is imperative they stop other teams from scoring them.  Especially late in the game.

The Rays will throw Scott Kazmir at the Sox’ Mark Buehrle.  Both pitchers have had some recent success, so it is anybody’s game. 

One thing is for sure.  The Rays will not get the W tomorrow if they fail to show up as they did tonight.

And for a team that is currently 5 1/2 out of first place in the tough AL East, that is unacceptable.



  1. lilmatt

    Another close game again tonight. I can’t help but feel odd though when we should have lost game 1 and won it, the Rays should have lost game 2 and won, and the White Sox should have lost tonight but won. That is the joy and pain of the greatest game on the planet I guess. We will see what happens tomorrow. Should be a good pitching matchup. By the way, what was B.J. thinking, that ball should have been caught…

  2. raysfanboy

    Matt–You make a funny point. We/You win the games we should lose, and lose the games we should win. I’m hoping WE should lose the game tomorrow so that we can definitely win. Wait. That’s confusing…

    Jane–Errors were a big reason for all those pitchers. That won’t get you many W’s when you play the second-place team in the AL Central!

  3. crzblue2

    Don’t you feel for the pitchers when errors giver the opposition more outs? Chad Bradford! i did not know where he was. I saw him in Fenway a few years back when I went there for the first time. He looked at me like saying “Aren’ you in the wrong stadium?” He was surprised to see that I had a Dodger hat and Dodger shirt.

  4. devilabrit

    those 7th innings blues….seems like it was a day of surprise losses….but I guess the other guys have to win sometime.. and you get another shot at them today, an afternoon game no less….
    and that looks like my old car after being parked in Philly one night
    Outside the Phillies Looking In

  5. stevg95

    Hey, not sure if I said this before but I love the way you recap each and every Rays game. It really shows your a true die-hard Rays fan. Nice job! I’d love to see the Rays take second place over the Sox. Boston is cold so if the Rays can just get their pitching together, they have a shot at second place and the wild card.

  6. matttan7

    Oh no, the wheels came off the Rays, perhaps the USA softball players can lend a hand as of how the Rays can win next time. Maybe David Price can learn to pitch underhand like Monica Abbott, she’s also a lefty.

    Anyways just saying, good luck tomorrow.
    Matthew T.

  7. raysfanboy

    Emma–You are very brave wearing a Dodgers hat to Fenway. Those people are crazy! I hope you were able to enjoy the game at least! Bradford has pitched well when he’s been healthy. Problem is, he hasn’t been healthy that much.

    Outside–Philly sounds rough. Note to self: don’t leave car unattended in Philly. Check. The 7th inning seems to be that pivotal inning in a game, doesn’t it. It is right when the transition from starter to reliever seems to take place and the time when the pressure hits both sides. We failed last night.

    Arod–Thanks,man! Very cool of you to say. This whole thing has been fun for me, so anytime I can jump in here I do. You are right, the Rays have to take advantage of the Sox cold streak now. They may not get anohter chance like this.

    Julia–You are right on that. Errors can be managed, but not when they all occur in one inning!

    Dillon–Being let down by the offense is something that I’m sure James Shields is getting used to. It’s a shame because this guy could easily be a 10 game winner and considered one of the best in the league. But his record causes people to overlook him.

    Matt–Ha! I say send her over so she can give our guys some tips. The USA Softball team has had plenty of success, we could use some of it!

    Duel–I’ll be heading over there as soon as I finish typing this. I’m interested in your take on our boy Kaz tonight.

    Tribe–I’ll be happy to head over, but I don’t know your address. I’ll see if I can find it right away.

  8. raysfanboy

    Cal–Well welcome back, buddy.

    TC–You sound like the guy in all those Adam Sandler movies: “You can Dooooo It!!” Funny! I hope that the Indians don’t trade Victor. I read on another blog that the was being shopped heavily, but I can’t find any confirmation on the web. Hopefully it isn’t true.

  9. santosis

    It is a tough loss for Shields; he’s having the kind of season that drives fans crazy. Personally, I remember Clemens and then Martinez pitching fantastic for Red Sox teams that just couldn’t score any runs. It was beyond annoying (I can only imagine what they must feel in these situations).

    The Red Sox can’t hit a barndoor right now–that rookie for Texas was throwing meatballs last night and we made him look like Nolan Ryan. I am really hoping that we start hitting soon, or these proclamations regarding the Rays and the wild card might hold true.

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