Tagged: playoffs

Unknown

This will be short.

I have no idea how this game will end. Nobody does.

But I can that I have never been prouder of my team. They won’t stop. They won’t quit.

They’ve been counted out for the entire season.

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

Wow.

Honestly, I’m hoping for a great Rays win here in the 11th. Robbie is teething and daddy needs some sleep.

But no matter what this has been a simply incredible year.

Go Rays.

Keeps Gettin Better

It has been a while. I’ve been watching the boys, but I’ve been watching MY boy more. Thus no writing.

Just saw Jed Lowrie strike out to put the Sox and Rays in a tie for the wild card. Amazing!

Who–other than a Rays fan–would have thought the Rays could be relevant this final week?

Heck, who thought they would be relevant this season!? Aren’t they supposed to be behind the Blue Jays in the AL East?

I could not be prouder to e a Rays fan now. And I am ecstatic that my son’s first season of baseball has the possibility of being so historic!!

It is a 2-game season folks. I’m excited. I am sure the same cannot be said of Sox fans.

Go get em Rays!!

It’s Game 1 All Over Again

A very good friend of mine had a baby just the other day.  Saturday morning, in fact.

What was the new lad’s name?

Ty.

Fitting.

The Rays came out of the weekend with just that, a tie, in the ALDS.  And now they are going to play a Game 5 to decide which team, the Rays or Rangers, gets to move on to take on the Yankees in the ALCS this weekend.

It is like ALDS Game 1 all over again.

———————————————————

The Pitchers

The Rays will, once again, send the ace of the pitching staff to the mound in a “saviour-like” position. 

David Price choked in Game 1, coming out on the short end of a 5-1 loss.  And it wasn’t that close.  Sure, the hitters stunk it up, but one thing the Rays have to depend on is strong starting pitching.  They feed off of it.

Price did not give it.

The fear sets in when I think about Cliff Lee and how damn good he is.  Going back to last postseason when he was with the Phillies, there have been few pitchers as dominant as Lee.  The Rays will have their hands full.

But, if you remember mid-August, the Rays beat Lee 6-4.  It was no fluke.  The Rays hitters can wait him out before striking at just the right moment. 

But the right moment has to come along with the game still in question.  If the moment comes along when the game is 6-1, then it will be much too late.

——————————————————–

The Emotions

What gets me is that Game 5 is EXACTLY the same as Game 1.

Same pitchers.

Same emotions.

I’m just as amped up as Game 1.  I want to see a W.  But a L means alot more Tuesday night, for sure. 

The crowd will be going crazy.  The Rays have opened up all of the seats in the stadium for this one.

I hope they hand out towels…

What is a little disappointing is that the momentum the Rays had going into Game 4 seemed to wane as the game progressed.  I would even say that it shifted to the Rangers, as they put up two late runs.

If the big Mo did shift to the Rangers, that just means that it evened everything out. 

Longo’s still hitting lights out.  Pena still has the cycle fresh on his mind.  And the ‘pen, well, they are still just as dominant. 

The team that constructively builds on its emotion will be the winners Tuesday night.

Man, I hope it is my Rays.

——————————————————–

The 3 Keys to a W

#1–Be Patient.  Just like in Game 1, the Rays have to pile up the pitches against Cliff Lee.  They let the guy cruise in Game 1.  And they struck out 10 times–ridiculous.  They need to work the count and get their walks going, something they did well over the weekend.

#2–Don’t Choke.  The big moment in Game 1 was an early bases loaded moment that saw Carlos Pena and Rocco Baldelli strike out to end any kind of threat.  After that, Lee settled in.  The Rays cannot miss the big moments of Game 5.

#3–Be Smart, Joe.  It is hard to argue with Joe Maddon.  He is a big reason for why the Rays have made the playoffs 2 of the last 3 years.  But I’m going to choke on my soda pop if he puts out the same ridiculous lineup he put out in Games 1 and 2.  Go with what works.  And what works is the lineups he put out over the weekend.

——————————————————–

Obviously, I have no idea how this game will go down.  As I sit here, I am buzzing with anticipation that typically comes in an elmination game, but moreso because of one major fact.

It it MY team in this elmination game.

Win or lose, I’ll be proud that my boys fought back into this series.

Win, and I’ll be jumping like an idiot with jubilation.

Lose, and I’ll be quietly angry that they played so poorly in Games 1 and 2. 

No matter what, I’ll know one thing.

I won’t have to miss work to see the game.

Go Rays!

Hey…It’s the REAL Rays

 

Finally the Tampa Bay Rays showed up in the 2010 ALDS.

Through Games 1 and 2 there was some team on the field playing against the big league Texas Rangers, but it surely wasn’t the Rays.

This imposter team had put up one measley run and only 8 hits in two games while giving up 11 runs AT HOME, no less.

Apparently, the REAL Rays were waiting in Arlington, Texas.

Want proof?

6 runs.

11 hits.

0 errors.

2 home runs.

1 W.

Now THAT’s Rays baseball.

———————————————————–

Emotions Were High

Around my home, the stress and worry levels were really high.  We were wondering if we were about to see the final game of the Rays season.  The final game of Carl Crawford’s career in a Rays uni. 

There’s going to be at least one more.

What was great to see was while MY emotions were out of whack, the Rays’ were not.

There was Matt Garza calmly rebounding from an early run given up to retire Ranger after Ranger. 

There was Joe Maddon keeping his temper in check, even after a few blown calls by the umpires tonight (seriously, blue, you didn’t see Elvis Andrus come off the bag on his stolen base attempt while Jason Bartlett had the tag on him?  Seriously?). 

This game was tight until the 9th, so the cooler head was going to prevail.

The cooler head and the guy with the bigger bat.

Luckily, that was the Rays on both account.

——————————————————-

Cameraman Longo

What was awesome to see was the Rays in the dugout messin’ around as they did all season long. 

Watching Evan Longoria with a waterbottle holder on his shoulder, mimicking a cameraman’s pose, “film” the goings-on of the 9th inning.  The guys around him were cracking up and suddenly everything was loose. 

The Rays were back.

——————————————————

The Rays Were Clutch

There were many events in this game that epitomized the Rays season, without which the Rays would be headed back to St. Pete with their heads held low.

–Carl Crawford had two big catches in the game, keeping the Rangers in check and preventing run-starting rallies.

–John Jaso had the biggest hit of the game in the 8th against the Rangers’ closer.  Why isn’t this guy starting every game?

–The slumping and sub-Mendoza-line Carlos Pena took one down the right field line to drive in pinch runner Desmond Jennings with the game-tying run.  Then Pena knocked one over the fence in the 9th to ice the game away.

–In addition to CC’s defense, Crawford hit a big home run in the 9th to put the Rays up 4-2 and take the pressure off of Pena.  The loss of pressure made it just that much easier for the big first baseman to take one over the fence.

————————————————-

3 Keys to a W

#1 Emotion–The Rays kept theirs in check AND loosened up the dugout in the process.  Look out Rangers.

#2 Hit–11 hits and 6 runs make it clear that the bats were warmed up tonight.

#3 Patience–Colby Lewis did not walk a whole lot of guys this season.  He walked 5 Rays tonight.  That helped to put more pressure on the young righty, and it helped the Rays to a W.

          3 out of 3 Keys Turned = W

———————————————–

Game 4 is tomorrow.

How will it go?

If the Rays performance today is any indication, the Rangers have alot to worry about.  They needed to put these guys away today. 

They didn’t.

The Rays can be really streaky, and the losing streak appears to be over.

It’s Do or Die Time

This could be it.

Or not.

Like all Rays fans, this Saturday is not quite a day for resting.  We have been on the edge of our seats since the final out of the disasterous Game 2 in St. Pete when the Rays went down with a whimper, 6-1.

So the anticipation is about to reach a fever pitch.

(Good movie, by the way, even if it IS about the Red Sox)

——————————————————-

The Pitching

Joe Maddon will trot out our last gasp in the form of righty Matt Garza

This guy should give the Rays a great chance to take a necessary step towards Game 5.  He has had great success in the playoffs, winning the ALCS MVP against the Red Sox in 2008, but the pressure will never have been greater for the guy.

They will go up against Colby Lewis (a guy who helped me to my second fantasy baseball championship this season, by the way).  Lewis was a game under .500 (12-13) on the season, but his ERA was at 3.72.

What worries me most is that he struck out nearly 200 hitters (196).  That bodes ill for the Rays, who led the league in Ks.

The only number that matters today, though, is runs.  The Rays need to give up one less than the Rangers.

——————————————————-

The Lineup

Thanks, Joe.

The Rays will trot out the type of lineup that has helped them win 96 games this season. 

    Jaso

    Zobrist

    CC

    Longo

    Joyce

    Johnson

    Pena

    Upton

    Bartlett

I’m happy with this lineup, no matter the handed-ness of the guy on the opponents’ mound.  These guys know how to look for good pitches and how to work the count. 

Upton and Bartlett at the bottom of the lineup help Joe’s boys get some production from the latter third of lineup leading back to Jaso at the top.

I love it.

———————————————————–

3 Keys to a W

1–Emotion.  It might be said too much, but Matty needs to keep his mind in the game.  He dominated the Rangers at the Trop this year, but he was roughed up in Texas.  That can’t happen.  But it can’t be just Garza who keeps emotion in check.  Hear me, Joe?

2–Hit.  ‘Nuff said.  8 hits in two games stinks.

3–Be Patient.  Honestly, Lewis does not walk alot of guys (65 this year).  But the Rays know how to walk.  They have to get him to miss the zone throughout the game and they have to get to the Rangers’ ‘pen early.

———————————————————-

I don’t know how this is going to turn out. 

Like most of the country, though, I know that we haven’t seen the best of the Rays yet in this series.  It would be a shame for them to go out of the postseason without showing MLB fans just how good this team really is.

I’ll be on the edge of my seat throughout the game.

Nervous for sure.

ALDS Dud

What a great day.  It was amazing.

What a horrible day.  It was amazingly terrible.

It was that kind of a day.  Exhilerating and frustrating.  A sea of conflicting emotions.

The Rays took it on the chin today against the Texas Rangers, 5-1.  They deserved the loss in every possible way.  They came out lethargic on the mound, lazy in the field, and uninspired at the plate.

David Price was clearly outdueled by Cliff Lee, as Davey gave up runs in four consecutive innings.  Forget about the unearned runs, Price looked as bad as the 5-1 loss did.  He labored through his outing and ended up giving up 2 home runs (Nelson Cruz crushed one while Bengie Molina put one in the left field bleachers as well) and no chance to his fellow mates.

It isn’t as if he was helped in the field, though.

Evan Longoria had several poor throws to first base, one of which skipped by a terrible Carlos Pena for a key error in the game.  Another throw from Jason Bartlett also got by Pena, eventually leading to a run.

At the plate, sheesh.

The Rays struck out 13 times. 

13!!! 

In a playoff game, no less.

Pena had three of those K’s, one that came looking early in the game when the Rays had the bases loaded.  BJ Upton and Rocco Baldelli struck out twice each to help lead the team to their Game 1 loss.

There are alot of things that make me angry about this game. 

I’m going to remember the fun I had, though.  I loved cheering on my boys.  I loved hanging out with my wife and my buddies during our pre-game tailgate.  Those things are what I’ll take away from today.

I certainly hope that the Rays will take some positives away from today as well and find a way to get a big W during tomorrow’s inexplicable daytime playoff game.  Thanks MLB.

—————————————————————————

Keys to the Game

#1 David Price needs to give 6 strong innings.  That surely did not happen.  Price might have gotten little support at the plate and in the field, but he brought alot of the grief on himself.  The team paid for it.

#2 Make Lee work.  Nope, no good there.  He cruised today.  At times it looked like the Rays hitters were swinging at anything that was thrown, forget whether it was near the plate or not.  They managed 5 hits against the guy all day long.   

#3 Capitalize with a capital C.  Again, no good.  They had runners in scoring position all day long.  Early in the game, the Rays had the bases loaded with one out.  Pena struck out looking and Baldelli looked terrible in his inning-ending K.

          0/3 Keys Turned = LOSS

———————————————————————

Maddon’s Lineup Decisions…

I’m getting tired, so I’ll keep this part short.

What the hell, Joe?

Barlett leading off?  He hasn’t done that much over the last week or so at all.  So why do it now?  I know he hits lefties fairly well, but Bartlett hasn’t been right all season long. 

Baldelli starting?  Why?  A few months ago he was an advisor with the team.  A month ago he was at Single A.  And now he starts Game 1?  I don’t get it.  And you bat him above Zobrist, who you hit 7th?

It was yet another strange lineup put forth by an unconventional manager.  If it worked, nobody would have cared.  But it didn’t. 

C’mon Joe.