Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Morning After: Game 7

Mariners 6(3-5), Rays 5(3-4)

LVP: Matt Garza

Highlights

  • Riggans hit his first homerun of his career. It just made it over the left field wall. It couldn’t have cleared it by more than 5 feet.
  • Riggans made great stop after great stop in key situations. I think Garza must have thrown ten balls in the dirt when a runner was on third and Riggans just kept digging or blocking them. Very impressive.
  • Pena clobbered a ball into the right field bleachers in the third. It was such a high fly that I thought it might graze the top of the Trop. It is very nice to see Pena get off to such a good start this season.
  • Bartlett was exceptional in the field. He made two great plays in the hole. He and Aki also turned a nice double play. In general the infield defense has been superb this season. As crappy as Aybar has looked on the basepaths and at the plate this season, no one can deny that he has been exceptional with the glove. If Pena keeps his play at first base up he deserves a Gold Glove.
  • Both Wheeler and Percival pitched very well. Reyes also didn’t allow any runs in an inning of work but he didn’t look that great. I would say he looked adequate.

Lowlights

  • Nothing annoys me more than having a runner on third with no outs or one out and not getting that runner home. In the first, the Rays had runners on second and third with no outs and Upton is at the plate. He proceeds to strike out on three pitches. Then with two outs, Gomes grounds out weakly and the Rays end up with no runs.
  • Garza looked pretty bad for the 2+ innings before he left with the injury. Some, if not most, of his struggles may be attributable to the nerve injury. Everyone seemed to be making solid contact against him and he couldn’t find the plate in the third to save his life. That is two straight starts where I have been unimpressed by his performance.
  • In the 5th inning with one out Aybar steps to the plate -- runners on first and third. He proceeds to sky a pop out to second base. Absolutely brutal. Is it really that hard to just get the damn runner home? Luckily, the Rays pulled off a double steal (Gomes stole second and Upton stole home) and were able to get a couple runs out of the inning. None the less, Aybar has to get that runner home.
  • Elliot Johnson looked terrible at the plate. I would say he even looked worse than Nathan Haynes. And that’s saying a lot
  • Glover didn’t pitch all that poorly. A lot of the hits off of him were bloop jobs. Why didn’t Maddon bring in Howell in this situation?
  • Just an extremely odd play on the Upton double down the line to right. He lost his shoe immediately as he got out of the box. He looked like he was going maybe three quarters speed until he got to second and then he turned it on. He was called out sliding into third. He got very upset and argued and then Maddon came out and argued and got the boot. He was definitely safe, but it was a close bang- bang play. Beltre should have got a chunk of his leg taken out then way he was blocking the bag. That was the end of the line for the Rays. They did not get another hit the rest of the game. Infuriating. It seems to me like this is the second time Upton has lost a shoe this season. What’s the story? Double-knot that bitch Bossman Junior.
  • Why is Pena batting 3rd and not 4th. This makes no sense to me. Upton is a classic number three hitter and Pena is a classic clean-up hitter. In the ninth, we had the top of the order up and it was three lefties in a row. They were promptly sat down 1,2,3. Do you think maybe it would be a good idea to have Upton in their at 3rd to break up that lefty, lefty, lefty?
  • What's with the intentional walking of Ibanez. It's Raul Ibanez, not Ken Griffey Jr. Seriously, this may have been a little bit of over-mamanging by Ibanez. I'm not in favor of intentionally walking guys when my pitcher can't throw a strike to save his life, but maybe Maddon feels otherwise. Thank God he got run in the 8th or he may have called for some more intentional walks.

Analysis

This was a tough loss to take. The Rays had opportunities to win this game and they just did not get the job done. The crowd was fired up and everyone was cheering for them. Hopefully, there will be another big crowd tomorrow and the Rays can break this three game losing streak. At this point I am not too worried about the three losses in a row, but I am worried about this streak getting extended. That would not be good. The team may slip back into that familiar losing way from the past ten seasons. Nobody wants that. Let’s hope that Sonnanstine can pull the Rays out of their rut. I have a lot of confidence in him for some odd reason.

This loss of Garza could be quite bad if it is for an extended amount of time. This would mean that Hammell would have to stay in the rotation even longer (ugh) and Neimann may need to be called up from triple A to make some spot starts. Or perhaps they will just let Howell fill in as the fifth starter until Kazmir comes back. This is all assuming that Garza will be out more than a month, but I have no idea if that is the case. For the sake of the team let’s all hope not. Seeing Hammell start every five days is not going to be fun.

PA

1 comment:

Smithsonian said...

Tie your shoe, Christ, what was he wearing? Airwalks?