Friday, September 18, 2009

Still Catching Up On Wednesday Night, Part 1 of 2

On Wednesday night I was busy at a roller derby board meeting and didn’t get home till after 10:00. All the games that I had planned to watch were over, except for the Rays game in Baltimore that was still going because of a rain delay that lasted nearly two hours. I turned on the TV just in time for a recap and DeWayne Stats got me filled in and up to date on what was going on. I missed one of Andy Sonnanstine’s better performances of the year. He last 5-2/3 innings, striking out 2, walking 2 and allowing only 3 hits and 1 earned run. Carl Crawford was 2 for 4, but was thrown out trying to steal both times. This was the 1st time he was caught stealing twice in one game since April of 2007. Chris Tillman (who really impresses the Troll) started for Baltimore and lasted 6-2/3 innings and only gave up one run, a solo home run to Greg Zaun. The relievers had been perfect so far and the score was Orioles 2, Rays 1 going into the ninth. I almost didn’t believe it, but Balfour, Shouse and JP Howell combined to pitch 2-1/3 innings of shutout relief. Wow. I was psyched that the game was still on and I took a seat with my fingers crossed hoping the Rays would find a way to win their second game in a row. Jim Johnson started the 9th for the Orioles and had to face the Rays 3-4-5 hitters. We have a shot! He got Longoria to ground out 6-3 for the first out. Crap. Ben Zobrist came up batting left handed. Johnson served him up a fat pitch and the hungry slugger got his first hit of the night and sent it into the centerfield stands for his 24th home run of the year! ZORILLA! Score is tied up at 2 each and there’s only one out! Unfortunately Johnson wasn’t flustered by blowing his fifth save of the year. Either that or the next two batters didn’t care, but either way, he got both Pat Burrell (0-4) and Willy Aybar (1-4) to pop out to end the inning. Okay, score is tied, if JP Howell can shut down the Orioles 6-7-8 hitters, we’re going into extra innings. Only problem is that JP wasn’t walking out to the mound, Dennis Springer was. Okay, if Springer can shut down the Orioles 6, 7 and 8 hitters, we’re going to extra innings. Springer’s first task was to get Luke Scott (.258) out. He didn’t. He walked Scott to bring up rookie catcher Matt Wieters. Wieters had already had a big day throwing out CC twice in steal attempts and driving home a run in the 2nd with a sacrifice fly. Springer gives him a fast ball over the plate and Wieters sends it into the left field stands. Walk-off home run for Wieters, game over, Orioles win. It was Wieters 7th homer of the year and I am not sure, but I think at least 3 have come off Rays pitching. It was the 9th home run that Springer has allowed in 53 innings. His record is 0-4. The loss was the Rays 13th in 14 games and they dropped to .500 for the first time since June. With 16 games left this season, they are now 14 games behind in the Wild Card. I am an optimist, but I think you can officially say that the Rays season is over. There are still personal achievements to go for. Crawford still has a chance to catch Ellsbury for the stolen base title. CC, Longo, Bartlett, Zobrist and Pena will all probably get a few votes for MVP and Jeff Neimann is still in the thick of the AL ROY chase, but their chances of the postseason are over. They do have 12 home games before the season is officially done, that’s cool. There are a few members of the 2008 American League Champs that have a shot at making it back there. Best of luck to Scott Kazmir, Edwin Jackson and even Rocco Baldelli. Rays fans, we’ve still got hope for 2010! Go Rays! Troll out.

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