I’m back after a short hiatus. Sorry for the delay from last night. I’m not going to do our normal post game format, instead I’m just going to touch on a couple of things. I didn’t have a problem with any of the three Rays pitchers last night, they did get themselves into trouble but constantly got themselves out of it too. Jeff Niemann was effective and made just one mistake pitch to Jermaine Dye. Lance Comier ate up a good amount of innings and just ran out of gas in the ninth. Then we saw vintage Grant Balfour coming in and striking out the two batters he faced. Yes, our pitchers gave up 14 hits but they only surrendered three runs, great job by the pitching staff.
However it was not a good night for the offense. Again. Carlos Pena however had a great game has he worked the count deep in all his at bats and hit a nice dinker to get the Rays on the board. Let’s touch on Carl Crawford’s night for a bit. C.C. went 0-5 and on his third and fourth AB, he saw six pitches, swung through four, fouled off one, and took a called strike to K twice in a row. But that’s baseball, you have nights like that.
I really hate to constantly rip on the Gabe duo but they make it hard not to. Kapler’s last at bat really irked me so let’s reset the scene. It’s the bottom of the seventh, one out, and Jason Bartlett on second, down by one. First pitch, Dotel misses low and away. Second pitch, Dotel misses low and away. Third pitch, Dotel throws a get-me-over fastball and hits the corner low and away. On a 2-1 count, the hitter should be completely zoned in on one pitch: fastball, most likely on the corner again. Why is that? Because not only is he up on the count, but also Bartlett is definitely a threat to steal third. So Dotel throws the fastball and Kapler takes. Ideally with a man on second, the hitter’s job is to move them over, if not score them, and the way you do that is a ball to the right side. But instead of swinging at a perfect pitch that would allow just that, Kapler takes. Then chases a high fastball and fouls out. Terrible.
Then we have Gabe Gross’ AB in the ninth. The Rays have second and third with two outs and Bobby Jenks struggling a bit on the mound. Gross gets up on the count 3-1. Again, it’s simple baseball. On a 3-1 count, especially given the current situation, you are looking for your pitch and you put your best swing on it. So if Jenks buries a 94 MPH fastball at the hands, don’t swing at it. It’s that easy. Instead Gross gets tied up and grounds out to end the game.
The timely hitting wasn’t completely there last night, and some of the hitters need to start coming to plate with some kind of idea. But there’s still 152 more to go, I have confidence they’ll work it out.