The Rays bounced back tonight behind a strong outing by both Jeff Niemann and the Rays offense. This is the type of games everyone loves as the Rays got ahead early and continued to be aggressive, scoring at least one in the first six innings. West coast games are no good for us here on the east as I’d like to elaborate more but it is past one in the morning, so let’s get to the break down.
First thing we were looking for is Niemann’s control which was on for the most part. He started the game with four perfect innings before a bit of a hiccup in the fifth. After cruising through four, Adrian Beltre reached on an error. Niemann followed that up by walking Ronny Cedeno on four pitches, then gave up a bomb to Jose Lopez. Then Rob Johnson singled (although he should have fouled out), causing all of us to start thinking that we were witnessing the implosion of Niemann. However, the Giraffe settled down to get Franklin Gutierrez to fly out, then induced a double-play ball to get out of the innings. Nemann then did not record an out in the sixth and was taken out. Given the big lead, it was all in all a decent night.
Carl Crawford’s slump is most likely over as he turned in a 4-5 night with a walk and scoring three runs. C.C. kept the ball on the ground and utilized his speed several times to score and swipe a bag.
B.J. Upton was back in the lineup and went 2-6 and scored a run. He didn’t look to be bothered by his quad so he should stay true to his word about not missing anymore time.
What Went Right:
Other then C.C., Evan Longoria tacked on three hits, including a double and three runs batted in. Two of Longo’s hits were to right and he also drew a walk which is great to see.
J.P. Howell came out of the pen and was lights out and picking up three k’s. Dan Wheeler lowered his ERA with a scoreless inning, along with Lance Comier.
Every batter in the Rays lineup had a hit tonight except for..
What Went Wrong:
Dioner Navarro. Offensively, Navi is in a serious slump as not only did he go 0-5, but he has not been hitting the ball hard at all. It’s good to see that it hasn’t effected him defensively as he threw out Ichiro stealing. Not an easy task.
Rubber game tomorrow as it should be a pitchers duel with James Shields taking on Felix Hernandez. Only four more late night games!