Last night’s game was exactly what the Rays needed, a response to their poor play. The Rays came ready to play and more specifically, Matt Garza came to the park ready to deal but more on that later. Tampa Bay absolutely dismantled a Red Sox team that had been playing great baseball since their opening series loss to this Rays team.
There’s no reason to go with our regular post game format because the Rays had it all clicking. Every starter contributed with at least a hit, and finally came to the plate with an idea. Back to the basics is what we were crying for and last night’s game was simply see ball, hit ball. Nobody tried to do too much as Even Longoria was going opposite field, Pat Burrell was ripping line drives all over and Michel Hernandez turned in a career game (4-5, 2B, HR).
The Rays collectively put a near-flawless game together, but no one was as close to perfection as Garza was. It makes us incredibly giddy when we see Garza’s talent come together as he showed everyone once again why he has the best stuff on the team. He was hitting his spots with movement and did a fantastic job mixing in his offspeed pitches. Take away Jacoby Ellsbury’s fist-job infield hit and we could very well be writing about the Rays’ first no hitter. Final line: 7.2IP, 1H, 0ER, 1BB, 10K. Not bad from your number three guy.
But let’s rewind a moment, we’ve seen this before. The Rays opened a series with a dominating win for the fifth time in the last six series. Each time they lost the remaining games. So tonight’s game will be the real measuring stick, especially after embarrassing the Red Sox last night so they will most likely come out swinging tonight. Can the Rays give a repeat performance and play to their potential or will the Devil Rays show up again? Andy Sonnanstine is in a big spot tonight as he takes on Justin Masterson, who probably has the best two-seam fastball in the league. Can the hitters continue with their simple plate approaches and keep driving the ball?
I think we’re going to find out a lot about this team tonight. They haven’t won two games in a row since the first series in Boston, and what better time to start playing consistent baseball then now against that same ball club. Are we going to witness the continuing of a trend tonight or the climb out of the cellar? Again, a lot of questions should be answered tonight.