Monday, 15 September 2008

The future arrives...but the present is disappointing

First the good.

David Price.

Major league debut, your team's last ever game at Yankee Stadium, in the middle of a pennant race. Nervous?

Price certainly didn't look it as he came out of the 'pen to start the third inning against the Yankees. He retired the first big league hitter he saw, Xavier Nady, with his first pitch, and retired the next five straight before giving up a homerun to Derek Jeter. He didn't let that affect him though, and eventually left after throwing 5 1/3 innings, striking out four and allowing 3 hits.

Not perfect, but given the time and situation, just about as good a major league debut as you could hope for. I think David Price is going to do good things for us.

Still, overall the Rays' final trip to Yankee Stadium was a disappointment. Game one was a solid 7-1 win behind a great outing (8IP, 5hits, 6Ks, 0R) from James Shields. Evan Longoria returned to the lineup with 2 hits and 2RBI, while Justin Ruggiano took advantage of a rare start by going 3-4 with a pair of doubles. Joe Maddon's plan of stacking the lineup with rightys against Mussina (to the point of having switch-hitting Ben Zobrist and Fernando Perez bat right-handed) worked a treat, as he was knocked out after 5, and beaten by the Rays for the first time this year.

The evening game however was not quite so good. It started well, as Ben Zobrist hit his second grand slam in a couple of weeks to give us an early lead. Unfortunately he then turned from hero to villain late on, as his throwing error on what should have been a routine double play let the Yankees get back on terms, and go on to win 6-5.

Then there was yesterday, and as good as it was to see Price, there was a reason why he came into the game to start the third.

Edwin Jackson had, as we say in England, a 'mare. 2 innings (his shortest outing for over a year), 6 hits and 6 runs. A grand slam to Alex Rodriguez in the first and, after Fernando Perez had gotten the Rays back in the game with a three-run shot of his own (a first big league round-tripper for the increasingly impressive centrefielder), he surrendered a two-run blow to Jason Giambi. And that was pretty much it. We had a few chances to get back into the game, but just couldn't capitalise, and so now we head back to the Trop with just a single game lead over Boston.

Which should make the upcoming three game series with them pretty interesting... It kicks off tonight with a fascinating matchup between two aces who can't keep their pitch count down - Scott Kazmir and Daisuke Matsuzaka. I am already tired this morning due to listening to the Seahawks past midnight yesterday, and I'll have to be up early again tomorrow for work, but, never-the-less, I am extremely tempted to stay up and watch that one. If ever there was a time for Scotty K to come up big, this might just be it...

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