Quantcast 2008 Tampa Bay Rays: Rays Narrowly Miss Sweeping White Sox
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Rays Narrowly Miss Sweeping White Sox

I say narrowly in a nice way because if anyone on the planet saw that play by A.J. Pierzynski then they will know that A.J. blatantly elbowed Willy Aybar as he ran towards second base to continue the “pickle play” and then Pierzynski fell to the ground to try and get the interference call. All in all the ump did call interference on Aybar which gave A.J. third base and then a hitter later, Alexei Ramirez drives a ball to right field for the game winner. Throw out that play and the Rays are up to bat in extras and who knows what could happen. That play was unbelievable and everyone that I have spoken with has said that the umpire made a terrible call and it cost the Rays the game. With Boston and the Yankees winning their games the Rays lost ground in the AL East as well. Anyways to get on with the series that was played over the weekend…

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In the first game of the series, the Rays got their bats going as they beat the White Sox 9-4. Rocco Baldelli homered and Zobrist followed his with one of his own in the eighth inning to put away the White Sox. Carlos Pena also homered for the Rays who continue their surge in the American League. The White Sox had some hitting of their own but it was not enough to overcome the barrage that Tampa Bay put up. Nick Swisher homered in the fourth inning and Alexei Ramirez homered to keep the game close in the eighth inning, but after Ramirez’s homer, the Rays put up three more in the ninth to put the game out of reach. Edwin Jackson pitched for the Rays and he had a solid outing giving up two earned through six solid innings, however he walked five batters while striking out five as well. On the other hand, John Danks pitched six and a third innings and he allowed three earned runs while walking two and striking out four. The bullpen struggled for the White Sox as Dotel and Ramirez gave up six runs to give the Rays the game.

In the second game of the series, the Rays got enough hitting to get the job done and the pitching was great as well. The White Sox took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning and they blew it as Tampa Bay put up a four spot capped off with a Carlos Pena two run single. The Rays won the game 5-3 and increased their lead in the East. Jermaine Dye homered twice in the game, hitting his 30th and 31st of the year, but it was not enough as nobody else on the White Sox team decided to hit in the game. Pitching was not bad either Javier Vazquez kept the White Sox in the game pitching seven quality frames and he gave up four earned dropping him to 10-11 on the season. Scott Kazmir pitched for the Rays and he gave up three runs through six innings and he struck out seven in the game. B.J. Upton had two hits in the game to lead the Rays.

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The last game of the series was overshadowed by the bogus play that A.J. Pierzynski pulled off in the bottom of the 10th inning. See above. Other than that play the game was a really entertaining one. The Rays led early courtesy of another Rocco Baldelli homer and Aki Iwamura drove in a run to make it 3-0 Tampa Bay. However the White Sox have a pretty potent offense and they showed it as arguably the MVP of the American League, Carlos Quentin drove his 36th homer of the year out and then Jim Thome followed that up by driving a two run homer of his own out to right. Both of those homers erased the 3-0 deficit and gave the Sox a 4-3 lead. Carlos Pena doubled in a run in the top of the seventh to break the tie game and then with the Rays leading 5-4 in the ninth inning, an unlikely source came through for the White Sox as Paul Konerko drove in the tying run and set off that charade in the tenth inning that the White Sox would ultimately win 6-5.

Next up the Rays will play the Toronto Blue Jays at home with a chance to continue increasing their lead in the AL East. The Blue Jays still are a team on the outside looking in as we get down to the last 30 games of the season and they could play spoiler down the road. The pitching probables are as follows:

  • R. Halladay (15-9) vs. J. Shields (11-7)
  • D. Purcey (2-4) vs. M. Garza (10-7)
  • J. Litsch (9-7) vs. E. Jackson (10-8)

 

By Andrew Nuscis
Philadelphia Phillies & Tampa Bay Rays Correspondent


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