Friday, September 26, 2008

Home Run Derby Ices CelebRAYtion

Last fall, the MLB Schedule Wizards thought the Rays would be a good draw for the final series in Detroit.  Good call.  But a 1:05 start after a night game in Baltimore?  What's up with that? Senior Citizen Day. That's what.  Well, I hope there were a lot of Seniors on hand for the Home Run Derby.  Kaz gave up four jacks for the second time in two weeks.  Can't pin it on lack of sleep.  The team sent him to Detroit a day early in anticipation of the sleep depriving journey.

The Rays lost a game that most assumed would clinch the AL East yesterday.  Kaz tee'd 'em up and the Tigers knocked 'em out, celebrating a 7-5 win and prolonging the Magic Number = 1 drama. Who wants to party on a Thursday afternoon in Detroit anyway?  Today's the day.  I feel it.

There was a silver lining to yesterday's slugfest.  Ben Zobrist hit two taters himself.  You remember him... he's leads the team in frequent flyer miles between Durham and Tampa.  He was the Rays punching bag at SS last year before the upgrade to Bartlett.  He started the year on the DL and became the backup backup utility infielder.  Then he started to hit.  In clutch situations.  Long balls.  Lately he's been playing some mighty fine outfield too. Who knew?  Yesterday, Ben Zobrist hit a ball where only 28 others have landed.  Over the fence in dead center in Comerica Park. 424 feet.  Ben is now Zobie.  With a hawk. And we love him.

Jonny made a pinch run appearance in the 9th yesterday.  Defensive indifference took away an SB as he moved into scoring position, but it was good to see him on the basepaths.  Hopefully it won't be the last time.

Oh.  Percy was back after another epidural.  He threw a scoreless 8th and has declared himself fit as a fiddle for the playoffs.  Maddon says it depends on how he does in back-to-back appearances tonight.  Hopefully the back IS back.  Otherwise, Percy needs to take himself out and spare Joe the wrenching decision.  There are other guys on this roster that have worked just as hard, deserve it just as much, and don't have a World Series ring yet. 

Did yesterday's loss really matter in the scheme of things?  The team with the best record has the choice of starting the ALDS round on Wednesday or Thursday next week.  Let's hope that is the only thing that was riding on yesterday's game. 

The Pearls are morphing toward a Rays only blog in a few days, but there's one more chance to give props to Brandon Morrow.  The Rohnert Parkian :-)  pitches tonight as the Mariners open their final series of the season in Seattle.  He was brilliant last weekend in Oakland and we wish him well tonight.  I plan to watch with a bottle of bubbly right after the Rays clinch in the Motor City tonight.  Cheers!

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