Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Woo! The Other Johnson Gets Rays Back On Track

Lotsa chatter that Jonny Johnson Gomes will finish his season in Tampa Bay once the Governors' Cup International League Championship is in the bag. But the plane ride was pushed back a day when the Bulls dropped the opener last night against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  The Bulls took the lead with an 8th inning rally, but the Yanks came back with 2 in the 9th to win it 8-7. Gomes was 1-4 with a single and a run scored at DH and is batting .263 in the post season.  Newly minted Minor League Player Of The Year, David Price struck out 9 in his 6 inning appearance and may be on his way to The Rays as soon as today.  Cannot wait to see that boy throw.

Meanwhile, Dan Johnson has been quietly getting it done all season.

The left handed batter was claimed off waivers from the A's in April and many Rays fans wondered what the plan was for another 1B with limited experience at other positions and a 5 pound medical record. Johnson was in Tampa Bay just long enough to get a uniform when the Rays right field platoon swelled yet again and Dan was Durham bound.  The popular former A played some outfield and 3B for the Bulls but was used primarily as the DH, swinging the bat well  with a .307 average, 25 home runs and 83 RBIs. He got the call to Fenway yesterday and arrived too late to start, but just in time to save the day.  The Rays were up 3-2 in the 8th with 2 outs, a Sox runner on, and a textbook matchup at the plate.  Jason Bay was just 1 for 18 against Rays reliever Dan Wheeler. Naturally, Bay launched a 1-1 pitch over the Monster for the lead.  On his reputation for working the count, Dan Johnson got a last second call to pinch-hit and lead off the 9th. Against Papelbunion Papebon. No pressure.  He saw three balls, then a strike and hammered the 6th pitch into the right field stands. The first Papel-bomb since June 14th.  Johnson snapped a career 0-15 pinch hit streak as a Major Leaguer and what a time to do it.  The speedy Fernando Perez drilled a double off the monsta. My hero Dioner Navarro, hit yet another clutch double to plate Perez and put the Rays back on top 5-4.  With Percy set to close, Rays fans chanted their favorite motivational quotes and popped a Rolaid.  The Rays closer managed to get it done but, as usual, it was an E-Ticket ride instead of a Brandon Morrow mow down. Whatever. We won and we're still on top in the AL East.

As for Jonny Johnson Gomes... the Rays are still convinced Jonny is a lefty specialist in the batter's box and opted for left handed hitter Dan Johnson given the series of RHP they'll face the next few days.  Jonny's Durham splits?   .171 vs LHP in 35 ABs.  and .292 vs RHP in 72 ABs for a combined .252.  But what do I know.

Hey, Longo is back this weekend if everything stays on track with that mending wrist. Love him, but he'll have to put on quite a show to knock Navi off PTownFan's pedestal for Rays MVP.

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