Game Report 09/15/07; DEVIL RAYS 6, Seattle 2

RAYS 6, Seattle 2

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
DEVIL RAYS 4 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 6 14 1
Seattle 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 4 0


Win Probability table courtesy of Fan Graphs.
Rays Coast to Win From the Start

Seattle-The Devil Rays knocked Seattle starter Horacio Ramirez out of the ballgame before he could retire a batter, and it was pretty much smooth sailing from there as the ballclub snapped a four game slide in a 6-2 win before 33,793 in SAFECO Field.

Tampa Bay wasted no time getting their offensive gears into position, as Akinori Iwamura and Carl Crawford singled to lead off the game. Carlos Peña walked to load the bases, while B.J. Upton came up to the plate after a mound visit and drilled a single into left to drive in Iwamura for the first run of the ballgame. At this juncture the Mariners removed Ramirez from the ballgame, ending his night after four batters, three hits, one walk, and no outs. Jorge Campillo came in to relieve him and promptly surrendered two more runs on a Delmon Young single before Seattle finally got the first out of the ballgame, two outs actually, on a Brendan Harris double play ball. Jonny Gomes would then single in the final run, closing the book on Ramirez who was charged with all four runs in the inning and eventually took the loss.

From here on out, Tampa Bay pretty much just coasted. Scott Kazmir, on a strict pitch count after a 118 pitch effort on Monday in Boston, was removed after going six innings and throwing 99 pitches. He struck out 11 Seattle batters on the night, walking just two and giving up three hits to go along with an unearned run tagged against him in the fifth inning. The Rays would add token insurance runs in the third and fifth inning to take a 6-0 lead at one point in the ballgame, but the Seattle offense was mostly stymied all evening in garnering just four hits. Carl Crawford and Jonny Gomes would each finish the evening with four hits (Gomes' night included two doubles), Delmon Young had two hits (double inclusive), while Brendan Harris would homer in the fifth inning to cap the scoring. The Rays look to earn a series split Sunday afternoon in the Emerald City.

RAYS at Seattle
9:05; NO TV
RAYS RADIO/WHNZ 1250 AM

PITCHING MATCHUP:

IP ERA K/9 BB/9 K/BB H/9 OPS HR/9 WHIP G/F P/IP
RAYS LH Scott Kazmir 189.2 3.65 9.92 3.94 2.52 8.83 .732 0.85 1.42 1.02 17.49
SEA LH Horacio Ramirez 98.0 6.80 3.67 3.77 0.98 12.49 .904 1.19 1.81 1.56 16.95

LH Scott Kazmir, DEVIL RAYS:

Overview-Scott Kazmir returns to the site of his major league debut off of one of his best starts of the season as the Rays attempt to right the ship in Seattle. Though the Rays should benefit from the return of Carl Crawford from a two game suspension, the key for success might be any combination of good play that puts the game out of the hands of the bullpen. Kazmir himself hasn't been victimized by the bullpen's poor play that has affected each of his starting compatriots, as he pitched a beautiful eight inning, 1-0 effort in Boston on Monday night that predated the current four game losing streak. He threw a season-high 118 pitches in that effort and although I would feel far more comfortable with him getting an extra day or two in-between starts, the team feels he is ready to go this evening in perhaps the biggest mismatch of a pitching matchup all season.

Recent Starts-Kazmir bucked the pattern of poor pitching that had plagued three of his previous four starts with a masterful eight inning effort last time out against Boston. Starting opposite Curt Schilling, Kazmir threw a season-most 118 pitches over eight innings while shutting out Boston in picking up his 12th win of the season. He gave up just five hits while walking two and striking out ten, and Al Reyes wrapped up the Sox in the ninth inning to preserve the win. Previous to this, Kazmir had surrendered 12 runs in his previous eight innings of work, and had a 5.96 ERA dating back to August 20th. Previous to this however, Kazmir produced a one month stretch of baseball in which he sported a 1.01 ERA over 44.2 innings of work. As it sets up this will be Kazmir's third to last start of the season, and the last against a non-divisional opponent.

vs SEA-Rays fans might remember staying up past their bedtimes a few years ago for Kazmir's first major league start, and their working the "third shift" for watching Rays baseball was necessitated by Kazmir's debut falling at a 10:05 start time in SAFECO Field. A little more than three years ago in Seattle, Kazmir made his debut and actually shut out the Mariners over five innings of work, simultaneously picking up his first major league win in the process in an eventual 9-0 Rays win. His fourth major league pitch results in his first major league out recorded: a groundout by Seattle leadoff man Ichiro Suzuki, who was on his way to recording a major league record 262 hits before the season was done. Since then Kazmir has faced the Mariners another three times, and has done fairly well against them in posting a 1.93 ERA lifetime. All but one of his starts against the Mariners have been in their home domain of Seattle, where his lifetime ERA lowers to 1.47. He made his first home start against the Mariners earlier this year, his only start against Seattle this season, and got a no-decision after surrendering two runs over five innings of work in an eventual loss. Among current Seattle players, only one has even any success against him, not including two players who have faced him in all of two at bats. Raul Ibañez is 2 for 7 with a home run and a walk against him, but every other Seattle player has struggled mightily against him. Admittedly, however, they haven't faced him that often; Ichiro Suzuki has the most ABs of anyone against him, and he has just 12.

LH Horacio Ramirez, Seattle:

Overview-An exhibition of Bill Bavasi's stupidity treks out to the mound for Seattle this evening, as Horacio Ramirez and his 6.80 ERA go out to face the Rays as Seattle tries to win the series. Originally part of the Atlanta organization and a Braves pitcher for four seasons, Ramirez was acquired this off-season from Atlanta for Mariners relief pitcher Rafael Soriano. Unfortunately for Bavasi and the Mariners, that trade has gone down just as pretty much everyone expected that it would. Soriano has a 3.18 ERA and is a key piece of Atlanta's bullpen, while Ramirez has been a drain on the formerly contending Seattle Mariners. He has walked more batters than he has struck out, he has given up north of 12 hits per nine innings, his opponents' OPS is over .900, and his WHIP is 1.81. Just imagine where Seattle would be without him and Jeff Weaver. Perhaps the Mariners should be thankful that shoulder tendonitis has limited his innings total.

Recent Starts-Ramirez has actually been moderately less crappy since his ERA reached a three-month high on August 14th. Since that start he has still been a drain, but somewhat less so as his ERA is just 5.19 over the last five starts. That is not inclusive of his last start on Monday, in which he failed to get out of the second inning while surrendering five runs.

vs DEVIL RAYS-No Rays batter has more than three at bats of experience against Ramirez, and the lone batter with that total is Rocco Baldelli. B.J. Upton is hitless in two at bats against Ramirez, while every other Rays batter has only one lone at bat against him. Few Rays remain from Ramirez's lone start against the team as a member of the Atlanta Braves in 2003, in which he gave up two runs over 6.2 innings in earning the win. For a lot of Rays players, their only taste of Ramirez was his performance in a 13-12 shootout game four months ago. It was in this start that he developed the tendonitis that kept him out for two months; he left after just two innings and three runs in an eventual Seattle win.

COLLEGE GAMEDAY:

Today marks another week of college football, and as we progress into the evening slate of games I want to remind everyone that SB Nation is your home for blogs on all of your favorite college teams. That includes in-state Florida schools, where Alligator Army has all of your UF discussion covered as the Gators open their SEC slate in a key game against the University of Tennessee. For once I'll be saying 'GO GATORS!' in that one. Meanwhile FSU travels west to Boulder as they take on the University of Colorado, and Jerry Scott will guide you through that one at Tomahawk Nation. Stay up late with Jerry at TN as the Seminoles kick off at a 10pm start time. For those of you with out of state college interests, SBN has many additional blogs that you can link up with on the recently-revamped home page or on the 'College' tab in the SBN box on DRaysBay's left sidebar.

RAYS MINOR LEAGUES:

Meanwhile to add another dimension to your sporting Saturday, the Durham Bulls take on the Richmond Braves shortly to decide the International League championship after losing Game 4 earlier today. It's winner take all at The Diamond in Richmond as the Bulls and Braves play for the championship. The unusual championship double-header was provided for after Game 4 was delayed due to rain. Game 5 will start at about 7:00, Mitch Talbot takes to the hill for the Bulls. Meanwhile, Montgomery goes for the Southern League championship themselves at 8:00 Eastern time as they try to wrap up a second straight SL title over the Huntsville Stars. The Biscuits hold a 2-1 lead in the series and will send Mike Prochaska to the hill. Hopefully the Rays will build on the success of the Columbus Catfish and finish with three organizational titles by the time the night is over, plus a Rays win.

R.I.P.:

Finally, I think I speak for everyone here when I say that we give our sincerest condolences to former Rays reliever Shawn Camp, whose mother died in her sleep last night. Camp took bereavement leave from the Bulls for their double-header today. Our best wishes to an old friend in his toughest hour.

GO RAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GO COMMODORES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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