It's funny (disturbing?) how much control the Rays have over my psyche. On days after the Rays win, it's so much easier to get out of bed in the morning. I don't mind the early mornings so much and things that would normally aggravate me, I laugh off. Like tonight - I was in a rotten, stressed mood following dinner, but it all went away after watching Zobrist, Bartlett, and Longoria crush their homeruns to give the Rays the lead. The weight on my shoulders relaxed and the tightness in my chest lessened. Life might be crazy, but at least the Rays were winning.
And win they did. It's one thing to win a game by nine runs; it's another to score those runs by absolutely murdering the baseball. Last night, the Rays' offense exploded like a fireworks display gone mad. Ben Zobrist homered to deep centerfield, singled in a run, and then barely missed another homerun later in the game. Carl Crawford had three doubles. Evan Longoria had a three-run homerun that cleared the Green Monster and landed in a parking lot. Jason Bartlett hit a titanic homerun off the lights in leftfield. Dan Johnson hit another homerun against the Sox. And not to be outdone, BJ Upton hit a laserbolt homerun that landed in the parking lot with Evan's blast. I've never seen so many balls get hit so hard in one game. It was stunning.
While the Rays were murdering baseballs on offense, David Price was doing his best Scott Kazmir impression - and no, not the good Kazmir. Price had a tough time getting through the first inning, letting up a couple runs while laboring deep into counts and struggling a tad with command. After getting through the first, Price managed to find a groove and make it through six productive innings, although he did walk four batters while only striking out two. The Red Sox are a patient team, but Price also had trouble fooling the Red Sox and blowing them away with his heat (~8% swinging strikes on the night). It wasn't his best start, but then again, it wasn't too shabby for his first career start in Fenway Park.
- Jeremy Hellickson doesn't like pitching out of the bullpen. After allowing only six runs in 26.1 innings pitched as a starter, he's now allowed five runs in 3.1 innings out of the bullpen. Also, that's not including his one relief appearance down with the Stone Crabs (A+) where he let up four runs in an inning and two-thirds. He doesn't appear as comfortable on the mound as he does as a starter, and he's running out of time to adjust. Anybody else excited to see Jake McGee on our postseason roster?
- I'm really liking this Brad Hawpe / Dan Johnson tango at DH. Johnson had a great night at the plate last night (1 for 3 with a homerun and two walks), and I've liked what I've seen of Brad Hawpe so far. This is much better production than I'm used to getting from our DH, so I'll take it.