With all the hype of the "Most Important Draft in Rays History" going around, it was easy to forget that there was an actual real life baseball game tonight. While the future of the Rays' ten first round (and supplemental) picks is uncertain, what can be taken from tonight is that the Rays did manage a win against the Los Angles Angels of Anaheim.
1st-overall pick David Price worked a magnificent game despite not looking like he had his best stuff early on. Price went 7+ innings and allowed just one run on five hits and zero(!) walks while striking out seven. Despite throwing almost 90% fastballs in his last start, Price, surprisingly, fed the Halos a steady diet of offspeed pitches, only throwing the heater ~58% tonight.
Though Price pitched into the eighth inning, it looked like he would get into some pitch count issues after losing an eleven-pitch battle when leadoff hitter and amateur signee Macier Izturis singled on a sharp ball to third. But, Price came through the inning after amateur free-agent signees Erick Aybar and Bobby Abreu laid down a sac bunt and grounded out, respectively, and 1st-round (20th) pick Torii Hunter struck out looking to end the inning. The Velociraptor Jesus would cruise through six more innings, only running into trouble in the eighth inning after allowing a leadoff double to 18th-round pick Mark Trumbo and an RBI single to 1st-round (33rd) pick Jeff Mathis. 1st-round (35th) pick Cesar Ramos and 47th-round pick Kyle Farnsworth would close out the game flawlessly.
Offensively, the Rays went to work early against Angels' starter and 2nd-round pick Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood came out pounding the zone and the Rays hitters were ready. Singles by 1st-round (35th) pick Johnny Damon, 12th-round pick John Jaso, and 25th-round pick Justin Ruggiano, and a sac-fly by 12th-round pick Matt Joyce gave the Rays an early two-run lead. Ruggiano would hit a two-run bomb in the sixth and Joyce would add an RBI single in the seventh to round out the Rays five runs.
Bullets after the jump:
- It should be pointed out that Joyce's RBI Single was an absolute murderball off the rightfield wall. The ball caromed perfectly to Torii Hunter who easily gunned down Joyce who was going for a double. Joyce's sac-fly in the first was also demolished to the warning track in center. Joyce didn't just put good wood on the ball today, he put Chat-wood.
- In other hitting news, 2nd-round pick Reid Brignac was 3-4 on the night, all singles. One was of the bunting variety. It was a sweet one, too, catching the Angles by surprise. Brignac's bid for a four-hit night ended when he struck out looking to end the ninth. Not that I think this is a sign of what's to come, but I'm certainly rooting for at least a month/week/day of MVBriggy.
- Both 2nd and 3rd overall picks B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria were out with upset tummies. It was mentioned that 1st-round (13th) pick Casey Kotchman was also suffering from the bug, but he toughed it out and went 0-3 with a run scored. The man truly is unstoppable.
- Though the Rays won the game, the Angels did manage a draft 'win' (at least in the eyes of many here at DRB) when they drafted CJ Cron with the 17th-overall pick. We'll never know if the pick affected the Rays draft whatsoever, but the pick had me thinking of how the Blue Jays signed seemingly every free agent that the Rays looked to be targeting this offseason.
- Tonight's game is at 10:05 PM and features 4th-round pick Alex Cobb v. 2nd-round pick Dan Haren. Day two of the draft starts at noon, so make sure to have a productive morning at work so you can chill out to the dulcet tones of a 29-round MLB conference call. Exciting!