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Game Preview; Saturday (10/1) vs. Baltimore


Baltimore (72-88) at Rays (67-93)
6:15; Tropicana Field
NO TV; Radio: Rays Radio/1250 AM

PITCHING MATCHUP:

RH Rodrigo Lopez (14-12, 4.97)

LH Mark "Lurch" Hendrickson (11-7, 6.06)

KEYS TO THE GAME:
Lurch-Stop putting the ball in play so much
Hitters-Be paitent and look for balls left over the upper part of the plate

TOMORROW's GAME: vs. Orioles (Kazmir)

RAYS LINEUP: Once again, because I am leaving two horus before the first pitch, I will be unable to add the Rays' lineup. David, if you want to edit it into my post, you are more than welcome, or if someone wants to post it in a comment, more power to them. But I want a bobblehead!

COMING UP: I went to the Rays' Instructional League game today and took ten pages of notes. I will summarize it in a wrapup when I get back.

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


Baltimore (72-88) at Rays (67-93)
6:15; Tropicana Field
NO TV; Radio: Rays Radio/1250 AM

Friday was shaping up to be a good day. The Rays returned home for what was going to be their last series of the long season, they had taken two of three from the playoff-contending Indians, and Lou Piniella offcially announced he was not coming back. The trifecta! The Rays could have made this the best day of the season by beating Baltimore. Instead, they blew a 5-3 lead, let the O's pick up a key insurance run in the eighth, and stranded the tying run at third in the eighth in a 7-6 loss.

With the win, the only-the-Royals-are-worse-in-the-second-half Orioles clinched the season series. The weak link in this one was clearly Doug Waechter, who lived up to his home run reputation by giving up the go-ahead three run shot to Melvin Mora. He lasted only four innings, giving up six runs on seven hits, racking up 76 pitches. Damon Hollins and Aubrey Huff each had two hits, Huff's a three run homer, but with two runners in scoring position, Jorge Cantu struck out to end the eighth, and B. Ryan shut them down in the ninth to preserve to Orioles' victory.

PITCHING MATCHUP:

RH Rodrigo Lopez (14-12, 4.97)

LH Mark "Lurch" Hendrickson (11-7, 6.06)

BREAKDOWN: The Rays and the O's square off in the game today, and the O's will try to win the series by sending Rodrgio Lopez out to the mound. Lopez goes out to the mound trying to win his 15th game, matching his career high in 2002. He has failed in three straight tries, the first of which coming in Baltimore against the Rays on September 16th. He gave up four runs on eight hits over six innings, including two home runs, and has a 5.52 ERA against Tampa Bay this season. Last time out against New York, Lopez went just four innings, giving up six runs on the same number of hits, while WALKING FIVE and striking out three. Lopez is living proof the W-L records mean nothing, and his numbers against the Rays indicate a rough outing today.

Speaking of W-L records meaning nothing, the 11-7 Mark "Lurch" Hendrickson takes to the mound for the Rays. Lurch has been a decent pitcher since his July 31st start against the Royals, having pitched to a 4.63 ERA, and if you want to go back to his bad performance before that, has not lost since July 20th. He tries to close out the season with that no-loss streak intact. Last time out against Anaheim, Lurch was decent enough, yielding four runs in eight innings of work. He has not faced the Orioles since way back when, that being April 30th when he gave up two runs over six hits in five innings. Lurch has a 4.86 ERA in two start against the Black and Orange this season.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The bottom line is, while I don't have as far to travel in that short amount of time, I want to get a Carl Craford bobblehead doll, so I'm gonna wrap this up simply again. For the Lurch, he needs to stop twiddling around the strike zone. He puts too many balls in play. He feels he needs to get every pitch into the zone, which results in more balls in play, which results in more hits. If he walks a few more, fine, but he's got to stop leaving the ball's landiong point to the fate of luck so many times. His opponents' BABIP is .526, so luck has not been on his side.

As for the hitters, they have a combo of things to look for. First off, they need to be paitent. I know this is a foreign word to some (cough....Carl Crawford) but if you wait Lopez out, he will give you a lot of free pases. His K:BB is not even 2. But, if you see a fat pitch up in the zone, turn on it. He has given up 28 homers this year, so you've got to be looking for that lucky pitch. This guys' peripherals are waaaaaay too bad to be deserving of 15 wins, and it should be fairly easy to deny him.

KEYS TO THE GAME:
Lurch-Stop putting the ball in play so much
Hitters-Be paitent and look for balls left over the upper part of the plate

TOMORROW's GAME: vs. Orioles (Kazmir)

RAYS LINEUP: Once again, because I am leaving two horus before the first pitch, I will be unable to add the Rays' lineup. David, if you want to edit it into my post, you are more than welcome, or if someone wants to post it in a comment, more power to them. But I want a bobblehead!

COMING UP: I went to the Rays' Instructional League game today and took ten pages of notes. I will summarize it in a wrapup when I get back.

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