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Game Preview; Sunday (10/2) vs. Baltimore


Baltimore (73-88) at RAYS (67-94)
2:15; Tropicana Field
RAYS TV/PAX

PITCHING MATCHUP:

LH Bruce Chen (12-10, 3.86)

RH Tim Corcoran (0-0, 6.38)

KEYS TO THE GAME:
Hitters-Look for the long ball
PITCHING-Avoid the long ball

RAYS LINEUP-Won't be able to post today; going to the game.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!!!!!!

GO RAYS!!!!!!!!


Baltimore (73-88) at RAYS (67-94)
2:15; Tropicana Field
RAYS TV/PAX

Well isn't that special? Apparently, no one around the Rays hittters got the memo-RODRIGO LOPEZ IS NOT THAT GOOD!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, what got into those guys last night? Oh, I guess when you don't have the plate paitence to actually wait more than two pitches before swinging, that kind of defeats my plan. Lopez walked two and struck out one. I guarantee you, we could have increased that walk total if hitters weren't so anxious to drive the ball. Julio Lugo was the only Ray with more than one hit, and seven hits on the day comes from, 'well, if we swing the bat, 3/10 of the time, we'll get a hit'. I'm sorry, but if you get four balls 10/10 of the time you get the same result.

How many times this season has lack of plate paitence doomed us? Thank god Lee Elia and the Free Swingers' are on their way out. I love Lee Elia (his Chicago comments were great), but his hitting approach is wrong. Anyways, it was that which doomed Mark Hendrickson's decent, but not spectacular as some would have you believe, outing. He picked up a loss for the first time since July 20th, at least partially due to that stupid sacrafice fly caught by Hollins in foul ground near the Orioles' bullpen. I'm not gonna go off on a rant about how dumb that was, because I couldn't say anything to Damon that he hasn't alright thought of or heard.

On the plus side, Hendrickson was decent. He struck out six and walked none, which did fufill my plan for him before the start of the game, the eight hits he gave up were costly. Nonetheless, he did not deserve to lose, and I'm sad to see his good run ended when he made one of his better starts. On the plus side, 17,481 'saw it happen', though obviously some were drawn by the giveaway. Let's hope for a good crowd going up against the NFL today, and let's close out the year on a high note!

PITCHING MATCHUP:

LH Bruce Chen (12-10, 3.86)

RH Tim Corcoran (0-0, 6.38)

BREAKDOWN: Taking the mound for Baltimore in the final game is lefty Bruce Chen, who surely will be sad to see this season go. Depneding on how you project Chen's future, this was either a breakout year or a career year. He cemented a starting role and pitched to a 3.86 ERA over 31 starts. He had a chance to win a career-best 13th game last time out against New York, but he was forced to try again today as the Yanks shelled him for seven runs on seven hits, including three home runs and four walks, over four innings of work. Ouch. But he has another chance today against the Rays, whom he beat down over seven innings in his last start, surrendering one run on two hits over seven strong. Let's hope that Chen isn't quite so good today.

Taking the mound for the Rays is Tim Corcoran. I'm not going to really do too much of an in-depth breakdown of him, as my 2005 Durham Bulls Pitcher of the Year may not go more than three innings or so. I don't know what Lou has in store in terms of pitcher use, whether he wants to use several pitchers or use Corcoran like a starter. 'Corky' has gotten a bad wrap in terms of ERA. Lou has pitched him like, well, Lou, and Corcoran has not responded well, which is understandable when you leave an arm to rot for two weeks on the bullpen bench. But if he is used like a starter, this will be a good chance for Corky to prove himself, though he hasn't started since May 2004 with Montgomery. Hopefully Corky can redeem himself ERA-wise, and end the Rays' year on a strong note.

As for the rest of the Rays' staff, it is unknown how Lou will use them. Casey Fossum, who had a short stint in Cleveland in his last start, might get some work as might Dewon Brazelton, and the rest of the best. Right now, it is pretty much unknown. The last game is always filled with scubs for both sides, so we'll just have to 'Watch it Happen' (last pun on that for the season, I'm sad) and find out what happens.

THE BOTTOM LINE-The bottom line is, the last game of the season seems to always be played like a spring training game, and this will give me good scorecard practice. The Rays haven't ended a season at home since 2001, and won't next year, so this is somethinbg to revel in. Anyways, as for the actual game, Chen's problem this year has been home runs, he's given up 32 of them, and that should be our hitters' focus today-pitches up in the zone.

As for the Rays' pitching staff as a whole, they should just avoid the long ball as a whole, the whole O's lineup is stocked full of power, so they should just try to keep the ball down in the zone.

KEYS TO THE GAME:
Hitters-Look for the long ball
PITCHING-Avoid the long ball

RAYS LINEUP-Won't be able to post today; going to the game.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!!!!!!

GO RAYS!!!!!!!!