Hey Devil Rays fans! Patrick Kennedy here, with my first actual story for DRaysBay. For those of you not familiar with me, check my previous news post, it should be below this one, or check the Diaries, I think I accidentally double posted and put one there.
Anyways, with that out of the way, let me give you a fan's perspective of the game Saturday night, which I attended thanks to Drew from RaysBaseball, who gave me a diamond box ticket to the game. In my company was also Jim, formerly of this blog.
In the actual game, I expected a normal Kazmir-type start. Maybe six strikeouts, four walks, six innings, maybe three earned runs. While Kazmir's inability to keep his pitch count down enough so that he may go on to the seventh continued today, and disturbs me somewhat, ten strikeouts speaks for itself. Couple that with only two walks, none after the second inning, and that is a 5:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Kaz absolutely breezed by a Texas lineup that, while very strikeout prone, could tag you for the longball. Luckily for us, Kaz was able to keep it in the yard, and he might have been the MVP of the game.
Might was the key word though, and by that, I mean, the MVP was clearly Jorge Cantu. On any other day, six innings with 10 Ks gets you Game MVP, but not on this day, when Cantu went 2-3, drove in all four runs (including himself with his 19th HR of the year, a two run blast). Simply put, Jorge Cantu, through thick and thin, has been the most consistent player on the team this year, and while Jonny Gomes has been absolutely dazzling, Cantu has done it for an entire year, though that is no fault of Gomes'. And to think, we were going to start Robbie Alomar over this guy. Cantu's 4 RBI gave him 81 on the year, and he will almost surely hit 100 if he plays at even half the level he is now.
No one else in the Rays' lineup stood out, but the team as a whole did very well. Every player in the lineup got on base, and seven got hits, though only Cantu had moe than one. On the mound, Orvella and JoeBo held the lead down, going two perfect innings, Orvella with two Ks, as JoeBo's scoreless streak hit 17.1 IP, just 0.2 IP shy of Rolando Arrojo's Rays record. In the ninth, Danys Baez made it interesting, giving up a leadoff homer and allowing the tying run to step up to the plate a couple times by allowing a Hank Blalock single. But in the end, the Rays held on for a 4-2 victory in, in my mind, one of the most complete wins of the year.
So, you ask, what is so first person about that? Well, in truth, nothing. Here are some things you'd only hear from someone at the ballpark.
-That damn pregame concert that featured those crappy Christian rock bands (Urban D, Barlow Girl, WTF?) did boost attendance to near 19,000, which is a good thing. But, it also didn't give enough time for them to remove the lighting fixture for the concert from the third base side near the visiting bullpen before game time. So what did that spell? Why, obstructed views. It wasn't really that bad, but from where I was sitting, second base was obstructed.
-Another side effect of the large crowd was packed hallways. Whereas on normal game days, you can walk through the food courts easily, today, you had to contend with lines that spanned the width of the area. Concessions went fast, and judging from the size of a lot of people in line, they didn't really need that Bloomin' Onion.
-Whordes of free tickets were availible. There were at least a couple of guys giving them away at the rotunda. Crappy seats, mind you, but still a free pass.
That's it for this post, come out to the ballpark tomorrow Rays fans, and bring your brooms!