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Game Report: Monday, September 18h vs Baltimore

Baltimore 4, RAYS 1

[Fan Graphs]

3 Up
CF Rocco Baldelli
2B Jorge Cantu
RP Brian Meadows

3 Down
SP Tim Corcoran
SS Ben Zobrist
3B B.J. Upton

Rays Skid Reaches Eight

W: Bedard (15-9)
L: Corcoran (4-9)
S: Ray (32)

St. Petersburg-The Devil Rays scored one run in last night's game. Ty Wigginton singled to give the Rays a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and that would be the pinnacle of success last night, as the Rays were shut out over the final eight innings yesterday en route to their eighth straight loss, 4-1 to the Orioles.

Erik Bedard gave up one run, which was unearned, over seven strong innings of work, and the three pitchers Baltimore used in the eighth, and Chris Ray in the ninth continued his work. Bedard had a masterful outing against the pitiful Devil Rays offense, striking out ten and walking one, while giving up four hits. The Rays managed seven hits over the course of the ballgame, five of them from Jorge Cantu and Rocco Baldelli. Tampa native Chris Ray picked up his 32nd save in relief for Baltimore.

The O's put Tampa Bay in a hole right dead after their first inning runs last night, as Corey Patterson teed off on Tim Corcoran's 1-1 offering to put up all the runs the Black Birds would need for the night. Patterson has killed the Rays this year, hitting .357/.400/.667 over 24 ABs, compared to an overall line of .273/.309/.424.

Corcoran, on the other hand, settled down after that, surrendering only one later run in the fourth, but never got into a solid groove. He ended up getting charged with only three earned runs over six innings, a quality start at the bare minimum, giving up six hits and walking two, while k'ing four. Ruddy Lugo and Brian Meadows pitched three scoreless innings of relief after his departure.

The offense outside of Cantu and Baldelli however, was absolutely horrible. Cantu and Baldelli accounted for all but two of the team's seven hits, they had both extra base hits,  and Baldelli added a walk. Carl Crawford walked and stole a base, his 53rd of the year, while scoring on Ty Wigginton's RBI single. Delmon Young picked up the other Tampa Bay hit, while Greg Norton and Dioner Navarro added walks.

With the loss, the Rays are now 57-93, on pace to lose 100 games. They have dropped eight in a row and 11 of 13, and are a full game ahead of Kansas City for the worst record in baseball, and thus the No. 1 pick in the 2007 amateur draft. If the Rays finished in sole possession of the worst record in the majors, it would be a first in team history.

News and Notes

-The Devil Rays on Monday announced that they were going to play it safe with young, fireballing lefty Scott Kazmir, electing to not activate him from the DL for the rest of the season. Kazmir, placed on the DL late last month due to rotator cuff issues, will be ready for spring training. Despite the injury, he will still finish the year with the most innings pitched on the staff, with Casey Fossum done and Jamie Shields 23 off his mark, and will have a commanding advantage in ERA, wins, and strikeouts.

I like this move by the Rays. There is no reason to activate him now and risk another injury so he can feel good about himself, or to squeeze out an extra win or two, there is just no point, and the risk for further damage far outweighs any possible gain they have by putting him out there. I have had my issues with Maddon leaving him in too long on more than one occasion, but overall I have been satisfied with his handling of him this year. Certainly much more so than last year's handling of him by Lou Piniella, who even had the hair-brained idea late in the year of having him pitch one extra game just for the hell of it when he was already tired and his innings pitched total was well above his career totals up to that point. Kudos to Joe for handling this with some sense.

Other Reports
Fan Graphs
St. Petersburg Times
The Tampa Tribune
Rays of Light