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Game Report 04/23/07; New York at RAYS

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RAYS 10, New York 8

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB
New York 0 1 1 1 1 2 0 0 2 8 13 0 7
DEVIL RAYS 0 4 0 1 2 0 3 0 X 10 15 0 10


Win Probability table courtesy of Fan Graphs.
Rays' Hit Parade Enough to Overcome Rodriguez, Yankees

St. Petersburg-The Rays may not have had one dominant player in their lineup on Monday evening like the Yankees had in Alex Rodriguez. They didn't have a slugger belting a record-tying 14th April home run. They didn't have a solid outing from their left starter. Hell, they didn't even have their stadium, or the attention of the ESPN crew calling the game. But they quickly made themselves noticed and despite all of that, the Rays came out winners late Monday when the dust settled to reveal a 10-8 Rays win before 20,409 inside Tropicana Field.

The scoring started in the top of the second when Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez took Casey Fossum deep for a solo shot, his 13th home run of the month that temporarily gave New York the lead. However, the Rays would take the lead in the bottom of that inning due to a four run frame capped by a Rocco Baldelli three run homer They would not relinquish that lead for the remainder of the ballgame, however they did encounter some close calls later in the game. Baldelli, who later doubled in the ballgame and stole a base, finished with three hits to partner with B.J. Upton in leading the Tampa Bay offense. Upton slammed a solo home run on a sharp line over the lowered left field fence in the bottom of the fourth that extended the Rays' lead to 5-3.

They would need that advantage to stay one step ahead of New York, which kept on the Rays' trail the whole game and scored a run in five straight innings between the second and sixth, scoring two in that last frame. After a Robinson Cano solo home run in the top of the fifth cut the Rays' lead to 5-4, the Rays responded with a two run bottom of the inning, as 3B Akinori Iwamura doubled in a run and Josh Paul singled in his second run of the ballgame to put the Rays in front by three. Iwamura reached base a total of four times on the day for the Rays, going 2 for 3 at the plate with three runs scored and two walks.

As it was, however, the Rays offense strained to stay ahead of struggling starter Casey Fossum. After Jason Giambi singled in a run in the top of the sixth, Fossum was removed from the ballgame and replaced by Gary Glover, who proceeded to walk in the second run of the inning before retiring the side. Fossum ended up having given up six runs on 10 hits in 5.2 innings, while giving up two home runs and hitting a batter. He still achieved his second win of the season. Shawn Camp would pitch a scoreless seventh before the Rays more or less broke the game open after the stretch. The Rays loaded the bases on walks from Iwamura and Paul sandwiched in between an Elijah Dukes double. Upton then proceeded to clear the bases with his double on a 1-1 count down the left field line, a hit which scored all three runs and gave the Rays a more comfortable 10-6 cushion over the Yankees. Upton finished the day with two hits, both of which went for extra bases; he also drove in 2/5 of the Rays' runs. And although his hit occurred in the seventh with no outs, the Rays left the bases loaded after A Rocco Baldelli single and stolen base, as well as an intentional walk to Carl Crawford. Ty Wigginton grounded into a double play to commit the second and third outs after Brendan Harris popped out earlier to retire the Rays' side.

No worries however, because after Juan Salas walked two batters, Brian Stokes came on for the third straight night to pitch a scoreless frame and get the Rays out of a bases loaded jam. Al Reyes surrendered his first earned runs of the season when he served up Alex Rodriguez's record-tying 14th home run in the ninth, a two run shot in a non-save situation, but he would get the subsequent outs to end the ballgame. Rodriguez was retired only once on a four hit day, but Jason Giambi and Robinson Cano were the only other Yankees with multiple hits as Kei Igawa earned his first major league loss. He gave up seven runs in 4.1 innings.

New York at RAYS
7:10; FSN Florida
RAYS RADIO/WHNZ 1250 AM

PITCHING MATCHUP:

IP ERA K/9 BB/9 K/BB H/9 OPS HR/9 WHIP G/F P/IP
NYY LH K. Igawa 209 2.97 8.35 2.11 3.96 7.79 --- 0.73 1.10 --- ---
RAYS LH C. Fossum 130 5.33 6.09 4.36 1.40 9.42 .786 0.73 1.25 1.40 16.82
Statisitics from the 2006 Season
Igawa statistics from Hanshin of Japanese League

LH Kei Igawa, New York:

Overview-Igawa takes to the hill for the fourth time this season for the Yankees, having come over in the offseason from Japan to plug a hole in the New York rotation. Thus far, however, Igawa has just been another problem factor for the Yankees, posting a 6.13 ERA through his first three starts. It could still be argued that he has still done reasonably well for a Yankee pitcher this season despite that because he hasn't gotten injured, but surely New York doesn't expect this kind of production to extrapolate over the full season at the $26 million posting price they paid to bring him over from Japan as well as his subsequent $20 million, five year contract. Nonetheless, Igawa so far hasn't matched the pitching success he achieved in nine years with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. To his credit, however, he has surrendered just five runs over his last two starts, as has Casey Fossum, and appears to have improved since he was demolished for seven runs on April 7th against Baltimore.

Last Start-Against the Cleveland Indians in his last start on Wednesday, Igawa had his best start yet in the New York rotation and has shown a gradual improvement in each of his three starts. He tossed six innings against the Tribe in that last start, allowing two runs on five hits and just one walk, while dispatching five batters via the strikeout in getting his first major league win following two no-decisions. This followed up an improved, but shaky, outing the previous time out in Oakland during which he surrendered three runs, two earned, in 5.2 innings of work, walking two and striking out three while surrendering a home run.

vs RAYS-Being as though this is his first major league season in the major leagues coming over from Japan, Igawa has no regular season experience facing the Devil Rays and none of the Rays' hitters have any regular season experience facing him.

LH Casey Fossum, DEVIL RAYS:

Overview-Casey Fossum takes to the hill for the first time this season as he faces off against the New York Yankees. Fossum has been a pleasant surprise over his last two starts, surrendering just five runs over his last two starts in a marked improvement from his disastrous first start against the Toronto Blue Jays. It was in that start, on April 7th, in which Fossum surrendered seven runs in 3.2 innings of work. Since that outing however, Fossum has pitched more like the pitcher of 2005 that was a solid back of the rotation starter. His two walks in 17.2 innings thus far have been fantastic, and his characteristic penchant for hitting batters has subsided since that first outing. Hopefully Fossum can keep it up in his third divisional start of the season.

Last Start-Fossum was spectacular in his start last time out against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field. He pitched seven innings in his outing last Tuesday, surrendering just three runs on five hits and one walk, while striking out four Baltimore batters. This followed up an outing in which he went a similarly long seven innings and gave up two runs at the Metrodome against the Minnesota Twins. Fossum has a 3.21 ERA over his last two starts, as compared to a 6.11 ERA overall.

vs New York-Fossum is very familiar with the cast of New York hitters he has faced in recent years as an AL East liefer. He has made nine starts all time against New York, and another nine appearances out of the bullpen against the Yankees, and has a 4.57 lifetime ERA against the Bronx Bombers in 61 innings of work. He has faced the Yankees more than all but two other teams, Baltimore and Toronto. He faced the Yankees twice last season, both times at Tropicana Field, and gave up six earned runs in 12.1 innings of work. Several New York hitters have very good track records hitting off of Fossum, including OF Hideki Matsui, who is 7 for 19 with nine walks all-time off of the Rays' southpaw. Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez have all also had a good degree of success off of Fossum. Rodriguez has four home runs in 34 at bats off of the lefty, however he has also struck out 17 times. Jeter and Giambi each have 12 hits off of Fossum in 38 and 37 at bats, respectively. Take solace in the fact that, however bad that sounds, Johnny Damon is 2 for 21 and Jorge Posada is 6 for 29, respectively, all-time against the Rays' starter.

STARTING LINEUPS:

New York
CF Melky Cabrera
SS Derek Jeter
RF Bobby Abreu
3B Alex Rodriguez
DH Jason Giambi
LF Hideki Matsui
C Jorge Posada
2B Robinson Cano
1B Josh Phelps
DEVIL RAYS
DH Rocco Baldelli
SS Brendan Harris
LF Carl Crawford
1B Ty Wigginton
RF Delmon Young
3B Akinori Iwamura
CF Elijah Dukes
C Josh Paul
2B B.J. Upton

New York-The Yankees trot out most of their starting nine for the inaugural game of a short series down in St. Petersburg, sans Johnny Damon. Melky Cabrera takes his place in center field and leads off, and is followed by one of the toughest stretches of any batting order in baseball. Abreu bats third as is in the field today in right, while Giambi DHs and hits fifth. Jorge Posada is your backstop and hits seventh, while former Ray opening day starter Josh Phelps gets the start at first for New York and bats ninth.

DEVIL RAYS-The Rays trot out a starting lineup that resembles what they've been throwing out there for the better part of the last week. The consistency shown recently in the lineups is encouraging to critics who have blasted much-maligned manager Joe Maddon's starting lineups. The only real fluctuations are in the the positions a few players are playing. Rocco Baldelli is not in the field today, but he is in the lineup and leading off as the Designated Hitter. Brendan Harris, seemingly cementing a role as the starting shortstop of late, bats second in the order from the '6' hole. The No. 3-6 hitters stay as usual, while Elijah Dukes takes Baldelli's position in center field and bats seventh. Josh Paul spots Dioner Navarro today as the catcher and bats eighth, while B.J. Upton bats ninth and is the second baseman.

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