The Rays finished the week with a record of 5-1 and are now 14-8 on the season and completed a very difficult opening of the 2012 season which included 19 of their first 22 games against teams that finished .500 or better in 2011 and included their longest road trip of the season (3-city 10 game). Currently the Rays are in the middle of another difficult stretch of the schedule that hast them playing 26 games in 27 days.
The Rays return home from Texas for a 7 game home stand which includes a 4-game series against the Seattle Mariners (Monday through Thursday) and the Oakland Athletics (Friday through Sunday)
Monday April 30: Jeremy Hellickson vs Felix Hernandez
Tuesday May 1st: Matt Moore vs Hector Noesi
Wednesday May 2nd: James Shields vs Blake Beaven
Thursday May 3rd: Jeff Niemann vs Kevin Millwood
Friday May 4th: David Price vs Tyson Ross
Saturday May 5th: Jeremy Hellickson vs Bartolo Colon
Sunday May 6th: Matt Moore vs Tommy Milone
AL East Upcoming Schedules:
The New York Yankees host the Baltimore Orioles for 3 games before travelling to Kansas City to take on the Royals for 4 games.
The Boston Red Sox are home for two 3-game series against the Oakland A's and the Baltimore Orioles
The Toronto Blue Jays host the Rangers for a 3-game series and then head out west to L.A. to take on the Angels for 4. (Special thanks to TimmyJ for catching the mistake h/t)
The Baltimore Orioles travel to New York for a 3-game series versus the Yankees before heading to Boston for a weekend 3-game series.
Tampa Chamber Luncheon:
Tickets are still available for the Rays Annual Tampa Chamber Luncheon on Friday, May 4 at 11:45 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tampa. The Rays will be represented by Joe Maddon, Matt Moore, Brandon Gomes, and Sam Fuld. Tickets are $50 for members and $60 for non-members.
Last year Joe Maddon allowed the audience to select the lineup for that evenings home game! To order tickets or for more information visit tampachamber.com. How did the audience selected lineup perform? Well, they moved Matt Joyce into the #3 hole for the second time in his career and he responded by going 3-4 with a double. The Rays won the game 5-2 and the offense put up 13 hits and afterward Joe Maddon said:
"Today he (Matt Joyce) really politicked his table … to get into the three-hole, and it worked and really paid dividends for us tonight," Maddon said of Joyce, who was among three players at lunch.
"I'm going to have to find another club to consult about tomorrow's lineup. I'll get up early tomorrow morning and go up and down Bayshore (Boulevard) and find somebody to choose tomorrow's lineup for us." - Tampa Bay Times
Rays Events & Promotions: Upcoming Homestand Events (Official Press Release)
- The Rays will begin their in-stadium All-Star ballot contest. Fans turning in 100 ballots will be eligible for prizes consisting of tickets to select Rays games or Rays memorabilia. The top 3 winners during each homestand will win Hancock Bank Club 105 Tickets good for a Monday through Thursday game this season (excluding NYY/BOS).
- On Friday, May 4, the first 10,000 women will receive a free Carlos Pena T-shirt presented by the Tampa Bay Times.
- On Saturday May 5, fans 21 and older can enjoy drink specials including Dos Equis and $5 Margaritas, as well as in-stadium festivities.
What does SF1 have to say:
G'morning Rays fans
What a great week it was...again
Our Rays go 5-1 and sit tied atop the ALE with the surprising Baltimore Orioles at 14-8. This week saw the Rays sweep the Angels at home and in the process find the DanJo of 2012, in recent pick up Brandon Allen. How nice it is to have someone who as I pointed out last week, come to the plate and with one swing of the bat do what he did on Thursday. Kudos Andrew Friedman.
The real MVP this week goes to the starting pitching, long considered the strength of this team and by this week's results, with good reason. In every start this week (6) every starter pitched into the sixth inning at least, which certainly helps the bullpen.
I'm also starting to love this line up. The ability of about six or seven guys to go deep is really going to help with last year's nemesis, GTMI.
Now lets come home and be ready for King Felix and the Mariners
Tuesday, April 24: Rays defeat Angels 5-0: David Price throws complete game shutout
The line score for David Price tells the story of this game: 9 innings, 5 hits, 0R/0ER, 6K, 1BB, 119 Pitches, 80 for strikes. The Rays offense was powered by four solo home runs. Desmond Jennings led off the game with his 3rd homer of the year, Luke Scott hit his 4th in the 4th, BJ Upton hit his 1st of the year in the 5th, and Carlos Pena hit his 4th in the 6th. This was the second complete game shutout for David Price (1st was April 25, 2010 vs Toronto) and his 3rd complete game of his career. With 2-on and 2-out in the bottom of the ninth Joe Maddon knew that Price was at the end of his rope but he let him have the last batter as Joe explains:
"He had an extra day coming into [his start], but he does not have an extra day coming out of it," Maddon said. "If they have an extra day coming out of it, it's a lot easier to feel good about going that extra couple of pitches, but he did not.
"... However, to get to that particular point, he wasn't particularly challenged in the previous innings, either. So there weren't a lot of stressful moments for him prior to that ninth inning. So I felt OK about it." - mlb.com
A heart warming moment did take place during the game as Luke and Carlos show just how close they've become.
Wednesday, April 25th: Jeremy Hellickson and bullpen defeat CJ Wilson and Angels 3-2
Jeremy Hellickson worked in and out of trouble through 6 innings allowing 1R/1ER on 5 hits while striking out 5 and walking 2. Ben Zobrist hit a solo in the 3rd and Jeff Keppinger plated Carlos Pena with an RBI double to give the Rays a 2-0 lead. Hellickson gave up his only run of the game in the 4th inning on a solo home run by Vernon Wells. The Rays added a valuable insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on a bases loaded walk to Brandon Allen to score Evan Longoria. It was Allen's first plate appearance as a Ray and the run was very valuable as Ben Zobrist error in the top of the ninth allowed Torri Hunter to score and put the winning run on first. Fernando Rodney got Alberto Callapso to fly out to right to end the game and earned his 6th save.
Brandon Allen on his first plate appearance with the Rays:
"I had to calm myself down every pitch," Allen said. "But I'd been in the cage with [hitting coach Derek Shelton]. And, you know, just getting in a lot of flips, a lot of batting practice. Those guys took time with me and helped me out in the cage so far. It wasn't that uncomfortable of an at-bat, but I had some feelings going through me." - mlb.com
Thursday April 26th: Brandon Allen does the DanJo: Rays Shock Angels 4-3
Matt Moore worked 5.2 innings allowing 3R/2ER allowing 5 hits, striking out 6 and walking 2. The Rays entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 3-2 against Angels closer Jorden Walden. With 1-out in the inning BJ Upton singled to bring the winning run to the plate. With Jose Molina due up Joe Maddon went to Brandon Allen to pinch hit and Allen absolutely crushed a walk-off homer to give the Rays a 4-3 victory.
Brandon Allen and baseball is luck:
"Baseball is luck. It's a lot of luck. You just do what you can to prepare for it," Allen said. "I just got in there and stayed within myself." - mlb.com
Friday April 27th: Rays down Rangers 8-4 for 6th victory in a row
The Rays jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning keyed by a 3-run homer by Evan Longoria. The Rays extended their lead to 7-1 with a single run in the 3rd and 2 in the fourth. James Shields was effective in holding the Rangers lineup to 4R/ER in 6 innings of work giving up 11 hits while striking out 8 and walking none.
Joe Maddon proved to have the Midas touch in the top of the 6th when he chose to pinch hit for Jeff Keppinger who had gone 3-3 against the left handed starter Matt Harrison. Many managers would of seen the 7-3 lead on the scoreboard in the 6th inning and allowed the "hot" hitter to continue. Joe decided to call on Luke Scott to face the right handed Mark Lowe and Scott made Maddon look like a genius by hitting a home run.
The 8th inning was full of tension. JP Howell had worked a scoreless seventh and gave up a bloop single and an opposite field single to put runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out. Wade Davis came in and struck out Mike Napoli and got Mitch Moreland to pop out to Evan Longoria who dropped the ball and was unable to get the force out and the bases were loaded for Ian Kinsler. Davis uncorked a wild pitch but Chris Gimenez was able to retrieve the ball quickly and fired a bullet to Wade Davis at home to nail Nelson Cruz for the second out. Kinsler eventually walked to reload the bases for Elvis Andrus who nearly hit a grand slam to tie the game during his 11 pitch plate appearance which ended in a fly out to center. Jake McGee worked a perfect ninth to preserve the win.
Chris Gimenez on talking to Wade Davis:
"I went out there once we got to 3-2, he came back with two heaters," Gimenez said. "And I told him, we have to make him beat us with your best pitch right now. We can't afford to flip something in there and maybe he takes it, because look whose sitting on-deck there." - mlb.com
Saturday, April 28th: Rays drop the middle game 7-2 to end 6 game win streak
Jeff Niemann gave up 3R/2ER in 5.2 innings of work allowing 5 hits and striking out 4 while walking 3. Niemann battled back after allowing the first 2 runs of the game before retiring a bat and worked into the 6th inning with the Rays trailing 2-1 but an error by Elliot Johnson allowed the Rangers 3rd run to score off Niemann who departed with the Rays down 3-1. Burke Badenhop worked the 7th inning and the Rangers tagged him for 4R/4ER on 3 hits and a intentional walk to Josh Hamilton which was followed by a 3-run home run to Adrian Beltre to give the Rangers an 7-1 advantage over the Rays.
Joe Maddon uses the hot player as rationale for pinch hitting:
"That was purely a right-left thing there," Maddon said. "Chances of either one of those guys putting the ball on the ground against Badenhop are about equal. But Josh has just been so darn hot, let's go with the other guy, maybe get a nice ground ball somewhere and stay out of the big inning. But it didn't work out that way." - mlb.com
Sunday April 29, 2012: Rays defeat Rangers 5-2 to take series in Arlington
The Rays ended the 8 game home series winning streak of the Texas Rangers and became the first team to win a 3-game series in Arlington since the Miami Marlins won 2 out of 3 from July 1st to July 3rd last year (although the Red Sox won 3 out of 4 August 22 through August 25, 2011).
David Price (4-1 2.67 ERA) worked 6.1 innings giving up 2R/2ER on 6 hits, striking out 6 and walking 1 and Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney worked the final 2.2 innings to give the Rays the victory. Fernando Rodney earned his 7th save on the year.