The game the Rays never wanted went swimmingly, and the game afterward was a breath of fresh air on a chilly night, and there were a few notable performances:
- Dustin Pedroia, on his own bobblehead day, failed to tie the game by sliding toward home but missing the plate as he avoided Jose Molina's tag, as pictured above.
As shown on the video still (before you click play), Pedroia has a few inches of dirt between him and the bag the moment the tag is applied, and the call would be confirmed through repay.
- Grant Balfour earned the save in Game 1 and Game 2, though not without runners on the bases. In the first game he argued with Maddon when he was told to walk Ortiz, demanding he pitch to the slugger with a man on second and two outs. Balfour got a tapper to the mound to end the game. Later that evening, a lead off double would reach third base, and a walk put a man on first with two outs, but Xander Bogaerts took a 2-2 slider on the outside edge of the zone to end the game looking.
Other highlights include a two-run shot by Sean Rodriguez, a Longoria pop up that
Chickenpox Middlebrooks couldn't catch, Grady Sizemore getting picked off twice (Boxberger, Hanigan), and this crazy behind-the-back nab by Cesar Ramos.
It was a great day for baseball.
The game grew quite cold as the night lingered on, and Joe Maddon was kind enough to give a cold child a Rays beanie to keep him warm. I saw Maddon do the same thing in Baltimore last week. As if you needed another reason to love Joe Maddon.
Tommy Rancel dives in to the bullpen once again.
53eight: MLB managers are misusing their 2-holes.
The Top 150 prospects from John Sickels is up, along with sleepers. In total, nine Rays are mentioned.