To quote Howard Wolowitz of CBS’ Big Bang Theory, “That’s a negatory.” The Rays didn’t even look like they came in looking for a sweep, and the Marlins came away with a 93 victory. The game ended when Jason Bartlett, who had the big tworun single last night, popped out with the bases loaded after one run had already scored. On the plus side, Akinori Iwamura stole his fourth base of the season, something we need to see more of out of the leadoff spot. Eric Hinske took over the team lead with his 12th home run. Other than that, not a game to write home about. (Yet I’m writing about it anyway. Somebody please give me directions to a social life.) B.J. Upton was 0for4 with three strikeouts, and the team struck out 12 times with only one walk. So much for that patience and getting on base idea. Ricky Nolasco picked up the win for Florida, throwing his curveball as well as he has ever done it and throwing off the timing of the young Rays lineup.
In terms of pitching, Edwin Jackson noticeably lacked command early. Though he picked off Jeremy Hermida in the first inning, the second inning turned against him. He allowed backtoback walks before serving up a home run to spot starter Wes Helms. Five innings, six earned runs, one strikeout. Those are 2007 Jackson totals. He just needs to find good consistency and show that he can win a few starts consecutively. The bullpen was below its season averages except for Grant Balfour, who struck out four Marlins with one walk and no hits in two innings of work. This game was meant to be lost. It happens sometimes in a league where 162 games are played every season.
The Red Sox torched the Reds and the Yankees killed off the Astros, but at least Pittsburgh finally beat Baltimore and the Cubs took their series with Toronto. Now it’s time for those same Cubs to bring their beastly lineup and phenomenal bullpen to Tropicana Field. Get the bats ready, this could be a home run derby. And if the Cubs happen to beat us once or twice, there’s always next weekend’s Astros series to get the wins back. They just got bulldozed at home in three straight games by the Yankees. Hopefully this isn’t yet another Yankee renaissance. I can see it now: “The Rays win their fifth straight game at home… in other news, Joba Chamberlain just had dinner with Hank Steinbrenner. For more on this shocking development, here’s Buster Olney.” Until next time, go Rays.