The Rays hit the road for six games in Colorado and Queens, New York, winning just once in Coors Field but taking two out of three in the new Citi Field.
The Rockies were very difficult to beat (though the losses were close) largely because they are on a streak nearly matching their huge run in late 2007. They have now won 16 of their last 17 games. The one loss was in the Rays series opener when five home runs helped beat them 124. Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, Ben Zobrist, Gabe Kapler and B.J. Upton quite a diverse group hit the thin air for home runs. Zobrist and Upton hit long tee shots into the left field seats and Pena hit his about 400 feet to left center field, a hefty shot for a lefthanded hitter.
New York was the next stop, not to face the hated Yankees, but the equally hated (by me) Mets. The Mets won the opener 53 because Andy Sonnanstine is just not that good this year. I think it should be him that loses his starting job when Scott Kazmir returns. He has been strong in rehab and Andy with his 6.60 ERA and 15 home runs allowed is just the odd man out. We shouldn’t be screwing around with David Price by sending him up and down. Just move Sonnanstine to the bullpen.
Thankfully the Rays won the Saturday and Sunday games by scores of 31 and 106. Saturday’s game on FOX with Thom Brennaman and Tim “Watch Darren Daulton use his mitt like a glove” McCarver showed once again that the Rays play better on network television. James Shields outdueled Johan Santana, pitching seven outstanding innings and picking up the win. Pena tagged Santana for a long straightaway home run and, after a rain delay, Zobrist joined the party with a shot over the right field wall.
Sunday was a backandforth affair with several lead changes. After Brian Schnieder, he of zero home runs all season, hit his second threerun home run of the series to give New York the lead, Tampa Bay stormed right back thanks in part to another long Upton home run. When he hits them, they come late in the game and travel far. They added insurance runs and won the game and the series. J.P. Howell did a good job closing out both games. Maybe he can be a closer now.
Next is the World Series rematch at Tropicana Field as the Rays host the inferior Philadelphia Phillies. Pat Burrell, who so far has hit more like Adam Everett, will be facing his former team for the first time. Hopefully that will set him off. I love seeing the Rays beat the Mets and I may even take greater pleasure in seeing them avenge last year’s losses to the Phillies. Until next time, go Rays.