Thursday, May 7, 2009

CHEESE & WHINE: Pena to the Rescue


  • Carlos Pena. El Gato started slowly at the plate going 0 for 3 with 3 K's heading into extra innings, but came through in the clutch sending a frozen-rope line drive homer over the rightfield wall to take the lead in the 10th. The "all-or-nothing" approach by Pena continues, but I'll take it as long as the "all" keeps coming at opportune times.
  • Andy Sonnanstine. Sonny finally had a good, solid outing facing the minimum through 3 and lasting into the 8th. Sonny pitched 7 and 1/3 innings, surrendering 6 hits and recording 4 K's. Sonny left the game with a 3-0 lead, but had 2 runs charged against him after Howell screwed everything up (more on that in the "whine").
  • Gabe Gross. Gross had been out for a few days to celebrate the birth of his first daughter, Allie Lee (congrats, by the way), but came back and picked up where he left off, with smart at-bats and solid fielding (tell me again why we have Kapler). Gross got hits at all the right times, finishing the night 2-4 from the plate and scoring a run.
  • Troy Percival. Fatty McFluffnuts did his job, again. He took his time doing it, but he did it. Percy came-in in the 10th to put it away after Pena had put the Rays ahead by 1 in the top of the inning and he (Percy) once again rose to the occasion and got the save, his 5th of the year.
  • Dioner Navarro. Navi was 2 for 3 from the plate with an RBI and did a great job behind the plate as well. I think that Hernandez having a great game last week was exactly what it took to light the fire under Navi's butt.


  • J.P. Howell. Does J.P. stand for Joke of a Pitcher? I've been a huge Howell fan even back to '07 when he was still a starting pitcher, but the last 2 games he's pitched in have been ridiculous. Last night Howell came-in in relief of Wheeler (who had come in to get one batter after Sonny had allowed runners to reach 2nd and 3rd) and had done it successfully, recording a K before being sat down to make way for Howell to come in for a lefty/lefty match-up with Damon who he proceeded to walk to load the bases. Then Howell gave up a bases-clearing double to Teixeira to blow the save, rob Sonny of a W, and nearly cost the team the game.
  • Joe Maddon. First of all you have to at least consider keeping Wheeler on the mound after he showed such great command while striking out some dude from NY, oh wait, it was Derek *clap clap* Jeter, but Maddon decided with a 3-0 lead to go to the lefty/lefty righty/righty routine and bring in Howell. Secondly, once Howell walks Damon to load the bases you don't make the call to the pen or at least think about a trip to the mound to relax him? Listen Papa Smurf, if a pitcher is on (Wheeler), sometimes its better to leave him out there. This lefty specialist BS is starting to get old. I understand it, and I see its inherent advantages, but you don't have to live by it or die by it. Sometimes you have to get your nose out of the book and play the scenario not the odds.


  • Carl Crawford stole his 20th base of the season, is still yet to be caught stealing. CC has stolen a base in 9 consecutive games.
  • Evan Longoria leads the bigs in RBI (35) and doubles (14), and is riding a 10 game hitting streak.
  • Pena leads the league in HRs with 12 (two more than the next closest, Pujols).
  • ADDENDUM: After reading Prof's (Rays Index) game recap I was reminded how crapily Upton and Burrell did, again. So just an FYI one more crappy game from either of you and you're On-Notice!


Michael_Rays Rev said...

Maddon's always 3 steps ahead and Wheeler was giving way to Howell no matter how good he looked. Bottom line, Howell did not do his job while the rest of the bullpen did.

DirtbagFan said...

I agree that most of the blame lands squarely on Howell's shoulders, but Maddon shouldn't be 3 steps ahead... like i said sometimes it pays to be situational not analytical.

Dustin Fridkin said...

I watched the game on the YES Network, and in the middle of the 6th inning, the camera focused on Navi's face as he trotted from the basepads to the dugout. I almost didn't recognize him behind the enormous ear-to-ear smile he was wearing. Glad to see him in the Cheese section today.