RAYS 5, Baltimore 4
Probably the most exciting thing about last night's game (other than the W, of course), for me, was watching BJ Upton go 3-4 with a run and a ribbie while hitting a double short of the cycle.
It was also nice to see Burrell have a little success with the bat (though he had two K's to go along with his two hits). The taters he and Gabe Gross hit were absolute no-doubters.
Once again, the Rays' bullpen turned in a strong performance (except for Randy Choate, whose name suggests at least two jokes, neither of which I'll make here). Cormier, Springer, Balfour, and Howell took care of four innings without giving up a run.
Can someone explain why Reid Brignac swings for the fences on every pitch, even when there's a man on third and pretty much any ball in play will score a run? Sheesh.
Nick Markakis robbed Ben Zobrist of extra bases and an RBI in the fourth, which actually upset me somewhat less than did his head-first slide into first base to lead off the third. Now, don't get me wrong. I love the hustle, but that's a great way to get hurt. The Rays need Zorilla in the lineup more than they need him on first base in that situation.
The Rays were 2-8 with RISP.
The Rays are now three games back of both the Rangers and the Red Sox who, with a loss and a win respectively last night, are tied. It's definitely scoreboard-watching time. Hopefully it's less distracting to the Rays than it is to me.
Jeff Niemann is going for the Rays tonight, and he's up against right-handed rookie Chris Tillman. Tillman was ranked the Orioles' number two prospect coming into the season (behind Matt Weiters), and finished last year with a ridiculous 10.2 K/9 ratio at AA Bowie. So far, that hasn't translated to the big leagues, but in combination with the Rays' tendency to strike out and their tendency to stink against pitchers they've never seen before, it's cause to worry.
In two games against the Orioles this year, Niemann is 1-1 with a 6.97 ERA. Let's bring that last number down and the first one up.