Let me just start out by saying that was a hell of an opener. The dome was sold out, everyone had their jerseys on and the crowd was hyped up for the whole game. The game did not start out well for James Shields giving up homers to Adam Jones and Luke Scott, which landed on the catwalk of the dome in right field to give the O’s a 2-0 lead by the 4th inning. Shields fastball tended to have no movement and when that happens the ball is going to fly. Shields pitched 6 innings, giving up 9 hits, and allowing 3 runs, giving up another homerun to Matt Weiters . So I would have to say Ive seen better outings than this from James “I need to step up my game” Shields.
The offense for the Rays started out a little slow, not scoring a run until the bottom of the 5th, but ended the game with 13 hits which is not to shabby. One of those hits was a the 3rd longest homerun in the Trop going 473 ft by Evan Longoria. “It felt like I really hit that one,” Longoria said. “I didn’t know how far that would go. I stood there for a second just to see if it was going to stay fair. It was down the line, I didn’t know if I hooked it or not. But I definitely knew it was hit well. … I’ve probably hit some balls harder that were on a line, but [that was] probably one of the furthest I hit, for sure.” When this ball was hit off the bat the whole crowd stood up to watch this ball fly to the left field party deck and unless you were at the game in 2001 when Vinny Castilla hit the first one up there (478ft) this was truly an amazing sight to see and im sure a first for most of us.
I was really rooting for and excited to see how Sean Rodriguez would play with all the hype coming out of Spring Training and getting the start at 2B. I must say it was not a bad performance but I expected to see more from him. He struck out twice and had one hit and scored. He did make some nice plays on the defensive end but other than that not too impressive. Kelly Shoppach on the other hand, hit a huge double off the wall to help the Rays get a late game rally and eventually get the bases loaded with an intentional walk to Jason Bartlett. I know they wanted to load the bases to try and get a double play but did they not know that Carl Crawford is the next batter and getting a double play to begin with is a very high risk? Well lets thank the manager of the O’s for making this move because Carl Crawford ended the game with a walk off double to start season with a big W. Its just too bad that some people left and did not even get to see this as people are more concerned with beating the traffic rather than seeing a great comeback. Its a good thing I know the Rays are this kind of team and have proven to me many times they are never out of the game until the final out in the 9th.
Rafael Soriano did his job closing out the game allowing no runs, a couple of hits and earning the win in the home opener. This guy can throw some heat. As long as he stays healthy we are going to have a great season.
Evan Longoria MVP!!!