Rays Win Two Straight vs Blue Jays

By Dustin Staggers

The Texas Rangers, after winning two straight vs the Boston Red Sox have taken over sole possession of first place in the Wild Card Standings.  The Rays, after winning two straight vs the Toronto Blue Jays now sit 3 full games behind the Sox, and 3.5 games behind the Rangers.

The Rays worked two efficient games this weekend to makeup the aforementioned ground.

Saturday the bats finally starting getting put on the balls, as the Rays had 12 hits and 8 runs.  Carl Crawford was 2 for 4 with 3 run.  Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Willie Aybar also all had 2 hits.  The best news from Saturdays game was the performance of Scott Kazmir.  Kaz pitched 6.1 innings giving up 3 runs, 3BB and 7K’s.  He threw 102 pitches and 60 of them went for strikes.  If the Rays have any hope of catching the Sox and the Rangers, Kaz has to have more consistent outings like the one he had on Saturday.

Newly acquired Greg Zaun was the hero on Sunday with a pinch hit grand slam in the 8th inning off of Brandon League (filthy stuff).  Zaun took a 3-2 heater down the pipe and rocked it over the right field wall to give the Rays what would end up being a 5 to 2 victory.  Both teams were not very efficient, having 10 hits a piece but leaving a combined 19 guys on base.  Matt Garza was struggling with his command all day long, but found a way to get out of jams in 3 straight innings.  He still struck out 7 guys, just showing how nasty his stuff is even when he can’t really find the plate.  JP Howell who hadn’t pitched in a few days came into the game in the 9th, and gave up a solo shot to Marco Scutaro who had 3 hits, but the game was pretty much over at that point.

I still am quite skeptical about the Rays chances of making the playoffs.  Their pitching as a whole still is too inconsistent to put together a long enough win streak to make a real move up the standings.  If the Rays can manage to find ways to win games like they did on Sunday though, I like their chances much better.  Sunday was one of those games that we have lost plenty of this season, and won seemingly all of last year.