The best team in baseballAugust 20, 2008 at 2:46 am | Posted in Rays | 7 Comments
I love the Tampa Bay Rays. No matter what the odds are, you can never count them out. I lost track a while ago of how many amazing comebacks they’ve had this year. The trend continued tonight…
I turned the game on in the 8th inning. The Rays were down 2-1 to the Angels after a great pitching duel of James Shields against Ervin Santana. The Angels brought in their reliable setup man, Scot Shields (no relation to James), to pitch the 8th. I knew that they’d bring in K-Rod to pitch the 9th. I foolishly didn’t believe that the Rays had much of a chance. Then Shields walked Gabe Gross. Jason Bartlett bunted and Jeff Mathis threw the ball into the outfield, putting Bartlett on second and Gross on third. Then Aki Iwamura walked. Bases loaded! Now I’m starting to believe. After B.J. Upton strikes out on a terrible called third strike, Darren Oliver comes in to replace Scot Shields, and he walks Carlos Pena for the tying run! Then Cliff Floyd strikes out. I’m still not sure why Joe Maddon left him in there to face a lefty. Tonight’s hero, Willy Aybar, then came to the plate and singled to score Bartlett and Iwamura. Rays are up 4-2! They win after Dan Wheeler pitches a 1-2-3 9th inning for the save.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Tampa Bay Rays now have the best record in major league baseball (tied with the Chicago Cubs). While the Red Sox and Yankees can’t figure out how to beat the Angels, the Rays are now 6-2 against them this year, including 5-0 at home. This could be a great omen for the playoffs. It seems that the Angels can’t win at Tropicana Field. I can’t wait for the series finale tomorrow night!
Aybar has done a tremendous job replacing the injured Evan Longoria at third base. He’s hitting .333 with a 1.129 OPS in his last 7 games. Acquiring him this offseason was one of many astute moves that Andrew Friedman has made to build this team.