Apr 9, 2012

SERIES RECAP: How's that winless start taste, Yankees?

by Aaron Giddens

Hellboy is greeted by Shields and the gang
Hellickson is greeted by Shields and the team.
Courtesy: AP/Brian Blanco
We wake up this morning to the sound of Rays fans still cheering about the Easter present of the "Yankees Stomp". That's right, in our opening series we swept the Yankees. (Box Scores below.)

Our opening series this season just filled this Rays fan with confidence for the year. It doesn't hurt that BOTH the Yankees and the Red Sox are 0-3 to start their season, the second time this has ever happened and the first since 1966. What were you doing in 1966? Personally, I was a twinkle in my Mom's eye. That season the Red Sox and Yankees finished 9th and 10th respectively. Is history about to repeat?

Carlos Pena had a heck of a series going a total 6 for 12 (.500) with 2 Home Runs (a third home run was robbed by an idiot fan in the stands). Pena obviously came to prove the naysayers wrong. He did strike out too, but far less than was expected. He struck out 5 times during the series.

On his defensive side, Pena was golden as usual, save for one mental error in game 2 where he seemed to be off in daydream land when a pickoff move was happening from the plate. As a result the ball trickled away, but he didn't get the error. No, sir (or ma'am), the catcher Lobaton retrieved that error. JoeMa said however that Pena would be the first to tell you it was his fault. Considering his usual golden glove, I'm willing to forgive 'Los for the mistake, especially since the mistake ultimately didn't hurt us.

Other stars of the weekend include Longoria (who else?) who went 6 for 10 (.600) on the weekend with 1 home run. One of his would be home runs was robbed as well by a different fan on Saturday. That fan is obviously having an identity crisis. Longoria had a rough start to his defensive game but it was quickly corrected. He screwed up a couple of plays he usually makes in games 1 and 2. Otherwise, a solid weekend for "Dirtbag".

Matt Joyce got a Golden Sombrero in game 1. To boost his confidence, Joe moved him up the batting lineup to fourth. And boy did it help. In game 2, Joyce went 2 for 3 with a home run, which was a no doubter. Defensively, he was, well...he was Matt Joyce.

Starting pitching had a rough first two games of the series, but that was all wiped from our memories on Easter Sunday when Jeremy Hellickson took to the mound on his 25th birthday. He turned in 8.2 IP of 3 hit, no run baseball. Stifling the Yankees hitters. ~$200M doesn't buy what it once did. Hellickson came within 1 missed strike call of throwing his third career complete game and second career shut out. But alas, it was not meant to be, but I will still take this performance any day of the week. A nice pick-me-up pitching performance.

The bullpen was pretty decent with the only real dent on their record this weekend is Josh Lueke. The guy was less than impressive to say the least. He managed to almost blow a 6 run lead. Get this guy out of here. Other than that, Fernando Rodney, who we moaned and groaned about the Rays signing this offseason, was very impressive and got 2 saves this weekend. This years Joaquin Benoit?

With this series done, the Rays head for Detroit to start a 10 game road trip on Tuesday. The next 7 games are all day games with Next Monday's game starting at 11am in Boston! I liked this series and hope this momentum continues. Get some!

Series' Box Scores

Game 1

Game 2

Expanded Box Score
Expanded Box Score

Game 3

Expanded Box Score

Injury Report

Luke ScottDay to day with a tight left hammy.
B.J. Upton15 day DL; still recovering from the back soreness caused the collision with Desmond Jennings in a spring training game against the Marlins on March 14th. Reportedly, set to begin rehab assignment soon.
Kyle Farnsworth15 day DL; Unspecified elbow injury, Maddon says will need 4-6 weeks to recover.
Sam Fuld15 day DL; Recovering from wrist surgery, expected to miss 4-5 months.
Robinson Chirinos15 day DL; Chirinos has not played since suffering a concussion in early March.


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