Aug 3, 2012

GAME REVIEW: Night of the Upton brothers

by Aaron Giddens



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Click here for expanded Box Score.


BJ and Justin Upton
BJ and Justin Upton
Courtesy: AP via NBC Sports
Good evening, Rays fans. It's been since May since we had a game review here on BRaysball Talk. But tonight's the night we have another. Rays are coming off a hot 6-3 road trip with included a 6-game swing out west and come home on a 2-game winning streak. The pitching's been hot. So has the offense. They need to keep it up. Rays have been looking more like a play off team. Can they keep it up against the Orioles tonight? Rays will send Matt Moore to the mound to find out. Orioles counter with Tommy Hunter. It's a battle for second place in the AL East on this Friday night! Time for baseball!

Moore will face Nick Markakis to lead off the game. Markakis is first pitch swinging and has a bloop hit to left field. JJ Hardy is next, he flies out to Matt Joyce in right next to the foul line in fair territory. Adam Jones is next, he grounds one through the middle for a base hit and the O's have two on and 1 out. Matt Wieters will try to drive them in, however, he strikes out swinging on a 94 MPH fastball from Moore. Chris Davis will stand in now, and draws a full count walk to load the bases with 2 out. Mark Reynolds will try to drive a run in now for the O's. He takes strike three and the O's leave them loaded. Moore threw 25 pitches in the first. For the bottom half of the inning, Jennings leads it off for the Rays against Tommy Hunter. DJ strikes out looking on four pitches. BJ is next, he strikes out looking as well on four pitches. Joyce will step in with the bases empty and 2 out. Joyce hits it over the shift in to right, and the birthday boy has a single. Zobrist is next. Joyce takes off for second but it's moot as Zobrist flies out to Jones in center to end the inning. No score after one inning.

Lew Ford will step in to lead off the second for the Orioles. He strikes out swinging for the first out. Omar Quintanilla will be next, he draws a walk. Quintanilla takes off for second and is easily thrown out by Lobaton. Robert Andino is batting while this happens and ends up with an infield single. Johnson comes up with it but no throw as Andino was too far down the line to chance it. Markakis steps his for his second AB of the night, he fles out to DJ in left to end the top of the first. Orioles have left four men on. Pena steps in to lead off the bottom of the second for the Rays. Pena hits it deep to center but it doesn't make it to the warning track in dead center and Jones catches it for the out. Keppinger is next and is first pitch swinging and bloops a single to center next Jones for a single. Ryan "Tatman" Roberts is next, and grounds it hard to Andino at 3B and he starts the 5-6-3 double play to end the inning. Scoreless after two at the Trop.

In between innings, Keppinger was taken out of the game with an injury. JJ Hardy leads off the third for the O's. Hardy lines out to Johnson at shortstop and throws to first to complete the out. Jones is next, he pops out to Elliot Johnson in foul territory. Matt Weiters is next, he hits a 2-out broken bat single to left field. Chris Davis is next, he flies out to Jennings in left field to end the top of the third. Lobaton will lead off the third for the Rays and flies out to Ford in left. Elliot Johnson is next and he also flies out to Ford in left. Back to the top of the order in Jennings, he hits it up the middle but Quintanilla gets there and throws DJ out at first to end the innings. Still no score.

Reynolds leads off the fourth for the Orioles and pops out on a jam to Pena at first. Ford is next, and strikes out on a foul tip for the second out. Quintanilla is next, and he singles up the middle in to center and Moore still has not had a 1-2-3 inning. Andino comes up now and grounds a ball towards third and Roberts makes a diving stop and fires the ball to second to get Quintanilla for the final out of the top of the fourth. BJ Upton leads off the fourth for the Rays. And just 45 minutes after brother Justin hits career home run number 100 in Philly, BJ hits number 100 to dead center and it hits the catwalk to give the Rays a 1-0 lead! Matt Joyce is next and grounds out to second in the shift. Zobrist is next and grounds a single to right. Pena is next, and flies out to right. Keppinger, who appeared to leave the game after the second, he here to bat in the fourth and flies out to center to end the inning. Rays lead 1-0.

Markakis leads off the fifth for the O's and grounds out to Zobrist at second for the first out. Hardy is next and quickly grounds out to Zobrist as well. Jones is next, and hits it back up the middle and Moore deflects it and makes it impossible for Zobrist to make a play. Jones with an infield single. Wieters is next, and strikes out swinging for the final out. Roberts will lead off the Rays 5th, and pops out to Quintanilla near first. Lobaton is next, and pops out to second. Johnson is next and strikes out swinging to end the fifth.

Chris Davis starts the 6th for the O's. Moore is sitting at 97 pitches as he starts work in the 6th. Davis draws a walk on a 3-1 pitch. The first pitch to Reynolds is in the dirt and gets away from Lobaton and Davis moves up to second. Reynolds ends up striking out swinging and that's it for Moore who will be replaced by McGee after 108 pitches. McGee inherits a runner on second and 1 out. Ford is now batting for the O's and flies out to Joyce in right. Quintanilla is next, and strikes out swinging to end the top of the 6th. Jennings will lead off the bottom of the 6th for the Rays and tees off and hits it out to left field and the Rays have a 2-0 lead! Upton is next and grounds out to Reynolds at first. Joyce is next and draws a 1-out walk. Zobrist is next and lines a single to left-center. Pena is next, and hits it deep to right-center, Jones makes a leaping catch to make the out and he throws it back in to first and Zobrist JUST makes it back in safe. That's it for Hunter at 81 pitches. O'Day coming in to pitch for the O's. Fuld pinch hits for Keppinger and flies out to left to end the inning.

Andino will lead off for the orange birds with Kyle Farnsworth taking over on the mound for the Rays in the seventh. Andino pops out to Pena. Markakis is next and flies out to center. Hardy is next and he grounds out to short stop, the Rays first defensively clean inning of the night. Roberts leads off for the Rays in the seventh, O'Day still pitching for O's. Tatman bounces out to third on the first pitch. Lobaton is next, and he also grounds out on the first pitch, but to shortstop not to third. Johnson is next and flies out to right, ending the seventh.

Jones leads off the eighth for the Orioles and facing Joel Peralta. Peralta gets Jones looking with a 90 MPH heater that's well placed. Wieters is next, he softly grounds it to third. Roberts attempts to turn and make the throw but it's too late but a heck of an effort in this writer's opinion. A single for Wieters. Davis is next. He hits it past Zobrist for a single. Runners on first and second with 1 out. Reynolds is next. He works the count full and then strikes out looking for the second out. Wilson Betemit pinch hits for Lew Ford and strikes out swinging to end the inning. Peralta strikes out the side, but not in order. Jennings leads off the eighth for the Rays and strikes out swinging. Upton is next and takes strike three looking. That's it for O'Day, Troy Patton coming in for the O's to face Joyce and strikes him out swinging. O's bullpen strikes out the side.

Fernando coming in to shut the door for the Rays, he will face Quintanilla first. He goes up the middle but Johnson gets it and makes the throw to first on the run for the out. 1 kill. Andino is next and he's out looking. See ya! 2 kills. Markakis stands in as the O's last hope. He flies out to left and the Rodney slams the door for the 32nd time. RAYS WIN!

We now seen how they won, let's break it down now....

Outfield: Just routine and typical Rays. No flubs. Just solid. (4 stars)

Infield: Great effort tonight, the infield tried to make a few star-y plays but it just didn't pan out because the runners were too quick. But there were some gems tonight. Just solid. (4.5 stars)

Starting pitching: Moore struggled pretty much all night. He didn't allow a run but the pitch count killed him. He couldn't get a clean inning. Good start but not the dominance we've seen lately from Rays starting pitching. (2.8 stars)

Bullpen: Just more absolute dominance from the Rays bullpen. Once they were in tonight in the 6th, it was lights out. Just two hits allowed in the 8th inning and that was it. Wonderful. (4 stars)

Catching: Jose did a wonderful job behind the plate tonight. He was a good catcher, he tried to block one ball in the dirt by Moore but he would have needed to be Robert Wadlow to get that one. And the throw out of Quintanilla in the second was just marvelous. (4 stars)

Offense: Offense was dominated by Hunter early but in the end produced just enough offense to get the win and in that end, that's all that matters. They don't need to be blowouts. Just wins. (4 stars)

Umpiring: Consistent small strike zone by Chad Fairchild all night. But no blown calls and no calls the unjustly favored one team over the other. Nice job by the umps tonight. (5 stars)

Player(s) of the game: BJ Upton. How can you not give him this honor? 100th career homer.

Play of the game: Two plays of the game tonight, both related, but not both in the same game. It goes to Justin and BJ's 100th career homers that came within just 45 minutes of another.

Final word: Solid game. We were dominated offensively early, but we never backed down and never said die. I just love how hot this team is right now and they need to keep it going if they are to make a playoff run. The return of Longo this week, hopefully, will help with that. By the way, as a side note, Justin and D-Backs beat the Phillies 4-2. This will be a special night for the Upton family. (4 stars)

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