Tagged: Tampa Bay Rays

Red Sox eliminate hungry Rays

In what was an unconventional playoff game, the Boston Red Sox eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 3-1 in Tampa. Boston joins the Los Angeles Dodgers as 2 of the 4 teams to make it to the next round of the postseason. For Boston this is the first time they made it to the ALCS since 2008 and for the Dodgers its the first time they have moved on to the NLCS since 2009. 

Division Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Four

What makes this Red Sox victory so unconventional? Perhaps the fact that Rays skipper Joe Maddon used 9 pitchers in this game, setting a postseason record for most pitchers used in one game. This was no extra inning game either, this was your regular 9 inning affair.  It was known that Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson would get a short leash. Hellickson threw a perfect 1st inning but in the 2nd he gave up a hit and walked 2 men with no outs leading to his exit. From there Maddon had put together an interesting carousel of pitchers including starter Matt Moore.

Boston starter Jake Peavy went 5 2/3 innings giving up 5 hits, 1 earned run and striking out 3. He did his job and the bullpen did theirs, including a wonderful performance by Craig Breslow who many Red Sox players say he was the game MVP for keeping the Sox in a close game having been down by 1. Red Sox turned in a small rally in the 7th and get the go ahead run off a wild pitch from Joel Peralta. Tazawa and Sox closer Uehara threw brilliantly as they have done all year to seal a spot in the ALCS for the Boston Red Sox.

There are a few notable things in this series. Boston took 8 walks and gave up zero in game 4 of the ALDS. The bullpen was excellent. Shane Victorino was hit 4 times tying a postseason record. Jacoby Ellsbury went 9 for 18 including 4 stolen bases and David Ortiz went 5 for 13 and clubbed 2 home runs. All the means to fend off a hungry Tampa Bay Rays ball club. 

The Boston Red Sox will meet the winner of Fridays game 5 winner between the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers.

-Tim Williams

Bouncy Bouncy: Who will have a Bounce Back Year?

On this day, March 4th of 2008, Brad Hawpe and the Colorado Rockies agreed to a 3-year contract worth $17,425,000. The first 2 years of the deal turned out pretty nice for both parties. The third year of the Triple Hawpe’s Brewed contract, not so much. B-rad hit .255/.343/.432 and 7 HR’s in 88 games with Colorado before ending the year with the Tampa Bay Rays. The following year, attempting to have a bounce back season he signed with the San Diego Padres. Only playing 62 games for the Padres and that was all the big league action Brad Hawpe saw after that.

This article is about five players I think will bounce back in the 2013 season:

Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets

Ike Davis burst on the scene in 2010 as a rookie with the Mets with a stellar rookie campaign. He reached just over 600 plate appearances with a slash line of .264/.351/.440. Ike hit 19 HR’s, knocked in 71, scored 73 times. Even walking 72 times. Last year he was coming off a injury plagued 2011 season and had some bright spots in 2012. Those being a career high, 32 homeruns and 90 RBI’s. You’re probably thinking, why would be be on this list? He hit a measly .227 with an On Base Percentage of .308 and was bothered by a nagging ankle and trying to fight off the valley fever. Yes, valley fever is a real thing. Coming into this season he’s healthy, more alert and has his energy back. I don’t think he’ll top the homers, but everything else should rise.

Dan Haren, SP, Washington Nationals

I never thought of Dan Haren being on any sort of bounce back or comeback list. I mean, it’s Dan freakin’ Haren.  But here it is. Now 32, had his option declined by the Los Angeles Angels and a botched trade to the Chicago Cubs. Haren was snatched up by the ever so loved Washington Nationals for 1 year, $13 Million. Coming off a season dealing with back soreness that had him see some DL time. He simply just gave up too many hits, 190 in 176.2 innings and served up 28 long balls. The ERA a lofty 4.33. The Nats don’t see the back problems striking again, or at least hope so. I think the return to the National League and a change of scenery will do him right.

Brett Gardner, LF, New York Yankees

Brett Gardner missed most of last season with an arthroscopic procedure removing inflamed tissue from his elbow. Limiting him to just 16 games. Though a small sample size, in those 16 games he hit .323 with an On Base Percent of .417. Possible career year? We’ll never know. If it’s one thing he’s good at it’s getting on base (career .355 OBP) and stealing them. Thus a possible position shift to Center this year. I went to a game in 2009 at Yankee Stadium and witnessed him steal 2nd and 3rd back to back. Dude is crazy fast. The Yankees are going to rely this year partly on roadrunner’s ability to stay healthy and utilizing his speed to contend this year. I can see him bouncing back with 40+ steals in 2013.

Vance Worley, SP, Minnesota Twins 

Vance stepped into a big role with the Philadelphia Phillies as a starter and he delivered big in 2011. The Vanimal went 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 21 starts and 25 total appearances that led him to a 3rd place finish in Rookie of the Year voting. Which is a nice honor. In the 2012 season he was hit with some right elbow problems, leading to 2 trips to the disabled list including missing his last 3 starts to remove bone chips from his elbow. The main difference from the 2012 and 2011 seasons was less strikeouts and giving up more hits. Part of the trade that sent him and Trevor May to the Twins for the speedy outfielder Ben Revere, he is healthy and in Twins camp. He will fill a much needed role in the Twins rotation. Though he never topped 133 innings and making a transition to the American League, he is still only 25 years young and I have faith he can string together a descent comeback. Though he wont get many wins.

The Vanimal.

Victor Martinez, C/DH, Detroit Tigers

This counts as a bounce back candidate, right? He did miss the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL from a preseason workout. Another weapon is back for the Tigers, who have another possible shot at winning the World Series.  Victor will mostly serve as the DH but could see some time giving Prince a rest at 1st, and possibly behind the plate. Jim Leyland claims Martinez is good to go and his knee shouldn’t be a problem going forward. He owns a career line of .303/.370/.470 in 1149 career games. The guy has such a passion for the game, remember when he teared up when he was traded to the Red Sox? A true class act and he’ll probably hit 5th in what might be one of the best lineups MLB has seen. If the knee holds up, expect big things.

There you have it, 5 players that I think will bounce back in this coming 2013 season. No doubt this year will be one for the ages. Thanks for reading Fully Torqued.

-Tim Williams

Follow me on the Twitterverse! @ItsTimWilliams

Five Guys (no burger, no fries) I’m excited to watch in 2013

Can you smell that? No, not the 5 Guys. It’s March 1st and a new baseball season has dawned upon us. A few days into spring training games and baseball has left us already drooling for more. An incredible offseason of free agency (a few surprises too) and trades has me anticipating this 2013 season.  Here is a list of 5 major leaguers that I’m excited to watch in 2013.

Brett Anderson, SP Oakland Athletics

When Brett debuted in 2009, just 21 years young, he proved he could hang with the big boys. Going 11-11 in 30 starts and posting a 4.06 ERA with a 7.7 K per 9 he showed spots of brilliance and a young man’s career had blossomed before our eyes. A few injuries and fast forward to the tail end of the 2012 season where he came back from the three words no fan wants to hear, Tommy John Surgery. Brettdude hurled 6 starts at the end of last season to the tune of a 2.57 ERA and reminded everyone that he’s only 24 and can dominate. Now 25, getting the opening day nod and is a guy I’m excited to watch in 2013.

Aroldis Chapman, SP/RP Cincinnati Reds

No surprise here, Aroldis is without a doubt one of the best electric young lefties in the game. The big mystery is how Dusty Baker handles his transition back to a starter. This is nothing he hasn’t done before since he was a starter in Cuba and blew through minor league batters as a starter. Limit the free passes, keep his velocity down (yes, down) along with figuring out his out pitch whether it be the Changeup or Splitter. No doubt when he pitches I’ll be glued to my laptop. What an incredible year he had last year.  He is for sure a guy I’m excited to watch in 2013.

Kyle Seager, 3B, Seattle Mariners 

This guy intrigues me. Manning the hot corner for the Mariners last season and his first full season in the majors, he managed to knock 20 bombs, 35 2B’s, Knocked in 86 and even swiped 13 bags. Yes, the 110 strikeouts led to a lower batting average, but still. He was a bright spot for the Mariners season last year and just 25 years young. A career slash line of .328/.401/.474 in the minors suggests that he can improve in the majors. With the fences being moved in at Safeco there’s a safe bet he can improve his home run total. Besides, he couldn’t swing the bat any worse there. He’s defiantly a guy I’m excited to watch in 2013.

Matt Moore, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

What’s up Matt Moore? Remember that incredible post season you had in 2011 after only logging in 3 appearances in the season for your first taste in the majors? You left me with my tongue hanging out of my mouth, drooling to see what you would do in your first full season in the bigs. And you know what? You delivered. What seemed like a quiet season for Matt, being overshadowed by the man himself…David Price. Mattdude tossed 31 starts which led to a 3.81 ERA, 8.9 K/9 and 11 wins. If he can keep his walks down (81 last season) and keep the ball in the park a bit moore (get it?) he will no doubt have a stellar sophomore year. He’ll be one major factor for the Rays to make the playoffs this year. I excited to watch Moore in 2013.

Brett Lawrie, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

Brett got his shot last year starting for the Jays at 3rd. I honestly thought many people had too high of expectations for the kid. But he whittled a pretty good season. This dude can play, and play hard. Perhaps he should turn the temper down a bit, but that’s just who he is. He’s got a lot of heart and really sacrifices his body to make every play. At the same time, that’s what landed him some DL time. Although that play where he flipped over the dugout railing and nailed his leg was quite bad ass. No doubt Brett is an exciting player to watch in 2013 and let’s be real, isn’t the entire Blue Jay’s team? The pressure is off him and no doubt in my mind that he will succeed.

Those are just 5 of the guy’s i’m keeping an eye on, in what should be an incredible baseball season. Thanks for reading my first real blog post!

-Tim Williams

Follow me on Twitter! @ItsTimWilliams