Rays need to swing the bat; get out of hitting slump

Talk about perfect timing! Author Katie Toot captured Sean Rodriguez' home run moment-of-contact during the Tampa Bay Rays game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

Walking into Tropicana Field on Tuesday night, I was elated with the thought of the game to come. I hadn’t been to a Rays game in a whole year! Crazy, I know. I was especially excited to see Alex Cobb pitch in his second big-league debut.

For a Tuesday night, there weren’t many fans at the Trop, but then again, there never really are. It’s a sad thing for me, as a fan, to witness. I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and used to attend numerous Marlins games, and they always had a good turn out. I just don’t know what it is about the Rays. Tropicana Field is even air conditioned, what more could you ask for in Florida? But, enough of my ranting.

We took our seats in the outfield, and I was in heaven. Any other view for me just doesn’t seem right. As the Rays took the field and the Rangers started warming up their bats, I knew this would be a good game.

However, the first inning was enough to get my nerves going. Cobb was pitching decent and there was a runner on first. The batter hit one up the middle to Cobb and he overthrew to first, putting runners on first and third. Fans around me shook their heads in disapproval and sighed, giving up on the game already. Cobb, however, didn’t give up and struck out two batters to make up for his horrible play. No harm, no foul.

Even though Cobb made a simple mechanical error, I was glad to see that he didn’t let it effect the rest of the inning. It really showed me that he does have the mental and physical potential to make it in the big leagues and become another asset to the Rays pitching lineup.

The entire game wasn’t as exciting as planned, although both teams kept it close and rallied back and forth. But, the bottom of the third inning proved exciting for fans in the left field stands, myself included. Sean Rodriguez hit a 425-foot homer to a few rows above where I was sitting. I, of course, forgot my glove in the car, so I did what any other female baseball fan would do: I emptied my purse, held it open and tried to use it as a glove. If I had been a tad bit closer to the ball, it would have worked out ingeniously.

The Rays won 5-4, but I just don’t think their hearts were in it.

The next day, Wednesday, I got to go to the game again. This time, my seats were on the first base line right above the Rays dugout, perfect for watching David Price pitch. Even though it was a 1:10 p.m. game, there were more fans there then the previous night, no doubt to watch Price pitch. And I couldn’t agree more, his pitching is mesmerizing to watch. I have to admit that my favorite Rays pitcher was Matt Garza, but now that he’s gone, I’ve got to admire the lefty.

Price, as usual, had a good day pitching, adding eight strikeouts to his player card. Fans were bummed, however, because if he struck out 10 batters everyone would have gotten two free Papa Johns pizzas. Next time Price, step it up for your fans and their bellies!

The team overall couldn’t get a bat on the ball to save its life. The Rays lost 3-0, giving up the series to the Rangers. Hitting has been the team’s problem lately, especially watching that third strike go by without even swinging. Everyone seems to be in some sort of slump, popping up or striking out. The Rays need to focus on their offense in their upcoming series against Seattle, or they have no hope of winning. You can keep a game close with excellent defense, but you win with your offense.

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