Monday, June 30, 2008

Rays beat Pirates, recapture first in AL East

The Tampa Bay Devil* Rays took two of three games from the Pittsburg Pirates and took a half game lead over the Boston Red Sox.

The Rays host the Red Sox for a three game series at the Trop starting today.

Carlos Pena has come off the DL swinging the bat well along with the top of the batting order consisting of B. J. Upton, Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria. Tampa Bay's pitching has remained solid as predicted by experts. A stretch of hot hitting could allow the team to drop Boston back a few games. Then again, Boston's pitching is good enough to potentially extinguish hot bats.

Boston's still the team to beat in the division. This series will help decide if there's a chance of changing that this year. A sweep by the Rays will definitely apply some pressure.

I've been tough on pitcher Andy Sonnanstine after he was rocked in two consecutive starts. The cagey righthander has gone on to reach nine wins with his performance Sunday against the Pirates (five hits in seven innings). Sonnanstine's rubber game victory allows him to edge Evan Longoria for my series MVP award

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