It was a bad, bad, bad weekend for Tampa Bay sports teams, with (two) losses by the Rays, Bucs and, for good measure, the USF Bulls.
The Rays were the big news, of course, playing in their first World Series. On Saturday night, their hitters looked befuddled by 45-year-old Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer, who lobbed the ball at the plate, um, very accurately. The St. Pete club had a chance to win, but blew it in the bottom of the 9th inning with a series of blunders.
Last night, they simply got stomped, 10-2.
There were a plethora of indicators that last night was simply not the Rays night:
Two errors by usually surehanded second baseman Akinori Iwamura.
Three walks by starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine, tying a career high, including walking in a run with the bases loaded. He was pulled earlier than usual.
Ryan Howard finally hitting a ball to the opposite field: a three-run homer over the left-field fence. He later homered to right center, giving him five runs batted in for the game.
Catcher Dionner Navarro had to dig a ball out of the dirt in the 6th inning ... while Edwin Jackson was intentionally walking Ryan Howard.
And probably worst of all: Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton hit a homerun off Edwin Jackson, the first time a pitcher homered in the World Series since 1974. Meanwhile, the best Rays hitters made Journeyman Joe Blanton look like Bob Gibson.
Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria's power outage continued. Longoria looked like he had a case of vertigo at the plate, like he couldn't wait to strike out and get back to the dugout. Pena managed a walk.
After the Rays went meekly in the first inning, Andy Sonnanstine, known for his control, took the mound and proceeded to be wild. He fell behind in counts, and walked in a run. He did manage to get out of the inning lightly scathed, though, giving up only that one run.
In the bottom of the first, Ryan Howard tapped the ball back to Sonnanstine, who trapped Jimmy Rollins between third and home. Sonnanstine flipped to Evan Longoria, and Rollins, scampering back to third, was called safe. A replay clearly showed that Longoria had practically shoved his glove up the crack of Rollins' ass. Blown call, and a big one. Sonnanstine walked the next batter, forcing home a run. Analyst Tim McCarver pointed out, though, that Sonnanstine should have thrown to second and got the slow-running Howard out on a double play.
Late in the game, the Phillies homerun derby got going in earnest.
Another note about Saturday night's game: It turned out all for naught, but B.J. Upton's one-man comeback was more solid evidence that his detractors have their heads up their asses. He got an infield hit, stole second, then stole third, then came home on a throwing error, which tied the game.
The Rays now face elimination tonight as Scott Kazmir goes against Phillies ace Cole Hamels. Uh oh.
No one would claim that going into Dallas and beating the Cowboys is an easy thing, but the stars had aligned so that yesterday's Bucs game certainly seemed winnable. The Cowboys had been reeling, and were forced to use 40-year-old ex-Buc Brad Johnson at quarterback in place of Tony Romo.