Oh good, we'll be treated to a fine pitching matchup today as the Rays send Scott Kazmir to the hill to face John Lackey of the Angels. Both ace pitchers spent some time on the DL to start the season but have come out of their cocoons throwing pretty. Kazmir is 6-1 with a microscopic 1.40 ERA while John Lackey is 2-1 with 25 K's against just 6 walks.
The AL crème de la crème have split the first two games of the series, with the Rays romping all over Joe Saunders 13-4 on Monday and Jered Weaver shutting down the Rays offense 6-1 last night.
Let's keep it fair, gentlemen, and throw some strikes. The more batters who swing at your junk, the faster this game will move, and the more innings I can glog. Follow me after the jump:
3:35PM: Holy crap, I have to listen to Rex Hudler do the color commentary for this nonsense? Kill me now. Someone named Rory Markas does the play-by-play for the Angels radio network.
3:40PM: Six right-handed batting Rays are in the lineup against Lackey. The big righty is shutting down lefty hitters to a sub-.200 batting average. Iwamura leads off the game with a triple. Yowza!
3:44PM: Lackey has two career shutouts against the Rays. Carl Crawford ensures it won't be three and knocks in Iwamura with a ground ball single. Lackey tries to pick off Crawford at first but submarines a ball into the dirt, past first baseman Casey Kotchman. Crawford ambles down to second base. Lackey strikes out B.J. Upton for the first out.
3:47PM: Eric Hinske flies out to Reggie Willits. Here's Evan Longoria, who has two homers and three doubles in the series already. He's a Californian by birth, which you can tell by his cheerful disposition and doody that smells like Big Sur. Longoria walks.
3:50PM: Willie Aybar walks. What did I fucking tell you about throwing strikes, Mr. Lackey? Get your shit in gear! Here's switch-hitting catcher Dioner Navarro. Aybar grounds out to first baseman Kotchman and the inning is done. Shit, John Lackey just tied his season high in walks for a single game.
3:55PM: Reggie Willits leads off by popping up a bunt attempt to Aybar. Stinkeroo! Good work by southpaw Kazmir, who is holding lefties to a .136 batting average. Maicer Izturis flies out softly to left for the second out. Howie Kendrick strikes out to end the first.
4:00PM: Ex-Brewer Gabe Gross leads off the second. He floats a ball over Lackey's head that lands in front of second base...shortstop Izturis can't get it to first in time. Gross is safe with an infield single. Jason Bartlett is showing bunt. Cover that up, Jason! This is a family-safe blog! Wait, no it's not. Let your bunt fly! Bartlett GIDP's instead, 6-4-3.
4:03PM: Iwamura grounds out to Izturis and the inning is complete. Keep it movin', gents!
4:08PM: Perennial all-star Vlad Guerrero leads off the bottom of the second. Wait, if this Josh Hamilton thing really pans out, will Vlad make the cut this year? Who will I boo if he's not manning right field at Yankee Stadium? Oh well, he pops out to first anyway. Here's Torii Hunter, who lines out on an 0-2 count to Gross.
4:11PM: Kazmir retires the side 1-2-3 by striking out Gary Matthews Jr. Hey, is this why Rex Hudler is such a blathering idiot?
4:15PM: Or is this why Rex Hudler is such a blathering idiot? I always get confused. Pitch count update through two completed innings: Lackey 38, Kazmir 26. Crawford grounds out to start the third. Upton strikes out for the second time today. Hinske strikes out to send us to the bottom of the third.
4:20PM: Kazmir is dealing. Kotchman pops out to Iwamura for the first out. Napoli becomes strikeout victim number three for Kazmir; two outs. Now would be a good time to remind Mets fans how great Scott Kazmir really is. Robb Quinlan makes it nine up, nine down with his weak fly out.
4:26PM: Scott Kazmir and I share the same birthday, albeit six years apart. Sorry I traded you away, birthday buddy! I needed a shortstop! And Troy Tulowitzki wasn't supposed to suck and then get hurt! Longoria pops out to start the fourth. We get it, Rex. Longoria and Jered Weaver are dirtbags. Very funny. Lackey strikes out Aybar for the second out.
4:29PM: Who among us would begrudge Dioner Navarro from reaching base safely? None of us but John Lackey, who gets Navarro to ground out to second. We're headed to the bottom of the fourth! Whee!
4:34PM: This is the part of the glog where I jinx Kazmir's attempt at a perfect game. Jinx jinx jinx! Reggie Willits just attempted a bunt but it went foul. Zot! Sucker strikes out anyway. One down.
4:37PM: Izturis grounds out to Iwamura; Kendrick flies out to Gross. Twelve up, twelve down. Let's go to the fifth!
4:40PM: Gabe Gross flies out. How fucking happy do you think Gross is? Just over a month ago, he was on a crappy Brewers team and riding the pine behind Gabe Kapler. Now? He's the starting right fielder for the first place Rays because Jonny Gomes is a chucklehead and Rocco Baldelli has SARS. Bartlett grounds out. Iwamura strikes out to end the inning.
4:45PM: Scott Kazmir perfect game watch: Vlad Guerrero is swinging the bat as if he wants to end the perfect game, no-hitter, and shutout with one hefty swing. John Franco taught Kazmir his changeup? Good for him. Guerrero strikes out on a heater; that's five strikeouts. Torii Hunter broken-bat-grounds-out to second baseman Iwamura. Hey, Iwamura has no errors so far this year. He's perfect too!
4:48PM: Oh man, Gary Matthews just hit a line drive tater-tot to left! Game tied at one and Scott Kazmir's quest for history has fallen to the wayside.
4:51PM: Casey Kotchman doubles down the right field line. The wheels are coming off the Kazmir bus! Napoli strikes out and we're headed to the SIXTH INNING.
4:56PM: Iwamura flies out to start the sixth. I'm not long for this glog, but I'd like to thank everyone for showing up again. Also, stick around for a very special "Tonight's Questions" coming up in about five minutes. Upton grounds out. Hinske strikes out and Lackey has six K's on the game so far. The bottom of the sixth is nigh!
5:00PM: Kazmir starts out the inning by striking out Quinlan on three pitches. That's tight. And that's seven punchouts for the young Ray. FYI Kazmir and Lackey have both thrown fifty strikes, but Kazmir has thrown just 15 balls. Lackey has 32 balls. He's a freak.
5:05PM: Willits draws an eleven pitch walk, and those stats I just shared with you go right into the shitter. Izturis singles on a slider and we've got runners on first and second with one out.
5:10PM: Kendrick flies out, advancing Willits to third. Hey, here's Vlad Guerrero again. Holy crap, Joe Maddon is ordering the intentional walk even with a runner on first. Bases loaded now for Torii Hunter. Torii already has one King Dong this season. Let's see if he can get two....nevermind, he struck out. That's the glog for the day, folks! Please head over to Tonight's Contest for something new and fun.