Last night was both infuriating and exhilarating. In fact, that seems to sum up the 2012 Rays.
But last night was quintessential Rays baseball. Create as many scoring opportunities as possible. Hold the opposition. And then finally break through.
Despite all the good that came with last night’s win, there was one play that doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves. With no one out in the top of the 9th, Sean Rodriguez went first-to-third on Brandon Allen’s flare AND Brandon Allen took second on the throw.
Why does that matter? I mean, they would have scored on Joyce’s home run from first and second, right?
Maybe. But I don’t think Joyce gets this fat pitch if the game isn’t tied and the go-ahead run isn’t 90-feet away:
Robertson attacks lefties with pitches that are down-and-away (just ask Carlos Pena). But, with the go-ahead run on third base, he can’t attack too far down and away because he can’t afford a passed ball. So, he elevates a pitch and Matt Joyce is a hero.
That is the beauty of Maddon-ball. Everyone can appreciate the go-ahead three-run bomb. But, you have to watch the Rays regularly to know that Rodriguez’s aggressiveness on the bases — followed closely by Allen’s aggressiveness on the bases — forced Robertson to load the bases, set up the tying run, and then throw a fat strike to lose the game.