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June 4, 2007 at 11:58 pm ET
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Monday, El Gato Del Crimen Carlos Pena congratulates The Eraser Al Reyes on his 14th save.“If only Felix Hernandez could be as good as [TMOTMCC] James Shields.”

That’s how ESPN Baseball Tonight host Karl Ravech segued out of Mariners highlights Monday night and into a continuation of the program’s TMOTMCC lovefest.

The Master Of The Modified Circle Change James Shields was masterful — again — taking a 2-hitter into the 8th, earning his second straight victory, becoming the first Ray ever to win his first 5 decisions, and preventing a devastating series loss.

But TMOTMCC couldn’t have done it without the man who provided almost all the Rays offense Monday afternoon. A man who deserves much love for proving the doubters and haters wrong.

One doubter in particular wrote last month:

“Don;t get too excited about Carlos Pena just yet. Why don’t you wait until he goes 3-for-the-month-of-June, and drops his batting average to around .127 before anointing him as the next Fred McGriff.”

What was El Gato Del Crimen Carlos Pena’s response? In his first at-bat Monday, his 9th AB of the month of June, he put the Rays up 1-0 with his team-leading 12th home run of the season (hit #3).

And in EGDC’s next at-bat, #10 of June, a two-out double to deep right (hit #4) — he would get doubled home by Ty Wigginton to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.

As an encore, EGDC hit a towering pop up that cleared the A-Ring of the Trop’s catwalk, and fell for an RBI-infield double.

The ball was up in the air forever, and Pena was running hard — first baseman Alex Gordon tried to stay with it and had drifted about halfway between first and second when it dropped. When it dropped Pena had already rounded first and was probably 15-20 feet away, but may or may not have yelled “A-Rod’s got it!” to further fluster the rookie.

The 3-for-3 day boosted his average to .313, and raised his June stats to 5-for-11, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI.

Earlier in the day, Manager “Coach Joe” Maddon had said “His popups here are magnificent.”

They’re almost criminal. The infield double provided an extra run for The Eraser Al Reyes to work with. Reyes pitched for the third straight day and recorded his 14th save, ensuring a second straight win, a face-saving split, and a share of 4th-place with the New York/Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.


In other Rays news, backup catcher #1 Josh Paul has moved to the 60-day DL and backup catcher #2 The Diesel Shawn Riggans has also moved to the DL.

Enter backup catcher #3, Raul Casanova — voted the International League’s Sexiest Backstop for April and May.

The 34-year-old from Puerto Rico last appeared in the bigs in 2005, getting 5 at-bats in 6 games with the White Sox. He had also played for the Tigers, Brewers and Orioles from 1997-2002.

In 29 games in Durham, Casanova hit .258 with four doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs.


Watch out, our Rays start another 3-game set in Ontario Tuesday, and another Chalk-Kyte joint preview is rumored to be in the works…

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One Response to “TMOTMCC + EGDC = 2 W’s Vs. KC”
  1. Peter says:

    I warn you for your own good: If Tampa keeps picking up washed up Tigers they are doomed to further decades of obscurity. It’s only a matter of time until Pena turns into the proverbial pumpkin. And I know Casanova isn’t exactly the Ray’s first choice behind the dish (although he can’t be much worse than Navarro), but still, there HAVE to be better options out there – where’s Matt Nokes when you need him?

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