Game On…with Rob Kriete – OCTOBER 10

Timing is everything. Comedy, they say, is based on timing. Hey, the difference between a soft or hard-boiled egg is timing. Major League Baseball is all about timing in getting to an ace pitcher, and that time is usually early in games. The Tampa Bay Rays seemed to recognize this fact in their deciding contest against the New York Yankees and ace, Gerrit Cole.

They managed to load the bases in the first inning, putting the $324 million-Yankee-star pitcher on the ropes. Yet, with Joey Wendle of the Rays taking a poorly timed third strike, the Yankees escaped the inning unscathed.

Deciding games are the pinnacle of MLB playoffs, and the five-game division series did not disappoint. Strong pitching dominated the game with solo home runs accounting for all three of the game’s total runs. Homers from Aaron Judge for the Yankees and Austin Meadows for the Rays kept this tilt tied at one deep into the game.

With perfect timing, Mike Brosseau came to the plate against the Yankee closer, Ardolis Chapman, in the 8th. A month earlier, the two faced each other during the regular season with a 100-mph pitch sailing over Brosseau’s head. After the dugouts and bullpens ran onto the field, there was no doubt that these two teams, and these two players, didn’t like each other much.
The 100-mph fastball Chapman thrown to Brousseau on Friday caught the plate and the barrel of the bat! The homer’s timing could not have been any better for the Rays as they vanquished their perennial division bully.

Now the Rays move onto the American League Championship against the Houston Astros. The timing seems right for Tampa Bay to prevail again, this time over a team trying to overcome the stigma of an in-game cheating scandal. (Heck, I can remember being in Houston for an Astros-Angels game last summer and was perplexed by the banging that seemed to come from nowhere!) The Rays have an opportunity to best the Astros, who are playing with a chip on their shoulder. Tampa Bay seems poised to knock it off.

the Lightning before them, the timing seems more than right for the Rays to get their “Game On” and bring home a championship to their deserving fans!

Be safe, everyone.