Longoria homers, Davis cruises as Rays lead Game 4

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This series might be headed back to The Trop.

The Rays, pummeled by the Rangers in Games 1 and 2 back in Tampa, are now leading Texas 5-2 in the seventh inning of Sunday’s ALDS Game 4 in Arlington.  Rays rookie Wade Davis fanned seven batters and allowed just two runs, looking mature in situations that required serious damage control.  Evan Longoria is 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBI.  Carlos Pena has an RBI and two runs scored.

The Rangers didn’t get the start they were hoping for out of youngster Tommy Hunter, who was pulled from the game after allowing three runs and six hits over four innings of work.  Nelson Cruz homered in the bottom of the sixth, but it was a solo shot.  A three-run deficit won’t be easy to overcome.

If the Rays hang on, they’ll tie the five-game series at 2-2.  Look for a battle of left-handed aces in Game 5 with Cliff Lee going for the Rangers and David Price taking the home-field mound at Tropicana Field.

In the meantime, the Yankees will continue to rest their banged-up players.  They swept the Twins on their own side of the ALDS and the ALCS doesn’t kick off until Friday night.

Joe Girardi is not a fan of Game 162 scheduling

Joe Girardi
Getty Images

The Yankees fell behind early to the Orioles on Sunday afternoon, a day after dropping both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader. Their game, as did every other game on Sunday with the exception of the Braves-Cardinals doubleheader, started at 3:05 or 3:10 EDT, a change Major League Baseball recently made to create fairness on the final day of the season.

Girardi is not a fan. Per the Associated Press:

It was cloudy at Camden Yards at 3:05 p.m., but late-afternoon games often make it difficult for batters to see pitches.

Girardi said, “Here’s the thing that bothers me: If it’s a sunny day you’re playing in shadows.”

He added, “If it’s the most important game of the year to get in, I don’t think that’s right.”

Understanding the idea is for every team to play at the same time, Girardi said, “Then play all night games.”

One wonders if MLB had scheduled Sunday’s slate of games for the night, if Girardi would have instead complained about batters losing fly balls in the stadium lights. Furthermore, both teams have to play in the same conditions.

Video: Ichiro Suzuki pitches an inning for the Marlins

Ichiro Suzuki
AP Photo

Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki was given an opportunity to play a new position in Sunday’s series finale against the Phillies. After the Phillies rallied to take a 6-2 lead in the seventh, the Marlins let Suzuki take the hill in the eighth. And, in news that surprises no one, he was impressive.

Though Suzuki gave up a run on two hits, he flashed a fastball that hit the mid-80’s and a breaking ball with some bite.

Suzuki, who turns 42 years old later this month, is 65 hits of 3,000 in his major league career. The Marlins are interested in bringing him back in 2016.