Daily Process: Brignac Leads Another Way of Winning | The Process Report

Daily Process: Brignac Leads Another Way of Winning

After a rough outing in Seattle that included four home runs allowed, visions of 2010 James Shields crept inside the heads of some Rays fans. On Wednesday, Shields got back on track against the Angels. In seven innings of work, he allowed three earned runs (thanks Cesar Ramos) on seven hits, three walks, and a hit by pitch. The right-hander struck out eight batters and picked off his seventh runner of the season. He used 101 pitches along the way including 62 strikes.

It wasn’t the smoothest of efforts; however, Shields did some of his best work with runners on base. Faced with runners on second and third and no outs in the second inning, Shields struckout Mark Trumbo, Vernon Wells, and Peter Bourjos in order to end the threat. He used his secondary pitches against the power threats of Trumbo and Wells, but attacked the light-hitting Bourjos with fastballs. Overall, Shields had good fastball control and an even better feel of his breaking ball. He threw 23 curveballs with 15 of them strikes (four whiffs). Once again, his changeup was his swing and miss pitch with 10 empty swings on 30 tosses.

With Bourjos in scoring position in the seventh inning, Shields went to work against pinch-hitter Hank Conger with two outs. Conger batted from the left side and does have some pop. Shields went to the soft stuff throwing Conger four changeups and a curveball – inducing a groundball out to end the inning.

Shields’ control got away from him as he approached the century mark in the eighth inning. After a hit batter, single, and a walk, he was lifted for Cesar Ramos with no out, bases loaded and Bobby Abreu due. Abreu is a left-handed batter, but does not have extreme splits. In a tough situation, Ramos allowed just his second extra-base hit against a lefty – a bases clearing double that wiped Shields from the decision. Joel Peralta came in to relieve Ramos and stranded Abreu in scoring position with a nifty inning of work. Juan Cruz (win) and Kyle Farnsworth (save) also worked scoreless innings.

Offensively and defensively, Reid Brignac was the star for the Rays. Brignac belted his first home run of the season to put the Rays up 1-0 against Jered Weaver. He later drove home the game-winning run in the 10th. In extra innings, Tampa Bay saw some some heads up baserunning by John Jaso – who stole third base when he noticed Alberto Callaspo was crashing on Brignac’s bunt attempt. The shortstop put down a squeeze bunt to score Jaso and put the Rays up for good.

During regulation, Brignac made a diving grab that will be on highlight reels and started a key bases-loaded, one out double play that might be over looked. In addition to Brignac, Ben Zobrist and Justin Ruggiano also drove in runs. Ruggiano has started against some tough right-handed pitchers in the past few days, but has pitched in with a home run and a double.

The Rays completed their first three-game sweep in Los Angeles and pull ahead 4-3 after the first seven games of this 11-game road trip. The team is off tomorrow, but headed into Baltimore in good spirits thanks to the effors of Shields, Brignac, certain members of the bullpen, and another way of winning.


  1. I.Welsh-Art wrote:

    I don’t know if it’s me, but every time I see Ramos enter the game he seems always find a way to screw up any situation. Granted, he came into a bad situation, but is there something to this kid that the Rays see that eludes me?

    • buddaley wrote:

      I think think this is an example of the fallacy of anecdotal memory. After last night, Ramos has appeared in 28 games and in 22 of them the Rays either remained in the same position as when he came in or improved their position when he left. Once he appeared with a 10 run lead and gave up 1 run before he left, hardly a significant failure, so one could say he succeeded 23 times.

      On at least 5 occasions he came in with runners in scoring position and finished the inning without a run scoring.

      It is true that in some cases he left before the end of the inning or that he put runners on base, but he has also worked out of some jams and finished many innings. He is by no means a perfect pitcher but has done a reasonably good job.

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