Detroit 10, D-Rays 4. And so it begins…It is hard to ever be excited for a 10-4 loss, but if ever there was a night, it was last night. B. J. Upton made his first appearance in a Devil Rays uniform since 2004 and showed us exactly how great he can be. He batted 8th and went 2-4 with a double and 2 strikeouts. In his first at bat, he fought off a tough pitch and dumped it into right field for a single. In the 8th inning he hit a line drive double to left and later scored on Carl Crawford’s double. In the field, Upton was flawless at third base. In the second inning, with the bases loaded and 1 out, Upton took a ground ball from Palcido Palanco and made a quick, strong and accurate throw to the plate for the force out. He also handled two other grounders, including a nice play on a slow roller in which Upton had to field the ball heading into foul territory and make a strong throw back across his body to Travis Lee at first base. And for those of you that want to see Kevin Witt playing first base instead of Lee, B. J. Upton is the reason you will have to wait a little longer. Having Lee at first base will do wonders for Upton’s confidence, knowing that he doesn’t have to be perfect on every toss.
The night didn’t goes as well for the other two players making their D-Rays debuts. Shortstop Ben Zobrist, batted in the 9th spot and went 0-4 with a strikeout, but he did handle several ground balls without incident. J. P. Howell, on the other hand, was knocked around pretty good by a good offensive Tigers team. He gave up 9 hits and 6 runs, and failed to get out of the 4th inning. There wa a bit of misfortune in the 2nd inning, when Crawford misplayed a double into a triple on a ball in the left field corner. Howell went 1-2-3 in the first, but began to unravel after that hit. When the dust settled in the second, he had given up 6 hits, 1 walk and 5 runs on 43 pitches.
New York 5, Toronto 1. There are a few things in baseball that are certain. One is that if you are a veteran with some talent but are no longer worth your overpriced contract, you one day play for the Yankees. Bobby Abreu is the latest overpriced addition. The Yankees will have to pay Abreu about $4.5 million for the rest of 2006, and $15 million for 2007. This for a guy that has 8 home runs. 8! Has there ever been a contract that the Yankees didn’t like? And here in lies the problem with baseball. It has been said a million times that the problem is the discrepancy in payroll and that is part of it, but where the Yankees really have an advantage is that they can afford to make mistakes. Let’s say Abreu is a total bust next season at $15 million. That is no big deal to the Yankees, they will go get somebody else. Could another team have afforded Abreu’s contract? sure. Hell, the Devil Rays could afford, but if they did acquire an Abreu and he was bust, then the team is in ruins for 2 years, with so much money tied up in a player that isn’t producing. arrrgggggg. frustrating. As for the game…Abreu went 0-3 with a walk and scored a run. The win put the Yankees in a virtual tie with the Red Sox for first place in the division.
Cleveland 6, Boston 3. No late-inning heroics for Big Papi this time. C. C. Sabathia and his crooked cap (is that what C. C. stands for?) shut down the Sox and now Boston is 1 day away from their rightful place in the division, second place.
Baltimore 2, Seattle 0. After what Angelos pulled the last couple of days, we are done talking about that sorry franchise for a while.