You may have noticed a slight change in format. We run three daily features around these parts. Of course, by daily, we mean if we don’t drink too much the night before and are able to get our buts out of bed in a reasonable manner. Well, we are going to mix things up a little. On days that we run “The AL East Roundup” and/or “Down on the Farm”, those will be posted before “The Hangover” which we should be able to get up all weekdays and most weekends.
Devil Rays 5, A’s 3.
We promise that next time we take off for on a drunken weekend binge, we will leave you with something better to look at on the front page than Mel Allen’s mug…One trait of young teams is extreme ups and downs and this is not lost on the 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays. After taking 2 straight from the Yankees in impressive fashion, they followed it up by looking like a AAA team in 2 losses to the Angels. Somehow they bounced back to take 2 of 3 from the A’s. Scott Kazmir got off to a shaky start by giving up 2 solo home runs in the first. He settled down and did what he had to do. He kept an ugly loss (on Saturday) from turning into a losing streak, handing the ball to the bullpen in the 8th inning with a lead. Rocco Baldelli, who was a game-time decision as to whether or not he could return to the lineup, made the start and provided a no-doubt home run in 5th inning. BJ Upton was moved up from his normal 9-spot in the lineup, to the 6-hole and made Papa Joe Maddon look like a genius by driving in 3 with his 5th home run of the year. Elijah Dukes hit his first home run since the first 2 games of the season against the Yankees.
- Josh Hancock, who died in a car accident, was a friend of Casey Fossum.
- Rocco Baldelli started at DH, but is still not 100%.
- Jorge Cantu received his first career start as a first baseman. He went 0-4.
- Yesterday Shawn Camp relieved Scott Kazmir in the 8th inning. He struggled and Brian Stokes had to come in for the final two outs of the frame. With Camp’s recent success and a couple of shaky outings by Stokes, Joe Maddon will be day-to-day with Camps and Stokes on who gets the ball in the 7th and who gets it in the 8th.
- Buster Olney lists James Shields as one of his “payers on the rise”, citing an already impressive change-up that keeps getting better.
- Carlos Pena has been a pleasant surprise for the Rays early in the season. There is no word yet what the Rays will do when Greg Norton is ready to return to the team. Norton is expected to begin a rehab assignment in the next few days. Pena only made the opening day roster after Norton was injured in the last week of spring training. The likely scenario would be one in which the Rays send Cantu back to Durham, keeping Pena and Norton. Then the team would be able to wait until Akinori Iwamura returns before making a decision on Pena.
- Joe Maddon is worried about how often the Rays fall behind early in a game. A team can have all the talent in the world, but it does no good if they do not show up to the park mentally prepared to play everyday.
- RealGM Baseball is taking a look at all 30 GMs in baseball. In their review of Andrew Friedman, they call the hiring of Joe Maddon, his “signature move”. Signing Akinori Iwamura, and not trading BJ Upton must have been a close second and third.
- James Shields is the Rays most consistent pitcher right now, but he does have a penchant for giving up home runs.
- Here is a very detailed account of Ty Wigginton delivering his second child in the closet of their home. All we can say is “wow”.
- A look back at the Devil Rays 1997 expansion draft.