Indians 6, Devil Rays 4.
It is hard to get too upset when the worst is expected and the worst happens. The “highly potent” Rays offense was only able to manage 5 hits and once again the bullpen blew a lead. With Al Reyes unavailable after pitching in the first two games of the series, Joe Maddon called on Brian Stokes to close out a 4-2 ballgame. When Stokes hit the first batter he faced, a collective sigh could be heard from the crowd of 18,000 at the Trop. It was as if everybody knew what was going to happen next and that is exactly what happened. After a run-scoring single, Stokes gave up a 3-run home run to somebody with 8 career home runs. On the bright side, James Shields was masterful and solidified himself as the Rays best pitcher, going 8 innings, allowing only 2 hits and matching the Devil Rays team record of 12 strikeouts.
- Despite second-guessers calling for James Shields to come out for the 9th or for Juan Salas to be there in the 9th, Joe Maddon’s decision to use Brian Stokes was the correct one. Stokes just did not get the job done.
- We disagree. James Shields performance did not fly under the radar. Performances like that by a D-Rays pitcher are noticed, no matter what the end result.
- It could be another week before the team seeks relief relief from AAA.
- BJ Upton is finally hitting the ball, but considering his frail frame, questions remain as to whether he can sustain this all season.
- Carlos Pena is now getting regular playing time. What happens when Greg Norton comes back from the DL?
- Mets fans just cannot let go of Scott Kazmir. Now they are analyzing his struggles during his recent start and wondering aloud if he is injured. Of course, Kid K out-dueled Johan Santana in the start before that. Sure looked fine that night.
- Manny Stiles at the Trop, day 2.
- Current Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms as well as former Bucs QB Brian Griese will throw out the first pitches tonight in the series opener against the Yankees. We are not sure what is more likely to happen…Brian Griese is injured during the pitch or Chris Simms has pitch knocked down by Derek Jeter before it reaches the plate. We are taking bets on both.