Devil Rays 8, Rangers 6.
Forgve us for getting all “scouty” on you, but we just want to take a moment to point out how smart a hitter Delmon Young is becoming. Here is the pitch sequence before his walk-off home run in the 10th inning.

  1. Fastball up and in…Ball 1
  2. Fastball up and in…Swing and miss
  3. Slider low and away….foul tip (count: 1-2)
  4. Hanging slider…fouled back (count: 1-2)
  5. Fastball up…Ball 2 (count: 2-2)

We have a situation here where a young pitcher is pitching to Delmon by the book. Delmon doesn’t walk and loves to swing the bat. He is a first-ball fastball hitter in the classic sense. The young pitcher also knows that Delmon could end the game with one swing and already has one home run on the night. So, all Eyre is throwing Delmon are fastballs up and out of the strike zone and “safe” sliders low-and-away. He gets Delmon to chase one of the fastballs. After the 4th pitch, Delmon is locked in. He now knows that he won’t get a fastball in the strikezone so he adjusts his swing. He knows that the pitcher is either going to try to get him to chase a fastball out of the strike zone or he is going to try and paint the outside corner, where the worst scenario is a single to right and best case scenario is a swing-and-miss or a ground ball to the left side of the infield for a double-play (a batter that tries to pull an outside pitch will hit a weak groundball to the left 90% of the time). Delmon is not going to chase another fastball up. So now he is locked in on the slider away. Sure enough, he gets another slider away on pitch 6. It wasn’t a great slider, but it wasn’t a “hanger” either. Delmon went with the pitch and he is strong enough to get it over the fence down the right field line.

The Rays are now 18-22 and only 2 games behind The Charlie Hough Line. They have reached this point with very little contribution from Rocco Baldelli and Delmon Young, two players that were being counted on to carry this team at the beginning of the season. Rocco is on the DL now, but Young is 6-12 in the past three games. If Delmon can start cookin’, this team will start scoring in bunches.

Speaking of being on fire. Brendan Harris is now hitting 17-41 (.415) over the past 10 games and was 9-14 in the Rangers series. He has his average up to .358 with a .402 OBP. This is a guy that many thought wouldn’t even make the team out of spring training. When the Rays decided to keep Harris and send Jorge Cantu to Durham many thought that Rays management were over-thinking the situation. We don’t hear anybody complaining now.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Jayson Stark is reporting that the Rays are entertaining the idea of promoting Evan Longoria and Reid Brignac before the trading deadline. This increases the likelihood of a position player being traded during the season.
  • Rocco Baldelli is back on the DL and Greg Norton has been activated. After an MRI, the injury did not appear to be as severe as first thought. Still, no word on when Rocco may be able to return.
  • the Rays current 4-game winning streak was the first of Joe Maddon’s career as manager. The Rays won 4-straight once in 2006, but Maddon was not present for two of those games.
  • We agree. Rocco’s home address should 123 Disabled List.
  • The third game for the series in Orlando drew the biggest crowd at 9,635 and the set averaged 8,806. Pretty safe to say the Rays will be back in 2008.
  • Tonight is “Legends of Wrestling” night at the Trop. At first we hung our head in shame, but then we saw THIS picture. Ohhh Raymond.
  • Let’s start the Mock Drafting!
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