THE GOOD: Jonny Gomes and Justin Ruggiano started against the lefty and went a combined 3-6 with a walk and an RBI…Last night during the Live Blog-A-Baloo we introduced a new nickname. McGlovin. For Gary Glover. He really is faking the whole major league pitcher thing (For those unfamiliar with the reference, google ‘McLovin’).
THE BAD: We don’t know what to call Edwin Jackson’s performance. If he had pitched like that in ’07 against the Yankees, we might have actually been impressed, but this was a little dissapointing for the ’08 Jackson. At least when he isn’t on top of his game against a good team he didn’t embarras himself or the team. He very easily could have given up 9 runs…However, the pitching staff as a whole which was walking less than 3 batters per 9 innings entering last night’s game, walked 9, including 5 from the bullpen in only 4 innings…Twice early in the game the Rays had a runner on third base with 1 out and failed to score…
THE TELLING: Getting swept, even if it is just a 2-game series. The Rays need to be winning series and right now they are letting opportunities slip away…Joe Maddon wanted to give Aki Iwamura the night off. He had Elliot Johnson start at second. That’s fine. But he replaced Aki with Jason Bartlett at the top of the order. Bartlett who entered the game with an OBP below .200. He did go 2-5 and drive in a run, but Bartlett at the top of the order is not something we want to see very often. We know Carl Crawford doesn’t like leading off and we know Maddon likes stability in the order, but would it kill CC to lead off 4-5 times a year when Aki is given a night off?…Mike DiFelice is hitting .429 and the staff has a better ERA with him behind the plate.With Dioner Navarro returning soon, might Shawn Riggans be on the way out to make room for the veteran catcher the team always said they wanted?
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Matt Garza had his first bullpen session since going on the DL. He said he threw pain-free after he was diagnosed by the team doctor’s and given a cortisone shot. Garza says he feels good enough to come off the DL the first day he is eligible, April 24. [MLB]
- Here is one issue that we have with Fantasy Baseball…You websites that run stories titled “Who Is Better: Evan Longoria Or Kevin Youkilis”. Would this ever be a question in real life? [Fake Teams]
- A preview of things to come? Andy Sonnanstine will be available for relief duty tonight rather throw his usual between-starts throwing. The Rays say it is because the bullpen has been overused recently…Mike DiFelice is not only hitting well, but the pitching staff has a better ERA with him behind the plate (3.25) as compared to Dioner Navarro (5.21) and Shawn Riggans (4.50)…Juan Salas is expected to return to the US today. [St. Pete Times]
- Dioner Navarro will play in extended spring training games today and tomorrow and then will catch Scott Kazmir’s rehab start at Vero Beach on Friday. [Tampa Tribune]
- Sean Deveney of The Sporting News says that it is only one start but Jeff Niemann’s performance was a glimpse into the future of the Tampa Bay Rays. Niemann is the first of several top pitching prospects that will eventually make their way to the Rays. [Sporting News]
No one is confusing the Orioles with the 1927 Yankees. But Niemann is 25, making his debut. The fact that he — and catcher Mike DiFelice — had confidence in his entire repertoire says a lot about where this guy’s stuff is. He wasn’t just using the breaking ball when he was ahead. He was throwing it when he was behind or even in the count.
- Fanhouse says a Yankees-Rays rivalry is good for baseball. [Fanhouse]
- DRays Bay continues their profiles of the candidates for the top pick in the June draft. Up next is Aaron Chow. [DRays Bay]
- Outs Per Swing has moved shop over to the MVN Network, replacing the previous Rays blog. We had forgotten there was a Rays blog on MVN. [Outs Per Swing]
- Sports Indeed is clearly depressed over the loss of Rays Anatomy…Nahhh! We’re BS’n you. Sports Indeed threw a party. [Sports Indeed]
- Home Run Derby notes that Carlos Pena may be leading MLB in home runs but he is not hitting anything else. [Home Run Derby]
- Evan Longoria recounts his first major league home run. [MLB]
- Sticks of Fire noticed some peculiarities in the treatment of governor Charlie Crist and Mike Alstott on opening day. [Sticks of Fire]