THE GOOD: A rare sac bunt from the Rays as Aki Iwamura moved Dioner Navarro to third base in the 3rd inning. Navi would score the Rays first run on a Carl Crawford ground out. How rare? That was the Rays second sac bunt this year. AL teams are averaging 5 sac bunts so far this season…The Rays drew 7 walks…With the bases loaded in the 5th, Rays down 3-2, Evan Longoria sac fly tied the game and then a would-be 4-6-3 double play ended with every body safe on two bad throws. BJ Upton scored and Dioner Navarro followed with one of his standard soft line drives for the third run of the inning…Willing to bet we will be able to count on one hand, how many times Gary Glover shows up under “Good”. With Dan Wheeler unavailable, Glover came on in the 7th with 1 out and a man on 2nd. He got the next 2 batters to end the 7th and retired the first 2 batters of the 8th before giving way to Trever Miller...Troy Percival pitched the third straight game and made things interesting but was able to get through the 9th for his 4th save. Percy’s velocity appeared to be back, hitting 92 several times, after only being in the upper-80s 2 nights ago.

THE BAD: The Rays struck out 5 times in the first 2 innings…1st run scored without a hard hit. Infield single off of Andy Sonnanstine’s glove/perfect hit-n-run/bloop to center…2nd run was the direct result of another Dioner Navarro brainfart. For the second time this series, Navi inexplicably left home plate with a runner on third and without calling time. Second time this season that the Rays forgot to call time and a runner advanced…In the 4th inning with 1 out and the score tied, Eric Hinske, was thrown out trying to steal second (definitely not a missed hit-and-run). That was bad but what made it worse is that Joe Magrane thought it was a good idea because it “keeps the pressure on”. Huh-wha? We could be mistaken here, but by being thrown out, that took the pressure off of the Jays. Just sayin’…Later on Dwayne Staats, during a conversation about Dan Wheeler and Troy Percival being unavailable, notes that “there are some good arms out there…Dohmann, Glover”. Really? Five pitchers in the bullpen and the best two names he could think of were Scott Dohmann and Gary Glover? We’re not saying Goose Gossage is out there, but geez…Shawn Bleepin’ Camp owed us and he had the perfect chance to pay up last night, coming on with runner on 3rd and for some strange reason, he did not allow the inherited runner to score, after allowing about 742 inherited runners to score last year.

THE TELLING: The Rays are 6-0 all-time in Orlando…The 3-game winning streak is the longest this season and the longest since the second week of September last season…In 2007, the Rays won 3 in a row, three times, and won 4 in a row twice. They did not have a winning streak longer than 4…The Rays have not been .500 this late in a season since 2004 when they were 42-42.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Mike DiFelice cleared waivers and will rejoin the Durham Bulls. [The Heater]
  • Justin Ruggiano was demoted to Durham to make room for Matt Garza who will make the start tonight. [MLB]
  • Matt Silverman said the Orlando series was a success, specifically noting that there were a lot more Rays fans in the stands this year. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Still, this year’s 3-game set drew 119 fewer fans than the series last year and none of the games sold out. The Orlando Sentinel cites a number of reasons that attendance may have been down and Matt Silverman would not commit to another Orlando series in 2009. [Orlando Sentinel]
  • We love this story…Having spent a few years in the midwest, we have a number of friends that are Twins fans. We warned them about Delmon Young. There were the obvious warnings about not standing within 50 feet of Young if he is holding a bat. But there were also the warnings that Young is not the best “team player” ever born and warnings that changing his free-swinging style would not be easy. Those Twins fans and a number of Twins fans on the internet shouted the same company-line. The Twins play baseball the right way…Just being around the rest of the guys will make Delmon want to change…He is going to be a perrenial MVP candidate…Well, we are now almost a month into the season and Young is hitting .262/.287/.321 with ZERO home runs and a 14-to-3 strikeout to walk ratio…And now Twins fans are starting to get antsy and blaming Ron Gardenhire for not only allowing the free-swinging, but encouraging it. [Fire Gardy]
  • One website has BJ Upton third in the MVP race in the early going. Disturbing is that they have Josh Hamilton second…Also, Evan Longoria is third in the Rookie-of-the-Year race. [Roto Advice]
  • There are few places we are not willing to go on this site. You need not worry though. David Chalk picks up the slack. Of course by linking to it, we could be accused of being “enablers”. We are OK with that. [Bugs & Cranks]
  • Troy Percival is now 11th on the all-time saves list, only 2 away from the top 10. [MLB]
  • Gabe Gross talks about making the transition to his new team. [MLB]
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14 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I'm really scratching my head here Prof. How does "Haynsie" keep sticking around? I can understand that they want Ruggiano to get more regular playing time and all, but now we have Gross AND Haynes, basically here to fill the same role. wtf?

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  2. The Professor says:

    that one has me confused also. Ruggiano and Gross are both above average defensively. Obviously neither has the range of Haynes, but with Upton in center is that really important? No way Haynes has Gross' arm and he can't get on base to save his life. but apparently it is enough to save his job.

    i really dont get it...UNLESS the reasoning is that they want Ruggiano to get regular ABs in Durham instead of occasional ABs off the Rays bench. But teams usually only do that with their top prospects.

    there is no evidence but this smells like one of those cases where Maddon has a special affinity for a certain player and can see nothing wrong with that player. Remember Haynes and Maddon probably knew each other from the Angels system and I am sure that members of the Angels organization "vouched" for Haynes on top of that.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, that's all I can come up with too. But they're just delaying the inevitable. Ultimately, now with Gross, and everyone due to return relatively soon.....Maddon's pet will be the odd man out at some point unless we have a trade in the works for Hinske or Gomes.

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  4. Clayton says:

    Count me as firmly entrenched in the "Keep Hinske" camp. He's just been too good. You would have to get something stellar in return to give him away looking like this.

    Here's my question about the Haynes deal: I don't see the point of keeping him either, but with whom do you replace him? I can see the wisdom in just waiting and replacing him with Floyd, followed by replacing Johnson with Zobrist. Does that put us back at full strength?

    Also, I may have missed it, but what is the feeling about the rotation after yesterday? Hammel to the pen and Dohmann out the door? Glover?

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  5. Katie says:

    Just about every Twins game I say, usually at least twice, "OK...NOW would be a great time for a Delmon Young home run."

    I'm not too hyper about it though, practically NO ONE on the team is hitting homers, so maybe Delmon IS just trying to fit in with the other guys.

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  6. The Professor says:

    i agree to an extent about Hinske. You want to ride the hot streak as long as possible and can we really expect Floyd to be healthy for any length of time this season? might be too much to ask at this point.

    BUT, Hinske's track-record is what it is. This *could* be the perfect sell-high moment, especially with Hinske likely to test the free agent waters after the season. OR maybe Hinske has taken baseball for granted his whole life and having to be a non-roster invitee finally woke him up...ala Pena last year.

    I'm torn on that one

    as per rotation...Maddon said he is going to wait as long as possible to make a decision, which means lets see what everybody does next time through.

    gotta think Sonny is safe now, but if he throws up a stinker next week, who knows?

    and my guess is that the bumpee is bumped to the 'pen and Birkins is first to be DFAd with a second pitcher being DFAd once Reyes is ready to come back. And that will either be Dohmann or Glover. Let's see how both are used in next week or two. that will give us a clue.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    If both Zobrist and Aybar are going to be on the 25-man, then yeah one of, (if not both?) dohman and glover will be sent packing. Kaz is next to return, so that means Birkins is optioned (i think he has options), or Haynes is DFA. Salas is around the corner....bye bye Reyes....i hope.

    elliot johnson is keeping the seat warm for either Aybar or Zobrist. My choice is Aybar. Zobrist has options and we already tried that experiment. Aybar can spell Aki and Longo, and we can live with him at SS i think.

    It just doesn't make too much sense to DFA all these guys without getting anything in return. I know this isn't the most organized post in the world, but the roster situation has my brain scrambled....sorry 'bout that!

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  8. The Professor says:

    my mistake. you are correct. Birkins does have an option left.

    as for Zobrist. Not sure we have to worry about his presence for a while still. He is still a week from having the pins in his hand removed. He has done very little baseball activities since being on the shelf which means he is going to need at least a couple of weeks in the minors before he is ready to be promoted.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    so that may mean if Willy gets here first, then Zobi is SOL?

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  10. The Professor says:

    i'd def say Aybar has the edge over Zobrist.

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  11. Clayton says:

    I forgot that Birkins was even on the squad. So he is the obvious choice to make room for Kaz, with one of the starters (Hammel) headed to the pen. Johnson goes for Aybar. And that's your team. Until Andrew gets bored.

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  12. Robert Rittner says:

    This is the 3rd site I have read that accuses Navarro of the mistake of leaving the plate unguarded. But on ESPN the commentator, I think Destrade, said that Pena erred in not covering the plate. He did not mention Navarro.

    If you look at the play, you will see that Dioner made a nice play ranging far out to reach the bunt and throw out the batter. I doubt any other infielder could have gotten to it. At the same time, Pena was rushing in to try for it as well, and while Navarro's momentum carried him away from the plate, Pena was heading straight for it.

    It was then Navarro who was the only player to recognize the problem and hustle back to receive the throw, but too late. It is ironic that the only player to hustle and to make a good play, and then try to cover for one who did fall asleep, gets blamed for the mistake that was not even his. Is there some predilection to find fault with Dioner at work?

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  13. The Professor says:

    it is Navarro's responsibility to cal time from the umpire and this is the second time this season he has forgotten to do that.

    as for covering the plate. different teams handle it differently. And as far as I know few teams ask the first baseman to do it. More often it is the pitcher. But Navarro is in charge. after the play is made. he needs to be awake and know the situation. if nobody is covering the plate and a man is on third, he can't be standing around watching things unfold elsewhere.

    So while there may be room to put blame on multiple shoulders. I still give most to Navi.

    and no, this is not a bias against Navi. Unless you think it extends to Staats and Magrane also.

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  14. Robert Rittner says:

    You may be right about the timeout call (not the coverage issue). Are you sure the other incident was Navarro. I remember Riggans forgetting to call time and having runners advance but do not recall it happening with Navarro behind the plate.

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