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]