THE GOOD: With McScrappy on third base and two outs in the first, Jason Hammel got Vernon Wells to strike out to end the inning and avoid early trouble…Lots ‘o goodies in Rays Rally in 6th inning with the Rays down 3-0. Opposite field lead-off double by Dioner Navarro, followed by another slap-hit to the right side by Jason Bartlett with Navi on second base. Carl Crawford had an RBI single one out later. BJ Upton walks on 4 pitches to load the bases. After a Carlos Pena strikeout, Evan Longoria goes opposite field with a great swing to tie game at 3. Pitch was in on his hands. Dirtbag kept his hands in and ahead of the barrel of the bat. Not easy. Eric Hinske followed with a one-handed wrister and just flipped the ball into right field for a 4-3 lead…Nice 5-4-3 to end the 7th with a great scoop by Carlos Pena…The bullpen was fantastic once again. 2 scoreless innings from Dan Wheeler and 3 scoreless overall…We guess we should file under “good” keeping Roy Halladay in the game in the 8th inning, down 4-3. He only had 96 pitches entering the inning, but had thrown 34 in the 6th inning alone. A Carl Crawford triple followed by a BJ Upton sac fly and the Rays had a huge bonus run to make it 5-3.
THE BAD: Jason Hammel versus Roy Halladay. Turned out OK last night, but that does not mean we will be too excited to see the same matchup in the future…Asshole Jays’ TV announcer: “Jason Hammel has worked 20 innings this year and allowed only 1 home run.” About 0.4 seconds later a ball off the bat of Matt Stairs is flying over the right field wall. In the bottom half of the same inning: “Well [Evan] Longoria has some pop in his bat. He showed it last night.” About 0.2 seconds later Dirtbag grounds into a 5-4-3 double play…Jason Hammel walked 2 batters in the second with only one out. He got out of it…Joe Inglett stole second and third in 5th. Counts against Dioner Navarro in the stat sheet, but that is all Jason Hammel’s fault. Anytime a runner steals third, it is almost always on the pitcher…Joe Maddon got lucky in the 8th inning. We wondered if maybe Trever Miller would get the 8th inning with Dan Wheeler coming on in the 7th inning. Seemed smart with Matt Stairs due up in 8th and already with 2 home runs. Instead, Papa Joe stuck with Wheeler in the 8th inning and Stairs just missed a home run to the opposite field that would have tied the game…The Jays broadcast network runs these idiotic 10 second commercials smack dad in the middle of innings. So fucking annoying. Your first reaction is, “What the hell happened? That was only the first out!” We cannot emphasize enough how annoying this is. It completely interrupts the flow of the game for the viewer.
THE TELLING: Dan Wheeler worked 2 innings last night and is probably not available to work tonight…Troy Percival might not be available either. He has worked the last two nights and his fastball was clearly not sharp last night touching only 88 on the gun after hitting 92-94 the night before. Joe Maddon may have to be careful how often he uses Percy on back-to-back nights in the future. We have no idea who Maddon would use in the 9th inning tonight. Trever Miller? Maybe Papa Joe is counting on another complete game from Andy Sonnanstine...Joe Maddon got caught with his pants down in the 7th inning. Not anticipating the Rays to take the lead in the bottom of the 6th, Dan Wheeler was not ready to go at the start of the 7th. Jason Hammel had to go out to the mound and pretend to be staying in the game while Wheeler got in a few more warmup pitches…Carlos Pena was back at first base…Only two teams in baseball are batting better than .300 with runners in scoring position and two outs, the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays…Noticed on Carl Crawford’s triple that he is running the bases batter this year. Crawford has mentioned in previous seasons that he hates “rounding” bases. He prefers to run straight to a base and make very sharp turns. He always felt that rounding bases was a waste of steps. Last night, CC took rounded approaches at first and second base. Looks like Dave Martinez finally got into CC’s head when others could not…The Rays are now in 4th place and have won 2 in a row for the third time this season. They are yet to win 3 in a row.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Wow. We predicted that Dan Johnson’s stay in a Rays uniform would be short, but we didn’t think it would be this short. To make room for the newly acquired Gabe Gross, the Rays DFA’d Johnson. To recap: Johnson’s career with the Rays included one game, zero plate appearances. [The Heater]
- Joe Maddon has finally come to the realization that back-to-back-to-back lefties in the lineup is not necessarily a good thing and has recently altered the lineup accordingly. [MLB]
- Sorry, this one missed the “Down on the Farm” feature, but for our Y-Chromosome deficient readers, you might be happy to know that Wade Davis has made the list of hottest prospects at Ladies… [Ladies…]
- Rays Digest wonders if the Rays are stretching too far by reaching out to potential fans in Orlando. Their biggest piece of evidence is the empty seats from Tuesday night’s game…It should be noted that the Rays were going head-to-head with an Orlando Magic playoff game. It is difficult to gauge exactly how much the impact is, but they probably should have waited to see how attendance was in game 2, which was up about 700 over game 1. While there were still empty seats last night, this is a town that is mad for the Magic right now. [Rays Digest]
- No surprise here…there appears to be a disagreement over how much parking would be available for Rays games at the proposed waterfront stadium. The Rays say plenty. The city of St. Pete says “don’t count your parking spaces before they hatch” or something like that. [St. Pete Times]
- Apparently a Canadian likes to stereotype people from Orlando and calls the Rays stupid for trying to expand their fanbase. [The Heater]
- Shawn Riggans and JP Howell read to some Orlando-area school kids. A truly noble effort, but let’s hope it went better than the Shawn Camp-Ruddy Lugo incident last year. [MLB]