THE GOOD: Evan Longoria’s walk in the 2nd. Dirtbag is struggling and Joe Maddon always said he wanted to see how he would handle a slump. Even if the hits aren’t coming right now, you want to see that he still has a mastery of the strike zone and is not getting himself out. If the that continues, the hits are likely to return sooner rather than later…Edwin Jackson. Yes Nuke. Why? Because if the Rays were going to lose one game in the series, it was this one. Now he is out of the way and we can move on to James Shields and Scott Kazmir.
THE BAD: Akinori Iwamura is bailing out on everything. I have no idea why a pitcher would throw him anything but a fastball on the outside part of the plate right now. When he swings, his front foot lands in the first base dugout…The 3rd inning. After getting the first two batters on, the next three struck out…Carl Crawford’s arm. We have seen some bad throws from CC in our day, but that was one of the worst, and while the wet field may have been a problem, it did not seem to bother the Sox when they were throwing out two different runners at home…Did we mention that the Rays had 2 runners thrown out at home. It is starting to seem as if the Rays get out more on the basepaths than they do at the plate. You know what they say about errors in the field and not “giving the other team extra outs”. Works the same on the base paths. You can’t give the other team free outs.
THE TELLING: Were we the only ones praying for a rainout? Just knew this would not end well with Jackson. He is capable of great starts. But not in Boston on a rainy night after the Rays had swept the Sox just a week prior….Jonny Gomes batted 3rd versus a right-handed pitcher. Huh-wha? He couldn’t even get a start against a righty two weeks ago and now he is batting third?
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Kurt Birkins gets to stay with the Rays a little longer. Gary Glover is now on the DL and Al Reyes is still not ready to come off. [Ray Report]
- Jason Hammel is not officially in the bullpen with Scott Kazmir coming back on tomorrow. [MLB]
- A couple of days ago, we linked to a story on The Sporting News about the Rays improved defense. Yesterday Rob Neyer at ESPN discussed that story, and now he is starting to believe in the Rays. [ESPN]
I was skeptical about [88-89 win projections for the Rays], for the simple reason that the Rays finished last season with a 5.53 ERA, worst in the league. How do you get from there (I wondered) to 87 wins simply by adding Matt Garza? You don’t. But when you add Garza, and get Brendan Harris and B.J. Upton out of the infield, and Dukes and Young out of the outfield, maybe that does get you partway there. Maybe all the way. The Rays are in first place, with the best run differential in their division, having gotten one win from Garza and none from Kazmir. I’m still skeptical. I still think the Rays are more likely to win 82 games than 88. But if they do win 88 games and we’re shocked, it’s because we weren’t paying attention.
- Yesterday it was stories in the New York Times and The Boston Globe that were actually flattering. Today it is the Chicago Tribune. Tomorrow? The LA Times? We only hope that the Devil has a jacket. [Chicago Tribune]
- The Boston Herald calls Evan Longoria a “Sure Thing”. [Boston Herald]
“For me, sometimes when you hear a guy is touted like this, sometimes they don’t live up to expectations or they’re just not as good, in my opinion, and when I saw him, he lived up to all of it and more,” said Longoria’s teammate and former Red Sox Eric Hinske. “He’s better than I thought he would be, for sure. He does everything right, he’s fundamentally sound, on defense as well – he’s got good footwork, a good arm.”
- No Scott Kazmir is not the only surprise about the Rays early season success. DRays Bay points out that the top 2 hitters in the Rays lineup are not getting on base. [DRays Bay]