THE GOOD: Ben Zobrist getting the start. Everytime he did something good, we were rewarded with shots of his wife Julianna. That’s it. That was the only redeeming quality of yesterday’s game.

THE BAD: Joe Maddon had some questionable (read: idiotic) pitching changes on Sunday. First he brings Dan Wheeler in to face Ryan Ludwick one day after Ludwick had taken Wheeler deep for a walk-off home run. First pitch on Sunday? Home run. But the really stupid move? After Wheeler walked the lead-off hitter of the 8th inning. A lefty was due up. So Papa Joe brings in Trever Miller. Seems fine with the lefty due up, EXCEPT IT IS A BUNTING SITUATION AND THE NEXT BATTER IS A RIGHTY. Why Miller, who was allowing righties to hit 8-25 (.320) prior to that at bat? Result? You guessed it. A single to left that scores 2. Game tied…More poor fundamentals. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, why on earth did anybody let Evan Longoria go out to the field without sunglasses? Sure enough, he lost a pop-up in the Sun. Eric Hinske was thrown out at second trying to stretch a double. And the pitchers walked 10 batters, 4 in the 8th inning alone. It is a miracle the Cards only scored 5…But the real reason the Rays lost on Sunday? They angered the gods of baseball. The Spring Training jersey in the regular season is idiotic. First of all they are acceptable for practice, but they are ugly and do not look like a major league baseball jersey. The pit-stain coloring is horrendous. The wide white stripe on the side clashes with the piping on the pants. Not to mention the color of the jersey is not the same as the cap. We’d expect that from an AAU team. Not from a major league baseball club. For all that is holy, please never do that again.

THE TELLING: Jason Bartlett was out of the lineup with an illness. This was siginificant as the very first batter for the Cards hit a ground ball in the hole, that Zobrist got to, but threw late to first. We have seen Bartlett make that play two dozen times this season…The Rays batters only went down 1-2-3 in 2 innings during the entire 3-game series. Both of those innings came on Sunday. While the Sox now have a 1-game lead in the East, the Rays and Sox are still tied in the all-important loss column…The Rays have a 1.5 game lead in the Wild Card standings over the O’s and the A’s.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Don’t forget to VOTE for Carl Crawford to start the all-star game. If you haven’t voted yet today, go NOW! [MLB All-Star Voting]
  • We will have the Rays Index Live Blog-A-Baloo on Wednesday afternoon for game 3 of the Oakland series. The Live Blog-A-Baloo will be held right here.
  • A “24-hour bug” has hit the Rays clubhouse recently, but Jason Bartlett was the first player to get sick, and had to sit out yesterday’s game. [MLB]
  • Big League Stew called the Rays-Cardinals series the “best of ’08 interleague debut”, noting that the series “actually oozed playoff intensity at times” although we have to take exception to the suggestion that the Rays have a “fundamentally sound approach”. Clearly they did not see Saturday’s game with all of the baserunning mistakes or the 10 walks on Sunday. “Fundamentals” cost the Rays a sweep. [Big League Stew]
  • Rays of Light called yesterday’s games the first “Maddon-loss” of the season…They are too kind. [Rays of Light]
  • Jonny Gomes has only started 1 of the last 8 games, but should get 2 starts in the A’s series as they are scheduled to throw 2 lefties in the series. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Is Jonny Gomes shilling for Kevin Costner? Some (very) circumstantial eveidence suggests that Oliver Stone needs to be called. [Bugs & Cranks]
  • Yesterday, DRG linked to a story about Gary Shelton suggesting that the Rays roster is better than the Yankees roster. Today we have Bugs & Cranks offering a rebuttal. [Bugs & Cranks]
  • The same Bugs & Cranks writer (not David Chalk) thinks that the Rays “followed the lead of the perennially low-budget Florida Marlins by ponying up the money to sign one of their key stars, pitcher Scott Kazmir, to a four-year contract worth $28.5 million”…The Kazmir-deal is only the latest of a several long-term deals that the Rays have given to young players. Evan Longoria, James Shields and Carlos Pena have already been locked up long-term in the past few months. If anything, the Marlins are following the Rays and even then, they have a ways to go as one deal hardly compares to four. [Bugs & Cranks]
  • Akinori Iwamura has cut-down on the flyball outs and it has helped to the tune of 26 hits in the last 15 games. [MLB]
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