THE GOOD: Edwin Jackson. 112 pitches, 73 strikes. His 112th pitch was 97 mph. One pitch in the 8th registered 99 (although we are skeptical) and he was consistently 95+ in the 8th inning. No runs. 6 hits,
no walks 1 walk. Great game, even if the Jays bailed him out on a number of occasions. But that is the benefit of a 95 mph fastball. It is much more difficult to lay off a pitch out of the zone. He only had 3 Ks, but his strikeout of Shannon Stewart leading off the 6th was a perfect example of just how good Jackson can be. After falling behind 2-0, he followed that up with a 93 mph fastball called strike on the inside part of the plate. Then he went away with a 94 mph fastball for strike 2 swinging. Finally, he came back inside with a 95 mph fastball that completely overpowered Stewart for strike 3 swinging. Stewart, a 14-year veteran looked like a rookie…Good is also having your closer blow a 3-run lead in the 9th and still win the game. Those blown saves won’t happen often, but still picking up the W is almost like a bonus victory…Akinori Iwamura and Jason Bartlett combined on a huge double-play to end the 6th…Dan Wheeler in the 10th inning was pure guts. After giving up a lead off triple, he battled back and struck out the side to leave the bases loaded (there was also an intentional walk and an unintentional, intentional walk)…JP Howell was magnificent. Coming in to the game in the 11th, and shutting down the Jays for 3 innings…Seeing Shawn Camp enter the game in the 13th. We have been screaming for a while that Camp owes the Rays a few. Last night was the first. 1 inning, 4 hits, 1 walk, 5 runs. Seeing that line next to Camp’s name brings back more than a few bad memories. We would love to put Dioner Navarro here for the grand slam, but it was all Shawn Bleepin’ Camp…Still. Dioner Navarro. 3 more hits. .368 on the season. If you have been around these parts for a while, you know that we have long said that Navi has the ability to hit .320-.330 for a season. So this is not a complete shock, but man. .368?!?
THE BAD: Akinori Iwamura just doesn’t seem to have any idea where the strike zone is right now. And we have never seen anybody hit so many fly balls on pitches 6 inches off the ground. It is as if he is swinging a 7-iron…Sometimes Edwin Jackson doesn’t seem to know where the strike zone is. When he misses his spot, he misses his spot…In the 10th inning that Dan Wheeler barely got through after a leadoff triple, there were actually 3 pitches in which the game was almost given away. With a runner on 3rd, Dioner Navarro actually dropped the third strike to Matt Stairs. Afterwards, Wheeler threw a 58-footer and a 55-footer to Alex Rios that Navi blocked saving the game…Greg Zaun has “Z-Man” written on his chest protector. This is why we will never refer to Ben Zobrist as “Z-Man”. Every payer in the history of sports with a last name that begins with Z, has the nickname “Z-man”. Why ‘Z’? How come we never hear the nickname “L-man” or “F-man”?…
THE TELLING: Evan Longoria was supposed to get the night off, but came in late in the game and ended up getting 3 at bats (1 hit).
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- If you read between the lines, it sounds like the Rays may forgo an official rehab assignment for Cliff Floyd. He went 3-4 in an extended spring game and Joe Maddon said he will not be activated from the DL today. [Tampa Tribune]
- Jayson Stark revisits a number of off-season trades and how they are working a little more than a month into the season. It sounds like a lot of people that thought the Rays got robbed when they sent Delmon Young to the Twins, are starting to back-pedal. And this review doesn’t even consider Jason Bartlett. [ESPN]
Six weeks into the season, the Garza-Young debate is still raging. “This was one of those change-of-scenery deals,” said one scout, “because both clubs had about had it with the makeup issues of both guys. Right now, Garza looks like he’s going to be a big rotation piece for that team as they go forward. But I’m not so sure about Delmon anymore. He swings at everything. And he’s not a very good breaking-ball hitter. You spin it, and he can’t lay off it. And if he hits it, he doesn’t do much with it.”
- Another story on Troy Percival and his leadership on the field and in the clubhouse. Yes, they are getting old, and we wouldn’t link this one except it is Ken Rosenthal so it is worth the read. If anything, check out the sidebar quote from Percy on why he came to the Rays. [Fox Sports]