THE GOOD: Another running grab by Carl Crawford in left. This is why he will win a gold glove despite having one of the worst outfield arms…Jonny Gomes home run was very Jose Canseco-esque. A LOT of Canseco’s home runs were all muscle. A lot of times he would get a decent fastball on the inside part of the plate, a pitch that would jam a lot of batters and Canseco would just muscle it over the wall without even getting his arms extended. That’s what Gomes’ home run reminded us of. Was not a typical sweet home run swing…The backhand stab and hard throw by Jason Bartlett in 5th for 2nd out. Came in on the ball and showed a strong arm to just get runner…Matt Garza battled back for a huge strikeout to end the 5th. After walking Brian Roberts with 2 outs, fell behind Melvin Mora 3-0 before battling back to make count full. Mora fouled one 3-2 pitch off, and then Garza got him swinging on a slider off the plate after 6 straight fastballs. That at bat saved the game for the Rays.
THE BAD: Aknori Iwamura looks awful. He is just flailing and hoping at this point…Anytime Aubrey Friggin’ Huff gets a hit and then Matt Garza giving up 2-out runs on the 2-run home run. Those are daggers…BJ Upton’s shoulder injury is not serious but it scares us a little. That is the second time he has done that with the Rays and apparently it has happened several other times in his past. There is something about the swing (maybe the follow-through) that is causing this to happen. And while it has yet to be serious, it seems to us that it is only a matter of time…The token blonde “sideline reporter” for MASN was reporting from Boog’s BBQ, named after former Oriole Boog Powell. Well, let’s just say the token blonde needs to work on her annunciation of “Boog’s” or at least she should refrain from using the opening line “Everybody loves Boog’s”. And lest you think it is just where my mind was, even Mrs. Professor peaked up from her Shape Magazine when she heard it and asked “Did she just say ‘Everybody loves boobs’?”
THE TELLING: Rays third straight series win. Just keep winning series…Dan Wheeler had another 2 inning stint (28 pitches). Probably will not be available tonight…Jason Bartlett is not the fastest guy in the world but he is a very good baseruner. He is 4-5 in steals this season and 42-51 in his career…Kevin Millar looks like an idiot with that eye black/Ultimate Warrior face paint…The Rays are all alone in first place, percentage points ahead of the Sawx.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- BJ Upton will be out of the lineup tonight, but could be back Saturday. [Rays Report]
- Everybody is writing about the Tampa Bay Rays and for once they are not cracking jokes. First up a feature story in the Boston Herald. [Boston Herald]
- And another one in the New York Times, with the title “Young Rays Give Yanks a Model to Envy”. Burried near the bottom of the article is a note about some t-shirts some of the players are wearing in the clubhouse that alludes to a belief that the Rays are thinking playoffs. [New York Times]
Before the season, Maddon gave the players blue T-shirts with “9=8” in yellow on the back. Although Maddon would not reveal the message’s meaning, Longoria offered hints. Longoria said there were various components to the message, but, in part, the nine refers to playing hard for nine innings and the eight to the number of playoff berths.
- Troy Percival says the winning is being handled well by the younger Rays. [Tampa Tribune]
“The guys are handling this with a lot of composure, because we know it’s early,” said Percival…”We know we’ll probably hit a slide here and there. As long as we just keep playing consistently and playing hard, I think the guys’ attitude is going to help us out.”
- The Sporting News suggests that Troy Percival is responsible for the winning attitude in the clubhouse. [The Sporting News]
- Bill Chastain writes about Jonny Gomes who is making a case to play everyday. [MLB]