DRG here again to get you through the weekend. I can be reached here..
- The Good: 2-out RBI and an offense that didn’t quit. 5 of the 8 runs were scored with 2 out and the Rays bats rallied from down 8-4 to tie the game in the 8th inning. The big blow was Carlos Pena’s 9th home run, a 3-run shot in the 7th. Pena also walked twice which is a good sign that he is regaining his confidence within the strike zone.
- The Bad: The Baserunning, again. I admit, I actually lost count of how many runners were thrown out on the basepaths. 2 runners were picked off first base in the first 2 innings. BJ Upton was once again thrown out at 3rd base, TWICE. Gabe Gross didn’t get thrown out, but he did forget how many outs there were, getting hung up between 2nd and 3rd when there were two outs. He should have scored easily. Gross did have a caught stealing, as did Carl Crawford. That is how a team can manage 18 hits in 10 innings and LOSE…Why the hell is Jason Bartlett trying to sacrifice bunt with a runner on first and no outs in the 4th inning? Yes, it was a 1-run game at the time, but the Rays already had 9 hits in the first 9 outs of the game and Joe Maddon is playing the game like run #4 is going to win the game. As well as the Rays were hitting, Maddon should not have been playing for 1 run with the top of the order due up. And the stupifying point of all this is Papa Joe doesn’t ever sacrifice bunt. All of the sudden the Rays are playing in a NL park and he changes his philosophy when he doesn’t need to?… Can’t blame the bullpen for the loss despite the home run off of Dan Wheeler. The ‘pen held the Cards to 2 runs in 5 innings. They did their job.
- The Telling: I thought the team had gotten past their poor fundamentals, especially on the basepaths. At times, they look like a little league team. The way they were hitting yesterday, they should have scored 13-14 runs. If the Rays want to be serious contenders, they cannot give away games like they did yesterday. The Rays lead the AL in steals with 40, but they are only 10th in sb% at 67.8%. They are 3rd in the AL in runners picked off with 7, and that does not include all the runners that were thrown out trying to advance an extra base.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Would you trade the 25-man roster of the Rays for the 25-man roster of the Yankees? Gary Shelton says ‘No’. [St. Pete Times]
- Akinori Iwamura is one of only 2 everyday major leaguers without an error. [Sign On San Diego]
- Jason Bartlett and Akinori Iwamura are quickly molding into one of the best double-play combos in baseball. [MLB]
- Monte Kiffin called Joe Maddon to praise the team’s new commitment to defense. Papa Joe has invited Kiffin to address the team. [St. Pete Times]
- Alex Rodriguez was impressed by David Price after going 1-4 with a home run and 2 strike outs against last year’s top pick. [ESPN]
“I wish he was on our team,” Rodriguez said. “He has a very bright future.”
- One Red Sox blogger fears the Rays. And not just in ’08. [wicked clevah]
My real concern, however, isn’t this season. Not that I relish the thought of a resurgent Rays club, but Tampa making a single season run like the Marlins of yore I could live with. The longtime laughingstock positioning itself for years of competitive play, I’m not sure I can.