THE GOOD: The extra-base hits are coming more frequently for Carl Crawford. Last night CC drove in 5 with a pair of home runs. He has 5 extra-base hits in his last 7 games after only having 1 in the 10 previous games. He also has 6 multi-hit games in his last 10…Every member of the Rays batting order scored a run in the Rays’ 10-run 5th inning.
THE BAD: Using headlines like “Rays’ 10-run fifth fuels 15-3 win over Marlins” or “Rays ride power surge” or “Rays’ 10-run 5th fuels easy win over Marlins” one day after the Rays and Marlins played a carbon-neutral game. Not to mention those headlines are just unoriginal…The Rays drew 9 walks but still struck out 10 times. The Rays are 4th in the AL with 551 Ks…With Jason Bartlett away to be with his expecting wife, Ben Zobrist made the start at short, fresh off the IL disabled list. In the first two innings he made 2 errors.
THE TELLING: This was James Shields’ first win in 8 starts. Apparently he just needed a little run support…Has Ben Zobrist changed his stance since we saw him last? He is very upright, with an awkward lean that we don’t recall…The Rays now have a 4 game lead in the Wild Card race over the A’s. Their magic number is 82.
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]
- The Rays Index Live Blog-A-Baloo of the Week will be this afternoon for the final game of the Citrus Series with the Marlins.
- We were a few days late, but we finally updated the Cork-Board in the sidebar. We now have updated rosters/lineups for Hudson Valley and Princeton. [Cork-Board]
- We realize that with so many topics in the “Pepper” feature it may be difficult to discuss just one or two in the comments. So we are now taking a selection of those topics and will start individual discussions on the RAYSHEADS Facebook page. As usual, feel free to comment on the post directly, but keep in mind that we do have the Facebook page if you want a more in depth discussion of just one of the topics. [RAYSHEADS on Facebook]
- Carlos Pena will play in a minor league game tonight for Vero Beach. [Rays Report]
- DRaysBay has an open letter to Joe Maddon questioning his move to leave Troy Percival in the game on Tuesday night…Of course Percy got the save even though he walked 4 batters. What is that old saying? “Hindsight is 20-2,000″?? [DRays Bay]
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com has listed Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman as the first half’s “Best performance by a general manager and manager”. [ESPN]
Maddon creates a productive environment for young players by giving them the freedom to fail, provided their mistakes are aggressive. He’s shown he won’t back down from the Yankees or the Red Sox, no matter how daunting their mystique, and lately it seems he’s had a knack for pushing the right buttons…Friedman is building an impressive body of work with assistance from consigliere Gerry Hunsicker. With the exception of Josh Hamilton’s departure through the Rule 5 draft, it’s hard to find a blemish on his résumé. In the past year alone, Friedman has made moves to fortify the Tampa bullpen (Troy Percival), defense (shortstop Jason Bartlett), starting rotation (Garza) and bench (Gross and Willy Aybar). In Tampa these days, nobody is lamenting the departures of Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes…Three years into his tenure with Tampa Bay, Friedman’s résumé is starting to look like one giant heist fest.
- The Rays and Pirates will wear Negro League throwback unis on Saturday night. The Rays will sport the threads of the Jacksonville Redcaps. [UNIWATCH]
- We are not the only fans that are a miffed by BJ Upton’s play in the outfield recently. Rays the Stakes says Upton is the sole inhabitant of “Lazy-Town”. [Rays the Stakes]
- Bugs and Cranks calls in the experts to analyze the fuzz on Andy Sonnanstine’s face. [Bugs and Cranks]