THE GOOD: Evan Longoria, Willy Aybar and Dioner Navarro. Not only did they hit back-to-back-to-back and belly-to-belly-to-belly home runs in the 2nd inning for the first time in franchise history, but the trio went a combined 9-13 with 3 doubles, 4 home runs and 9 RBI…The Rays managed only 2 walks, but they made starter Joe Saunders work all night. Not even able to finish the 5th inning, Saunders threw 102 pitches, or more than 4 pitches per batter he faced…The Rays scored all 5 runs in the 5th inning on 2 outs…Edwin Jackson. This is why we couldn’t feel too bad after Troy Percival blew 2 of Jackson’s wins earlier this year. Jackson did not have his best stuff last night, but got plenty of run support and picked up a W he didn’t earn. Jackson’s biggest moment was facing the Angels top of the order in the bottom of the 5th after the Rays gave him the lead. That is easiest time to let up and let a team back into the game. Jackson put them down 1-2-3 on just 8 pitches.
THE BAD: We knew it was late, when in the 9th inning, we were actually considering that Dioner Navarro needed a triple for the cycle. When the lateness was conbined with enough beer, we actually yelled at Navi to “RUN!” when he hit a ball down the right field line only to realize as he was rounding first base that he is still “The Fat Catcher”.
THE TELLING: According to the Angels radar gun, Edwin Jackson was still hitting 99 in the 6th inning…BJ Upton only had to work a half-day, working as the DH with Justin Ruggiano playing center field...The Rays extended their lead over the A’s in the wild card to 3.5 games, 6 over New York, Toronto and Baltimore.
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]
- There were no fines or suspensions or even reprimands given out by the Rays to Matt Garza or Dioner Navarro after their scuffle on Sunday. Joe Maddon says everything has been worked out and Navi will catch The Garza Complex in his next start on Saturday.
- Probably not a coincidence that every team Cliff Floyd joins goes from perrenial losers to winners, and often the change is overnight. We are fairly certain that Andrew Friedman and Co. were aware of this. And this is why we call him Dr. Huxtable, due to his calming influence of the younglings…Of course, a Devil’s Advocate would say those teams were all on the verge and Floyd is often considered a “final piece of the puzzle” and just happens to join these squads when they are about to break out. [MetsBlog]
- Rocco Baldelli was 1-4 in his latest extended spring game. He is expected to participate in one more and then he will likely join Vero Beach for an extended rehab assignment. [St. Pete Times]
- The future Mrs. Evan Longoria? [armchairgm]