THE GOOD: After Friday and Saturday wins, the Rays were playing with house-money. Winning series is the key, especially on the road and that is what the Rays did.
THE BAD: Matt Garza AND Dioner Navarro. Garza was removed from the game after the 4th inning when he and Navi got into a shoving match in the dugout after an inning in which Garza gave up a 2-run home run to the #9 hitter. The dugout incident was preceded by a heated exchange on the mound between Navi and Garza. Although most reports laid all the blame on the usually feisty Garza, it seemed clear to us that Navi was the instigator on the mound. Navi came to the mound, with his mask still on and was clearly getting in the face and screaming at Garza. Garza wouldn’t look at Navi and kept repeating “I got you”. Prior to the meeting on the mound, Garza had shaken off several pitches from Navi, including the pitch that was hit for a home run. However, it did appear that Navi called for Garza to shake him off on that particular pitch. It is not unusual for a catcher to want his pitcher to shake off a sign as a means to confuse the batter. Just before the home run pitch, Navi shook his head ever so slightly and Garza then shook his head. Whatever the problem Navarro had, the mound was not the place to embarass his pitcher. He should have waited until the dugout. It seems that the altercation in the dugout was about Navi screaming at Garza on the mound. Garza is a hot-head, but Navarro also lost his cool…The defense let the Rays down yesterday. An error by Jason Bartlett was followed by miscommunication in the outfield between BJ Upton and Gabe Gross. After a stolen base in the 7th, a run scored on a ground ball single up the middle that probably should have been stopped by Aki Iwamura as the ball appeared to go under his glove.
THE TELLING: Cliff Floyd was out of the lineup for the 2nd straight game…The Rays have a 3 game lead in the AL Wild Card over the Oakland A’s with a magic number of 97…
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]
- When Troy Percival returns from the DL at the end of the week, the Rays will most likely lose a reliever. Grant Balfour, Jason Hammel and Gary Glover are all out of options and one will have to be DFA’d. [MLB]
- The Herald-Tribune wonders if the Rays have surpassed the Bucs as the darlings of the Tampa Bay area…There is much to love about the Rays and the Bucs seem to be spinning their wheels a bit right now, but one thing they did not consider: Florida is football country. And the Bucs gave us a Super Bowl. It has been said that there is a 5-year grace period after a team wins a Super Bowl before fans are allowed to be truly angry at a franchise. This will be year six. Maybe the Herald-Tribune is starting the transition early. [Herald-Tribune]
- The Rays drafted the fewest number of small college players in the draft, one. Other teams drafted as many as 9. [Beyond the Boxscore]