THE GOOD: Evan Longoria’s home run in the 2nd, his 12th. We don’t want to stretch this comparison too much, but Dirtbag’s stance and swing have always reminded us of Alex Rodriguez and both hitters are very similar in that they both generate an immense amount of power despite having a very easy swing. Longoria just looks like he is flicking the bat at the ball and next thing we know the ball is flying over the center field wall.
THE BAD: All of the Astros’ runs came on home runs and both home runs were hit with 2 strikes. We would love to say that the Rays were 2 pitches from winning this game 2-0. And we would love to say that Scott Kazmir pitched great outside of those 2 pitches. Both are true, but neither means diddly. Hunter Pence’s solo home run in the 5th can be forgiven as the Rays still had the lead. But with Carlos Lee up with a runner on and 2 outs in the 6th. Kid K absolutely cannot give up a 2-run home run in that situation. That was the most important at bat of the game and Kaz failed.
THE TELLING: This was the first series loss at home for the Rays since April when they dropped 3 of their first 4 home series. They had won 9 series in a row at the Trop…The Rays now have a 3 game lead in the wild card over the A’s and 3.5 games over the Yankees.
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]
- As expected, the Evan Longoria-as-the-backup-shortstop era did not last long. After yesterday’s game, Justin Ruggiano was demoted to Durham and Ben Zobrist will be called up to take his place. With Jason Bartlett’s wife about to give birth, Zobrist will fill in for a day or two. [Rays Report]
- The St. Pete Times has a still-image of the questionable slide by Carlos Lee in which Joe Maddon though Lee grabbed Aki Iwamura while trying to turn a double play. [St. Pete Times]
- Carlos Pena will participate in pregame drills on Tuesday in Miami and is expected to come off the DL either this weekend or the beginning of next week. [Tampa Tribune]
- Stuart Sternberg showed up for last night’s game (wearing a Rays jersey) and once again said that the Rays would be willing to add pieces down the stretch as long as it is “something that’s right.”…In other words, the Rays are not going to deviate very far from the plan that has gotten them to where they are. Keep in mind that the Rays are playing with “house money” in 2008. The team is at least a year ahead of schedule in terms of competing. The Rays are not about to get into a bidding war with other teams for high priced players, but they may be willing to add mid-level talent to fill in holes…And for those that believe CC Sabathia will never happen. Consider that the Rays could bring him in and then let him walk at the end of the year and take 2 compensatory draft picks. So the question then becomes: Are the prospects given up worth the two draft picks that will come later? [Bradenton Herald]
- Stuart Sternberg also noted that if the proposed waterfront stadium fails to pass, the Rays would remain in the Trop for “at least four years and not 14 at this point.” [The Heater]
- Finally, Stuart Sternberg made an interesting comment about the DH rule in the AL. Noting that it hurts a small-market club like the Rays because “We don’t have the cash to pay a guy who doesn’t field.” [The Heater]
- Her Rays recaps yesterday’s loss in a way that only they can. [Her Rays]