THE GOOD: Andy Sonnanstine was lucky he only gave up 2 runs in the first inning. A strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out, got the Rays out of the top of the first only down 2-0. And the Rays offense did exactly what they needed, scoring twice in the bottom half of the inning on a 2-run double from Eric Hinske, to get back all-square and not have to play most of the game from behind. Sonny seemed to settle down past that point, retiring 12 straight before a 1-out double in the 5th…You know the Rays were having their way on the basepaths when Cliff Floyd steals a base…The top of the order had been struggling of late, but with Dioner Navarro in the 2-hole for just the second time this season and Eric Hinske batting cleanup, the top 4 combined for 7 hits and 5 RBI.
THE BAD: It is never good when the pitching coach goes to the mound after the first 3 batters of the game. Andy Sonnanstine gave up a triple, a double and a single to start the game…The unwritten rules says a runner should never make the 1st or 3rd out at third base. But there are bad times to make the 2nd out at third base also. Like last night when Eric Hinske was caught trying to steal third base with 1 out in the bottom of the first inning with Evan Longoria at the plate. With an RBI-guy at the plate, give him a chance to drive in the run.
THE TELLING: Andy Sonnanstine was taken out with 1 out in the 6th inning, having just struck out Jorge Cantu. Sonny had thrown only 86 pitches. In his last start, Sonnanstine threw only 76 pitches and was also pulled in the 6th inning. This is strange as The Duke seems to get stronger as the game goes along. This season opponents have an .855 OPS in innings 1-3, a .799 OPS in innings 4-6 and a .472 OPS beyond the 6th inning…One of the Marlins TV announcers is an idiot, at one point saying: “there is a differnet feel…you are used to coming in here and seeing young talent in terms of speed and power, a Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes”. Elijah Dukes played a grand total of 52 games for the Devil Rays…The Rays still lead the wild card by 3 games over Oakland.
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]
- Troy Percival returned from the DL and nobody was DFA’d, as Al Reyes went back on the DL…At this point, we fully expect Percival to go back on the DL in 2 weeks with Reyes and Percy just trading places for the rest of the season. [The Heater]
- Marc Lancaster says that the Rays 1,000th loss “passed without much notice”…Dude. That shit was on Deadspin. 64 kazillion million people read that website. Mr. Lancaster should check it out sometime. All the cool kids are doing it. [Rays Report]
- Will Carrol weighs in on the Ken Griffey Jr-to-the-Rays speculation. [Baseball Prospectus]
- Baseball Prospectus breaks down some of Matt Garza’s numbers and suggest that he is pitching even worse than he appears. [Baseball Prospectus]