THE GOOD: Scott Kazmir was at his best and kept his pitch count in check. After needing 18 pitches in the first, he only needed 67 over the next 5 innings and was able to work 7 full innings with 103 pitches… BJ Upton. Upton was 2-3 with 2 walks. More importantly, both hits were singles to the opposite field which should go a long ways towards helping him regain his confidence at the plate. And one thing that is not slumping is his legs and the Rays’ first run was all Upton and his legs. After singling to right, Upton was picked off first, but never stopped on his way to second and slid in safely. He then moved to third on a fly ball to left-center. He would then score on a 2-out single by Evan Longoria…So much for any home run derby jinx. Evan Longoria homered for the 3rd straight game and is now only 4 off of the lead in the American League. If he could ever get his batting average above .300, the media will start jumping on the MVP bandwagon. And he is hitting .337 over the last month…Jonny Gomes. Yes he is a terrible fielder. And yes, he is not a very good hitter. But he is extremely aggressive and after singling in the 4th, he stole second with 2 outs to get into scoring position. He then scored on another 2-out basehit. This time by Akinori Iwamura…Grant Balfour is absolutely cooking right now. With 2 outs in the 8th and an 0-2 count on Kurt Suzuki, Balfour was so pumped up, he actually yelled at Dioner Navarro “FASTBALL!”, rather than shake him off. That folks, is confidence.
THE BAD: The Mariners had a chance to tie the game in Seattle late last night against the Red Sox. Down 2-0 in the 7th inning, the M’s got 2 runners on with only 1 out. Miguel Cairo struck out and Jose Vidro flew out. The Sox would then score 2 in the top of the 8th. Game Over.
THE TELLING: Andy Sonnanstine will start tonight for the first time in 12 days…Attendance for last night’s game was only 12,428. The small crowd is not unexpected for a Monday night game against the west coast A’s who don’t have any name-players.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Looks like Jason Bartlett will come off the DL on Thursday. He thinks he is about 80% right now. Marc Lancaster thinks that Ben Zobrist will be sent down to make room, but wonders if something different might happen if Bartlett is not ready to start at short everyday. [Rays Report]
- Matt Silverman and Andrew Friedman handed out programs and greeted fans before last night’s game. [St. Pete Times]
- Jim Molony says the Rays have a tough second-half schedule but that they should be one of the teams to fight through and make the playoffs. [MLB]
- TBSB feels that Jonny Gomes’ personality is not enough to keep him around on the roster. [Tampa Bay Sports Blog]
- Dayn Perry thinks the Rays might not have enough offense to win East…Perry is one of our least favorite baseball writers and we don’t have the enrgy to go through and give this it’s much deserved bashing. [Fox Sports]
- One Sporting News writer has the Rays #2 in his Power Poll, behind only the Angels. [Sporting News]