THE GOOD: Akinori Iwamura’s defense. We can’t stop praising how seamlessly he has moved to his new position. If he does not win the gold glove, it would be a bigger injustice than Evan Longoria not winning the rookie of the year. Last night, the Rays turned 2 double-plays in the first two innings. Most teams would have only been able to get the lead out. Not with Aki. Aki’s turns at second base are as quick as anybody we have ever seen and he always has zip on his throws to first. Those double-plays probably saved Matt Garza at least 1, and maybe more, runs. It also got Garza out of the first two innings with 14 pitches total.
THE BAD: Matt Garza. The Garza Complex, who seemed to have turned his season around, walked 4 and did not strike a batter out. A pitcher with Garza’s stuff, should be able to strike out at least 3 batters in 5 innings based on chance alone. His 4 walks matched his season-high and was the first time he had more than 2 since May 23.
THE TELLING: Can we stop with the “struggles versus lefties” nonsense. This team is in an offensive funk, no matter who is on the mound…Jason Bartlett returned to the lineup and went 3-3.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Jayson Stark says the Rays are telling other teams that David Price, Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson are not available at any price…He also says that their first choice is to use David Price or Rocco Baldelli, rather than trade for a rental. [ESPN]
- Joe Maddon continues to bat BJ Upton in the 2-hole to break-up the lefties in the lineup and offer them a bit of protection against left-handed relievers. [MLB]
- Joe Maddon was very hesitant but did acknowledge that Rocco Baldelli could be the right-handed bat the Rays need. [St. Pete Times]
“You don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves,” Maddon said. “It’s possible, but I don’t know when. He’s still going through this process. I don’t want to say we’re going to hang our hat on that quite yet. But it’s possible.”…Maddon said it was important that Baldelli felt good the day after, but also that he felt good about it in a conversation with head trainer Ron Porterfield…”He spoke really well, he spoke in a very encouraging, positive way,” Maddon said. “It was the kind of script we haven’t heard, so it’s good.”
- Just curious…does anybody find “The Sports Comedian” at Fox Sports funny? Anybody? [Fox Sports]
- The Rays are back on top of Bugs and Cranks “Top 30”. [Bugs and Cranks]
- First he brought us an interview with Reid Brignac, now we have one with Dan Wheeler. This guy at the New York Daily News will interview anybody. [New York Daily News]