THE GOOD: The Ghost of Tom Seaver. At some point in the 3rd or 4th inning, we suddenly remembered a story told by Tom Seaver. Occasionally Seaver would come back to the dugout after warmups or after the first inning and tell his teammates that they only needed to score 1 run that day. Matt Garza was that good last night. With the Rays up 1-0 after Eric Hinske’s home run in the 3rd, we just had a sense that the game was already over, the Jays just didn’t know it yet. At one point Garza retired 14 of 15 from the 3rd until the 7th inning…Big double-play started by Jason Bartlett with men on first and second to end the 2nd inning. The Rays turned 3 double-plays on the night…Another gold glove play by Evan Longoria in which he went into foul territory for a ground ball and made a strong, accurate throw to first to get the runner by 2 full steps.

THE BAD: Somebody missed a sign in the 5th. With Dioner Navarro on first with no outs, Eric Hinske took a called third strike with Navi on the move with the pitch. Navarro was thrown out stealing to kill a potential rally.

THE TELLING: With the Angels running away with the West, it is looking more and more like 5 teams remain in contention for the final 3 playoff spots, with the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees in the East and the White Sox holding a half-game lead in the Central over the Twins. The Twins are 1 game behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card. No other teams are within 5 games of a playoff spot in the AL (division or wild card). Detroit is an outside possibility, 5.5 back in the Central, but the Rays could add a nail to their coffin this weekend at the Trop.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Sorry, no Live Blog-A-Baloo for today’s afternoon tilt, but we should be back next week.
  • The Jays were originally scheduled to start lefty John Parrish, but instead called up right-hander Scott Richmond who will be making his major league debut. [MLB]
  • Saturday’s game, which features a concert by LL Cool J afterward, is now sold out. [Bradenton Herald]
  • No surprise here… The Rays did not get Mark Teixeira. He was traded to the Angels. [ABC News]
  • Joe Maddon was surprised (as were we) that the Angels landed Mark Teixeira, knowing that the Angels rarely trade away their young talent. [MLB]

“I am [surprised at the Angels making a big deal],” Maddon said. “They’ve never been one to part with youth. And so this is a bit of a radical departure from the past. While I was with the Angels there were no real significant acquisitions. No real names like a Teixeira. We got Alex Ochoa one year. We got Jimmy Abbott one year, though he was kind of on the back side of things. So we never really got that. As much as they hate to see Casey go, they know it’s going to augment them.”

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