THE GOOD: Carl Crawford and the Royals defense. With 2 outs and Aki Iwamura on first, BJ Upton hit a lazy bloop to shallow right field that fell in for a double. Aki should have scored, but was held up at third. CC then hit a flyball in foul territory down the left field line that was dropped before hitting his 2nd triple of the game to drive in 2 and give the Rays the lead…Carlos Pena homered for the second straight night.

THE BAD: Troy Percival was shaky again, allowing 2 hits and a run. But he did seem to have a little more life on his fastball and he was finding the strikezone. In his previous 2 starts, he threw 29 pitches, only 14 were strikes. Last night it was 14 of 22.

THE TELLING: If there is still any lingering doubt that Joe Maddon has not turned the corner this season, then take this quote from last night in reference to the bloop double from BJ Upton:

“We should have scored on the bloop,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “That was the wrong part about it. We got a break, and then Carl had to come up with a triple to take advantage of the break that should have been taken advantage of prior to that. If we are going to win this thing, we can’t make plays like that. We have to beat everybody to the punch. We just got lucky tonight.”

Keep in mind that both Aki Iwamura and BJ Upton would later score on a triple by Carl Crawford. And yet, Papa Joe takes either Aki or third-base coach Tom Foley to task for not scoring earlier. And Maddon is right. With two outs Aki has to try and score in that situation.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • As usual, Outs Per Swing has a nice roundup of the recent trade rumblings involving the Rays. [Outs Per Swing]
  • Did he? Yes. Yes he did…This should be exhibit one when people ask why writers don’t write their own headlines. *shaking head in shame* [Rays Report]
  • Not to be outdone by Marc Lancaster’s headline writing skills, Marc Topkin wonders what the Rays would look like as a football team…RAYSHEADS…This is your PAID Tampa Bay Rays media coverage. [St. Pete Times]
  • Cliff Floyd’s wife gave birth to a daughter on Saturday…Our congrats and best wishes. [MLB]
  • The Rays are now just 10 wins shy of breaking the franchise record for wins in a season. Bugs and Cranks will be counting down, and in doing, will compare this season’s 61st win with every 61st win in franchise history. [Bugs and Cranks]
  • To say that TBSB is unhappy with BJ Upton would be an understatement. [Tampa Bay Sports Blog]
 
 

10 Comments

  1. Jessica says:

    “I have to take a minute to get on BJ Upton, because nobody else seems to want to”

    ???? This guy obviously doesn’t read Her Rays! For shame.

    http://herraysbaseball.com/2008/07/game-97-blue-jays-vs-rays/

  2. michael jay says:

    I dont think they are alone in getting on BJ Upton. It would be nice to hear that Rays management and coaching had similar sentiments. While his bat is struggling, its the lackadaisical outfield play and base running that seems to get under the skin of some.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Every word of the TBSB blog was DEAD ON.

  4. Robert Rittner says:

    Alright enough. That TBSB blog entry is idiotic. Upton is hustling and just because idiot fans and commentators are frustrated and take it out on the stars does not make them DEAD ON or any other such nonsense. What that blog writer said is moronic, but typical of fans of every team who blame the best players for not hustling when the team is in a funk.

    Upton has not been whiny or spoiled or any other such thing. When did contemporary blog writers become one with the old farts? Maybe he should commiserate with Goose Gossage and talk about the “good old days” when players didn’t do it for money and were proud and intimidating rather than friendly with foes. Of course, that writer’s “good old days” were probably last year or so.

    It is equally stupid even to suggest that such foolishness is meaningful while at the same time making fun of an obviously human interest story intended entirely to amuse. That is a perfectly legitimate thing to do in a mass circulation newspaper appealing to readers across the board. If we do not want conventional journalists like Chass and his ilk to apply their standards to blogs (and much of their criticism is valid in its specifics; it is when they generalize from it that they get stupid), we should not apply blog standards (such as they are) to newspapers. Not that the same sort of playfulness does not litter blogs, of course, except that it is usually more smarmy and self-important and full of pseudo inside jokes and references.

    These silly potshots at Lancaster and Topkin remain juvenile and worthless. They are the stuff of 7th graders who dislike a teacher and every day exaggerate some quirk (Did you see the spot on his shoes? Did you see how that hair was out of place? Did you hear how he cleared his throat? Wasn’t that gross!!) into a fatal flaw. It’s laughably inane.

    As for the “grow a pair” comment, apparently Maddon did criticize the team for lack of effort. It seemed to be aimed primarily at Iwamura’s base running the other day, not Upton, but he may have detected some lack of energy throughout the team and addressed it. Until someone develops the gray matter to the point where they know how to use the pair they have, they should not advise Maddon on the subject.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I do think Upton gives less than 100% sometimes but I don’t think he is doggin it either. I am just guessing but I would think that a player as gifted athleticaly as Upton it would be easy to get bored. also he has struggled at the plate and many players take that to the field with them. it is natural. and it also magnifies everything the fans see.

    not to mention I believe many players give less than 100% on some plays but it is more obvious when u are the star and more obvious when u are as athletic as Upton and everything is so easy

  6. Robert Rittner says:

    I think that last point by anonymous makes sense. I cannot attest to it, and would not accuse a player for lack of effort without clear evidence, but I do know that nearly every player has some down time in the year and may allow frustration or boredom or other issues to slow him down. That is very different from accusing him of not hustling or not trying.

    Any player who is struggling appears listless, off stride, slow and logy. They are being fooled on pitches and take what look like lazy swings. They miss a ball in the gap and seem to be loping, not running. But they are probably too intense, not less so. Upton takes long, graceful strides in the outfield. Players with choppy, herky jerky running styles look as if they are running harder, but they aren’t.

    When Upton gets to the ball, it seems as if he glides to it and it was easy. Even that terrific over the shoulder catch at the wall he made a few weeks ago seemed effortless. But as he said, he knew he would get to it. On the other hand, with the same stride into the gap, a ball may get by. He isn’t loping after it. He is going full tilt, but if he does not get there it appears lazy, not graceful. It’s perception, not reality.

    As for running to 1B, some of the same applies. Maddon has been very stern about all out effort on the bases. You may remember his altercation with Delmon last year. So you can be sure that if he suspects Upton is loafing down the line, Upton will hear about it. Seems to me that a player with 31 SBs and quite a few CSs, some very questionable, is hardly dogging it. If anything, he is too aggressive on the bases.

  7. Clayton says:

    Robert, are you saying that you think BJ runs to first at full speed and hustles to balls in the outfield? Or are you acknowledging that he doesn’t play hard, but saying that you are OK with that because it’s 2008?

    People know how fast BJ can move because people have seen BJ try. That makes it apparent when he doesn’t try. I don’t feel like I am an “idiot fan” for noticing or not liking it. Expecting effort is not passe and neither is disliking the lack thereof.

  8. Clayton says:

    You and I posted those at the same time. We’ll have to agree to disagree. It doesn’t look like he’s being graceful to me. It looks like he’s not running all out. As I said, I’ve seen him run all out and I perceive a difference. In fact, you can see it when he’s stealing a lot of those bases. That’s when he runs hard.

  9. Robert Rittner says:

    I expect effort as much as anyone, and I watch Upton as much as anyone. He hustles as hard as anyone in the game. If anyone on the team seems occasionally to get lazy in the field it is Crawford who has sometimes failed to charge flares into left field or lobs balls back to the infield-not regularly but now and then.

    Even more to the point is the absolutely false statement that Upton is whiny or spoiled. He has been jerked around in the lineup without complaint or comment. He has been unfailingly upbeat.

  10. m jay says:

    Well regardless of what you all think, it’s now common knowledge that Papa Joe Maddon thinks the WHOLE TEAM is dogging it. So you can deny it all you want, but just cause a player is a star doesn’t mean he gets a free pass. Just the other day upton assumed he had grounded into a double play and jogged it out to first. Aki ended up being safe at second, yet BJ was thrown out at first cause he was doggin it. Unacceptable. Yes, if he was batting .300 with 20 HR right now people wouldn’t be getting on him as much. That’s just the way it works.

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