THE GOOD: Rally Time. The Rays are now 3-0 in games in which Troy Percival blew a save and are 27-0 in games in which he has appeared.

THE BAD: The offense for the first 6 innings. Prior to the 7th inning, the Rays only hit was an infield single by Evan Longoria in which he beat out a routine ground ball to third. Prior to BJ Upton’s grond-rule double to lead off the 7th, Fernando Galarraga had retired 14 in a row…

THE TELLING: After Jason Bartlett was removed from the game and Shawn Riggans was used as a pinch-hitter and was the Rays’ last player off the bench, meaning he would have stayed in the game had Rays not won the game in the bottom of the 10th. The question then becomes: What would the defense have looked like had the Rays taken the field in the top of the 11th (We were on the Detroit feed, so not sure if Dwayne and Joe discussed this) [Ed. note: See second bullet below]? Our guess is Riggans would have been in right field, with Willy Aybar coming in to play third and Evan Longoria shifting over to play short. Riggans has never played a position other than catcher in his major or minor league career…The Rays are 16-1 at the Trop this season when the crowd is more than 30,000. Bodes well for any potential playoff hopes.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Jason Bartlett will need a couple of days off after taking a pitch off the index finger of his throwing hand, but there is no break and he will not need a trip to the DL. This likely means that Evan Longoria will be the starting shortstop for the next few days, unless the Rays recall Ben Zobrist and demote Jonny Gomes…Also, Shawn Riggans has a significant bruise on his chest, but is otherwise OK, after taking a 97mph fastball to the middle of his chest. [St. Pete Times]
  • Marc Topkin says that Shawn Riggans would have come out of the game, with Jonny Gomes moving from DH to right field had the Rays needed to play the 11th inning. That would have elimnated the DH spot forcing the pitcher to bat in Riggans’ spot (#9). Therefore, whoever pitched the top of the 11th, would have been the 4th batter in the bottom of the 11th. We are not sure if this is Topkin’s speculation or if this came from Joe Maddon, but we are not sure that scenario is better than Riggans playing right field. How much worse than Gomes could he be? [The Heater]
  • Rocco Baldelli is back with the Rays and is set to meet with Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman today to discuss the next step in his return…That next step is likely to be activation from the DL, and we are hearing that could be as soon as today. Of course that could be altered if the Rays need to recall Ben Zobrist and demote Jonny Gomes. [MLB]
  • If and when Rocco Baldelli returns, the Rays are asking that he not give 100% all the time. [St. Pete Times]
  • Brant James does a Q&A with Rocco Baldelli. The biggest revelation is that Rocco does not sound optimistic that he will ever be able to be an everyday player again. [The Heater]

“It’s a weird thing to say to an athlete. Rocco would sprint after balls 110 percent, no matter what the scoreboard (said),” Friedman said. “That’s how he played the game, or plays the game. We’re trying to get him to pick situations and understand situations on the scoreboard, different things to conserve his bullets, for lack of a better word.”

  • Trever Miller got the win, ending his record streak of 121 straight apearances without a decision. [Bradenton Herald]
  • In Ted Flemming’s blog, he ponders Eric Hinske and Dioner Navarro for Comeback Player of the Year…Hinske, sure. But Navi? Not sure where he came back from. [Speaking of Sports]
  • The Rays are up to 3rd in the latest Chicago Tribune power rankings, behind only the Angels and the Cubs (of course). [Chicago Tribune]
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5 Comments

  1. Robert Rittner says:

    If you look at Navarro's 1 1/2 years in LA, and then his first 2 half years in TB, it could be argued that he has come back from being a solid hitter. He hit for a decent average and good OBP in LA and then cratered in TB until the second half last year. I agree that he is not a real candidate for the award, but a case could be made that he made something of a comeback.

    It is not really important, but I comment on it because so many fans assumed he was simply a terrible ballplayer after his early struggles. But those who looked a bit deeper recognized he had the potential to improve considerably. So far, he has proven them right, and is another example of the need to remain patient and avoid evaluating players based on small samples or superficial factors.

    Actually, I think he is hitting a bit over his head right now, but also think he can become a consistent .270/.350/.400 or so good defensive catcher for a while, and that is a very valuable player.

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  2. Kevin says:

    The defense would've been Gomes in RF and we lose the DH spot.

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  3. Kevin says:

    Okay, I just saw that you mentioned in that your notes. I'm pretty sure Maddon said something along those lines and it wasn't just Topkin.

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  4. Clayton says:

    Is it time to move the Maddon Meter to 100%? No way he's going anywhere.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Another Defense you could have used, 3B or RF Aki, SS Dirtbag, 2B Pena, 1B Riggins, RF or 3B Aybar.

    In shift situations Aki plays a shallow RF anyway, cant be that big of an adjustment, and I think that Aybar may have played RF in Spring. Longo is the back up SS anyways, Pena is a fairly rangy 1B-man and it's the same side of the IF, for an Inning or 2 I can't that having been the worst thing, and 1B is most catchers second position anyway. I don't like the idea of so may guys out of position, Riggins in RF is probably the better switch.

    A better question I think is: If Riggins would have had to leave the game, which pitcher would have had to run/play the field /finish off that AB? I think Sonny, he seems like the most athletic of the pitchers and I think he's had the best AB's when we've played in the NL

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