THE GOOD: James Shields. Shields is the gamer in the Rays rotation. More than any of the other 4, Shields is able to overcome nights when he has less than his best stuff. Of course, he was aided by some stellar defense in the first couple of innings or else he would have given up more than 2 runs. But he survived those patches and was able to adjust the weapons he did have and work around the ones he didn’t…Defense at key moments. Early in the game James Shields was struggling and the defense came up big when it needed to. In the first inning, with a man on first, a looping liner up the middle was snagged by Jason Bartlett who then doubled the runner up at first. That play was followed by a leaping catch at the wall by Gabe Gross to end the inning. Then in the second, BJ Upton fired a laser to home to gun down Torii Hunter trying to score…Willy Aybar. Evan Longoria has not played since Aug. 7. In that span of 11 games, Aybar is 16-44 (.364) with 6 multi-hit games, 7 runs scored, 7 extra-base hits, including 3 home runs, 9 RBI and 5 walks to only 4 Ks. He also has posted a 1.111 OPS (.429 OBP/.682 SLG) over that time period.
THE BAD: In the 6th inning with the Rays trailing 2-0, with men on first and third with 1 out, BJ Upton reached on an error scoring 1 run. As Upton passed first base, the ball bounded away and Upton thought about going to second. Well, the thought manifested as a shoulder juke before thinking better of it. Howie Kendrick tagged Upton and the umpire ruled that Upton had made a move towards second base later saying he’s called guys out “for less”. Dwayne Staats summed up the play best: “One of the worst calls I have ever seen in 35 years in baseball.” Joe Maddon was ejected, getting his money’s worth, dropping about 76 F-bombs on both the offending umpire and the crew chief.
THE TELLING: By our unofficial count, Joe Maddon has now been ejected 10 times since becoming the manager of the Rays. 5 of those were against the Angels…The Rays are 10-2 in James Shields last 12 starts…The Rays have now won 8 games in which they trailed after 7 innings…
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Let’s do the Live Blog-A-Baloo! Tonight’s contest is on ESPN. If we are lucky, Steve Phillips will broadcast the game providing plenty of unintentional comedy factor. We will see you back here at 6:00 sharp.
- Marc Lancaster provides the blow-by-blow of Joe Maddon’s post-game rant concerning the play at first base…The interesting piece is the use of the word “unconscionable”. Dwayne Staats used the same word in his description of the play. That’s a big word and we are not exactly sure what it means. But considering the usage, it must mean “horseshit call by a lousy friggin’ umpire.” [Rays Report]
- BJ Upton apologized yesterday, one day after his latest baserunning gaffe. [The Heater]
“There’s no excuse for it. It can’t happen. Especially in the middle of a pennant race. Every run matters, every out matters. So I want to apologize for it. It’s just something that can’t happen…I know that’s not me,” he said. “I feel like I go out and play hard every day. I want to win as much as anybody in this room. Once again, things like that can’t happen. It just so happens they’re magnified a little bit more now than they have been in the past. It’s something I’ve got to deal with and not let it happen again.”