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THE GOOD: Evan Longoria. There has been some recent talk that his extended stint on the DL would cost Dirtbag the Rookie of the Year award. 3 home runs last night. What about now? That’s what we thought.
THE BAD: Joe Maddon. With 1 out and men on first and second in the 9th with the score tied Maddon brought Trever Miller in to face the lefty Jason Kubel. Ron Gardenhire countered by pitch-hitting with the righty-hitting Adam Everett. Maddon has 86 pitchers in the bullpen now, so it would have been fine to go back to the bullpen and bring in a righty. Instead Papa Joe leaves Miller in to face the righty, the same pitcher that has a .642/.800 OPS split against lefties and righties. For all the good moves this season, the one move he continues to make that leaves us dumbfounded is having Miller face righties. Earlier this season there were situations, because of injuries, where it was necesaary. But with the expanded roster, it should never happen [Ed. note: Prof suffered a brain-fart this morning. A pitcher must face at least one batter when brought into a game as noted in the comments. As the commenter notes, that does not change the point that Miller should not have been brought in to the game anyway if it is just one lefty batter in a bunting situation]... Bizarro Bullpen. There is a problem when the two relievers that we have the least amount of confidence in are the two guys that the Rays depend on to close out games. If the Rays continue to go to Dan Wheeler and Troy Percival in the 8th and 9th inning, we will see more games like last night.
THE TELLING: As we suspected, Troy Percival was eased back into live action, as he was called upon to work the 8th inning last night. With his recent back and leg problems, Joe Maddon wants to make sure Percy is ready to dominate before handing him the closing duties. Percival does say that his back feels better than it has all season.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Apparently there is still a scenario under which the Rays could clinch a playoff spot tonight. According to Marc Lancaster, if the Rays win AND the White Sox, Blue Jays and Yankees all lose, the Rays clinch at least a wild card. We can only guess that this has something to do with head-to-head matchups among those teams. We will take Lancaster’s word for it, as just typing that sentence hurt our brain. [Rays Report]
- A situation we have speculated on since Spring Training could come to fruition in the next few days. We have long thought BJ Upton would make a great right fielder with his strong arm as long as Fernando Perez was in center. With Upton’s legs still not 100% we might see that exact lineup as early as Saturday or Sunday according to Joe Maddon. [MLB]
- Brittany Ghiroli reports that Carl Crawford will not be back during the regular season, as he is still a ways away from even being able to swing a bat. If he plays in the first round of the playoffs, he will be limited to pinch-running and late-inning defensive substitution roles. [MLB]
- The second starter in Tuesday’s double-header in Baltimore looks to either be Mitch Talbot or David Price. The availability of Price will depend on whether Joe Maddon needs King David out of the bullpen in the next couple of days. [Tampa Tribune]
- Shawn Riggans was officially placed on the DL and it now appears that he is done for the season…Although there is no official word, the backup catcher in the playoffs will likely be Michel Hernandez who had 5 career games under his belt prior to September. [Rays Report]
- “Little-name trade”? Seriously Scott Miller? Anybody that thinks the Matt Garza-Jason Bartlett-Delmon Young trade was a trade of “little names” is somebody that does not follow baseball. Young was a former #1 overall pick. Garza was the Twins top prospect. Bartlett’s glove was not a mystery among baseball fans. This was a blockbuster, and anything but a “little name trade”. [CBS Sportsline]
- The guys at one of our favorite new blogs, Joe Bucs Fan are worried that the Bucs will start playing second fiddle to the Rays. [Joe Bucs Fan]
- Speaking of the Bucs…We are not sure what bothers us more…the fact that Jerramy “King of Turds” Stevens has now been activated or that some day when Stevens is facing a felony charge, the press will refer to Stevens as “Former Bucs Tight End”. Seriously. Is this creep going to be the difference between being a playoff team and being home for the holidays? Is the reputation of the entire franchise worth the risk? If the Rays ever signed a nutcase like Stevens we would become a Red Sox blogger in about 0.4 seconds. [Joe Bucs Fan]
- Al Reyes was released by the Mets without making an appearance for the ballclub. [New York Post]
- Former Rays Delmon Young and Brendan Harris commented on the Rays success. [MLB]
- Jayson Stark says it was the Rays that “played as if it had been there, done this pennant-race stuff a thousand times. And it was the Red Sox who did the mumbling, the stumbling and the fumbling.” [ESPN]
- Chad Finn of the Boston Globe updates his list of “those subpar, non-descript and just plain lousy ballplayers who have tormented the Sox in recent years.” The latest incarnation of the list includes several Rays. [Boston Globe]
- DRays Bay shows one benefit of having Andy Sonnanstine in the rotation. He faced the Red Sox twice in a week and the Red Sox basically saw two different pitchers…Although one problem we have run into in the past with Sonnanstine’s Pitchf/x data, is that he throws so many different pitches from different arm angles, that it is difficult to classify exactly which pitch he is throwing sometimes. [DRays Bay]
- The Serious Tip shows that there are indeed Rays fans at the Trop and attempts to classify them. [The Serious Tip]
- Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. [San Diego Union-Tribune]