THE GOOD: David Price. Price said he was so nervous that he had trouble breathing in the first inning and when he started warming up, his first 20 throws missed the strike zone. But he somehow managed to quell the nerves as he made his big league debut in the 3rd inning and retired the side on 7 pitches including an inning-ending strikeout of Ivan Rodriguez. He retired the first 6 batters he faced before giving up a solo, wind-aided, home run to Derek Jeter Fernando Perez is fast like rabbit and he has a little pop in the bat. Dude can fly, beating out another infield single. And his 3-run home run on a tough inside fastball in the 2nd inning kept the Rays in the game, at least for a little while.

THE BAD: The wind, mixed with Edwin Jackson’s fastball up in the zone. Jackson gave up 2 home runs in the first 2 innings, a grand slam to Alex Rodriguez and a 2-run shot to Jason Giambi’s mustache. The wind appeared to be really blowing out, of course that just meant the Giambi blast landed in the upper deck instead of the lower deck.

THE TELLING: With 87 pitches thrown, David Price will not be available to pitch again until Thursday or Friday. If he is to start one game in the September 23 double-header on a full 4-days rest, he cannot pitch after Thursday. In other words, Price will likely only be available to throw a couple of innings on Thursday or Friday between now and September 23.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Matt Garza will likely start Wednesday on 3 days rest. [MLB]
  • BJ Upton will try to be available during this series with the Red Sox and Troy Percival is on new muscle relaxers which help his back. He says he is now available to close again…Hide the children. [St. Pete Times]
  • Yesterday we mentioned that Evan Longoria and BJ Upton decided in between games on Saturday to get haircuts. But not just a regular haircut. They went with Mohawks. We asked for pictures and David Chalk came through as usual…Hide the children as we await HerRays’ reaction. [Bugs and Cranks; Longoria; Upton]
  • While winning the division is still the goal, Joe Maddon insists that the Rays will celebrate if and when they clinch a playoff spot. Maddon even says he’ll “go freaky”…Hide the children, again. [Sportsline]
  • Outs Per Swing wants David Price to take Edwin Jackson’s spot in the rotation immediately, noting that they have seen enough from Jackson…We agree. But keep in mind that only 4 starters are needed in the playoffs. Should Price be in the rotation over Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine? It wouldn’t take much to convince us. [Outs Per Swing]
  • Joe Maddon says David Price is reassuring, “Like a handkerchief.” [New York Times]
  • John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus throws in this little gem towards the end of a long piece: “Left fielder Raul Ibanez is unlikely to return to the Mariners as a free agent, and is a good bet to land with the Rays as their designated hitter in 2009.“…Other than the fact that the Rays already have several DH-quality left handed bats, the real reason why there is about a 0.01% chance of this happening is Ibanez is a Type-A free agent. It seems highly unlikely that the Rays will spend the type of money that Ibanez will command and a first-round draft pick on a player that will only DH against right-handed pitchers. [Baseball Prospectus]
  • Ever wonder why so many of the players that the Rays Designate For Assignment choose to accept their minor league assignments (ie. Grant Balfour back in Spring Training)? It might be because the Rays are willing to overpay for their minor league services, giving them more money than other teams may be willing to pay a guy who is going to triple-A. The benefit for the Rays is a triple-A ballclub filled with veteran players, many of whom came in handy when injuries kept occurring on the big league club. [St. Pete Times]
  • Rays from across the pond explores “The Rays Effect”. [Rays from across the pond]
  • MVN Outsider takes a look at 10 moves made by GMs that affected this season’s pennant races. #5 is the Rays’ acquisition of Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett. [MVN Outsider]
  • For those that think the Saturday night sell-outs were due only to the post-game concerts, need only see the attendance for a recent D-Backs post-game concert featuring Jessica Simpson. The stadium might have been half full for the concert of an act that is arguably a bigger name than any of the acts that performed at the Trop… Excluding MC Hammer of course. [Deadspin]
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