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THE GOOD: Edwin Jackson. A steady diet of 95 mph fastballs and decent sliders. And maybe Jackson’s greatest trait is his endurance. His fastest pitch of the night was the last pitch of the 8th inning, a swinging strike on Brendan Harris. That pitch was either 97 or 98 depending on who you talk to…Jeff Niemann. Niemann relieved Jackson and got the last 4 outs. His first batter he was throwing 91-92. But when he came out in the 9th, he found a few extra inches in the tank, pushing it to 95 and even hitting 97 on a swinging strike to strike out the second out…Replay. The first official replay occurred at the Trop and now the first official overturn from a replay happened on a Carlos Pena fan-interference double that was changed to a home run. Ironically, it was a Twins fan that was originally ruled ot have interfered…Yet another bases loaded walk. the Rays now have 19 walks and 4 hit batters with the bases loaded this season. The 23 “free” runs with the bases loaded now leads the majors by 1 over Boston. Of course, the Rays also lead the majors in most intentional walks issued with the bases loaded.
THE BAD: Todd Kalas. Where was Kalas on the home run overturn? He has to hustle his ass out to right field and talk to the people in the stands. Even if he can’t get there for an inning or two, the point is still topical. Now, we did flip the picture-in-picture over to the ESPN feed a couple of times, so there is a chance we just missed it. Bueller?…Blackouts. Yes, today’s broadcast is on “National TV”, but only if you live in about 1/3 of the country. And if you don’t happen to be in the areas showing the Rays-Twins game, you might be screwed. This would mark just the second time (we think) this season that a game is not available on one of the outlets (MLB.tv, Extra Innings, etc) for people that live outside of North Florida (and SW Alabama, for some reason). That would include us. Of course, there are ways around these things. We just can’t tell you how, or the powers that be will not be happy.
THE TELLING: With the win last night, the Rays have clinched at least a tie for the Wild Card and a 1-game playoff…The odds of making the playoffs according to Baseball Prospectus is now 99.9998% and the odds of winning the division is 73.0%.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Baseball Digest Daily will have Gerry Hunsicker on today to talk about his recipe for pasta sauce (or maybe they will talk about the Rays). [Baseball Digest Daily]
- Mohawk fever. It is spreading. Now Mrs. Professor is saying “Do it.” Peer pressure sucks. Peer pressure from your wife is a death sentence. [MLB]
- Scott Kazmir says he found a few minor flaws in his delivery from his last start and feels he was able to correct those in his bullpen session. [Tampa Tribune]
- Tampa Bay Rays Prospects has the full list of the Rays’ top minor leaguers including Fernando Perez and David Price who were named overall player of the year and pitcher of the year. [Tampa Bay Rays Prospects]
- Outs Per Swing wonders who the Rays’ MVP is…We have said it before, JP Howell and Grant Balfour have been great this season, but a middle reliever should never be named MVP of anything. Even if Howell was the only Ray competing in the annual Treasure Island Tofu Dog eating competition and he ate 675 Tofu Dogs, he still shouldn’t be named Rays’ MVP of that competition. Win Shares is admittedly a flawed stat but it can provide some level of comparison for pitchers and hitters. Take a look at the Rays’ WS values for this season. There are 14(!) players ranked ahead of Howell and 16 ahead of Balfour. Now if you want to say the “Middle Relievers” are the team MVP, we would be willing to listen to your argument. In defense of OPS, they picked Evan Longoria. We agree. [Outs Per Swing]