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THE GOOD: Andy Sonnanstine vs Josh Beckett. If Beckett faced off against Sonnanstine 10 times, what would the over/under be for Rays wins? 3? 3.5? And yet in his last 2 starts when the Rays needed him most, The Duke delivered against Beckett and the Red Sox. When Sonny is bad, he can be very bad. But when The Duke is on, he can be very, very good…Carlos Pena. Anybody still think that 2007 was a fluke? And last year when everybody was making such a big deal about Pena “using the whole field”, he still never truly went opposite field. He hit a lot of home runs to straight away center or just left of center, something he never did in the past. Well, this season, especially in the second-half, he is using the whole field. Both of his home runs against the Sox in the past week were truly opposite field shots…Dioner Navarro. Of course The Fat Catcher came through with the walk-off ground-rule single, but throwing out Jacoby Ellsbury trying to steal with 1 out in the 8th may have been even bigger. Ellsbury was 48-57 entering the game and if he gets into scoring position at that point, there is a good chance he scores…Finally catching a break. The umpires called time during a swing-and-miss by Carlos Pena in the 9th inning when a ball came out of the Red Sox dugout. It was ruled no-pitch and the next pitch ended up being a ball. Pena would eventually walk on a full-count pitch to make it first and second with no outs….The Yankees tragic number is now 3.
THE BAD: Tonight’s matchup is tilted towards the Red Sox. Matt Garza is coming in on 3-days rest, although he only threw 87 pitches in his last start. He will go head-to-head against Tim Wakefield who is 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 22 appearances/16 career starts at the Trop. However, this season he has faced the Rays twice (both at the Trop) and is 0-1 allowing 6 runs (4 earned) in 13 innings.
THE TELLING: The odds of making the playoffs is now 99.96% according to Baseball Prospectus and 64.8% to win the division.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Brant James notes that a lot of things had to go right in the 9th before Dioner Navarro was even given a chance to win the game. [St. Pete Times]
- Bugs and Cranks says these games are more about making statements than about making the playoffs and they feel the Rays are making bigger statements than the Red Sox recently. [Bugs and Cranks]
- Tony Fabrizio says the Rays don’t have a “true ace” but says they have 5 guys that are capable of pitching like one. [Tampa Tribune]
- OK, this mohawk business is starting to spread. Now half-a-dozen players and Joe Maddon?…And we are all for keeping things loose in the locker room, let’s just hope things don’t get too loose? [MLB] Tampa Bay’s 10 has a picture. [Tampa Bay’s 10]
- Brittany Ghiroli notes that the locker and the bullpen are extremely crowded nowadays, but the extra arms in the bullpen have come in handy. [MLB]