THE GOOD: Evan Longoria. Dirtbag became just the second player to homer in each of his first 2 playoff at bats. The first player to accomplish this feat was Gary Gaetti. Coincidentally, Gaetti was Longoria’s hitting coach at triple-A Durham…The Bullpen (again). Grant Balfour came in with 1 out in the 7th inning and the bases loaded. He then proceeded to do what he does best. The Mad Australian struck out the next 2 batters, but not before apparently annoying Orlando Cabrera, who took exception to Balfour’s antics and kicked dirt towards the mound. JP Howell then took over in the 8th, striking out the first 2 batters he faced and retiring the side in order. Dan Wheeler started off shaky giving up a home run, but then settled down and got the next 3 batters for the save. 2.2 innings, 1 hit, no walks, 5 strike outs.
THE BAD: James Shields. He did get the win, but Shields is turning into a cliche. Give up a 2 or 3-run home run early. Scare the crap out of the fans. Then settle down and work into the 7th or 8th inning. Why “bad”? Because, if he keeps this up in the playoffs, he is going to give us an ulcer…Carlos Pena. Pena had to be removed from the game due to blurry vision after he apparently scratched his eye at home the night before. The Rays are saying that they expect him to be ready to go tomorrow.
THE TELLING: The most important games in a 5-game series are games 1 and 3. Now, all the Rays have to do is split the next 2 games with Scott Kazmir going at home and Matt Garza going in game 3 in Chicago. Earn at least a split in the next 2 and the Rays will be positioned to move on to the ALCS.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Buster Olney says that Joe Maddon has bullpen that can handle any situation. [ESPN]
History shows a closer-by-committee setup usually isn’t advisable. But the Rays’ committee is very good, and very deep.
- For the playoffs, Todd Kalas has been relegated to the Party Deck above left field. [The Heater]
- If the ALDS goes 5 games, Stuart Sternberg will not be attendance as Wednesday marks the first day of Yom Kippur. [New York Times]
- Manny Stiles breaks down the playoff matchups. We are a little confused by the statement, “The Bears and Buccaneers both kinda suck this year.” Huh? The Bucs are 3-1. [armchair gm]
- What would the Rays’ VH1 song be? Hugging Harold Reynolds says “Now That We Found Love” by Heavy D…We are not sure the Rays have found love yet. How about “Owner of a lonely heart”. [Hugging Harold Reynolds]