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THE GOOD: Split against 2 tough lefties. It is no secret that the Rays do not handle lefties well. During the season, the Rays were only 25-24 against lefties. Prior to the series, if you were to tell us that the Rays would split games 2 and 3 against the lefties and be up 2 games to 1 we would have signed immediately and said let’s go to game 4…BJ Upton. After starting the series 0-8 and swinging scared for 3 months, Upton appears more confident and less tentative. His triple at the end of game 2 and the easy swing on his 2-run home run yesterday were classic Upton that we have not seen in a while.
THE BAD: Letting Ken Griffey Jr tag up in the 4th inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, a fly ball to BJ Upton in center scores a run and advanced the runner from second. Upton’s throw went to the cutoff off man allowing Griffey to tag up from first. Upton could have easily thrown through to 2nd. If he does, Griffey likely does not score on the double…Carlos Pena to end the game. With the 2 outs in the 9th, Pena was the tying run and Pena seemed to just miss 2 pitches right down the middle. It is not often that Pena is late on a fastball, but he seemed just a fraction late on each pitch…Evan Longoria is 1-7 since he was seen with the “0 for 4” girl at the USF game…Momentum is only as good as tomorrow’s starting pitcher and the White Sox have now won 4 straight elimination games and have 17-game winner Gavin Floyd on the mound tonight. The good news is that outside of last Monday’s makeup game against the Tigers, Floyd has given up at least 4 runs in 4 of his last 5 starts.
THE TELLING: According to CoolStandings.com the Rays still have a 79.6% chance of winning the ALDS…If the Red Sox would have won last night and eliminated the Angels, tonight’s game time would have been moved to 8pm…Based on Back of the Napkin calculations, the Yankees have spent $1.38 billion (with a B) in player salaries since they last won a World Series. The Rays have spent a total of about $405 million trying to win their first.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- YES! They’re baaaccckkkkkk on the bandwagon. [
- Dioner Navarro won’t admit that he is playing in a considerable amount of discomfort. [Tampa Tribune]
- Troy Percival pitched an inning in an instructional league game on Saturday and “felt pretty good”. He will throw again today and still hopes to return in the ALCS. [St. Pete Times]
- The Rays’ bullpen was thankful for the day off. [MLB]
- Buster Olney compares JP Howell to a left-handed version of Greg Maddux, noting that very few left handers utilize a two-seam fastball the way Maddux does. [ESPN]
In the ’90s, Maddux popularized the use of two-seam fastballs against left-handed hitters, particularly as a pitch to finish off hitters with two strikes. He throws the ball at the hip of the batter, so far inside that the batter often gives up on it. But at the last second, the ball veers back over the inside corner, and such movement often freezes the hitter as the pitch becomes strike three…But rarely do you see a left-hander who employs a similar pitch against right-handed hitters…”
- With the Rays still 1 game from the ALCS, John Romano does not want Rays fans panicking. [St. Pete Times]
- Might the Twins be ready to trade Delmon Young already? [MLB Trade Rumors]