THE GOOD: Sweet Fancy Moses! What is more impressive right now? Carlos Pena hitting his 9th home run to lead the AL or Jason Bartlett hitting his 3rd home run and is on pace for 24? His career high is 5…Mad Genius. With Justin Mourneau representing the tying run with 2 outs in the 7th, Joe Maddon left Joe Nelson in the game instead of bringing in the lefty Brian Shouse (isn’t that situation why Shouse is on the team?). Mourneau hit it hard, but right at BJ Upton to end the inning…Jeff Niemann. It wasn’t pretty but he got the job done. He walked 4 and allowed a home run, but that was the only run in 5.2 innings…The Bullpen. 3.1 innings, 5 Ks, 2 hits, no walks and no runs.
THE BAD: Navi’s brain farts. It didn’t hurt the Rays last night, but Dioner Navarro dropped yet anther pitch allowing a runner to go to second behind a lead runner stealing third…Bossman’s brain farts. BJ Upton finally ends an 0-19 skid with a nice opposite-field single and then does what he does worst. He got picked off first base…Wrong team running. The Rays lead the majors in steals, but it was the Twins running wild last night with 4 steals.
THE TELLING: Twins TV announcers didn’t do their home work. At one point, in the middle of talking about how the Rays have much better fundamentals under Joe Maddon, they tried to use the current game situation as an example saying Aki Iwamura would be asked to bunt right then. Of course he did not. That is because the Rays have ZERO sac bunts this season and had the fewest in baseball last season (23). Later the announcers said the Rays are yet to win a series this season. Of course they won the opening series in Boston…The Rays face lefty Francisco Liriano tonight and are 1-7 against lefties this season.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Carlos Pena. Several options last night including Evan Longoria, Jeff Niemann and Jason Bartlett. But it was Pena’s triple in the first that started the scoring and it was his home run in the 8th that sealed the win.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Rays the Stakes compares the Rays to the Indians…from “Major League 2.” [Rays the Stakes]
- The Rays Party adds a new twist to the classic power rankings, looking at just how different publications and writers rank the Rays. [The Rays Party]
- Grant Balfour admits that he was better prepared for spring training last season (the spring he was DFA’d) than he was this year, but that he is starting to come around…His velocity has been better the last two appearances with fastballs back up to 94-96. [MLB]
- David Laurila interviews Joe Nelson, where he talks about his long road to sticking in the majors and the use of his Vulcan pitch. Nelson is the only pitcher in baseball that is known to throw the unique changeup. [Baseball Prospectus]