THE GOOD: Back-to-Back and a Belly-to-Belly. For somebody that has watched Mo Rivera do his thing many, many times, we knew what last night meant. When Rivera comes in to a tie game, the only hope is that the Rays can hold off the Yanks for two innings, because you know the Rays won’t score in the 9th or 10th. But just when you thought all hope was lost, Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria do the impossible. Back-to-back home runs off of Rivera for the first time ever. The first time in 11 years he has given up 2 home runs in 1 game. The Rays beat the Yankees. The Rays beat Mariano Rivera…Longo’s Longballs. Two more home runs last night and Evan Longoria is now 3rd in MLB in home runs with 10. He and Carlos Pena are the top 2 home run hitters in the AL. And they are tops in RBI. Oh yeah, and Dirtbag is also hitting .368. Pujols-esque…Jason Bartlett. Another home run, this one to lead off the game into the now-imfamous Yankee Stadium wind tunnel to right field. He now has 4 after hitting 1 last season…Ben Zobrist. Zorilla homered again, giving him 5 in 61 at bats. Of course, most of those 61 at bats have come in situations where Zobrist was expected to thrive. Still, 1 Hr ever 12 at bats is very, very good.
THE BAD: Maddoning State of Love and Trust. How little trust does Joe Maddon have in Jeff Niemann? Even though Giraffe had not allowed a run, Lance Cormier was warming up in the 3rd inning with a 4-0 lead. And then as soon as Niemann was in trouble in the 4th, he was gone, and it is hard to image that Niemann would have been worse than Cormier….Jeff Niemann. Niemann is still just all over the place. Last night it was 4 walks and a hit batter without a strikeout. He now leads the majors in hitting batters with 3…Lance Cormier. He was only charged with 2 runs, but 4 scored on his watch.
THE TELLING: BJ Upton was not in the lineup last night with a stomach bug. He is expected back tonight…The Rays are now 14-16 and moved past the Yankees into 3rd place in the East, 4.5 behind the Red Sox and 5.5 behind Toronto who is yet to play the Rays, Sox or Yankees…Joe Maddon said after the game that he did not call on Troy Percival because he wanted to give him the night off…The Rays were 7-12 when we made the call for more Anteater. They are 7-4 since then. Just sayin’…What amazes us, is these last 2 games are games the Yankees never used to lose. The aura is gone and it left with Torre.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Carl Crawford. Yep, could have easily gone with Evan Longoria, but it was CC’s blow that slayed the dragon.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Joe Maddon appeared on WFAN in NYC yesterday to talk about the state of the Rays. Even though we usually learn little from these types of interviews (most topics are well-covered locally), we always enjoy these interviews because it is refreshing to hear some recent thoughts from Maddon on some of the broader topics related to the team. [WFAN Audio]
- Needless to say, Joe Maddon Sucks is all over Joe Maddon’s decision to pull Jeff Niemann. [Joe Maddon Sucks]
- Rays the Stakes gives each reliever a confidence ranking. [Rays the Stakes]
- Marc Lancaster explains why Brian Shouse picked up the win and not Dan Wheeler. [Rays Report]
- Joe Maddon refuses to push the panic button on Pat Burrell who only has 5 extra-base hits. [St. Pete Times]
- Marc Lancaster has some of the Rays’ reactions to the Manny Ramirez suspension. Our favorite is Carlos Pena who laments the loss of his preferred Sega Genesis player, which of course, means all of Pena’s victories in Sega Genesis are now tainted. [Rays Report]
- NY Baseball Digest wonders if the Mets can obtain Scott Kazmir for Oliver Perez. Perez, the same guy who is slated to make $36 million in the next 3 years and couldn’t hit water if he fell out of the proverbial boat this season and was recently demoted to the bullpen. [NY Baseball Digest]
- We saw this and we really weren’t sure what to do with it. We always try to avoid politics and religion on here. Seems safer that way. Thankfully, David Chalk does not have the same reservations. [Bugs and Cranks]