THE GOOD: Matt Garza. He walked 3 and hit a batter, but didn’t allow a hit until the 5th and lasted 8 innings (117 pitches), giving the bullpen the night off…Pat Burrell. They say Pat Burrell is streaky. He hit his second home run of the season to start the scoring. Let’s see if he gets hot…Hustle. With the bases loaded and 2 outs inthe 8th and the score 2-1, Jimmy Rollins sat back and waited for a routine groundball and Ben Zobrist beat the throw to second base, allowing a run to score and extending an inning in which the Rays would score 5.
THE BAD: Upton Is Fast? How does BJ Upton get thrown out at home by Matt Stairs. We don’t care if Stairs caught the ball standing on second base and there was a Mack truck blocking home plate. No way BJ should ever be thrown out at home with his speed…Lollygagging. Carl Crawford was out at third going for a triple after not running hard between home and first and later BJ Upton was lucky to make it to second on a double after doing the same thing…Joe Blanton? After Pat Burrell’s home run, Joe Blanton retired 11 of the next 13 and at one point struck out 5 of 6 batters. Twice in the game, Blanton struck out the side, and finished the game with 10. It was only the second time this season Blanton struck out more than 7…Longo’s Hammy. Evan Longoria was pulled from the game in the 8th after feeling a “twinge” in the same hamstring that sidelined him a couple of weeks ago.
THE TELLING: Jason Bartlett tied the Rays team record by extending his hitting streak to 18 games…The Phillies closer, Brad Lidge, is expected to come off the DL in time for tonight’s game.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Pat Burrell. If The Bat gets hot, the Rays could be unstoppable offensively.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Evan Longoria says the hamstring issue is not as bad as it was earlier this month and hopes to play today. He also notes that his hamstring hasn’t been 100% since coming back…We would be surprised if Dirtbag is in the lineup today, and it wouldn’t surprise us to see the Rays shut him down for a handful of games to make sure the hammy heals completely this time. [The Heater]
- Jon Heyman says the Rays are indeed interested in trading for a closer but that they cannot add payroll, calling it a “tough task.” [SI.com]
- Marc Topkin looks at the different options the Rays have with the rotation with a decision looming. [St. Pete Times]
- Rob Neyer asks a good question: Why were the Devil Rays able to draw so many fans in 1998 (7th in attendance) and 1999 (10th) but can’t in 2009 (24th)? In other words, why was the novelty of a new team more attractive than the defending AL Champs and with all of the excuses being tossed about, why were fans able to overcome those back then? [ESPN]
- The Rays Party offers a simple solution: Lower the ticket prices…The problem with that is that it alienates the Rays most important fans, the season ticket holders that have already paid a certain amount for the same seats. Those people would demand a refund. [The Rays Party]
- The Rays Party addresses whether Ben Zobrist is more valuable as a utility player…We are still waiting for somebody to explain what the difference is between a utility player and a super utility player. [The Rays Party]
- Julianna Zobrist was sing the national anthem tonight. [MLB]