THE GOOD: Scott Kazmir. The velocity was better (91-93) on his fastball. He threw strikes (61 of 92 pitches). However, he did struggle with strike-one early on. Of the first 11 batters, Kazmir only threw strike-one 3 times. If the final 9 batters he faced, he was strike-one 6 times. Of the first 11 batters, 4 got on base. Only 1 of the final 9 batters reached…Chad Bradford. Bradford allowed 2 baserunners in his 1 inning of work (single, error), but otherwise looked good in his first action of the season…Jason Bartlett. Yes, Willy Aybar had the game-winning sac fly, but it was the steal of second base by Jason Bartlett with 1 out that put himself in scoring position and able to move to third on the subsequent wild pitch…Carlos Pena. We absolutely love when El Gato hits home runs to the opposite field. Because when he does, it keeps pitchers honest.
THE BAD: Evan Longoria’s glove. We are nitpicking here a little. But Dirtbag committed his second error this week and just hasn’t looked right defensively since having his hamstring issues.
THE TELLING: The Rays are once again tied with the Jays for 3rd place in the East, 6 games behind the Sox and 2 games behind the Yankees (3 in the loss column)…According to CoolStandings.com, the Rays now have a better chance of making the playoffs (46.6%) than the Yankees (46.1%). The Jays are only 16.4%. However, PECOTA is less bullish on the Rays, giving them just a 23.1% shot. They have the Yankees at 72.9%.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Scott Kazmir. It took a couple of innings to get the rust off, but after the home run to lead off the 3rd, it was vintage Kid K.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- A bald fish eagle (above) was released during the national anthem, and landed on the restaurant rooftop in center field rather than return to the trainer. It remained there until the middle of the first inning.
- Marc Topkin reports that the decision to demote Andy Sonnanstine was actually an easy one. [St. Pete Times]
- The Rays Party breaks down Scott Kazmir’s start through Pitch f/x. [The Rays Party]
- No surprise here. St. Pete residents do not want tax money spent on a new stadium for the Rays. [St. Pete Times]
- Joe Smith points to a couple of recent hustle plays by Ben Zobrist and Jason Bartlett that helped the Rays to their current win streak. [St. Pete Times]