THE GOOD: Big Game James. Because of different schedules and different managerial strategies, aces don’t face each other too often outside of the first month of the season. But James Shields went toe-to-toe with Johan Santana and James the Greater was Greater indeed. 7 innings, 3 hits, no walks, 1 run. Typical Shields…Domination. After a 1-out double in the 3rd, the Mets would not have another baserunner until Carlos Beltran’s 2-out single in the 9th. Rays pitchers retired 19 in a row…‘Los. New Shea is the stadium where home runs go to die, but Carlos Pena had something to say about that. Hit it harder. In fact he hit it so hard that some estimate that his home run in the 7th may have travelled 500 feet…Zorilla. He is a beast. An absolute beast.
THE BAD: The Offense. The offense has suddenly gone cold. Sure it is Johan Santana, but if you are going to be the best hitting team in baseball, you gotta get your first hit before the 5th inning…Carl Crawford. CC has gone cold recently. Another 0-4 yesterday leaves him 3 for his last 29 including his second straight game grounding into a double-play. He was also picked off first base.
THE TELLING: Over/Under on Rays in the All-Star game: 3.5. Speaking before the game Joe Maddon basically said there is no reason Ben Zobrist should not be a member of the AL all-star team (Maddon is the AL manager). Evan Longoria will be elected to start. Jason Bartlett is almost certainly going to be named and JP Howell has a very good shot at the bullpen. Four Rays in the all-star game? Wow. In the old days, Joe Torre would name 7 or 8 Yankees to the team because he knew it was important to keep his own players happy. With both Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena also posting all-star-worthy numbers, might Maddon do the same?
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: James Shields…Also, there will be no Sunburst today. We’ll be back on Tuesday.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Wezen-ball.com found a review of Tropicana Field from when it first opened…It is an interesting read on just how ill-prepared the “Florida Suncoast Dome” was for baseball. [wezen-ball]
- Chad Bradford pitched 2 scoreless innings yesterday for Durham, and now the Rays want to see him pitch back-to-back games before activating him. [St. Pete Times]
- Joe Maddon wouldn’t commit, but says it is possible Scott Kazmir will be activated by next weekend…Maddon also says both Brian Shouse and Shawn Riggans are not close to returning. [Tampa Tribune]
- Marc Topkin takes a look at which Rays might be in St. Louis for the All-Star game, concluding that it will be Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford and Jason Bartlett…No Ben Zobrist, but he does make a good case for passing on JP Howell, noting that the Rays may prefer to rest his arm for 4 days. Of course with Maddon as the manager, Howell could be named to the team and just not used, or saved as the emergency reliever. [St. Pete Times]
- Marc Lancaster looks at Ben Zobrist’s chances of being named to the AL all-star team. [Tampa Tribune]