THE GOOD: CC’s HR. The most exciting moments in baseball include stealing home, the 9th inning of a no-hitter and the inside-the-park home run. CC was the only Rays hitter with more than one hit and one was a doozy, his 9th home run…David Price. 4 runs in 6 innings is never good, but you can see the kid maturing. We usually hate the excuse that it was “1 bad pitch,” but for a rookie going through growing pains, that can be a good sign. Last night it was a slider that didn’t slide. He’ll learn. And only 2 walks (3 in last 2 starts), shows that he may have gotten over his tendency to come unhinged for short spurts.
THE BAD: Do Rays Need A Stop Sign? We love aggressive baserunning, but you have to be smart about it. With 1 out in the 8th and men on first and second, the Rays were primed to tie the game with BJ Upton, Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria due up. But Jason Bartlett and BJ Upton ran the Rays out of the inning. Bartlett was caught stealing third and Upton failed to follow on the steal, remaining at first…Willy Aybar. Ben Zobrist will likely never be a gold-glove middle infielder. That is not a knock. He has actually become a very good second baseman. But watching Willy Aybar play second base this season makes Zobrist look like a gold-glover. 2 errors last night in the 7th somehow did not cost the Rays a run…Solo HRs Are Lonely. The Rays scored 3 runs. They also hit 3 home runs.
THE TELLING: The Rays are now 4.5 back in the East with the Red Sox and Yankees tied for first…Jeff Niemann will be the starter tonight on 9 days rest. Niemann has 7 starts this season on extra rest and he is 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA…Carl Crawford’s inside-the-park home run was the first at Comiskey since 2000. It was also CC’s third of his career, which ties him for the lead among active players and it was the 8th in team history.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Scott Kazmir feels he can go on Thursday, but Joe Maddon is hesitant to name him the starter. If Kaz can’t go, Marc Topkin speculates that it would either be Matt Garza on short rest or Wade Davis from triple-A…Topkin also ponders potential moves to make room for the return of Brian Shouse. [St. Pete Times]
- Martin Fennelly says that if the Rays want to go to the playoffs, they need to win more games…Brilliant! [Tampa Tribune]
- Not using Twitter? Or even if you are, here is a great guide to the Rays coverage in the Twitterverse. [Rays Revolutionary]
- Bill Marshall makes a case for Ben Zobrist as the AL MVP. [mlive.com]
- Is Jonny Gomes, the ’09 version similar to Gomes, the ’06 version? [MLB Notebook]