The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.
THE GOOD: Jeff Niemann. Let’s ignore the 2nd inning for a second. How The Giraffe made it into the 7th inning after that is beyond us. With the game on the line in the middle innings, Niemann retired 12 of the final 13 batters he faced…JoeMa. If there is one thing Joe Maddon does, quite often he will stick with a struggling player longer than most managers. Sometimes it backfires. But many times his patience pays off. All the time, it tells his players that he believes in them and he has their back. Not many managers would have let Niemann finish the second inning…Down With OBP. 7 of the Rays starters were on base at least 2 times. Get on base, good things happen…Bonus W’s. The Rays have given away their fair share of wins this season. They got one back last night. Anytime you face Roy Halladay and give up 7 runs and win, that is a bonus win. That was one they probably didn’t deserve, but got anyway.
THE BAD: The Second Inning. Our blood pressure does not need innings like the second. Your sitting there. Enjoying some good food and a good beer. Your Rays have scored 3 off one of the best pitchers in baseball in the first inning. And then the second inning happened. The first 9 batters reached base in the second inning. 5 runs scored before Niemann finally got an agida-ending double-play.
THE TELLING: Carlos Pena hit his 35th home run last night. He also has 35 singles this season…The 8 runs (7 earned) given up by Roy Halladay was the most he had allowed since June, 2007 when also gave up 8 runs (7 earned) against the Devil Rays. That was also Andy Sonnanstine’s big league debut…Jeff Niemann’s 12th win is the most in the majors for a rookie.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Ben Zobrist. At his utility best. Was on base 4 times. Scored 4 times. Started at second base, moved to left when Carl Crawford came out in the third and then went back to second in the 9th.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Carl Crawford left the game in the third because of back tightness. He will not play tonight, but hopes to be back in the lineup Wednesday. [Tampa Tribune]
- In the same piece, Marc Lancaster speculates on September call-ups based on some comments from Joe Maddon. [Tampa Tribune]
- Marc Topkin also speculates on possible September call-ups…He also notes that tonight’s game will not be broadcast locally. [St. Pete Times]
- Did you know that in 12 seasons, a ball has hit a catwalk in fair territory 102 times. That is 954 games at the Trop. That is actually a much higher rate than we would have expected at once every 9.4 games. [USA Today]
- Bill Chastain notes that the Rays will need an extra starting pitcher on Sept. 7 when the Rays play a day-night double-header…Paging Mr. Sonnanstine. Mr. Andy Sonnanstine. [MLB]
- The Rays Party takes a look at the starting rotation moving forward into the 2010 season. [The Rays Party]
- Good question. It does seem to happen a lot. [Trop It Like It’s Hot]