Joe is so giddy over the Rays win he doesn’t know where to begin? It was the Holy Trinity of baseball tonight: pitching, defense and a key hit.

* Wade Davis: Was this his best outing? Hard to argue. Once he got past the first, he was simply dominant. Joe has written before Davis could carry the Rays a long way until/unless James “No Game” Shields has proven he has put his awful pitching woes behind him.

Joe cannot write just how great that is to see a No. 4 pitcher come out against a team with the best record in baseball and shut them down for six innings. As strong as the Rays bullpen is, Rays pitchers only need to get through seven innings.

Nice job Wade! Keep it up!

* While Joe has been a bit difficult on Carlos Pena at times for his penchant for imitating Rob Deer with his strikeout-or-homer offense, Joe has never wavered that Pena is one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball and maybe the best.

Pena diving to his right and throwing to MFIKY covering first for the final out was simply breathtaking. It reminded Joe of Albert Pujols in the seventh inning of World Series-clinching Game 5 of the 2006 fall classic with the Cardinals clinging to a 3-2 lead, Pujols dove far to his right and while lying on his back, flipped to Jeff Weaver for an out.

Web gem indeed! Who knows what happens if the Yankmees bust open the door with a baserunner there?

* Matt Joyce: Dude is on fire with critical home runs. Could Adam Dunn do any better? As Kevin Kennedy said in the Sun Sports postgame show, “Maybe the Rays have all the pieces to the puzzle?” Kid is clutch and Gabe Kapler should never start in right over Joyce unless the youngster from Tampa is injured.

[Column intermission: Why do the Rays beat writers cling to ancient media philosophies? Apparently, per various Twitter reports (none from the Rays beat writers) Rays reliever Grant Balfour was escorted by security from the Rays clubhouse. One Twitter account suggested Balfour "looked sad."

Again, no Rays beat writers Twittered this information... and they were in the clubhouse after the game!

What's going on here fellas? Aren't you guys paid to report? We don't live in 1985 any longer. You guys wonder why newspapers are hurting? Here's Exhibit-A and it's hardly the first time this has happened. Joe follows other teams' beat writers and when somebody sneezes during, before or after a game, they report the news immediately on Twitter.

If your editors are that paranoid about losing pageviews, at least send a link to a blog update via Twitter. Get with the times!!!

Shameful. Disgraceful. Irresponsible. At least most of the Bucs beat writers have the right idea: They Twitter just about everything without delay. With a baseball team in the midst of a pennant race, maybe one of the newspapers' interns can teach these guys how to use Twitter and explain why it exists?]

Joe is happy. Giddy. Wants to get drunk but has to get up early to go to Bucs training camp. Still, with all that is right about this win, pulling the Rays to a game of the Yankmees, Joe has to temper his enthusiasm.

There are still two games left in this series. And it’s still July.

Joe sure hopes this Friday night hex that has plagued the Rays this season is now finished.

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18 Comments

  1. I'd still like for us to add a stick, but not looking like it's going to happen. I am 100% with you on Matt Joyce and Gabe Kapler. I know Joyce is only hitting .220 but he's come up with some huge hits this past week and he has tons more talent thatn Kapler will ever have.

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  2. ac3 says:

    great game...that was some strike zone tonight, to be fair it was tough on both teams, glad a-rod didnt go yard

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  3. Alex says:

    Any update on Balfour?

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    • Joe Rays Fan says:

      Alex:

      It appears it may be caca but nothing concrete yet.

      It would have been nice for, you know, a credentialed member of the fourth estate at the game to dismiss or confirm what was going on with Balfour instead of Joe and others relying on a WTSP-TV producer sitting at home on Twitter trying to confirm/deny the news?

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  4. Gatorbuc15 says:

    SWEETNESS!!

    Wade pitched like an absolute ACE, Joyce again came up with a GIGANTIC hit to pick up the team, and the Benoit/Soriano combination was unbelievable yet again! And what an awesome pick by C-PAIN at first to finish off the game! All in all it was another great team victory.

    RAYS WIN, RAYS WIN, TTTTHHHHEEEE RAYS WIN!

    It's always so nice to beat the Yanks.

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  5. Leighroy says:

    Was at the game tonight and as awesome as it was, there was still at least a 70-30 ratio of fans, which was really apparent after swisher's knock in the first. Kinda disapointing still, but I realize that won't change for a while.

    The biggest event tonight though at the game was the shattered bat that flew into the stands. OMG. A fan had to be bandaged while lying on the floor at their seat, assisted up to their feet, then strapped onto a board and carried out of the stands. So scary.

    We always ask what it will take before MLB addresses maple bats, and if fan or player safety isn't enough of a real issue after that scary moment, then I don't know when it will be. Do the right thing Bud and prove you're not just a laissez faire bureaucrat of a commish.

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    • Joe Rays Fan says:

      Do the right thing Bud and prove you’re not just a laissez faire bureaucrat of a commish.

      Love it!

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    • zenny says:

      70-30 in which way? AT LEAST 70% of the crowd were Rays fans. Yankee fans have bigger mouths, but they were decisively outnumbered.

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  6. Leighroy says:

    Forgot to clarify about the fan... bandage was of a head injury no less.

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  7. Guilty says:

    Hey, I emailed this to you as well, but I just wanted to inform you that the Balfour thing was heard from a thirdhand source. I thought it could lead to a trade transaction, but it turns out to be much ado about nothing. No need to take the media to task over it. I am 100% responsible for the drama and I apologize. Got over excited about some possible Rays trade news and acted out of line (like an ass). Thank you.

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  8. John S says:

    Well with the market for relievers being crazy right now, I bet they will get a great return for him.
    Hell Capps, a below average reliever def. not on Balfours level, got turned into a top 25 catching prospect that could be on our roster right now.

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  9. Nick says:

    ^ agree with zenny.

    I was there and I definately felt like the Yankees fans were the minority. Yes, there were ALOT there, but I still feel like there were more rays. GREAT GAME!

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  10. Carl Gaines says:

    As a LL first baseman I have to ask: how does Pena make that play? I watched and re-watched the video. He stretches out with his right (glove) hand, catches it. Then falling to the dirt ON BOTH HANDS, he SOMEHOW switches the ball to his throwing (left) hand. After that amazing feat, the throw was a piece of cake: flat on his back with feet pointing toward the bag, he flicks it straight and hard for an "easy" out. Try that toss sometime. He has my respect.

    Do they practice this?

    I still don't know how he moved the ball from the glove to the throwing hand while falling down on both. Maybe someone who was there had a clearer view.

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  11. Don says:

    Pitcher comes out not READY, hitters don't hit (Hughes?), Joyce goes long, defense is solid, Benoit & Sorreno mop up....
    I've seen this movie before!

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