Maybe Matt Garza’s no-hitter just raised the pitching bar so high for James Shields that he’s willing himself to reach it.

Joe swears that no-hitter changed this team.

Maybe Shields just missed his nickname.

Whatever the reason that has led to Shields’ great command, Joe’s loving it. Take your nickname back, “Big Game.” You earned it today in what was the biggest game of the Rays’ season. Shields was dominant with 11 strikeouts and giving up just four singles in the 3-0 stomping of the Yankmees.

And how sweet was it for Shields get the very late caught-looking call on pinch-hitting A-Rod to end the seventh? That’s usually the call that goes the Yankees’ way.

The Yankees looked old and tired. With Lance Berkman there to push them over the top, Joe’s more scared of the Red Sox getting hot. Sloppy defense doomed the Yanks, who didn’t seem to want it nearly as much as the scrappy Rays.

Lineup roulette continued, and right on cue Joe Maddon had no problem sticking Chad Qualls into the fire in the eighth inning. Hefty set exhibited right there by the skipper, and Qualls was perfect lowering his ERA to 8.15.

Minnesota comes in Monday perfect in their last eight, a supreme test for Jeremy Hellickson’s heralded debut.

Joe’s hoping Hellickson makes it damn near impossible to send him back to the minors.

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20 Comments

  1. Gatorbuc15 says:

    OH, YEAH!! What a MASTERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, and DOMINATING pitching performanc by "Big Game" James! 11K'S, 1BB, 4Hits, OER, 0R, in 7.1IP aganinst the YANKEES! Are you kiding me! WOW!!
    And who's questioning the Qualls trade right now! If you are, you need to dunk your head in an Alaskan ice fishing hole to wake yourself up! What a big double play!
    And like I said before, Lance Berkman, "The Old Puma", is not a good pick-up by the Yanks! He can't hit, can't field, and looks tired. The only thing he can do is emberace himself like he did on Shop's weak line drive. He's no more good!
    Oh, and what's up with the Yanks making Wood shave off his beard?! I couldn't recognize him at first until they said his name! So bring back the beard!

    All in all it was a GREAT and MOMMENTOUS win for the RAYS!

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  2. Dew says:

    Great win today. Mixed my day between the Bucs practice and watching the Rays win. Hey Friedman said on the pregame show that Dan Johnson will be brought up soon. And before the September callup. Love it.

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  3. Connie says:

    Shoulda been a sweep! Oh well...I hope we're not overworking Benoit and Soriano. I was expecting someone else to close tonight. Not sure who, but someone else

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    • Tom says:

      I was also surprised they brought Soriano in with a 3 run lead, I figured they would go to him if it were a 1 or 2 run game.

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      • Gatorbuc15 says:

        You can never be to careful when pitching to the New York Yankees.

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        • Beth says:

          Yeah, and I wonder whether Maddon wanted to get him in there quickly after the sort of blown save the night before to get back on track. I don't think Soriano's a guy you want to leave stewing over his mistakes.

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          • Connie says:

            Ah, good point! Luckily it was a fairly easy inning. Let's all root for a nice Rays blowout tomorrow to welcome Hellboy and preserve the pen

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  4. YRM on iPod touch says:

    So I wonder what dumb excuse the touchiest Yanks fan in the world, JT The Brick will come up with for the Yanks losing 2/3 2 the Rays today

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  5. John S says:

    Oh by the way how great is it that Sean Rod can play first base also!
    Seriously the versatility is great!

    Shields just helped the Rays big time not only tonight but when he gets traded in the offseason; his value has just skyrocketed! Anytime you do that to the Yankees on National TV, yes people take notice!

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  6. YRM on iPod touch says:

    Oh yeah JT is using the "Rays haven't won a title" argument after we beat his Yanks, so yeah JT who was our biggest doubter in 08 thinks the fact we haven't won a title is an excuse to use when the Yanks lost

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  7. Faiaz says:

    The keyword in the title of this article is "BACK." Rays fans are so cute with their pride about being able to compete with the big boys. After losing for ages and picking up all the top draft picks from sucking for so long... what do you expect? To NOT compete? You are now, what the Nationals will be in a few years. You are not even as good as the Marlins as a franchise because you have no rings. Sad thing is, when the homegrown players are in the middle of their prime years... your poor team won't be able to afford them. Which is why your beloved Crawford will be playing for the Yankees next year(hopefully) and you can also say bye-bye to Pena. Since there are so many supposed rays fans... why are you only averaging 22,000 fans per game? The only way you sell out a series is when half the fans are Yankee fans. As a Yankees fan, I do however thank you for placing the Redsox at 3rd place.

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    • Don says:

      Dear Faiaz: You... like every "local" hang on Yankee fan are welcome to your opinion and root for anyone you want...
      But I would like you to post back when our young, homegrown kids beat your multi-millionaire "super stars"
      It must really hurt to see them under the pressure of playing aga. the likes of Jaso, Brig, Rodz and Joyce all making about $400,000...
      Keep this thought...if we beat you ass again for the league championship plus the playoffs...CC and our "real" players will be back next year...
      Then you can turn in the sideways NY cap with a TB cap that goes on with the bill facing forward...hey bro!

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    • Faiaz says:

      No it doesn't really hurt to see them under pressure given that the Rays are the SECOND best team in baseball. Games between the 1st & 2nd best teams SHOULD be pressurized games. No? I have no qualms with the Rays, they are a great team. It's just some Rays fans need to know their damn roles and realize that they haven't won jack squat to be acting as if THEIR team is the defending world champions. LOL at referring to Crawford as "CC" ahahahahahah!!!! Go and ask random baseball fans outside of the Tampa area who they think of when they hear the nickname "CC." Hint: He pitches for us. Seriously though, it gives me great pleasure knowing that people like yourself have such an inferiority complex when it comes to measuring up to the Yankees.

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      • Don says:

        You mean "CC" ...the pitcher that got beat by the "kids" in Tampabay yesterday....after all he faced our worst pitcher(Shields) who is bearly .500...
        Is that the "CC" you mean?

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    • Faiaz says:

      Yup that's the CC. I know that you & your inferiority-complex riddled mind expect the Yankees to win every game but it's just not possible. Oh, and while we are on the topic of reality... CC is our best pitcher and for the season he is 1-1 with a 2.53 ERA against the Rays. However, your best pitcher is David Price right? He is also 1-1 against the Yankees but his ERA is a whopping 7.11. Seems like Rays fans like yourself have convenient amnesia. Price gave up 7 runs in 5 innings like half a month ago which was the most he has given up in a game all season and possibly his whole career. For future references, please understand that in general, Yankees fans are more knowledgeable about baseball than Rays fans. So when you feel excited about posting something that you THINK will prove a point, make sure you do your research so you don't look like a fool, AGAIN.

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      • Don says:

        Who said anything about Price?
        I said your "best" pitcher who is .500 aga bunch of kids (Rays) and got beat by our worst pitcher yesterday....That CC!
        How's that point? Is my information ok?

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        • Faiaz says:

          Apparently, you lack the common sense required to comprehend the concept of a debate. I was talking about a nickname that Crawford has in the Tampa area... a nickname which Sabathia is known for throughout the rest of America. as a rebuttal, YOU are the one that brought up the fact that he lost to the Rays last night which had NOTHING to do with the nickname that I was talking about. Since you pointed out that our best pitcher lost to your team, in return I pointed out that your best pitcher is even worse against my team. So I guess it's OK for you to talk about something totally off topic but then I'm the one who is wrong for stating the fact that Price has an ERA of 7+ versus the Yankees this season.

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      • MikeD says:

        Faiaz, you're forgetting that that same David Price whupped on you the first game Rays had against Yankees this season. He wasn't pitching against Sabathia, but so what? Injuries and age are catching up with the Yankees, and will so for the rest of the season. Fat Elvis won't save you, not with that rotation and bullpen.

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        • Faiaz says:

          I am going to re-post part of what I wrote to Don. "For future references, please understand that in general, Yankees fans are more knowledgeable about baseball than Rays fans. So when you feel excited about posting something that you THINK will prove a point, make sure you do your research so you don’t look like a fool, AGAIN."

          Why did I re-post that for you? Well, if you consider the game that Price won against us when he allowed 3 runs over 7.2 innings to be a "whupping." Then you must admit that the ZERO runs Sabathia allowed over 7.2 innings he pitched when he won against the Rays this season to be an even bigger "whupping."

          Injuries and age are catching up with the Yankees? Yea that's why we have the best record in baseball and that's why both the Yankees and the Rays have exactly four players each that are injured right now. No one is relying on Fat Elvis to be a savior but he IS an upgrade over the minor league players that were taking up a roster spot on the team. Besides, if you think that the best team in MLB even needs a savior then what do you think the 2nd best team needs? LOL not with that rotation? AHAHAHAHAH... the Rays' five starters are 53-31 with a 3.77 ERA while the Yankees five starters are 54-26 with a 3.83 ERA. WHOA, such a huge difference... NOT. However I do admit that the overall Rays' bullpen is better than the Yankees' right now but NO ONE is better than Mariano and that's really the only area that the Rays are actually better than the Yankees... OVERALL... the bullpen. There is NO comparison in offense and on defense... the Rays have committed TEN more errors than the Yankees have this season. So if this was a chess match, me against you two... CHECK MATE. All you Rays fans are full of is talk, neither of you two have stated ANY actual facts, just mere opinions. Get some facts and then TRY to argue with me over who roots for the better team. ROOKIES!!!!!

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