Joe was jumping out of his seat like the rest of Rays nation, with the Rays comeback and re-comeback to win in the 10th inning before 897 at the Trop.
Johnny Damon’s got a six-game hitting streak and nine RBIs in 12 games.
But late heroics and resolve aside, and forgetting about John Jaso not catching a 10th-inning fastball in his mitt, Joe’s truly most excited about James Shields. That’s two good starts in three outings from a guy who’s proven fragile upstairs and was no doubt the Rays’ fifth starter entering the season.
Maybe Shields even gains more confidence from a start like this, when he gets smacked around a little but avoids the long ball and gets out of trouble.
Shields was a massive X-factor entering the season and so far he hasn’t imploded. That’s worth some optimism.
Scratching and clawing, and counting on good starting pitching and praying for good relief pitching, is the Rays game until Evan Longoria returns — and probably after that.
Shields contributing, versus being a liability Joe Maddon would stand behind to the bitter end, is a major bonus out of left field. And everything’s pretty special out of left field these days.