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.

Manny who?

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.

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5 Comments

  1. Tone says:

    To be fair, Shields was amazing in April last year; and we all know what happened after that. I was ready for another 4 hit game loss, thank you Mr. Damon and SammyBay. More wins please. Reid, Zobrist, and Jaso look really bad at the plate. They seem defeated before the first-pitch strike is called. Jaso and Zobrist both have the same approach, wait for a walk. Reid just uppercuts. I am almost ready for Jaso to be sent down. He sucks defensively, so if his bat is missing, what good is he? Lobaton can defend and his bat has been on fire from spring training into the first week of AAA.

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    • Joe Rays Fan says:

      Well, Shields did get bombed on opening day last year and had some rough early starts, but good ones, too, behind big run support. Didn't Jaso belt the first pitch to the wall in the eighth? He'll be alright.

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    • JMS says:

      Agree Tone, Jaso could use a wake up call, and maybe a couple of weeks in the minors would do him some good. I don't know how many options he has left, and the Rays might not want to burn an option year on sending him back to the minors, but Lobaton is hitting .615 the first week. Chirinos is 1 for 25, so I guess that proved them right on sending him back for now. Jaso isn't hitting, but his glove is already killing the Rays, and it's starting to make everybody understand why Shields and gang didn't like him catching them. It's early, but Jaso just doesn't seem like he has that sense of urgency he had last year, and he clearly has issues on defense that he doesn't address. Maybe Joe Rays is right, he'll be ok soon, but I don't think his glove is ever going to improve without some actual coaching. Shoppach ain't the answer, we know that!!

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  2. Joe says:

    Brignac seriously has to go back to that swing he had the first few months last year, this uppercut is driving me insane. Every AB is a K or fly out, never thought I would see the day I was hoping for Elliot Johnson to come in the game. And you, Jaso, fine you can't throw anyone out, we have to live with that, you aren't the best hitter, nobody expected you to be but for gods sake you are a catcher, CATCH THE BALL THAT IS THROWN RIGHT INTO YOUR GLOVE. That bone head passed ball was gonna get him a day off anyway I think but Shoppach owns Blackburn. By the way, it's nice to see James Shields return to pre 2010 years and hey is Joyce finally back to hitting? Just needs the power stroke back and he can really bust loose.

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  3. Don says:

    Shields woul be an excellent long reliever..he pitches great for 3/4 innings then the hitters catch up to his BS change up/junk pitching!
    I used to defend Jaso defensively but not if he is not going to hit...the Rays are stuck..at catcher....SHopp is NOT the answer..so now what...
    E. Johnson is our best SS...sorry for Reid but he did it to himself!
    Damon was a score for us without him the young players are lost Longoria included(who? is he still around?)

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