THE GOOD: BJ Upton. Sometimes results is more than just ability or lack of it. If you have watched BJ Upton closely over the last couple of seasons, you saw a different BJ yesterday. When he is going well, maybe more than any other player on the Rays, you can just see his confidence change. He walks/stands more upright. His swing has more purpose. His face looks more determined. Who knows how long it will last. But right now, BJ’s head is where is needs to be…James Shields. We knew the offense was going to struggle at times. Well, we hope it is just “at times.” But if the Rays were to be successful this season, they needed a dominant James Shields. It was just one start, but last night he was dominant.
THE BAD: So Close. As bad as the offense has been, the Rays came within inches of tying the game in the 9th and within a couple of feet of winning it when Ben Zobrist had his long flyball caught at the wall to end the game…Offense Continues To Sputter. Last season, the Rays were held hitless for at least 5 innings on 8 different occasions (by our count). Last night was the first of 2011 as the Rays didn’t pick up their first hit until the 7th inning. It has now been 2 games, and the Rays have a total of 2 runs and 8 hits in 18 innings…Jake McGee. Want to know why McGee is not ready to be the closer? Fastballs alone won’t get the job done even if it is 97mph. It definitely won’t get the job done when it is your only good pitch and it is 92 mph, as it was to Brian Roberts who hit a 3-run home run…As If That Wasn’t Bad Enough. Evan Longoria was pulled from the game early with a “sore left oblique.”
THE TELLING: The way things are going, we fully expect Manny Ramirez to quit on this team at some point today…Elliot Johnson will start today. It will be his first start since April 20, 2008. Also Sean Rodriguez will start at 3B in Evan Longoria’s absense…Elliot Johnson was named the Rays top rookie in Spring Training, winning the Al Lopez award. It is the second time he has won the award.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Evan Longoria hopes to avoid the DL, but is still expected to miss at least a week. However, Joe Maddon wouldn’t rule out a DL stint saying Longo will be reevaluated today. [The Heater]
- We may have linked to this already, but here is the David Price bobblehead that the Biscuits are giving away on Friday. [Biscuit Crumbs]
- Understandably, it’s financially reasonable to keep old equipment if it still works. But considering how brand-conscious the Rays are, it is strange to see the old logo still hanging around the Trop. [James Shapiro]
James Shields on his first start of the year (via TampaBay.com)
Evan Longoria on his sore oblique (via TampaBay.com)