THE GOOD: Johnny Damon Lives! After tying the game in the 9th, the balloon quickly deflated when the Twins took the lead in the top of the 10th. But after Sam Fuld (of course) singled, Johnny saves! A 2-run trot-off home run to save the day…Matt Joyce. As bad as the offense has been this season, the Rays had yet to be shutout. But in the 9th, with Joe Nathan on the mound, it looked like we were headed that way. But Felipe Lopez doubled and Ben Zobrist walked. That set the stage for Matt Joyce’s game-tying double…James Shields. We don’t need Shields to be dominant. We just want him to be James Shields. And last night was very Shieldsian (the good kind): 7 innings, 2 runs, 4 Ks, 2 walks. If he can give the Rays 7 innings and 2 runs every time out, the Rays will win a lot of his starts…Dan Johnson. Remember how Casey Kotchman is supposed to be the glove to Johnson’s bat? Well Johnson turned in ESPN’s “Web Gem” of the night when he made a sliding grab, ending up in the Rays dugout.
THE BAD: Matt Joyce. In a tied game in which Joyce was on base with the Rays first hit, Joyce managed to get picked off second base for the second out. Somehow this was BJ Upton’s fault, we just haven’t figured out how yet. We did think about leaving this out just to mess with you Upton apologists. But in all seriousness, this was ten times worse than BJ’s from earlier this season. At least BJ was trying to make something happen. Foolishly, but at least he was aggressive. We have no idea what Joyce was doing.
THE TELLING: Johnny Damon became the first player to hit a walk-off HR with 5 different teams…Rays came within 2 outs of their second game this season with no hits through 5 innings…Attendance was 100,420 (we might have added a zero)…All the Rays will wear no. 42 today in honor of Jackie Robinson…David Price was pretty adamant that he did not hit Kevin Youkilis with a pitch earlier this week.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- We have known this for a while, but now Major League Baseball has made the 2011 draft order official. The Rays have 12 of the top 89 picks. And if we consider that the Rays don’t pick until no. 24, the Rays will have 12 picks in a 66-pick stretch, or about 1 selection every 5.5 picks. Marc Topkin breaks down how the Rays acquired all the picks. [TampaBay.com]
- Want to save a few bucks going to a Rays game? Here are some tips. [Patch]
- 2010 draft pick Justin O’Connor talks about participating in extended spring training. [TheStarPress.com]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- DURHAM 4, Norfolk 0: Huge start for Alex Cobb who struck out 10 and walked none in 6 shutout innings. He gave up 3 hits, all singles…Mike Ekstrom and Brandon Gomes combined for 3 shutout innings of relief, striking out 5 and walking none…CF Desmond Jennings went 1-4…C Robinson Chirinos did not play.
- Tennessee 11, MONTGOMERY 2: Chris Archer gave up 3 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks, striking out 4. He now has 7 Ks and 6 walks in 8.2 innings this season…SS Tim Beckham was 0-3 and C Stephen Vogt doubled in 4 at bats.
- St. Lucie 6, CHARLOTTE 3: Chris Andujar gave up 4 runs (2 earned) in 4.2 innings with 2 strikeouts and 4 walks…2B Tyler Bortnick was 1-5 and RF Bret Nommensen had a single and a walk.
- BOWLING GREEN 4, Fort Wayne 1: Braulio Lara struck out 6 and walked 2 in 5 innings, giving up 1 run on 2 hits…SS Derek Dietrich went 2-4 with a double and is 8-18 on the young season.
It was opening night in Durham
Evan Longoria is feeling better (via TampaBay.com)
Johnny Damon on his big night (via TampaBay.com)