THE GOOD: James Shields. You gotta love what we are seeing from Big Blast James early in the season. Last night he tossed a complete game, striking out 9, walking 1 and giving up just 1 run on 4 hits. It was Shields’ first (9-inning) complete game since his 1-hit shutout of the Angels in May, 2008, and just the fifth time in his career that he went 9 innings. It was also just the fourth time in his career that he had at least 9 Ks and less than 5 hits allowed…Matt Joyce. Joyce has been hot with the bat. But in the third with 1 out and a runner on first, he made a diving grab near the line. If that ball falls, the White Sox have a runner on 3rd with less than 2 outs…Sean Rodriguez. Just let him hit! This guy has a big league bat. Let him use it…Kelly Shoppach. In a 1-run game in the 7th, Shields hit a batter to start the inning. Never a good thing. But then he got the next batter on strikes, and Shoppy picked the runner off first for the double-playto kill a potential rally.
THE BAD: We Got Nuthin’
THE TELLING: Rays are now 8-3 since Manny Ramirez retired, tied with the Blue Jays for second place in the AL East and just 2 games out of first…The new 6:40 start times are only making things worse for the Tampa crowd, but you gotta love it when the last pitch is at 8:52…Johnny Damon could return to the lineup tonight...The Rays will show support for the Lightning by wearing Bolts gear on trip to Toronto.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Joe Maddon says Sam Fuld is on par with Carl Crawford defensively. [TampaBay.com]
- Rob Neyer explains why Sam Fuld is a valuable piece even if he is playing above his head right now. [Baseball Nation]
- And here is a solid background piece on Sam Fuld from Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. [NYTimes]
- The Nationals admit they are scouting BJ Upton, but say that it is just routine scouting and they have no plans to trade for him now. [MLB]
- The Bucs are returning to Monday Night Football. [Joe Bucs Fan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- DURHAM 9, Charlotte 1: Alex Cobb struck out 8 and walked 3 in 5 innings. He allowed 1 run on 4 hits. He now has 25 strikeouts and 5 walks in 16 innings…Rob Delaney, RJ Swindle and Brandon Gomes combined for 4 shutout innings of relief, striking out 5 and walking 2…cf Desmond Jennings was 1-5…RF Justin Ruggiano was 4-4 with a walk and 2 home runs. He now has 4 on the year…LF Brandon Guyer was 3-4 and added his second home run.
- MONTGOMERY 5, Jackson 4: Matt Moore struck out 6 and walked just 1, but gave up 3 runs in 4 innings, all on a home run…SS Tim Beckham was 1-4 with a single.
- CHARLOTTE 5, Palm Beach 4 (12): After falling behind by a run in the top of the 12th, 2B Tyler Bortnick tied the game with an RBI single and the Stone Crabs won a walk-off wild pitch…SS Hak-Ju Lee had a double, triple and 2 walks in 5 plate appearances. He is now 5-10 with 3 walks since coming off the DL…
- Dayton 7, BOWLING GREEN 2: Victor Mateo gave up 5 runs in 4 innings on 8 hits and a walk…CF Todd Glaesmann had 2 of Bowling Green’s 4 hits including his first home run of the year.
James Shields (via TampaBay.com)