THE GOOD: Matt Joyce. It is hard not to love this guy right now. Three more hits including a 2-run home run in the 4th inning that gave the Rays a 3-1 lead. There was also his running grab in the corner off the bat of the first batter of the game. That saved at least one run, maybe more…BJ Upton. We’ll get to the defense in a second. But his bat is starting to look like the one we saw early in the season. two more hits and a walk. He also stole 2 bases and now has 3 in the series after not stealing a base since May 1.
THE BAD: BJ’s Dropped Line Drive. The Tigers scored their first run when BJ Upton mishandled a line drive to center field with 2 outs in the 2nd inning. But we are not going to lay too much blame on Upton here. We watched that play several times, and it looked like it was knuckling the entire way. Have you seen a batter try to hit a knuckle ball? Now try doing that from 200 feet away on a ball travelling much faster. Not an easy catch. But it did cost a run…Missed Opportunity. It may not have seemed as bad at the momment with the Rays leading but Rays failed to score with bases loaded and 1 out in the 8th. Sean Rodriguez failed to put the ball in play and Sam Fuld grounded out…Did Maddon Overthink (again)? Without a doubt, Joel Peralta has been the Rays best relief pitcher. And yet, with 1 out in the 8th, Joe Maddon pulled Peralta for Cesar Ramos to face a lefty. Situational? Yes. But is it smart to remove your best reliever for an inferior one, even when the situation dictates? Tough call. In this case, Ramos gave up a go-ahead 2-run home run…Wade Davis. It is tough to say he made “one mistake” when that mistake cost the Rays 3 runs. But Miguel Cabrera battled Davis for 8 pitches. And recognizing that the Rays were trying to pound him inside, he finally busted an inside fastball over the wall for a 3-run home run.
THE TELLING: Rays are now 1 game behind the Yankees and a half-game behind the Red Sox…Rays are now 8-5 in 1-run games. The were 29-27 last year and 29-18 in 2008. Good bulpens tend to lead to good records in 1-run games…Rays have now played 49 games and have yet to commit more than 1 error in any game. That is a big league record to start the season…Elliot Johnson is headed to the DL. Reid Brignac will return to the roster a day early. This means Felipe Lopez is here to stay for the time being.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Dan Johnson cleared waivers and will accept his assignment to triple-A Durham.
- The Rays will not send
another player to the Padres to complete the Jason Bartlett trade. Instead, they will give the Padres cash. [Twitter]
- Don’t look now, but Ben Zobrist has been the 5th most valuable player in BOTH leagues. [Business Insider]
- Yikes. Rafael Soriano will have a second MRI. Don’t feel bad for the Yankees, but do wish MFIKY well as his season may be over. [Twitter]
- And Matt Garza is on the DL with a stiff elbow. eek. [USA Today]
- Is Jose Reyes worth more than Carl Crawford? For the record, we used to argue that the Rays should have traded Crawford for Reyes. It sure would be nice to have him in the lineup (assuming the Mets were paying some of the tab). [Business Insider]
- Is Barrett Ruud coming back to the Bucs? [Joe Bucs Fan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Columbus 5, DURHAM 3: Alex Torres gave up 5 runs in just 5 innings, striking out 2 and walking 3. His ERA is now 3.66…SS Ray Olmedo was 4-5 with a double…CF Desmond Jennings hit his 7th home run and is now on pace for 22. His career-high is 11 (2009)…RF Brandon Guyer also hit his 7th home run.
- MONTGOMERY: (no games scheduled)
- CHARLOTTE 12, Dunedin 2: Kyle Lobstein struck out 5 and walked just 1 in 5.1 innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits…2B Tyler Bortnick, DH Jake Jefferies, and LF Tony Scelfo homered for the Stone Crabs…SS Hak-Ju Lee was 3-4 with a walk and his 13 stolen base. He is hitting .374.
- BOWLING GREEN 10, West Michigan 2: George Jensen picked up his 3rd win with 5 shutout innings, striking out 5 and walking 2…DH Robby Price was 2-4 with 2 ribbies and 2 walks…CF Kevin Keirmaier was 2-5 with a walk and his 11th steal.
Sam Fuld (via TampaBay.com)