THE GOOD: James Shields. It took a career-high 126 pitches, but with 13 strikeouts (also a career-high, and tied the team record) and just 1 walk, James Shields tossed this 3rd complete game, and 2nd shutout of the season. He only had 3 nine-inning complete games and 2 shutouts prior to this season. At one point, Shields retired 17 in a row and 20 of the first 21 batters he faced. Oh yeah, he also drove in the Rays first run…Casey Kotchman. He continues to luck the crap out of those base hits. Two more hits, an RBI and a walk. He is now hitting .352. That would be good enough for third in the AL if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.
THE BAD: National League. Thank goodness Joe Maddon doesn’t manage in the NL. You’ve seen how he likes to play match-up on a day-to-basis. This weekend, we got a look at what happens when he gets to play match-up on an inning-by-inning basis. What a nightmare for those trying to score at home. Not even flowers would work…Elliot Johnson. Yep. The Sam Fuld of infielders. Yesterday he went 0-5 with 3 strikeouts.
THE TELLING: Casey Kotchman tripled for just the second time since 2008…The Rays are now 0-2-2 in their last 4 series…Interestingly, the Rays decided to go with the dark blue Navy alts on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the south Florida heat…Honey, somebody shrunk the Zorilla!.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Reid Brignac was placed on the bereavement list due to the death of his grandfather. He is expected to miss 3 games. Felipe Lopez was recalled to take Briggy’s spot on the roster. [TampaBay.com]
- Tyler Kepner explains why James Shields is so effective with the pickoff move. [NY Times]
- In a move that probably should have happened a long time ago, Scott Kazmir might return from the DL as a reliever. [LA Times]
- Here are some pics from a recent extended spring training game. [Rays Prospects]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Columbus 7, DURHAM 6 (10): Edgar Gonzalez was pulled after just 1 scoreless inning…Jake McGee allowed 1 run (a solo home run) in 2 innings. He struck out 1 and walked 1…CF Desmond Jennings was 1-5 with a walk…RF Chris Carterhit his 5th home run…DH Jose Lobaton had a double and 2 walks. He is hitting .337…LF Leslie Anderson was 2-5 with a double to raise his average to .258.
- Huntsville 8, MONTGOMERY 3: Joe Cruz was pounded for 5 runs on 12 hits in just 3 innings…SS Tim Beckham went 1-4 with an RBI before being ejected…LF Stephen Vogtwas 2-4 with a walk.
- CHARLOTTE 5, Dunedin 3 (11): The Stone Crabs scored twice in the top of the 11th on back-to-back RBI-doubles by Jake Jefferies and Chris Murrill…Alex Koronis gave up 3 runs (2 earned) in 6 innings, striking out 2 and walking 2…SS Hak-Ju Lee had a single and 2 walks in 6 plate appearances. He also stole his 11th base, but did commit his 10th error.
- Lansing 14, BOWLING GREEN 1: Victor Mateo gave up 5 runs in 5 innings. The big blow was a 3-run home run in the 1st inning…LF Cody Rogers had 2 of the Hot Rods’ 5 hits, going 2-4…SS Derek Dietrich was 0-3 with a walk and 2 strikeouts.
James Shields (via TampaBay.com)
Evan Longoria on importance of 60-yard dash in tryouts