THE GOOD: Elliot Johnson. You gotta love watching Johnson play baseball. He looks more like your UPS delivery man than a big leaguer. Yesterday, in just his 11th start of the year, he hit his first big league home run and later beat out an infield single. In some ways he is the infield version of Sam Fuld. You can live with one of those guys in the lineup. But we’re not sure you can live with both. And as bad as Reid Brignac has been at the plate, Johnson may be in the lineup more often in the foreseeable future…Casey Kotchman. He doesn’t solve the Rays problem at first base against lefties. But when righties are on the mound, the Rays have found their first baseman. Two more hits yesterday to raise his average to .341…Sweet Swingin’. Prediction: By the end of the year, Evan Longoria, David Price, and Matt Joyce will be the three most popular players on the team.
THE BAD: Andy Sonnanstine. Please, please make it stop. Just make it stop. We like The Duke. But he has no business being in this rotation right now. We don’t know whose fault it is. Heck, it might be Dirk Hayhurst’s fault. If he wasn’t on the DL at Durham, he might have been yesterday’s starting pitcher. But you knew before the game started that the Rays would be down 2-3 runs by the time Sonnanstine left the game. And this team doesn’t have enough offensive weapons to come back very often…Rob Delaney. 18 pitches. 12 balls. Three batters faced. Three walks. He is pulled. Cesar Ramos comes in. Grand Slam. 4-2 becomes 8-2 and game over. So much for “the AL’s best bullpen.”
THE TELLING: Matt Joyce was back in the lineup despite being pulled from Saturday’s game with cramping in his legs. His home run was the first of his career against a left-handed pitcher…Sam Fuld needed two stitches after being thrown out attempting to steal. He was pulled from the game and apparently “got a little nauseous.” Very un-Super.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Evan Longoria bare-handed catch video has probably surpassed 1 million views by the time you read this. [YouTube]
- David Price will take a little extra motivation to the mound against the Yankees. [TampaBay.com]
- Here is a great interview with Matt Joyce where he discusses (among other things) how he approaches each at bat. [Next Level Ballplayer]
- Parity? 20 of baseball’s 30 teams have been in the playoffs in the past 5 years. [Business Insider]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- DURHAM @ Syracuse: (postponed)
- Birmingham 3, MONTGOMERY 0: Matt Moore struck out 8 and walked just 1 in 5.1 innings. He allowed 2 runs (1 earned) and gave up 3 hits. In 40.2 innings, he has struck out 56 and walked just 11…SS Tim Beckham had 1 of the Biscuits 4 hits (all singles).
- Lakeland 6, CHARLOTTE 5: Alex Colome only allowed 4 baserunners in 7 innings. Unfortunately, two were solo home runs. He struck out 6 and walked none…3B Greg Sexton was 2-4 with 2RBI, raising his average to .324…SS Hak-Ju Lee did not play.
- BOWLING GREEN 10, South Bend 3: Enny Romero struggled with his control, walking 7 and hitting a batter in just 3.2 innings. Miraculously, he allowed just 2 runs. In 31 innings this season, Romero has 40 Ks, 25 walks, and a 5.81 ERA…1B Phil Wunderlick had a 2-run double, a solo home run, and a sac fly. The home run was his 7th of the year…CF Kevin Keirmaier had a single and 2 triples, driving in 3.
Joe Maddon (via TampaBay.com)