THE GOOD: The Cobra. Upton has a great glove. He also has a great arm. Unfortunately, most teams know this and won’t test it, so we rarely get to see it in action. But in the 5th, in a tie game, with a runner on and 1 out, Alex Avila wandered off first base on a line drive to center and Upton unleashed The Cobra. Oh so quick. Oh so deadly. Double-play.
THE BAD: Evrything Else. Jeremy Hellickson wasn’t terrible. He retired 12 of the first 14 he faced. But a leadoff home run by a rookie in the 5th, followed by back-to-back 2-out hits in the 6th, and all of a sudden, the Rays were down 2-1. And when Juan Cruz came in, it was game over. The four batters he faced went walk-double-walk-single, leading to 4 runs…Felipe Lopez. Admit it. You thought we would never see him in a Rays uni again. And yet, here we were 3 weeks later, and he is starting at first base. Ugh…Kelly Shoppach. 0-2 and he is now hitting .167. Worse than that was the play he made on the 2-out single to right field in the 6th. Matt Joyce’s throw beat the runner, but was a couple of steps up the third base line. Shoppach took a horrible angle fielding the throw, allowing the go-ahead run to go around him easily.
THE TELLING: The Rays have lost 7 of their last 10…Elliot Johnson was pulled from the game with a sore knee after being caught stealing. MRI was negative, but he is expected to miss a couple of games…Kyle Lobstein was named the FSL (single-A) pitcher of the week and Felipe Lopez was named the IL (triple-A) hitter of the week…Andy Sonnanstine is expected to make his 4th start on Wednesday. *Gulp*
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Lee Singer compares the changeups of James Shields and Felix Hernandez. [ESPN]
- We asked it yesterday, and Eric Karabell and Mark Simon discussed James Shields’ Cy Young candidacy on the “Baseball Today” podcast. Which, if you are into podcasts, “Baseball Today” should be a must-listen for you everyday. [ESPN]
- Well, if you can’t think of anything witty or original to say, perpetuate the stereotype. [Deadspin]
- Will all the good prospects be gone by the time the Rays pick in the upcoming draft? [Rays Prospects]
- Are there similarities between Jose Bautista and Ben Zobrist that might help us predict late-blooming power? [Fangraphs]
- Of the worse positions (in terms of production) among winning teams, the Rays have three positions on the list. [ESPN]
- We kinda want to toss these guys the keys to our jeep so they can park it. [The Heater]
- A little background on Brandon Guyer. [Minor League Ball]
- Here is a review of Charlotte Sports Park. [Claw Digest]
- Sean Burroughs is back in the majors after being out of baseball for a long time. [ESPN]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Columbus 3, DURHAM 2: Alex Cobb continues to look like a decent alternative for the fifth spot in the Rays rotation. He allowed just 2 unearned runs in 6 innings, striking out 5 and walking none. His ERA is now 1.14…C Robinson Chirinos, possibly sensing how much the Rays need a catcher, hit his first home run of the season. He does have his average up to .241, which considering where it was, is pretty good…CF Desmond Jennings was 0-4 and is hitting .273.
- Huntsville 5, MONTGOMERY 2: Shane Dyer allowed 2 runs in 5.2 innings, striking out 4 and walking 1…LF Stephen Vogt was 1-3 with a walk as the Biscuits managed just 5 hits…SS Tim Beckham did not play.
- CHARLOTTE 6, Dunedin 0: Merrill Kelly made his first start in 10 days, working 2 scoreless innings, striking out 4…SS Hak-Ju Lee was 2-5 with a double and his 12th stolen base.
- Lansing 12, BOWLING GREEN 7: Braulio Lara continues to struggle, giving up 8 runs in 4.1 innings. His ERA is now 5.73…SS Derek Dietrich was 2-5 and DH Robby Price had 2 hits and a 2 walks.