So Joe Maddon takes Justin Ruggiano out of the freezer against a right-hander and he drives the nail through the Redbirds Saturday night with a two-run hower and turns in a Sam Fuld catch in left field.
Despite Casey Kotchman’s three-run double before Ruggiano’s blast, Joe was most fired up when Jeff Niemann got out of trouble with a double-play ball in the fourth. The big guy didn’t let his night unravel and hung in very tough with all kinds of runners on base.
The pen was lights out, and even J.P. Howell managed to control himself after throwing a couple of balls. Imagine that.
Joe’s going to take pause now and marvel for a moment at the Juan Cruz signing. Yet another scrap heap bullpen guy the Rays squeeze a career year (so far) out of. Crazy stuff. Almost makes you forget Evan Longoria looking more and more average at the plate.
Hellboy gets the ball to go for the series win Sunday. They’re really critical now. Joe hates to scoreboard watch in July, but with the Yankees cruising and the Rays going to their place next week, Joe doesn’t want to watch the All-Star game with the Rays nine or 10 games out.