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.

Very sweet.

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.





  1. Don says:

    Kotch is the MAN, maybe he could also be hitting coach and show Rays players how to be contact hitters (Damon could be asst.) guys like Upton, Longoria, Rod, BRIg ect ect don't know how to get the bat on the ball for contact hits and sacrifices...Last I looked Kotch had 24 SO for the season....unbelievable .. thats a good week for BJ...

    • Daredevil says:

      You forgot to mention Mr. swing & miss, Kelly Shoppach. For all major leaguers with at least 100 at bats, Shoppach has the HIGHEST percentage of swings & misses. He is an embarrassment to the Rays team.

  2. Rob says:

    I agree - maybe not so much Kotchman because he appears to be a contact hitter anyway, but it is nice to see a ballplayer (Damon) adjust his approach at the plate depending on the situation. How many times has Damon just stuck his bat on the ball to bloop a single to left field when he has two strikes on him? Everyone else seems to continue swinging for the fences.

  3. ALLEN says:

    The hit that took Niemann out of the game was a double play grounder until Niemann reached down to stop it, a natural reaction. What was it, four or five of the 9 hits were infield singles? However, what is telling and troublesome is the showing of his fastball as he progresses through the game. Maybe he would be a great setup man, pitching 1-2 innings every other day. Who knows, perhaps his ERA would be under 1. He could be a new Benoit.


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