RAYS 7, Yankees 6 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Carlos Pena is home. Of course there was the grand slam. And there was the walk-off single in the 9th (you can see both here). And there was even the single to the opposite side against the shift…Evan Longoria’s Bat. The bat is just fine. And when he hit his home run (see video below), it was that inside pitch that we said he would be better at attacking this season. In all, Longo had three hits and walked twice. Not a bad debut…Ben Zobrist. Of course, everybody will cling to Carlos Pena’s walk-off hit. But at that point, it was bases loaded with one out. According to the Game Graph, the Rays already had an 82.4% chance of winning. The really big hit was Zorilla’s triple to tie the game. At that point, the Rays went from a 30% chance of winning to over 90%…Matching Up The Bullpen. Geez Joe, save a little for the rest of the season. Six of the Rays seven relievers combined to throw 4 shutout innings. It was indeed impressive, but at this rate, JoeMa will have worn a path between the dugout and the mound by May.
THE BAD: James Shields. C’mon Jimmothy, you can’t be staked to a 4-0 lead against CC Sabathia and then blow it. And you can’t be getting into arguments with your catcher in the dugout on opening day (video coming shortly). Pace yourself big fella…Evan Longoria’s Glove. He was only charged with one error, but it could have easily been two...Jose Molina’s Baserunning. We love having Molina on the team. It is immediately obvious how good he is defensively. But oh my, that dude doesn’t need a stop watch to time him on the bases. The coaches need a sundial…Jose Molina’s Bunting. Molina appeared to miss a squeeze sign when he swung away on a pitch with Sean Rodriguez darting home from third. When the Rays tried the same play on the next pitch, Molina fouled the ball off for a strikeout.
THE TELLING: Carlos Pena was moved up a spot to 6th in the lineup, just before the game. Nice move Joe Maddon, nice move…With 30-year old James Shields on the mound, this was the first time since May, 2007 that the Rays started a pitcher in his 30s. Interestingly, the last 30-year old starter was Jae Seo, whose last start in the big leagues came on his 30th birthday (May 24, 2007)…BJ Upton will start a rehab assignment on Monday.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- We will have several more posts on the goings on around opening day. So be sure to check back later today.
- The ball used during the first pitch was the ball hit by Evan Longoria for the game winning home run in Game 162. The Rays had to work out a deal with a former concession worker to get it back. [TampaBay.com]
- David Price makes a very brief cameo in this spot for the MLB Network. [MLB Network]
- MLB.com predicted that game 1 would “set the tone” for the season. Now, of course that is silly. So let’s take a silly look. [FlipFlopFlyball]
- Here are some fun tidbits from opening day. [RaysorsEdge]
Gwinnett 3, DURHAM 0 (11): Alex Torres tossed just 4.1 shutout innings, but struck out 7 and walked just 3. He gave up 2 hits…SS Tim Beckham went 1-4 with a walk, but committed his first error of the season.
MONTGOMERY 9, Pensacola 3: Alex Colome struck out 5 in 5 innings, but also allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and 1 walk…SS Hak-Ju Lee was 2-4 with a double, but did commit his 2nd error of the young season.3B Cole Figueroa drove in 5 including a 3rd inning Grand Slam.
CHARLOTTE 6, Fort Myers 2: Enny Romero was pulled after just 3 innings, giving up 2 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks…SS Derek Dietrich was 0-4, and RF Mikie Mahtook went 1-4.
BWLING GREEN 5, South Bend 2: Felipe Rivero allowed just 2 unearned runs in 5 innings…DH Cameron Seitzer had a double and 3 walks.