Joe’s first reaction to today’s 3-0 stifling of the Marlins is one of appreciation: at least it wasn’t that colossal snoozer of a five-hour, 15-inning debacle the Rays turned in last night/this morning.
Will Rhymes’ absolute gem of a glove-scoop-shovel throw to first base via a deflection off Alex Cobb was a stunner that deserves plenty of love. It knocked out the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning and gave Alex Cobb another jolt of confidence. Clearly Rhymes is more comfortable at second base than at third.
Rhymes’ play was so good it was almost enough to balance out the disaster of a decision by Hideki Matsui to swing at ball four on a 3-0 pitch in the bottom of the fifth. Ben Zobrist had just walked on four pitches to give the Rays runners on first and second with one out, and Matsui’s reaching screwup was a tailor made double play. Inning over.
Enough of the announcers’ homer BS about Matsui trying to make something happen. That was just a horrendous baseball decision. Joe sincerely hopes Matsui didn’t have the green light.
Aside from the excitement of Cobb fanning 10, it’s soothing to imagine that Karlos Pena and Zobrist are really breaking out at the plate. Pena had a strong series, and Zobrist rebounded from his collar Saturday to continue his hot hitting. It wasn’t quite Kirk Gibson, but Zobrist driving in the third run today, after drilling a foul ball of his foot and needing a moment, was pretty sweet.
The nasty Nationals are next on the road. The Rays are going to have to play an awful lot better to win that series.