RAYS 5, Royals 3 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: James Shields. That’s five straight strong starts for Shields, who struck out 7 and walked just 1 batter in 7.2 innings with 1 of the 3 runs he allowed coming after he was pulled. The big thing was that Shields avoided the home runs after giving up 4 in his previous 3 starts. And on the season, 41.3% (38 of 92) of the runs he has allowed have come off of home runs. Interestingly, Shields got away from his fastball, which accounted for just 31.1% of his pitches. That is still up from the 26.6% where it was when he was struggling. But well down from the near 50% of his pitches in recent starts…Unexpected Pop. Jose Lobaton hit his second home run of the year (and received an ice cream treat to boot) and it came in a big spot. After having just given up 2 runs, the lead was down to 1 and seemed shaky. But Lobatron’s home run gave the Rays a bit of breathing room. It was just the 7th home run hit by Rays catchers this season. Only the Mets (3) have hit fewer.
THE BAD: Bunting Fails. For a team that hates to bunt, the Rays sure have bunted a lot this season (or so it seems). And that included 3 more bunt attempts yesterday, two of which failed. The big one was when BJ Upton, one of the Rays bigger bats, attempted one of the Rays’ emo-safety squeezes and ended up popping the ball in the air.
THE TELLING: Reminder: No game on Sunday…The Yankees lost and the Rays are now just 3 games back in the AL East having made up 7.5 games in just 35 days. The A’s tonight’s opponent is now 2nd in the Wild Card, 1.5 games behind the Rays and one-half game ahead of the Orioles.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Tonight’s scheduled starter for the A’s, Bartolo Colon, has been suspended after testing positive for testosterone. Tyson Ross was called up from triple-A to take his spot. [TBO.com]
- Sounds like Evan Longoria is bored being the DH everyday, says he is ready to play 3B everyday. [TampaBay.com]
- Watching Durham Bulls Baseball makes a case for promoting Leslie Anderson. [WDBB]
- An interesting read on changing the culture and mindset of the Bucs defense. [JoeBucsFan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
DURHAM 2, Norfolk 0. Chris Archer struck out 8 and walked just 2 in 6.1 shutout innings. His ERA is now 3.79…The Bulls managed just 1 hit, from DH Chris Gimenez, who also walked twice.
MONTGOMERY 9, Pensacola 8. Nick Barnese allowed 6 runs in 5 innings on 6 hits and 2 walks…CF Ty Morrison (3), 2B Derek Dietrich (3), and DH Ryan Garko (8) all homered for the Biscuits. RF Mikie Mahtook had 2 hits including a triple. He drove in 2 and is hitting .259.
Palm Beach 7, CHARLOTTE 2 (gm 1). CF Kevin Kiermaier drove in a run with a triple.
Palm Beach 4, CHARLOTTE 2 (gm 2). RF Todd Glaesmann went 3-4 to raise his average to .316…2B Robby Price went 3-3 with a walk.
BOWLING GREEN 12, Dayton 5. RF Drew Vettleson was 4-4 (all singles) and now has 12 hits in the last 5 games to raise his average to .294…LF Josh Sale went 1-5 with a double.
HUDSON VALLEY 11, Connecticut 0. Matt Spann tossed 6 shutout innings, striking out 5 and giving up just 2 hits and 2 walks…3B Richie Shaffer was 3-4 with 2 RBI. He is now hitting .282.
PRINCETON 7, Danville 5. CF Andrew Toles was 2-4 with his 7th home run.