RAYS 3, Blue Jays 2 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Alex Cobb. Three straight strong starts for Alex Cobb, who allowed 1 run in 7 innings. And in his last 21 innings, Cobb has struck out 16 with just 1 (!) walk. Jeff Niemann is now about 2 weeks from returning. Who knows what the Rays will need then, but if everybody is healthy, is there anyway Joe Maddon can take Cobb out of the rotation now? Even if Niemann is the better long-term option (you can argue he is not), Cobb is hot now…Fernando Rodney. Sure he gave up a run. But that just shows us how great he has been. He gave up a run and Rays fans everywhere gave a collective “huh?” It was the first run he had given up since June 14. And the first run he has allowed in a save situation since May 26. In fact, in the 18 save opportunities (17.2 ip) prior to last night, Rodney had 20 strikeouts and just 2 walks, with 10 hits allowed and an ERA of 0.00.
THE BAD: Rusty. Longoria had some good swings in his first game back, but that masked the fact that there were also some really awful swings. And last night we saw more of the latter as he went 0-4 with 3Ks and a double-play. And the Jays showed us how teams are going to attack his rust. Fastballs early in the count, but out of the strikezone, followed by breaking balls which players have the hardest time with when they have been away for a while. And last night it worked.
THE TELLING: Evan Longoria may get the day off, with the day-game-following-a-night-game treatment…This year’s top draft pick, Richie Shaffer hit his first pro home run (see below)…Jeff Niemann made the first of what is expected to be 4 rehab starts. He gave up just 1 unearned run in 2.2 innings…The Rays are 58-52, 1.5 games behind the Tigers, A’s, and O’s, and tied with the Angels.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- A group has come forth with a proposal for a stadium to be built in Pinellas county, although it sounds like they are short on details. [TampaBay.com]
- Yes, the Rays lineup is going to get challenging, but you know Joe Maddon prefers it that way. [TBO.com]
- Do the Rays need Evan Longoria to be the savior? [Big League Stew]
- What can we learn from the Bucs first depth chart? [JoeBucsFan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
Columbus 3, DURHAM 0. Alex Colome struck out 7 and walked 3 in 6 innings in his 2nd triple-A start. He allowed 3 runs…2B Tim Beckham had 2 singles in 3 at bats…1B Henry Wrigley went 1-4 and DH Leslie Anderson was 1-3 and is hitting .309.
MONTGOMERY 2, Jackson 1. Merrill Kelly struck out 6 and walked 2 in 5.2 innings. He allowed 1 run on 4 hits…SS Hak-Ju Lee went 0-4 with 3 Ks. In his last 3 games, he is 1-11 with 8 strikeouts…DH Mikie Mahtook was 1-4 with his 2nd home run since being promoted to double-A.
Bradenton 2, CHARLOTTE 1. Jeff Niemann made his first rehab start, facing 12 batters, striking out 3, walking 1 and giving up 3 hits (1 unearned run)…3B Riccio Torrez had a double and a triple.
South Bend 6, BOWLING GREEN 4. 1B Jeff Malm went 2-4 with a double and 4 RBI…2B Ryan Brett stole 2 bases, his 42nd and 43rd. That’s second in the ML…RF Drew Vettleson had a triple and 3 walks in 4 plate appearances. He also stole his 18th base…LF Josh Sale went 0-3 with a walk.
HUDSON VALLEY 2, Vermont 0. Taylor Guerrieri tossed 5 shutout innings, with 4 strikeouts and no walks. His ERA is now 1.06…3B Richie Shaffer his his first home run as a pro, going 2-4.
PRINCETON 4, Bluefield 3 (13). SS Brandon Martin had a double, walk, and his 5th home run in 7 plate appearances.