RAYS 5, Royals (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Jeremy Hellickson. Hellboy had a nice mix of pitches last night, getting 10 swing-and-misses on 4 different pitches, including 3 out of the 10 curveballs he threw. The result was his second straight 7 inning performance and the first time he has struck out 6 batters in a game since June 2…Flash Jennings. Another multi-hit game for Desmond Jennings, who no has 5 in the last 8 games he has started…Sam Fuld. Super Sammy got the start in right field and did not disappoint with a pair of great catches and 2 hits, including a hustle-double…7-1-1. In the last 30 games, the starting pitchers have worked into the 7th inning 21 times. That’s a tremendous number that not only tells us how well the starters are pitching (2.39 ERA in last month. Only 1 other team’s starting pitchers have an ERA below 4.00 in that span) but it also makes life very easy on both Joe Maddon and the bullpen. The Rays have great depth in the bullpen, which becomes even greater when Maddon can pick and choose from 6-7 arms to get 6-7 outs.
THE BAD: Perfect Attendance Storm. School was back in session. The weather was horrible. And the opponent was the Kansas City Royals. It was the Perfect Storm of lousy attendance. And the result was 9,913 tickets sold for the Monday night game. That is the 3rd smallest crowd of the season…Numbers Game. No move has been announced yet, but it is expected that Luke Scott will be activated today and Sean Rodriguez will be sent down to the minors. It stinks because Rodriguez has been here for a while and somebody like Ryan Roberts has not. But when it comes down to it, it is just for 12 days (Rodriguez will likely be back when rosters expand in September), and Rodriguez has a minor league option and does not have to be exposed to waivers.
THE TELLING: The Rays are 68-54, and trail the Yankees by just 4 games in the AL East. The Rays trailed by 10.5 games just 33 days ago. The Rays also lead the Wild Card by 2 games and are 2.5 in front of 3rd place Oakland. According to CoolStandings.com, the Rays now have a 82.1% chance of making the playoffs.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Former Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett has been released by the Padres. [MLBTR]
- RaysDigest.comspoke with Luke Scott about his return to the Rays and his time on the farm. [RaysDigest]
- Would you be surprised if Derek Jeter ranked in the top 10 for home runs by a Yankee? [Chart of the Day]
- Roger Clemens is coming back? [BI Sports]
- Warren Sapp had an interesting interview on The Howard Stern Show. Joe Bucs Fan has the highlights. [JoeBucsFan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
Charlotte 9, DURHAM 6. Cesar Ramos continues to struggle as a starter, giving up 9 runs (6 earned) in 6 innings including 4 home runs…Henry Wrigley (13), Leslie Anderson (12), Tim Beckham (5), and Cole Figueroa (2) all homered for the Bulls…CF Rich Thompson was 3-5 and stole his 23rd base.
MONTGOMERY @ Pensacola. postponed
CHARLOTTE. no games scheduled
South Bend 6, BOWLING GREEN 3. RF Drew Vettleson was 0-3 with a walk and LF Josh Sale went 1-4 with 2 RBI…DH Cameron Seitzer was 3-3 with a double and a walk.
HUDSON VALLEY 2, Lowell 1. CF Joey Rickard had a double and a home run and drove in both Renegades runs.
PRINCETON 6, Danville 1. SS Brandon Martin hit his 10th home run and C Omar Narvaez added his 1st.