RAYS 4, Blue Jays 1 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: James the Greater. In 8 innings, James Shields gave up just 1 run on 2 hits, striking out 6 and walking 1. In his last two starts, he has faced 56 batters, and has allowed 7 base runners in 17 innings with 17 Ks and 1 walk. And we are finally seeing 2011 Shields now that he is finally starting to rely more on his fastball…Pitching. Since the All-Star break, Rays pitchers have an ERA of 2.28. Unfortunately, they are just 12-11 over that stretch…Evan Longoria. It was just one night, but you could see how Evan Longoria changes this team offensively. And it is not just his spot in the lineup as he was just 1-3 with a sac fly. But Ben Zobrist looked a little more comfortable in front of Longo and the rest of the lineup gets shifted down to places in the lineup more appropriate for their abilities. As good as Jeff Keppinger is at making contact, he should never be hitting cleanup.
THE BAD: One Hit Wonders. A few of the Rays mid-season acquisitions all had good starts but had trouble keeping up the pace. Ryan Roberts has gone 3 for last 34 (.088). Brooks Conrad went 3 for his last 38 (.078) before being demoted. And Hideki Matsui went 7 for his last 60 (.117) before being released…Targeting Rays Pitchers. Earlier this year Joel Peralta was busted for having pinetar on his glove. And last night, the Blue Jays apparently didn’t like Fernando Rodney wiping the sweat off his face while on the mound. In this case though, the situation was handled much better with the umpire simply asking for the ball to be replaced and then giving Rodney a stern lecture.
THE TELLING: Brooks Conrad was designated for assignment to make room for Evan Longoria on the roster…The Rays are now 57-52, 2.5 games behind the A’s and the Orioles and 1 game behind the Angels. The good news is that the Red Sox and Blue Jays are starting to fall off the pace. The race for the second wild card will be much easier against 3 teams instead of 5.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- JB Long interviewed Evan Longoria prior to last night’s game for the MLB Network. Here’s the video. [MLB.com]
- And here is Evan Longoria talking to reporters after the game. [TampaBay.com]
- “I’m not the savior.” [TBO.com]
- Carlos Pena is going to start sitting against some lefties. But don’t look for Luke Scott to be in the lineup. Instead, it will be Jeff Keppinger filling in. [TampaBay.com]
- Don’t forget to check out JBF’s “Morning Cup of Joe.” [JoeBucsFan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
Columbus 2, DURHAM 1. Chris Archer struck out 8 and walked 2, giving up just 1 run in 6.2 innings…RF Rich Thompson had 3 singles in 5 at bats..SS Tim Beckham went 0-3 with a walk…DH Henry Wrigley was 1-4 with a double and is hitting .321.
Jacksonville 4, MONTGOMERY 0. Nick Barnese gave up 4 runs in 6 innings raising his ERA to 4.53…SS Hak-Ju Lee went 0-2…RF Mikie Mahtook went 0-3
CHARLOTTE 8, Bradenton 1. Eliazer Suero walked 6 in 5.1 innings, but only gave up 1 hit and didn’t allow a run…RF Todd Glaessmann was 3-3 with 2 doubles and a walk.
Fort Wayne 7, BOWLING GREEN 3. C Alejandro Segovia was 2-4 with his 14th home run…RF Drew Vettleson was 0-4 with 2 Ks and is hitting .287…2B Ryan Brett stole his 41st base.
HUDSON VALLEY 7, Vermont 5. C Luke Maile went 2-3 with a triple and his 3rd stolen base.
PRINCETON 4, Bluefield 3. Bruedlin Suero tossed 6 shutout innings with 5 Ks and no walks…SS Brandon Martin went 2-5 with a double but is still hitting just .220.