RAYS 8, Orioles 7 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Kyle Farnsworth. As big as Joyce’s home run was, Farnsworth was just as important. After the Orioles had retaken the lead in the 7th, Farnsville came in with 1 out and runners on 1st and 3rd. But he got the groundball double-play the Rays desperately needed and kept the game close…Matt Joyce and Shelley Duncan. For all the talk about the offense, what we really mean is that there is a glaring lack of power. And that is especially true with Luke Scott on the shelf and Wil Myers in the minors. So it is nice to see Duncan go deep to tie the game in the sixth and even better to see Joyce go deep to win the game…Balanced Offense. Outside of the power, the Rays need to find balance in the lineup. What I mean is that there are some glaring holes offensively. Most managers will clump all those guys together at the bottom of the order. The problem with that is that you give the opposing pitcher a break for 2-3 batters. But at the same time, you want to make sure guys like Evan Longoria are protected. Last night there was good balance. The top 3 hitters in the lineup had 5 hits. The middle 3 had 4 hits including a home run. And the bottom 3 had 5 hits and a home run (that’s including pinch-hitters). If a team gets production, any production, from each of those three sections, they will win a lot of games.
THE BAD: Fernando Rodney. El Tejon blew just two saves in 2012. But after just one appearance in 2013, Rodney has already blown a save. Was it just an off night? I hope so. Rodney’s fastball started slow (94). But by the end of the inning it was back up to 98. So it is hard not to look back at how he was used in the World Baseball Classic (too much) and how Joe Maddon had to shut him down just prior to the season starting. And now Rodney is being asked to re-ramp up the arm. That is a lot to expect from a max-effort pitcher like Rodney.
THE TELLING: BJ Upton is off to a rough start with the Braves. He is 0-8 with 5 strikeouts, including an 0-4 with 4 strikeouts last night…The Durham Bulls open tonight with Chris Archer on the mound…Roberto Hernandez will make his debut today.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- As expected, Evan Longoria’s comments have reached James Shields who is “disappointed” and thinks Longoria should “be worried about his own team.” That last quote is the troubling one. That one makes it sound like Shields is not giving Longoria the benefit of the doubt with the quote. And if that is true, it makes it sound like there might have been some underlying tension between the two while they were teammates. [TampaBay.com]
- And now the national media is starting to pick up on Evan Longoria’s comments. [CBS Sports]
- Some people are protective of others. And some have the natural instinct to protect themselves. It might be something that is hardwired in us when we are born. And this guy is definitely part of the latter group. [BI Sports]
- The Montgomery Biscuits have a new cap. [Biscuit Crumbs]
- Who will the Bucs draft? [JoeBucsFan]