RAYS 5, Yankees 1 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Pitching. Everybody is excited about the suddenly surging offense. But let’s not forget that this team will succeed if the pitchers are on top of their games. And right now they are locked in. Matt Moore and Kyle Farnsworth held the Yankees to just 2 hits and 1 run. It was the third straight game in which the Rays allowed 3 hits or less. And Moore, who became the first player in franchise history to win his first 4 starts has officially announced his presence with authority. We’ve pointed out in the past that this was a big season for Moore. Like David Price, he was OK in his rookie year. And it was in year two when Price stepped up and became a dominant pitcher. Moore is almost there. Of course, we need to see more 8 inning starts. This was just the third time in his career he pitched in the 8th inning, and just the 2nd time he completed 8 innings. And he needed 117 pitches and just 2 hits to do it last night. But he’s moving in the right direction…Yunel Escobar. Amazing what a difference a bat can make. Escobar switched to a longer/heavier bat and he homered for the 2nd straight game and now has 4 hits (2 HR, 1 2B) in the last 2 games…Owning Sabathia. Man, CC Sabathia must hate pitching at The Trop. The Rays hit 3 home runs off of him for the 3rd time. No other team has done that more than once. And now Sabathia has just 3 wins in his last 19 starts against the Rays.
THE BAD: Ryan Roberts. OK, this is not fair. Roberts hit 2 home runs. That should be good, right? Well, for last night it was. But this is scary moving forward. In some respects, Roberts is a lot like Reid Brignac. He thinks he is a home run hitter. He gets into ruts sometimes where he is trying to hit every pitch out of the park. And hitting 2 home runs last night is not going to help him stop that. You could hear the concerns of Joe Maddon in the post-game media session even if Maddon was trying to sound optimistic. Maddon specifically pointed out that Roberts had an easy swing in his third at bat and wasn’t trying to jack his third home run. And let’s hope that continues. But we saw Reid Brignac have good stretches of not over-swinging. And he always went back to his uppercut.
THE TELLING: The Rays are now 9-10, 4 games behind the Red Sox in 4th place…Luke Scott will begin a rehab assignment today with single-A Charlotte for “at least a week”.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Rays have accepted undisclosed piles of cash from the A’s and Rangers (instead of Players to be Named Later) for Stephen Vogt and Robinson Chirinos. [Marc Topkin]
- Darrelle Revis threw out the first pitch for the Rays last night. Here is the video. [JoeBucsFan]
- Remember when Evan Longoria basically said James Shields had a losing mentality? Well, the Royals are in first place and Richard Justice says Shields’ presence helped transform the attitude of the team. [MLB.com]
- There is a Joe Maddon gnome Big Head in the Rays’ locker room. [TampaBay.com]
- Watching Durham Bulls Baseball is starting to crank out their Durham Bulls charts, which are always fun. [WDBB]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
DURHAM. no game scheduled
Tennessee 8, MONTGOMERY 3. Mikie Mahtook was 2-4.
St. Lucie 2, CHARLOTTE 1. Drew Vettleson went 0-5 with a strikeout. He is hitting just .191 (13-68) in 17 games.
BOWLING GREEN 10, Fort Wayne 5. Taylor Guerrieri gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits and 2 walks in 5 innings. He struck out just 1…LF Marty Gantt hit his 3rd home run of the year.