RAYS 8, A’s 1 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Getting Up Early. In the last 6 games the Rays have outscored their opponents 11-3 in the first inning. They scored just 1 run in the first inning during the first 12 games of the season. And yesterday continued the early trend as the Rays put 3 runs on the board in the first inning…Boom Sticks. The Rays have suddenly homered in 7 straight games after hitting just 4 HRs in their first 11 games. On Sunday it was Yunel Escobar hitting his first home run of the season. He went 3-4 in his best game yet with the Rays. James Loney didn’t start, be nearly added another home run late in the game. He hit a ball harder than he has hit one all year. But it was a line drive and ended up as a double….Pitching. The A’s entered the series leading all teams in runs scored (6.0 runs per game). But in this series, they managed just 4 runs in 3 games. In fact, Saturday and Sunday were the first two games all season in which the A’s failed to pick up an extra-base hit. Roberto Hernandez was the latest to shut them down with his best performance of the year so far. He struck out 7 and allowed just 1 run in 6 innings. The strikeouts have been a pleasant surprise. Prior to this season, Hernandez struck out just 5.4 batters per 9 innings. This season it is 9.1 Ks per 9 innings.
THE BAD: Jake McGee. It wasn’t all bad. There were flashes of his brilliance. And he didn’t allow a run. But once again, he threw 22 pitches, and all 22 were fastballs. And to make matters worse, he struggled with his control, as only 10 of the pitches were strikes.
THE TELLING: Joe Maddon’s latest trick was to invite a magician to the locker room. The looks on the faces of David Price and Don Zimmer are amazing…This was the Rays’ first sweep of the season, and their first 3-game winning streak…The win was Roberto Hernandez’ first since 2011. It was also the first win by a free agent starting pitcher for the Rays since Hideo Nomo in June, 2005…Evan Longoria has reached base in all 18 games…Desmond Jennings‘ unassisted double-play by tagging first base for the second out was the first by a center fielder since 1992…The Rays are no longer in last place, one-half game ahead of the Blue Jays, but still 4 games behind the Red Sox.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- After the game, Yunel Escobar opened up about playing with the Rays: “I’m really happy with this team. I’ve never felt like this before with any team. I hope I can be a part of this team for the
rest of my career.”
- Luke Scott says he is ready for a rehab assignment. [TampaBay.com]
- Neil Diamond showed up on Saturday to Fenway Park to sing “Sweet Caroline.” How he ended up there is a pretty cool story. [BI Sports]
- Here is a video and a bunch of images from the ceremony at Fenway on Saturday. [BI Sports]
- Hey, look who was ejected for arguing a called third strike. [MLB.com]
- The Bucs finally completed their trade for Darrelle Revis. Joe Bucs Fan has everything you need to know. [JoeBucsFan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
Norfolk 8, DURHAM 4. After hitting his first home run of the season on Saturday, Wil Myers was 1-4 with a walk and his first stolen base…Leslie Anderson went 1-4 with a walk and Tim Beckham , who is now back at shortstop, went 2-4.
MONTGOMERY 9, Tennessee 6. Mikie Mahtook had a triple in 6 at bats. He is now hitting just .191 (13-68).
St. Lucie 1, CHARLOTTE 0. Drew Vettleson was 0-4 and Richie Shaffer was 0-3 with a walk. Vettleson is just 13-63 (.206) and Shaffer is 12-55 (.218).