RAYS 5, A’s 2 (11) (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Alex Cobb. Wow. It was like he never missed a day. Even with a pitch count of 90-100 pitches (He threw 96), Cobb tossed 6.2 shutout innings with 6 Ks and 2 walks…Hot Rod. You gotta hand it to Sean Rodriguez. He has really embraced this Zorilla Jr. role. That is, he is a utility player, but he really doesn’t play that often (mostly vs lefties). But for a bench guy, he is versatile, plays steady, if not spectacular, defense, and quite often comes up with a big hit. He’s been doing this for a while and I’ve never once heard him complain or even hint at a complaint about playing time. Dude has a job. He does it. And he does it pretty well.
THE BAD: Grant Balfour. This is not going to change. Unless Grant Balfour suddenly finds an extra 2-3 mph on his fastball, this is going to be a struggle all season and a lot of it is mental. Balfour is an adrenaline junkie and that means trying to overpower batters. But right now he doesn’t have the confidence to do that and instead of unleashing his furor on hitters, he is unleashing it on himself. The result was his second blown save. That being said, Balfour did a solid job rebounding after the save was blown. I’ve said it before, I hate leaving closers in after they blow saves. There always seems to be a let down. But with the bases loaded and just one out, Balfour kept the game tied with a couple of easy fly balls…The White Flag. If you ever wanted the perfect example of how silly the Win stat is for relievers, this game was it. Josh Lueke comes in, presumably because nobody else was available. He gives up a leadoff double who eventually scores on a sac fly. Lueke left the mound in line for the loss. But because the Rays rallied in the bottom of the 11th inning, Lueke’s loss turned into a win even though he did nothing different.
THE TELLING: Cole Figueroa picked up his first big league hit with a groundball through the right side in the 7th inning…The Rays actually looked like they were going to play a game in under three hours. But then Balfour blew the save requiring an extra 2.5 innings of baseball. So of course the game took 3:45…Ben Zobrist is hoping to return a week from today against the Red Sox. Also, Jeremy Hellickson threw a live batting practice.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Some fans booed Grant Balfour. Other fans got mad at the people who booed. I don’t boo players. But I also figure if you paid money to go to the game, you can boo whomever you want. Just keep it clean. As for Balfour, he says the booing is “not going to help me out…it’s not a good vibe. The fans have got to be pulling for the team, everyone’s got to be pulling for the team. You can’t be going back and forth like that.” [TampaBay.com]
- It’s time for some Durham Bulls charts! [WDBB]
- Somebody redesigned all of the MLB stadium logos, including The Trop. [imgur]
- SportsCenter is about to get a makeover. Here’s what it will look like. [BI Sports]
- DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] The Bulls rallied with 1 run in the 8th to tie the game on a Vince Belnome RBI single and then took the lead with 2 runs in the 9th on a Kevin Kiermaier double. Enny Romero struck out 5 and walked 3, giving up 2 runs in 4 innings. His ERA is now 4.73…Richie Shaffer hit his 7th home run for Montgomery. He added a double, a single, and a walk. He is hitting just .232. But 19 of his 29 hits are for extra bases…Jaime Schultz’ first two starts of the year for Bowling Green have been impressive. The 14th round pick in last year’s draft struck out 12 of the 22 batters he faced in 5.2 shutout innings yesterday. He gave up 2 hits and 3 walks. He has yet to allow a run in 2 starts (10.1 ip) and has 21 Ks and 4 walks.