Marlins 5, RAYS 4 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Kevin Kiermaier. How fun in this kid to watch play? The defense is as advertised (although I will say I don’t think K2′s arm is as strong as people were saying. Rather, he makes really strong throws because he is so aggressive charging the ball and gets a lot of momentum behind his throws.) And the bat has been even better than we could have hoped. He has 8 hits and a walk in 11 games (7 starts) with 4 extra-base hits and a .987 OPS. Of course, chances are K2 is going to regress and this is just a hot start. But if you want hope that he can keep this up, occasionally a hitter will actually get better when he reaches the majors and there are good reasons why. The lights are better and the pitchers are more consistent. That can occasionally help a fringe hitter. Another thing Kiermaier has for him is speed, which doesn’t go away.
THE BAD: David Price. In the end, Price’s line looks pretty good. He had 11 Ks and no walks in 7.1 innings with just 1 unearned run allowed. However, he also allowed 4 unearned runs. While Longoria’s dropped ball at third base was a huge factor, Price did plenty in that inning to allow those runs to score. He gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning and then gave up a 3-run home run after the error. It feels like Price has had a bunch of games this season exactly like this. He looks unhittable most of the night. But there always seems to be one inning where things go haywire and Price has trouble bearing down and getting out of it…GTMI. Down 5-3 in the 9th inning, the Rays loaded the bases with no outs. They did get 1 run on a groundout. But ultimately they went 0-3 in that inning with runners in scoring position. That’s bad, but pretty normal for the Rays these days. The Rays are 0 for their last 31 with runners in scoring position and 5-53 in the last 9 games (all losses).
THE TELLING: The Rays have lost 9 straight games, their longest losing streak since losing 11 in a row in 2009…The Rays are now 23-37, 13 games behind the Blue Jays and 4.5 games behind the Red Sox in last place of the East. They also have the worst record in baseball, 1 game behind the Chicago Cubs…David Price was fined for his role in the beanball war against the Red Sox and Big Mouth Papi is taking credit…Jeremy Hellickson will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday with Charlotte in Tampa against the Tampa Yankees.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Times has some photos of Don Zimmer through the years. [TampaBay.com]
- Here is a collection of comments on the passing of Don Zimmer from around baseball. [TampaBay.com]
- And here is a collection of comments and photos from social media. [TBO.com]
- Evan Longoria’s home run was his first pulled home run since April 19. [Mark Simon]
- Here is Joe Maddon’s recent appearance with Steve Duemig. [620 WDAE]
- DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] Durham lost 8-7 in 11 innings after Jeff Beliveau and Jake Thompson blew a 3-run lead in the 9th inning. Mike Montgomery started, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) in 5.1 innings…Cameron Seitzer hit his 4th home run of the season in Montgomery’s loss…Charlotte lost to the Tampa Yankees on a 2-out, 2-run, walk-off double in the 9th inning. Outfielder Marty Gantt homered in the second straight game after not hitting any in the first 38 games of the season. Josh Sale went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts and is hitting .221.
Here is Joe Maddon, David Price, and Tom Foley on the passing of Don Zimmer.