RAYS 2, Yankees 1 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: David Price. Just another 7 inning, 9 strikeout, 1 run performance. In his last 10 starts, Price has a 2.79 ERA and is averaging 7.2 innings, 6 hits, 1 walk, and 9.5 strikeouts…Grant Balfour. I’m hesitant to put The Mad Australian here even though at the end of the day, he got the job done. But we still saw the bad side of him creep into the ninth inning. On the first batter, Balfour did not get a strike call on a pitch that probably was a strike. You could immediately see his demeanor change. The umpire was now in his head. He ended up walking 2 batters before finally getting out of the inning. Balfour’s emotions can be a good thing. But they can also hurt him if not directed properly…James Loney and Logan Forsythe. This is what we expected from these guys earlier in the year. The Rays don’t need these guys to carry the team. But they do need them to come through every once in a while. And if Maddon can get enough of the secondary pieces to produce occasionally, we should see somebody step up most nights while the bigger bats do their thing.
THE BAD: Joe Maddon. After the game, Joe Maddon took to Twitter to explain why he chose Grant Balfour to close last night’s game: “Closed w/ Grant tonight because I saw him walking his grandmother thru the hotel lobby today. It was an impressive moment. Liked his karma.” My first reaction to that is that he can’t really be serious. But there is no indication that any of it is a joke. And remember, Maddon is the same manager that let’s people at a Chamber of Commerce lunch pick his lineup once a year. In other words, the most mathematical team in baseball picked it’s closer last night based on karma and grandmas. I get that there are certain things that are out of the manager’s control. But the Rays can’t put as much time, effort, and resources into preparation and then let the outcome of a big game against a huge division rival hang on the whim of a concept that doesn’t actually exist and a grandmother who just happened to be in the same hotel lobby at the same time as Maddon. But what should really scare you is how often does Maddon do this and it doesn’t work. We never hear about the time he picked Sean Rodriguez to start just because Maddon liked the vibe of the green sneakers Hot Rod wore to breakfast only to watch him go 0-5 with 3 strikeouts and leave 9 runners on base. It’s like the gambler who always talks about the huge bet he won and never tells us about all of the losses. At the end of the day, most gamblers lose and there is a reason for that.
THE TELLING: Reliever Jeff Beliveau was called up to replace Yunel Escobar who is now on the DL. The Rays will go with the extra reliever for at least a few days. Also, Cesar Ramos will have to leave on paternity leave soon. Taylor Guerrieri, the Rays’ top pick of the 2011 draft and their top pitching prospect, pitched one inning for the Rays’ Gulf Coast team. It was his first appearance since Tommy John surgery…Jeremy Hellickson will make his next rehab start for Durham on Thursday…The Rays are now 37-49, 2.0 games behind the Red Sox for 4th in the East and 9.5 games behind the Blue Jays in the East.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Apparently singing an Usher song has become a tradition at the Rays charity fashion show. In 2012 it was BJ Upton and Elliot Johnson. This year it was Chris Archer. [TampaBay.com]
- The Worst Contract on the Bucs. [JoeBucsFan]
- DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] Matt Andriese improved to 8-4 giving up 3 runs in 6.2 innings with 6 strikeouts and no walks. On the season he has a 3.56 ERA and a good 2.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Hak-Ju Lee went 3-5 with his 2nd home run of the season…In double-A, catcher Jake DePew hit his first home run in 6 games since being promoted…Nic Wilson, a first baseman taken in the 24th round of this year’s draft, went 4-5 with 2 doubles and a home run for rookie-league Princeton.