Royals 6, RAYS 0 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: James Shields. It’s hard to ever root for an opposing pitcher at the Trop, but if somebody is going to dominate the Rays, I’d prefer it be Shields. There was a lot of familiarity with his start.
THE BAD: Kevin Kiermaier. About a week after he was promoted we discussed how Kiermaier’s arm is not as strong as advertised. What he does well is he attacks the ball and makes aggressive throws with a lot of body momentum that give the illusion of a strong arm. That’s fine on a ball that he is charging towards the infield. The problem, as we saw last night, is that he does the same thing on balls hit to his left or right. It is a lot harder to make accurate (or smart) throws in this case. In one case last night, he made a wild throw to third that allowed a hitter to easily stretch a single into a double. Then, later, he tried to make a wild throw home that, in Dave Wills’ words, ended up “near Dunedin” (it was fielded by Longoria near third base). He’s young. Joe Maddon will sit him down. He will get better. Until then, we get to see the wild side of a hot, young, prospect…Juan Carlos Oviedo. Oviedo is supposed to be getting better as he gets more innings after an extended time away from the game. But he is getting worse. In his first 16 appearances this year, Oviedo had a 1.62 ERA and 16 strikeouts and 6 walks in 16.2 innings. After giving up 4 runs on Monday night, he now has a 5.65 ERA in his 14 appearances since. Over that stretch, he has 10 strikeouts and 9 walks in 14.1 innings…Heart of the Order. Sure, Shields can make lots of batters look bad. But the Rays’ 3-6 batters went 1-13 with 7 strikeouts and no walks…And Wade Davis. James Shields? Fine. But then Davis relieves him and strikes out 2 of the 3 batters he faced. All this while Wil Myers on the DL kinda felt like a slap to the face…Getting Late Early. We talked about this during the Tailgating post yesterday, but last night shows how hard it is to come back when the loss column number is so big and how devastating one night can be. The Orioles won last night and now all of a sudden the Rays are 9.5 back, and more importantly, 11 back in the loss column. Not impossible. The Rays made a bigger comeback in 2011. But keep in mind, the Rays can add wins but they cannot subtract losses. So, like 2011, it doesn’t matter how well the Rays play if the other team doesn’t also collapse.
THE TELLING: The shutout was the Rays’ AL-leading 12th of the season…Jeremy Hellickson will start today for the Rays and Erik Bedard has now been moved to the bullpen. Vince Belnome was optioned back to Durham after the game…Jeff Beliveau was optioned back to Durham with the return of Cesar Ramos from paternity leave…Yunel Escobar was supposed to start a 3-game rehab stint last night, but the Gulf Coast league game was rained out. Escobar will suit up for Charlotte tonight and tomorrow…Sean Rodriguez made his second straight start against a right-hander as it appears Joe Maddon is trying to get him more at bats…
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Joe Maddon after the game on Kevin Kiermaier’s defense: “He just overboogies sometimes. He plays so hard all the time. I’ll take that exuberance. He’ll be able to temper that. It’s much more difficult to get somebody to turn up the dial. His is already at full throttle as they would say so I’m good with him.”
- Joe Maddon on Wade Davis’s appearance: “We just do a nice job at developing pitchers. That’s what I thought.”
- The Rays officially announced the signing of 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Adrian Rondon. [TampaBay.com]
- DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] Matt Andriese gave up just 1 run in 7 innings for Durham, striking out 4 and walking 2…Victor Mateo pitched 6 shutout innings for Montgomery and Ryan Brett had 3 hits, including a double and a triple…Casey Gillaspie went 1-3 with a double and 2 strikeouts. He is now hitting .238 with 3 home runs, 27 strikeouts and 10 walks.