RAYS 5, Brewers 1 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Ben Zobrist. First it was the home run in the 6th inning that tied the game (obviously not as important, but couldn’t help but notice how it landed in almost the same exact spot as Dan Johnson’s big Game 162 home run). And then there was the RBI double in the 8th that not only broke the tie but kept the rally going…Starting Pitching. Nobody is going to want to face this Rays team in the playoffs if they make it and they keep pitching like this. In July, David Price, Alex Cobb, and Jake Odorizzi have combined for a 2.10 ERA in 15 starts (103 innings) with 107 strikeouts and 23 walks…Feels Different. When Zobrist hit the home run and broke the tie, it was exciting, but it almost felt like it was expected. Right now, things are going so well that a 1-0 deficit just feels like a game the Rays are going to win. If this was May, the Rays would have lost the first two games of this series.
THE BAD: Bossman the Third. Yunel Escobar was thrown out arguing a called strike in the 8th inning of a 3-run game with runners on base. And it wasn’t the final strike of an at bat, it was the first. Escobar may have had a legitimate complaint, but it doesn’t matter. That can’t happen. He now has that reputation of complaining too much and umpires are not going to give him the benefit of the doubt. And sure, maybe the umpire went too far in arguing back, but when an umpire tells a player to stop and that player, who already has a bad reputation, does not stop and uses potty words in a language the umpire understands, there are not many umpires that are going to sit there and not do anything. On a side note, I have long argued that baseball needs something akin to the technical foul in basketball or the yellow card in soccer. Umpires have nothing in between doing nothing and ejection. Some things need to be punished but may not be an ejectable offense. It puts umps in a tough spot.
THE TELLING: It was Yunel Escobar’s third ejection of the season, the most among MLB players. Only 4 other players have more than one…The Rays hauled down another team in the Wild Card race, passing Cleveland with the win last night. Next up is the Royals who are 1.0 game ahead of the Rays in 4th place. The Rays are now 53-54, 2.5 games behind the Yankees for 3rd in the division.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- You may have noticed a slight change to Alex Cobb’s delivery his last two starts. He thinks this has helped his pitches sink instead of sail. The thing that worries me is that Cobb’s motion is getting more complicated, not less, which is typically what the Rays want from their pitchers. The more complicated the delivery, the easier it is for something to go wrong and the harder to fix. [TampaBay.com]
- Troy Percival is now the coach at UC Riverside. [sbsun.com]
- Hmmm, this sounds an awful lot like the Rays failed bayside stadium plan. [BI Sports]
- DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] Merrill Kelly gave up 4 runs in 5 innings during the Bulls’ 4-2 loss. Hak-Ju Lee went 2-4 with a double and Mikie Mahtook was 0-3 with a walk…Richie Shaffer went 0-4 in Montgomery’s 1-0 loss…Josh Sale went 0-2 for Charlotte and is now hitting .224 with a .306 OBP and 4 home runs. He is also 0-4 stealing bases.
Matt Garza was always entertaining, but I don’t miss this.