Cubs 3, RAYS 2 (12; boxscore)
THE GOOD: Brad Boxberger. From now on, if Joe Maddon turns to Jim Hickey and says “get Balfour ready” at any point in which the Rays have the lead, Dave Martinez should just punch Maddon in the face and scream “BOXBERGER!” If Boxberger was available to pitch 2 innings (he did), then why can’t he pitch the 7th and 8th and give the 9th to Joel Peralta (Jake McGee was unavailable)? If anything goes wrong and Boxberger can’t get through 2 innings, Maddon still has Grant Balfour to get one or two outs, max…Fauxback Uniforms. The fauxback unis are the exact opposite of the Rays’ regular uniforms. That is, they have character. They make a statement. Everybody either loves them or hates them. But unlike the Rays’ regular uniforms, they are not “safe” or boring. I still don’t know if I would like the fauxbacks if they were worn on a regular basis (my gut says “yes”). But I do know that I have an emotional reaction to them, something I can’t say about the current set of regular unis. And really, shouldn’t sports be about eliciting an emotional reaction, for good or bad?
THE BAD: Grant Balfour. This season is over if Balfour continues to get the ball in meaningful spots. Period.
THE TELLING: Wil Myers played his first rehab game with the Durham Bulls, going 1-3 with 2 strikeouts…The Royals have now won 7 in a row which means the Rays are now 6.5 back in the Wild Card (7 in the loss column). Even if the Royals go just 23-23 in their final 46 games, the Rays would have to go 29-16, the equivalent of winning 104 games over an entire season. Impossible? No. But the Rays have to play awesome AND the Royals need to suddenly be mediocre AND the Rays have to hope none of the 4 teams between the Rays and the Royals get hot. Honestly, at this point, it would be a bigger miracle than catching the Red Sox in 2011.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Stuart Sternberg was among those interviewed to be the next commissioner of Major League Baseball according to Marc Topkin. While Sternberg may have been a candidate, all indications are that most in MLB have been targeting Steve Greenberg (son of Hank), who doesn’t want the job, and Rob Manfred, who is the odds-on favorite. [TampaBay.com]
- The fauxbacks (new and old) were designed by Stuart Sternberg. [TampaBay.com]
- Stuart Sternberg on trading David Price: “It really was the classic one eye on the present, one eye on the future deal. It doesn’t make things easier today.” [MLB.com]
- Marc Topkin says there is “mutual interest” in bringing Chris Gimenez back after he was released by the Rangers. [TampaBay.com]
- DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] Nate Karns struck out 8 and walked 2 while giving up 3 runs in 6 innings during one game of the Bulls’ double-header. Alex Colome struck out 7 and walked 3 in 6 shutout innings in the other game. Nick Franklin was 1-6 in the 2 games. Wil Myers went 1-3 with 2 strikeouts, playing in 1 of the games…Blake Snell gave up 2 runs in 5.2 innings for Charlotte while Josh Sale went 3-4…Willy Adames went 0-2 with a pair of walks and a strikeout for Bowling Green.