THE GOOD: Scott Kazmir. In the first 5 innings, Kazmir only allowed 1 hit. He went 6, giving up 3 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 3…Right off the bat, we get yet another gold glove play by Evan Longoria at third base, diving to his left to rob Jonny Damon of a basehit…We actually are not that big a fan of the shift that Joe Maddon uses on Jason Giambi and David Ortiz. We have seen stats that show that it really doesn’t make a difference, but it did yesterday. With Akinori Iwamura playing rover in shallow right, Giambi lined right to Aki in the 2nd inning. That was a basehit otherwise…Shawn Riggans made the most of his first start in almost 2 weeks. Diesel went 2-3, but the big hit was the 2-run, no-doubt-about-it, home run in the 4th that made the score 4-0.

THE BAD: Scott Kazmir’s fastball. In his first start of the season, Kaz struggled as his fastball topped out at 88-90. In his last start, his confidence seemed to come back as his fastball was back up in the mid-90s. But last night, he was once again topping at 88-90…Scott Kazmir’s pitch count. Once again, Kaz was at 100 pitches after 6 innings and could not come out for the 7th. Some pitchers have personal catchers. Kazmir needs a personal bullpen caddy to get him to the back end of the bullpen…Ben Zobrist was hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance of the season…Later on in that 3rd inning, the Rays would load the bases with no outs but only scored 1 run on a sac fly by Carl Crawford. That situation with the meat of the order up should be at least 2 runs. No excuse…When are the bad calls going to stop? Scott Kazmir had the runner picked off in the 4th inning, but called safe.

THE TELLING: The words “Gary Glover is in to pitch” scares us…Dioner Navarro got the day off for the day-game-after-the-night-game. He had started 9 games in a row…Jason Batlett was a late scratch for “personal reasons”…The Rays are now a full 2 games up in the loss column on the Sox in the East and the A’s and O’s in the Wild Card…


  • Don’t forget to VOTE for Carl Crawford to start the all-star game. If you haven’t voted yet today, go NOW! [MLB All-Star Voting]
  • This past week has been a Rays Love-Fest in the New York Times. “Rays Provide Yanks Glimpse of What Could Be”. Nice. [New York Times]
  • The Rays pitched their financing plan for the proposed waterfront stadium to the St. Pete City Council. Aaron Sharockman, who is to the new stadium what Pedro Gomez is to Barry Bonds, outlines the plan. [St. Pete Times]
  • DRays Bay has an interview with Aaron Sharockman. [DRays Bay]
  • Fangraphs takes a closer look at how much better the Rays bullpen has been in ’08. [Fangraphs]
  • One site compares the Rays ’08 numbers to the AL playoff teams of the past two seasons. The pitching ranks near the top of the group but they don’t see the bullpen maintaining their dominance and so far the offense is not playoff-caliber. [Freedom, Glory, America]
  • Rob Neyer predicts that the Rays will have BJ Upton signed to a long-term extension by the all-star break. He also, notes that after that, there will be no more excuses for the fans to not support a first-place team with all their young talent locked up. [ESPN]

Really, other than perhaps Matt Garza, the only remaining Ray who’s worth locking up is B.J. Upton. No, he’s probably not as good as his little brother. But he’s 23 and his best years are ahead of him, and he’s going to play in at least a few All-Star games.

Speaking of All-Star games, I’m guessing B.J. Upton’s locked up before this year’s Classic. At which point — assuming the Rays are still playing well — the locals will have no remaining excuse for not showing up to watch their team. At the moment, though, Tampa Bay ranks 13th in the American League in attendance. Not real good for a first-place team that’s locked up nearly all of its good young players.

  • Her Rays has a picture of Scott Kazmir that is RI-diculous. [Her Rays]
  • Sports Talk makes a comparison that we have screamed about in the past when naysayers say that the Tampa-St. Pete area won’t support baseball. They compare the ’08 Rays to the ’97 Bucs. We vividly remember a time when we would go see the Bucs play the Packers and seeing more Packers fans than Bucs fans. [Sports Talk]


  1. Robert Rittner says:

    I thought the bigger problem Kazmir had was control, not really velocity. Although most of his fastballs were clocked 88-90, a few were hitting 91-92. It seemed he had better control at 88-90 though.

    In any case, I think the stadium gun is slow, something Damon commented on when apprised of Garza's velocity per the radar. What bothered me was how often Scott let an 0-2 count get to 3-2 or actually walked the man. 1-1 BB/K rate is not good. Nor is 3 Ks in 6 innings or 3 BBs in 6 innings.

    I also thought that except for Longoria the fielding was not as crisp as usual. This is the second time I have attended a game in which Iwamura got confused on a runner stopping between first and second and threw to 1B instead of 2B. At least this time he got one out; last time everyone was safe. And although he made the plays, so no harm done, Upton looked shaky on 2 or 3 balls hit directly at him.

    I cannot say for sure, but I wonder if Bartlett would have gotten to (or at least got a glove on) 2 balls that went up the middle for hits. I didn't know he was unavailable and so was hoping he came in for defense those last 2 innings.

  2. DirtbagFan says:

    I thought Kaz's biggest issue last night was control also, but in a post-game interview Riggans emphatically stated that although it may have looked like Kaz was all over the place, he actually had great control and was trying to use the inconsistant pitches to help keep the batters off-balance (I, for one, would rather he just lean on the fastball, but what do i know?)... interesting.

  3. DirtbagFan says:

    Can't wait to see if Sonny can maintain his lifetime .400 batting average tonight...

    On a similar note, during the game last night they showed "2-win" Jackson taking BP, and I'm fairly certain that he has a better swing than Pena right now...

  4. Anonymous says:

    Where are the pictures that Glover must have of Mellot Joe. Why is Glover not getting on with the rest of his life. He is HORRIBLE. No lead is safe when he announced.

  5. Michael says:

    Not sure where else to post this so I'll post this here. Jim Callis posted a mock first round today at Baseball America, and he has the Rays picking Tim Beckham, not Buster Posey. He also has Posey going #3 to the Royals, so there goes my theory that Posey falls to #8 or lower if the Rays don't take him first. Anyway, here's the link:


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