Is nice to know we can beat these guys now and then....that makes us 3-7 against them. AJ looked amazing. Couldn't ask for a better start: 7 innings, 10 k's, 6 hits, 4 walks. One unearned run and that was because the third base umpire blew a call. With runners on first and second Crawford laid down a bunt, AJ's throw to third pulled Rolen off the bag but he managed to tag the runner while reaching for the ball, a great play by Rolen. But the umpire wasn't in position to see the tag and called the runner safe. So the Rays had the bases loaded with none out. But AJ did a great job of getting out of it giving up just one run. For a bit it seemed like that one run would be enough.
But Matt Stair hit his team leading 11th home run. And that 2 run homer was all AJ needed. If we trade AJ someone is getting a heck of a pitcher. At the moment I'd like to see if we can sweep this series. If we do, we would be on the edge of being contention for a playoff spot, in which case we have to keep AJ.
Also today, we got back to back triples. As SuckaMD said in the game thread how often does that happen? Would be interesting to know. Wilk first then Inglett to give the Jay an insurance run that, as it turned out they didn't need. BJ pitched a 1,2,3 ninth for his 20th save. Except for a couple of games in early June Ryan has been money in the bank, as much as I'm not JP's biggest fan it is nice having BJ to finish games. Speaking of great relievers, Snakeface once again pitched a great 8th. If I was the GM of a contending team I would be checking to see what it would take to get him in a trade.
Offensively, Shields kept us off the base paths for most of the game. His only mistakes were the home run ball to Stairs and the two triples in the 9th. He only game up 5 hits and no walks to go with 5 strikeouts. Of course, with our offense, often we can make any pitcher look great. But Shields is terrific.
As you can see the big moment of the game was Stairs' home run (yeah, like we needed a fancy graph to tell us that.). But when Crawford got on base via the wild pitch on strike three to give the Rays runners on the corners in the 7th the game was in doubt for a moment. Then AJ got Longoria to hit into a double play and the game was ours.
Jays of the Day? AJ (.327), Stairs (.208) and Downs (.124). Honorable mention to Wilk and Inglett for the back to back triples. Suckage Jay Scoot (-.088). Jays pitching contributed .528 WPA to the win while the bats were a combined (-.028).
My man Lind managed a double in three at bats to bring his average up to .311. Cito, it is time to move him up in the order. Scoot, Rios, Overbay and Rolen all had 0 fers. Rolen's batting average is down to .169 for the month. It would be nice if Cito would sit him out once and give him a chance to think. Rios, he's tough to get a handle on, the other day with the two home runs, had to figure he found his stroke, the last couple of days he has looked as lost as ever.
Tomorrow we have Doc going up against Matt Garza, so we might have another great pitching duel tomorrow, though Garza has been hit a little harder this month (2-2, 4.02). The Royals got to him for 8 hits and 4 earned in 5 innings in his last start. If they can hit him, we can too, I hope.
Thanks to SuckaMD (strange name) and jessef for joining me in the game thread. Is a nice way to watch a game, hopefully we'll get more people in in the future. I'm out tomorrow night so won't be able to watch Doc shut down the Rays but will have the thread up and I'll be here to watch Scott Richmond's major league debut. Am very interested, is a great story, a guy that was pitching in the independent Golden Baseball League last year. You gotta hope for a guy like that.
We are 6.5 back from the Wild Card but only behind 3 teams now.