HO-lee KAO! Johnny Damon's 2-run home run gave the Rays a late win on Thursday, and who else thinks these last four days have just been dandy?! We went from hanging on to the fading memories of Dan Johnson's late game magic to enjoying the full larder-houses of a team in contention.
The Rays (4-8) are only 3.5 games behind the Yankees (7-4) right now (who took first place from the Orioles in a walk-off sac fly last night). Yeah, tracking this kind of stuff is pointless right now -- but if we think that, then we must also conclude freaking out about a bad start is equally pointless.
'Nuff that! Let's talk about this win!
- Obviously, the Johnny Damon had a crucial night, hitting the game winner. He finished the night 1 for 5, and is easily on pace to be the Rays best DH since Canseco.
- Really, though, Matt Joyce was seeing the ball best, knocking in the 2 tying runs with his 9th inning double. Overall, he ended the night 3 for 4 with a double.
- Sam Fuld set the table well, going 2 for 5 with yet another steal (he's a perfect 7 for 7 thus far). What are the odds he turns into the next Andres Torres (a late-blooming outfielder with decent batting and great fielding)?
- Dan Johnson: Legit first baseman. Dude straight slid into the dugout (and under John Jaso) to catch an inning-ending foul. Video here.
- James Shields wasn't necessarily dominant, but he worked out of some jams and ended with a nice line: 7 innings, 9 hits (yikes!), 2 walks, 4 Ks, but only 2 runs allowed.
- The bullpen continued their relative dominance. Jake McGee, Juan Cruz, Cesar Ramos, and Kyle Farnsworth all pitched in for the final 4 frames, allowing only 1 unearned run (a passed ball from John Jaso led to Danny Valencia RBI).
- Tomorrow features a pair of righties: Nick Blackburn (0.77 ERA, but 4.55 FIP) and Wade Davis (4.38 ERA, but 3.17 FIP). Hopefully tomorrow is another regression day.