Since the only thing I want to do right now involves a gun, let's go all bullets:
- Rays' bats are missingJames Shields got all 2010 last night as he served up his worst outing of the season. The offensive cellar-dwelling Mariners launched four home runs against Ed Hardy's Cousin, "Juego G," and went on to crush the Rays 8-2. Shield's line on the night was, of course, a real doozy: 4IP, 8R, 7ER, 7H, 3BB, 4K.
- Why did Shields fail so spectacularly against the league's worst offense? It's nothing magical, just a few missed spots, a few good guesses by Mariners hitters, and a few balls being hit to the moon and back. Shields' change-up was of the swing-and-miss variety at times, but at others it was either up in the zone or extremely predictable. Let's chalk this one up to the long plane ride and hope Big Game James returns to form against the Angels.
- In the twilight of the 18th century, Samuel Taylor Coleridge presented the world with the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Long story short: a ship gets lost, an albatross leads them to safety only to be shot and killed which leads to what can most politely be described as 'bad luck' for the crew of the ship. Well, in the case of the Rays, they have their own albatross in Casey Kotchman (being a former Mariner notwithstanding). Since Kotchman went down with an ankle injury last weekend, the Rays are 1-3 and have been outscored 26-12. How long will the Kotch-man hang 'round our necks like a Super Sam Fuld Cape? Unlike the poem, however, this albatross has the ability to be resurrected, and whether or not he continues to hit .350, he can at least make sure that Felipe Lopez doesn't play anymore first base.
More albatrosses and perhaps a silver lining after the jump...
- Speaking of Albatrosses, specifically of the golfing variety of three under par, Carlos Peguero took a three-wood to a James Shields change-up in the second and launched a three-run homer to deep right-center (That's a lotta threes). Peguero wouldn't stop there, however, as he crushed a Shields curve to left-center in the fourth. I'm sure the rookie left-fielder is taken in your 'BA<.200 AL ONLY' league, but if he's available, what a steal.
- Was there any good news from this game? Well, if you had Felix Hernandez and his 11K's for your fantasy team, that was nice. Kelly Shoppach reached base tonight... albeit on a strikeout/wild pitch. For the Rays, the good news came in the form of Matt Joyce and Juan Cruz. With the game well out of hand, Joyce knocked a solo home run, his tenth of the season, off of lefty reliever Aaron Laffey. It was Joyce's third homer off a lefty this season. Methinks his platoon time is over.
- Cruz relieved Shields and pitched three scoreless innings--his longest outing of the year--while allowing just three hits. Two of those led off the fifth inning, a Kennedy single and an Olivo double, but Cruz hunkered down and K'd Chone Figgins and Pegeuro before inducing an Ichiro groundout to end the inning. Ramos pitched a scoreless ninth, too, but if there was anything to take away from this blowout, it was Cruz's bullpen saving effort.
- Game tonight at 10:10 PM. Andy Sonnanstine faces Jason Vargas in what might be the longest game in the modern era. Get ready to sleep on the couch, fellas.