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Game Report: Monday, June 26th at Florida

Florida 8, RAYS 5

[Fan Graphs]

Hanley Ramirez beat out an infield single to start a five-run fifth-inning rally, and Josh Johnson survived a rocky start to lead host Florida. Cody Ross had three hits and two RBI, and Josh Willingham, Mike Jacobs and Jeremy Hermida each drove in two runs for the Marlins, who are 22-9 since May 22. Rocco Baldelli had three RBI and scored twice for Tampa Bay, getting a two-run first-inning home run and a triple in the third. Greg Norton added three hits for the Devil Rays.

[Akron Beacon-Journal]

How I Stacked Up

Here's what the '3 Up, 3 Down' you see on the sidebar (based strictly on my opinion) would have looked like had I gone with Win Probability...

3 Up
CF Rocco Baldelli: 22.1 WPA
RF Greg Norton: 4.8 WPA
SS Julio Lugo: 2.4 WPA
RP Jon Switzer: 0.7 WPA

3 Down
SP Jamie Shields: -44.1 WPA
1B Travis Lee: -12.5 WPA
2B Jorge Cantu: -11.3 WPA

My Thoughts

Well, we all knew it couldn't last forever. A 4-0 start for a rookie pitcher on the Devil Rays? That is a fantasy in itself, and indeed, Shields was exposed for the weakness that was apparent in his other starts, as he gave up 10 hits in five innings as the Rays dropped their second in a row, and third of four in losing to the Florida Marlins for the first time this season by an 8-5 count. The surging Marlins, who have been on a roll since being swept by the Rays last month, simply played a better ballgame. Josh Johnson, while not as sharp as his stats had indicated going in, gave the Fish nearly seven solid innings, and the Marlins' bats did the rest, hitting Shields hard with a little defensive incompetence mixed in.

That is at least partially why I am not concerned about Shields' outing. Yes, he was hit hard, but he was not helped out by his defense at all, poor cutoff throws, fielding mistakes, lack of mental awareness out in the field. All were apparent on the day. The Rays just didn't seem to be with it, all of them, that is, except for Rocco Baldelli, who managed another hit parade on the day, homering in the first and tripling later in the ballgame. He accounted for four of the five Devil Ray runs, either through him driving them in or scoring them. But his lack of support doomed the Rays in an extremely sloppy game.

Jorge Cantu continued to see signs of the "Double Play Virus" worsen in his system, as he grounded into one for the fourth straight day, although it was not in the first inning like the others had been, while Travis Lee played like someone who starts once a week typically does. Carl Crawford also didn't help in his second straight hitless day, and Joe Borowski introduced salt to wounds by becoming the second former Ray in as many days to close out the ballgame for the opposing team.

You have got to give the Marlins credit though, they are a nice, young ballclub that got a lot of hard hit balls en route to eight ruins on the night. Their pitching was not impressive, but they did what they needed to to win, and that is exactly what they have been doing for the past month. Hopefully the Rays can rebound today and clinch the Season, err Citrus, Series.

About Last Night...
Fan Graphs
The Tampa Tribune
St. Petersburg Times