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Brian Roberts Slams Rays Despite Large Strike Zone

  • This is the type of loss that hurts more than it should. James Shields pitched okay, the offense scored runs, and somehow the Rays lose. The common theme is wastefulness.
  • Want an exhibit as to why designated closers are wasteful? Look at Lance Cormier entering when he did instead of J.P. Howell. I can understand why Grant Balfour isn't ideal - he has control issues at times - or Dan Wheeler, or Russ Springer, or any of the dozen LOOGY - more on them in a moment - but Howell is the ideal man in that situation and we didn't use him. We haven't noticed things like this on a nightly or weekly basis, but when it happens it makes you want to name Russ Springer closer and put Howell back to roving.
  • Two LOOGY are wasteful. Joe Dillon provided little and played fewer times than I have for the Rays, but he did give Joe Maddon a right-handed corners option off the bench. Tonight he used Carlos Pena and Gabe Gross aggressively and with Willy Aybar being subbed out, it left the Rays in dire straits once the Orioles called upon a lefty with Gross/Pena back-to-back. This isn't a results thing either. Dillon versus a lefty is a superior match-up than Gross. Defensively Zobrist could slide out while Dillon takes over at second.
  • Wasted at-bat by B.J. Upton in the 9th. I'm still trying to process whether I like the bunt attempt - Upton was 5-10 heading into this game on bunt hit attempts, that's stunningly good  -- or not. On one hand: He's very, very good at it. On the other: he has to execute better, which he usually does.
  • Easy out wasted by Evan Longoria. He's fantastic defensively 95% of the time and the only reason his errors are frustrating is because they always pop up on the routine looking plays. I'm fully convinced if Nolan Reimold hit a slow roller down the line Longoria nails him.
  • Speaking of nailing, I have no idea if Carl Crawford gets thrown out at home by Felix Pie or not, but Kevin Kennedy is correct in stating Pie has a decent arm. Didn't matter too much in the end either way.
  • So Pat Burrell's OPS is around .730 now and above .807 in the second half. That's about .070 points below last season's number. I'm not saying we should be happy with his performance or that he's lived up to expectations, but his SLG is .505 in that time. That's encouraging if for no other reason than to show his power is still there. I think the relationship can be reconciled if he just starts walking more.
  • We talk about robot strike-callers a lot. I'll let this plot of Roberts' grand slam at-bat speak for itself: