It was a team effort tonight as the Rays slapped around a Marlins club that been floundering in June. How did Reid Brignac lead the Rays to victory, you ask? Well, he didn't singlehandedly do anything that great, but he put together a solid game at the dish and in the field and since he hasn't had many chances to be the headline guy, I thought I'd throw him up there.
Brignac was 1-2 on the night with two walks an RBI double down the left field line. He also swiped a bag in the sixth inning. The one time Briggy did not reach base he hit a shot to the track in center that DeWayne Wise managed to haul in. Offensively, no Rays hitter really stuck out tonight as it seemed like everyone was hitting the ball sharply off of Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco. No one left the yard, but Johnny Damon, Ben Zobrist, Casey Kotchman, and Reid Brignac hit doubles, and Matt Joyce tallied two sac flies.
On the other side of the ball, Alex Cobb pitched a nice, solid game to earn the 'W' in what should be his last Big League start for a little while. His Line: 6.1 IP, 2ER, 3H, 2BB, 2K. Looking back at his performance, I'm not sure what to say about it. He only generated three swinging strikes in 101 pitches, but he looked in control of the Marlins hitters the entire game. Let's remember for a second that this is a Marlins squad who's one-for-June, but anytime the Rays can get a start like this out of a AAA call-up in the 5th spot of the rotation, I know they're pleased-as-punch.
Bullets after the jump:
- Johnny Damon's Texas-Leaguer-pop-up-that-found-a-hole double led off the first inning and was the 500th of his career. That double puts him on a very special list of players who hit 500 doubles, some other round number of something else, a solid-but-not-spectacular number of home runs, and a total number of hits that is close enough to 3,000 for us to care about. You've heard of the other players on this list, so that makes it important, too. I am certain that Damon had memorized the players of this illustrious club and even scrawled the numbers on his ceiling so he could think about them every night. This must be such a big day for him.
- Matt Joyce, Evan Longoria, BJ Upton, and John Jaso all went hitless tonight, though Joyce had those two sac flies and lined into an inning ending double play on his chance for a third. Longo scalded a ball to left in the fifth, but Logan Morrison made a leaping catch against the wall to rob him of extra bases. Upton also hit several balls hard on the night, so it's not like these guys weren't getting good wood off the Fish. Better luck tomorrow.
- Marlins third baseman Greg Dobbs made a cringe-inducing error in the sixth on a Matt Joyce popup. Whether he got distracted by the clanging of the cowbells, the off-white roof, or Zobrist trotting past him is unknown, but his two-REI error gave the Rays a comfortable cushion on their road to victory. Generally I feel downright giddy when the opposing squad exhibits this level of LOLfense -- you know, schadenfreude -- but, at the time, I just felt sorry for Dobbs. He didn't let the error get to him though, as he made a nice play on an Evan Longoria hot-shot to third to end the inning. OK, never mind my sympathy, screw that guy.
- Tomorrow's game comes to you at 1:40 PM and pits Chris Volstad against James Shields. Let's get that sweep, then go eat some cheese!