An impending tropical storm and Rays letting us down...feels like September has come early this year!
Although the team got a satisfying win on Sunday, it’s been a grim week. The Rays do remain in second place in the American League East, but they have sunk a lot farther from the first place Red Sox than I would have thought possible just a week ago. They will be coming home to play Cleveland today; keep an eye out for announcements about game times, as Tropical Storm Elsa may force them to rearrange Tuesday or Wednesday games.
Mike Zunino has been chosen as an All-Star ($). Salvador Perez was the catcher selected by the fans; Zunino was voted in by players. Kevin Cash and much of the coaching staff will be there as well, a reward for winning the American League pennant last year.
Here is Marc Topkin’s wrap up of Rays news, which includes an off-day visit to Niagara Falls ($)
I’ve heard some comments that his performance was “embarrassing” but I think Brett Phillips’ class clown pitching on Friday was pitch perfect. Giving up 15 and then 11 runs is embarrassing. Nearly failing to get a hit against Blue Jays pitching is embarrassing. But lightening the mood in a blowout seems like a great way to distract and change the subject. It also got a lot of attention. Here’s Adam Berry’s MLB breakdown, and the ultimate recognition, the Pitching Ninja treatment:
And it gets better. In this interview with Tricia Whitaker, Phillips manages to keep a completely straight face in a delightful bit of comedy:
"No one was going to tell me there were cameras in the pen?!"— Tricia Whitaker (@TriciaWhitaker) July 3, 2021
"I was trying to intimidate Teoscar Hernandez, get in his head. I let him know what was coming. A Mariano Rivera cutter was coming."
- Brett Phillips on his antics last night pic.twitter.com/vuItvDV98T
The US Olympic team includes the past and the future of Rays pitching. Scott Kazmir and Edwin Jackson represent the old guard; Durham Bulls pitchers Shane Baz and Joe Ryan are stars of the future:
Around the League
The Dodgers had the customary World Series winner meet and greet with the President. Yes, Cody, that’s the White House.
Bellinger’s teammate Joe Kelly made some interesting sartorial choices for his visit, and it turns out there is a story behind his mariachi jacket ($).
You may recall this scene, where former Ray Sergio Romo almost sent Full Monty on the field during an umpire check?
Stay safe, Tampa Bay friends!