Interleague play is loving the Rays right now, as I make them 7-1 so far, after beating Arizona 3-2 last night. James Shields, who has been a revelation since being called up, got the win, becoming the first Rays pitcher ever to start their career 4-0. He went 7 innings last night and allowed only 4 hits and 2 runs, striking out 5. Shawn Camp and Brian Meadows closed the game out for our depleted bullpen.
Offensively Jonny Gomes, Carl Crawford and, of course, Rocco Baldelli all got in on the action with a couple of hits a piece. Rocco is currently hitting .388 since his return, whilst CC has quietly improved his average to .317, 15th best in the AL.
Some slightly disappointing news to go with this though is that Ruddy Lugo, who has been so impressive this year as a rookie, has been placed on the DL with a back strain. In his place the Rays have called up Jon Switzer from Durham, who’s record at AAA is impressive to say the least. In 26 games and 31 innings he has a 3-0 record, allowing just 22 hits and 13 walks. He’s struck out 29 and has a 0.87 ERA. Bringing him up gives the Rays a lefty out of the ‘pen for the first time this year – which I’m sure will give Joe Maddon a more-than-welcome extra option late in the game.
The current Rays pen looks like this: Shawn Camp, Travis Harper, Chad Harville, Edwin Jackson, Brian Meadows and Jon Switzer. If I am counting correctly only 2 or 3 of those were on the opening day roster, and something like 8 or 9 other pitchers have thrown out of the ‘pen for us at some point in the season. Lets hope that we’re finally getting the point where we can count on some consistant levels of relief.
World Cup Central – Final games in Groups C and D yesterday, and both turned out to be somewhat anti-climactic. Group D ended with Portugal beating Mexico 2-1 in an exciting game, but a draw between Iran and Angola meant that Mexico progressed along with Portugal anyway. With both Argentina and Holland already through in Group C, hopes were for some exciting football between the two best teams of the tournament so far, but in reality they were happy enough to play out a 0-0 draw. Ivory Coast beat Serbia and Montenegro 3-2 to get the win that they so deserved at their first finals.