- Joe Maddon. Papa Joe was ejected for arguing after Jermaine Dye did his best acting job to convince the umps that a hit that moved sharply down the third base line came off of his toe. To me it was too close a call to tell, but that's not what Maddon was arguing about, he was pleading for some semblance of consistent calling. The original call was that it was a hit and that he was thrown out at first, but after Dye's antics they overturned the call and called it a foul ball. I like that Joe didn't sit idly by and watch his team get "hosed" again. Alas, they did get hosed again, but at least Joe got red in the face and showed that he's not just gonna let every call go against his boys without putting up a fight.
- Jeff Niemann. Jeff's performance was nothing to write home about, but he had another solid outing. One of the major signs that he's shown that points toward the fact that he's on the cusp of being really good is that by my count he threw 1st pitch strikes to the first 7 or 8 batters he faced. That is huge, as it puts hitters in an immediate hole and it allows you (as the pitcher) to nibble the corners for a couple of pitches resulting in more K's and subsequently more W's.
- Umps. I hate to do it, but these umps were bad. Not only did they miss a few plays on the field, but Brian Gorman missed a few obvious strike calls (for both teams) as well. Nothing ruins a game faster than crappy ump-ing.
- The Rays batters. After being no-hit through 6 innings two games ago the Rays were held to 1 hit through 5 innings last night. No matter how well a pitcher is throwing you need to find ways to hit, or you obviously will lose.
- The Rays batters. For what seemed like the one billionth time already this year the Rays left guys on third at the most crucial times. Good teams find ways to win by getting those runners across the dish. That's how the Rays prospered last year, by manufacturing runs by any means necessary, but so far this year they aren't taking advantage of those same situations and their record reflects it.
- The Rays are 0-2 without Dirtbag. Thank goodness he's expected back today.
- Aki will be back at second tonight after getting a day off yesterday (although he did pinch hit in the 9th last night)
- The Rays are 2-5 over the last 7 games, and get this: In their 2 wins they scored a total of 26 runs while only scoring 11 runs in the combined 5 loses. I wonder where the problem lies (and I was blaming the bullpen).