- Carlos Pena. After a week and a half drought El Gato finally got back on the Long Ball Express, hitting his 14th homer of the season. Carlos also hit a double and finished the night 2 for 3 with 2 RBI and a walk.
- Akinori Iwamura. Aki was 2 for 4 with his first triple of the season, and has now moved his batting average to above .300 (.303).
- JP Howell. Howell worked another inning without allowing a hit while recording 1 strike-out. JP has looked amazing as of late and seems to be thriving in his recent "faux-closer" role.
- Scott Kazmir. I've pushed the panic button on this one. Enough is enough. With 3/5 of the Rays rotation struggling this team is going nowhere. There is a fundamental difference between, say, Niemann's struggles and Kaz' struggles though; Niemann is a rookie and has shown signs of improvement whereas Kaz has done just one thing consistently, stink. Kaz was once the ace of the staff and now looks like a 5 guy at best. Something's got to give. Soon. Last night was another "gem" for Kaz, giving up 7 runs on 8 hits in 4 and 1/3 innings, walking 4 and striking out 3. When you start as poorly as Kaz did you never give your team a chance. The offense did all they could to help, but this loss falls squarely on the shoulders of Kaz and all of his "mechanical issues". Hey kid, quit worrying about where your toe lands and pitch the dang ball!
- Melvin Freaking Upton. I don't know who I'm more pissed-off at, Upton or Maddon. Maddon is just being stubborn at this point by leaving Upton in the lead-off spot, and Upton is sucking beyond imagination. At first I loved Maddon's stick-to-itiveness, but this is just becoming foolish. If Bartlett can work his way up the line-up then why is Upton immune from sliding his way down it. Upton was 0 for 5 again, bringing his BA to .177- I wonder why the Rays can't consistently score runs...hmmm.
- It looks as if Maddon is on the cusp of signing a 3-year contract extension that would have him set-up as the skipper until after the 2012 season. I wonder- if Upton is still hitting .177 in 2012 will Joe will still ave him leading-off?
- Be sure to check-out my 1st quarter report card for the Rays.