- The Bullpen. When Kazmir was pulled after 3 and 1/3 the Indians had a 7 run lead off 10 hits. Enter the bully- Cormier, Percival, Howell, and Wheeler (who got the W) combined to pitch the remainder of the game allowing zero runs on 1 hit, striking out 4 (3 of which were recorded by Cormier) and walking 2 in 5 and 2/3 innings. This is remarkable by any standards, but even more so considering how overused they've been over the past week. Cormier did a fine job of stopping the bleeding, Percival looked as good as he's been all year, Howell wanted to fight Martinez, and Wheels got the job done in the clutch. Well done gentlemen, well done indeed.
- Melvin Upton. It took approximately six hours of being "On-Notice" (see sidebar) for the player formerly known as Bossman Jr. to end his 27 game homerun-less streak (and hopefully his hitting slump in general). Upton blasted a walk-off homer for the win forcing me to take him right back off-notice and setting a new record for shortest tenure in the dog-house (although he arguably could have been put on-notice weeks ago). Melvin finished the night 3 for 5 with a double, 2 steals, and 1 very important RBI.
- Joe Maddon. Joe typically takes a lot of heat around here for some of his less-conventional decisions, so I've got to give credit where it's due. Maddon's decision to pitch Percival in the 7th to make sure that the Rays would have a chance to complete the comeback was one of those underrated moves that earned Joe his credibility to begin with. Well played( because it worked- heaven help us had Percy laid an egg).
- Ben Zobrist. All this guy does is hit homers when it matters. somewhat reminicent of Gabe Gross last season. Zobrist hit a solo homer in the 8th to tie the game. It was his 7th homer of the year in only 77 at-bats. For all you math wizards out there, that's 1 every 11 at bats. Pretty impressive for a AAAA player/super-duper utility guy.
- Carl Crawford. CC was 2 for 4 from the plate and swiped 2 more bases (24).
- Boston lost.
- Scott Kazmir. Hey Mets, want a pitcher? Kazmir was awful again, lasting only 3 and 1/3 innings allowing 7 runs on 10 hits, walking 4 and striking out 2. I'm too disgusted to get into the starting pitching situation right now, but I can say this definitively; the Rays will not continue to win games until this pitching staff gets their heads out of their collective... (I have a no cursing policy, but you get my point). Let's not forget that this is the top of their rotation that has allowed the worst team in the AL to jump-out to 9 and 7 run leads respectively. You boys should be hanging your heads in shame while you lay in bed in the fetal position sucking your thumbs and trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
- Greg Gibson. Gibson was the home plate ump last night and earned his way into the "whine" by not letting Howell and Martinez duke it out. Martinez over-reacted when Howell buzzed the tower and wanted a piece of J.P.. I say Gibson should've let him charge the mound (although, and this may be the first/last time I'll ever say this, I'd have felt better about a brawl if *gulp* Jonny Gomes were there... there i said it). Martinez is quite a bit bigger than Howell, but JP's got that swagger and the Rays seem like they need some sort of spark to light a fire under their butts (hopefully Melvin's walk-off HR will suffice).
- Attendance at the Trop last night was 25,827. Not bad for a Friday night against the Indians while the team is struffling.
- Last night's comeback win was the biggest in team history.