- Jeff Niemann. The kid definitely deserves some credit for this one, despite the fact that he could've pitched the crappiest game of his career and still gotten the W. Niemann, who has struggled all year, finally found a way to pound the strike zone and put together a good outing. Jeff was able to avoid the "big inning" and put up some fairly impressive numbers along the way, allowing just 8 hits in 8 innings, surrendering 4 runs (3 earned), while striking out 3 and walking...wait for it... ZERO. Hopefully this start will give Niemann the confidence he needs in order to put some consistent starts together.
- Jason Bartlett. Its getting to the point that he essentially has his own parking space up here. JB produced again, going 3 for 3 from the plate with 5 (yes, 5) RBI and a walk (those numbers are good enough for me to accidentally forget to mention his throwing error).
- Carlos Pena. El Gato gets some love for showing that he's not a one trick pony. He can do more than just hit homers. Pena worked over the pitchers all night amassing 3 walks to go along with his 1 hit. Pena's BA is still way lower than I'd like to see, but his patience at the plate has his OBP looking okay regardless.
- Ben Zobrist. Nice catch (pic).
- Melvin Upton. The player formerly known as Bossman Jr was back to his old tricks going 0 for 3... again.
- The top of the lineup. Actually the 9, 1, and 2 batters (Hernandez, Upton/Gross, Crawford/Kapler). These "players" combined to be 0 for 13 from the plate. o for 13! Five of the team's 10 strike-outs came from these gentlemen as well. If it weren't for 9 walks I don't see how the Rays win this game. Take it as a gift and move forward.
- The freaking Blue Jays keep winning. Cut that crap out already!
- Jason Isringhousen made his Rays debut last night working 1 inning, allowing 1 hit and no runs. As a gesture of good-will and as a "coming-up" present I've decided to take Isringhousen "off-notice", for now... but he's on a short leash.
- The Rays are finally back to .500 for the first time since being 4-4 on April 14th.
- Niemann joins Garza and Kaz as team leaders with 4 wins each.