- Gregg Zaun. Kazmir will get all the love, but I'm going to have to go out on a limb here and agree with Kevin Kennedy and say that Gregg Zaun had as much to do with Kaz' efficiency as Kazmir himself did. Zaun called a game that played to Kaz' strengths, and when things got a little hairy (men on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out) Zaun imposed his will, worked the batters, and helped Kaz get out of a jam. I was a little critical of the Zaun signing, but all I've seen so far is the glaring difference between Zaun (a hard worker and intelligent game caller) and Navi (a lackadaisical youngster who's got a lot to learn). If the Rays are able to squeeze into the wildcard a good portion of the credit may go to 38 year old Gregg Zaun- and rightfully so.
- Scott Kazmir. Kaz was efficient, I repeat Scott Kazmir was efficient! Kaz lasted 7 and 1/3 innings,his longest outing of the year (some will call it coincidence, I'll call it Gregg Zaun's game calling ability), allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, striking-out 4 and walking 2. Kaz threw 67 of his 106 pitches for strikes.
- Ben Zobrist. Zobrist finished the night 2 for 3 with a walk...oh, and another homer; a 2-run shot which was his 22nd of the season. Zobrist is hitting homeruns at a clip of 1 every 16.4 at-bats. To put that into perspective, your league leading HR hitter (Carlos Pena) is hitting a homer every 13 AB's. Impressive for a utility guy. If the Rays are able to squeeze into the playoffs we'll all know that Zorilla played an unexpectedly huge role.
- JP Howell. At what point do we start saying that this kid is money?
- RISP. As a team, the Rays were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. If you think you're going to win games against tough teams without pushing runners across the plate via productive outs you're wrong... I'm talking to you Carlos Pena, sometimes you just have to put the ball in play with 2 men on and 1 out, I understand you're a power hitter and you should dance with who brung ya, but swinging for the fences in that situation is busch-league.
- With this win over Texas and the Yankees beating Boston, the Rays are once again 3 back of Boston and 2 back of Texas in the AL Wildcard hunt.
CAVIAR (game ball):
- Scott Kazmir. The Rays could use more quality starts like that. Well done.