In a rush, no time to write. The long and short of it:
- Dickey wasn't all that great, but - much like RRS a night ago - he was far better than his final line. 10 GB, 6 FB, 2 LD, 2 IFF. Missed a decent number of bats, too. The big problem was that too often he lost sight of his spots, but shit happens when you're a knuckleballer. I am displeased but not discouraged.
- As a general rule of thumb, I am against message benchings. Especially when the player getting message benched is the only player up to that point to provide any offense. If Riggleman had a problem with Lopez's effort last night, why was he in the starting lineup today? If Riggleman had a problem with Lopez's effort today, why was he pulled instead of Jeff Clement, who was a nightmare both at and behind the plate? I've said it before and I'll say it again: once you're slapped with the "lazy" tag, it's almost impossible to remove. Lopez didn't deserve to get sat down, but he should probably get used to things like this, because his little slip-ups are forever going to be viewed with a magnifying glass.
- Speaking of which - which is it, Riggleman? Is this team just fine when it comes to the little things, or do they make enough little mistakes to warrant the occasional message benching? You said you wanted this team to hit better and pitch better. Jose Lopez hit a home run and got benched before his next at bat. I would appreciate it if you would reconcile these two things for me.
- At one point, Rocco Baldelli made a sliding catch in right field to rob a Mariner of a hit. If you think it's difficult to convince yourself to lay out for a baseball, imagine being in Baldelli's shoes and knowing that you probably won't recover from the exertion for eight or nine weeks. That better be a really important baseball.
- It is, however, awesome to see Baldelli back in the Majors. He'd make for a way more inspiring story than Josh Hamilton if he (A) could play more often, and (B) were better. I tell you what, Tampa Bay's had a lot of players over the years, but few of them have been boring.
- Rays with Longoria: 1 run, 1 game
Rays without Longoria: 24 runs, 3 games
They are good and we are bad. They also now own leads of 4.5 games over Boston and 8.5 games over New York. I wonder which would feel better for them - a September that comes down to the wire, or a September devoid of any semblance of drama because they already buried their competition. This is incredible.
- Do we have any reason to believe that Willie Ballgame is a better player than Tuglett? That emphatic blown hamstring last night meant a lot of things, but I'm not convinced it made us worse. Here's to a 2009 with a new little pipsqueak. The incumbent has gotten a little too big for his britches.
Biggest Contribution: Jose Lopez, +8.7%
Biggest Suckfest: RA Dickey, -28.7%
Most Important AB: Clement DP, -10.2%
Most Important Pitch: Aybar homer, -18.2%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -29.3%
Total Contribution by Lineup: -20.7%
Total Contribution by Opposition: 0.0%
(What is this chart?)