Next on Rays' road: a big Cliff
The next challenge for the road warrior Rays is Mariners lefty ace Cliff Lee, who'll make the second start of his injury-delayed season tonight. The Rays know Lee well from his days with the Indians, and haven't done particularly well as he is 6-2, 2.52 in 10 starts, allowing just a .219 average, with 54 strike outs and 13 walks.
A couple of interesting notes from last night:
* From ESPN's Stats & Information whizzes, on why James Shields won: Mariners hitters were 2-for-9 against his changeup with five strikeouts. Shields threw just 20 changeups Tuesday, but 13 were with two strikes; Shields went to three-ball counts on just two of the 31 hitters he faced and fell behind 2-0 only twice.
* From several Seattle area media sites: There may have been a Milton Bradley incident during last night's game. Here's what is known - Bradley was removed from the game after being struck out looking by Shields with bases loaded in the 6th. Here's what is being speculated upon - he was unhappy, possibly very unhappy, and may have expressed that, at the least by throwing his helmet. Also, that Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu was not in the dugout for the top of the 7th, implying he was in the tunnel or the clubhouse dealing with Bradley. Here's the Tacoma News Tribune take on it.
And here's what the AP reported:
Milton Bradley was 0 for 3 and struck out twice in his first game as the cleanup batter since April 9. When Bradley struck out looking again with the bases loaded and Seattle down 3-1 in the sixth, Wakamatsu yanked baseball's self-described bad guy from the game.
Bradley was not in the stadium immediately afterward. Multiple Mariners said he was "not good," though Wakamatsu deflected thoughts of an incident with a fiery slugger who is on his eighth team in 10 seasons.
"We just felt at that time, what went on with the two strikeouts, it was time to get him out of the ball game," Wakamatsu said. "It was just time to get him out."
* Also, for you attendance trackers - the crowd of 14,589 was the second-lowest in Safeco Field's 10-year history.
And from the minor-league side, SS Tim Beckham has been away from the Class A Charlotte team the last two days due to a family medical matter.