Rays look to snap skid vs. Angels, with Upton on the way back

The 5-4 11-inning loss was the bottom line on Monday night, but there were encouraging signs for the Rays that their offense was coming back to life, what with the 12 hits and late-inning rallies. Their old buddy Scott Kazmir could help their cause if he's not sharp tonight when he takes the mound to face them for the first time.

Also, word is that B.J. Upton was on a flight this morning headed back to southern California after missing Monday's game to go back to Tampa for the birth of his first child. That's a strong team-first move by Upton, because it could have been easy to want to stay in Tampa with the baby and wait for the team to return for Friday's game.

One of the most interesting scenes in the clubhouse post-game Monday was rookie catcher John Jaso coming over to veteran reliever Grant Balfour and taking full blame for the wild pitch that allowed Kendry Morales to move up from second to third, and put himself in position to score the winning run on a sac fly.

Some rookies wouldn't take the blame, others wouldn't go out of their way to tell the pitcher so (and in view of the handful of reporters in the clubhouse). Jaso showed a lot by doing so, and talked about his responsibility.

"The pitcher is supposed to have confidence he can throw that ball in the dirt if he wants to,'' Jaso said. "I definitely felt it was my fault, and I was to blame for that. It went under my glove; my glove should have been down and it should have been blocked, and I just didn't do it. It's my fault.''

Jaso said he wanted Balfour to know he will do better next time. "If he needs to throw that pitch again, he should have confidence I'm going to be there and have his back,'' Jaso said. "And I plan to be there.''

Old friend Scott Miller of CBSSports.com has posted a good overall look at the Rays early-season success. And here's another take on the Rays from the esteemed Peter Gammons on his mlb.com site.

 

 

[Last modified: Thursday, June 10, 2010 12:15am]

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