Well that was just what the doctor ordered. Edwin Jackson was masterful today against the Mariners. The 6-3 Righty from Germany showed the flashes of brilliance we've all heard and talked about, but have rarely seen. Willy Aybar was held out of today's game to rest a sore hamstring and Mike DiFelice made his second start of the season behind the plate. Some good news injury wise, Scott Kazmir will pitch another batting practice on Friday and Matt Garza will start his rehab by playing catch on Saturday. On to the Recap:
On the Mound:
Edwin Jackson was the story on the mound, going eight shutout innings allowing only two hits in a dominating effort. Jackson struck out six, but did walk four which was the only negative on the afternoon. As a Rays fan you have to be excited about the performance so far from Jackson this year. 14 Innings, seven hits, and only one earned run. Trever Miller pitched a scoreless 9th to preserve the shutout.
At the Plate:
We'll we said the top of the order needed to come alive and they did. Aki Iwamura reached base in four of his five at bats and Carl Crawford pitched in with two hits. Mike DiFelice got the start and provided the Rays with two hits and three RBI. Jonny Gomes also has a two hit day hitting Aybar's spot in the order with Eric Hinske, who hit a solo home run in the 4th inning, playing 3B. It looks like the offense finally woke up, but the Rays still had 21 LOB.
Tommy's Take: Boy Erik were you wrong. Just give Edwin Jackson away for nothing? Preposterous! Just kidding. I'm sure we've all felt that way towards Jackson. Personally, I can't think of a player who I've had a more Love/Hate feeling towards. Jackson can simply be excellent at times, much like today and that evening in Texas last year. Then he can go out and walk seven and give up eight runs in three innings the next time. I'd have to say I'm extremely impressed and excited about the way he has started the season. Yes he has six walks in two games, but as long as he keeps getting these type of results I don't care. What about Mike DiFelice today? Mike D showed that he can still swing the bat, and if this keeps up the Rays may actually be able to trade DiFelice for something once Dioner Navarro is healthy.
Erik's Take: Jackson is making me look like a fool. He pitched amazingly well today, and I hope he can keep it up all season, but I'm not going to back off my previous statements that I don't think he's going to live up to all of his promise. ESPN's Keith Law backs up my thoughts in his chat today:
Jim (Lincoln, Nebraska): Edwin Jackson is dominating as we speak.. Is he finally going to break out this year?
Keith Law: I've given up on Jackson. I don't think he'll ever have sufficient command of his stuff to be a good big-league starter. He has the arm, but he's made no progress as a pitcher in four years.
Again, I hope I'm wrong, I really do, I just want to see more than two starts before I start to believe. I was happy to see the team start to hit, and hit with men on base. My main man Justin Ruggiano is so intimidating at the plate that he drew a bases loaded walk for the easiest RBI in the game. Hopefully the Rays can build off of this impressive game and sweep the first place Orioles(That was as weird to type as it is to read).