MLB Tampa Bay Rays' Guyer makes most of ‘moonlight’ stay

May 10, 2011 6:05 AM

You have to love the story of the Rays prospect Brandon Guyer in the same sense that we loved the plight of Moonlight Graham in "Field of Dreams."

Guyer, a 25-year-old outfielder, was called up from the minors last week after starting pitcher Jeff Niemann went on the DL because the Rays thought B.J. Upton might be suspended and wanted fill the possible hole.

Upton put in an appeal and wasn’t suspended, but the Rays inserted Guyer into the starting lineup for Friday’s game against the Orioles anyway. In his first major league at-bat, Guyer hit a home run and ended the night 1-for-3. Now that’s how you make a first impression.

Guyer was one of the key players received in the Matt Garza trade with the Cubs. After a great first month at Durham where he was smoking the ball, he had to be thinking he was up "in the show" to stay.

Guyer didn’t play Saturday, which wasn’t alarming because Joe Maddon constantly shuffles his lineups around utilizing his entire bench as starters. But on Sunday morning, before their game, Guyer was informed he was being sent back down to Durham because they needed a pitcher.

Maddon said he’s sure Guyer will be back up and make an impact with the team, but you never know. At least his cup of coffee in the majors was of the bold and strong flavored variety.

Phenomenal Phils

The Phillies may have had a set back when Roy Oswalt went on the DL last week, but don’t feel too sorry for the team tied for the best record in baseball. Oswalt’s replacement, Vance Worley, has fit right in and has dominated his two starts going 2-0 and allowing only one run.

The Phillies also have a couple of amazing trends going right now. They are 10-0 this season in day games and have gone 9-1 against lefties. They play two day games this weekend against the Braves, but won’t face any lefties against either the Marlins or Braves.

The Marlins are still nipping at the Phillies in the NL East, but unlike the Phils, they don’t play at their best in day games. Florida’s win Sunday was only its third day win in eight games, making them a really dangerous night club going 17-8.

Definitely Not a No. 1

Many thought Cliff Lee was crazy for not taking the big New York money, opting to take less and pitch in Philadelphia with all kinds of reasons given such as his wife didn’t like the city. But the real reason was probably not wanting to be so visible in the brightest spotlight of such a big contract.

Lee has lost his last three starts, yet has remained out of the storylines because of how well the team is doing. He doesn’t have the weight of the team on him, letting Roy Halladay handle that department.

Although Lee has pitched very well in those three losses, you have to believe the New York media wouldn’t have been so kind to Lee in the same situation which makes his move to Philly look like the smartest thing he could have done.

Run-Lines

The run-line can be a nice way to pull some edge back to the player in the right spots, but certain teams should almost always be advised to stay away from.

The Royals have played in 14 one-run games this season, winning nine of them, while Reds lead the NL with 13 one-run games, only winning six. The best teams to be on or against on the run-line are the Orioles and Tigers, each involved in five.

Power Outage

We’re seeing the lowest home run ratio in baseball since 1992 with pitchers quickly getting ahead in the count and showing no fear like we saw through an era that seems to have just passed us by in 2009.

The last two seasons have seen batting averages and home runs decline while also seeing ERA’s drop. This has become a pitchers game again and more emphasis than ever should be put on the pitchers and bullpens when it comes to handicapping the games.

Tigers Set To Growl

After a sluggish start that carried through last week with a seven game losing streak, the Detroit Tigers might be a team we can expect to start coming around. They’ve won five of their last six games through Sunday and most of that can be attributed to good starting pitching.

Justin Verlander (3-3) has been getting all the headlines after throwing a no-hitter last week, but the real ace of the staff has been Max Scherzer (5-0) who just wins. The pitcher that has really made them tough to beat in a series now is veteran Brad Penny (3-3) who has been outstanding over his last four starts going 3-1 allowing two runs or less in the three wins.

If Rick Porcello (2-2) can stay .500 and give them innings and Phil Coke (1-5) can show some of that promise, Detroit should be able to make a good run at the Indians for the division quickly. The Tigers are 30-1 at the Hilton to win the World Series.

Bucs Don’t Stop Here

Calling a .500 record somewhat of accomplishment on May 8 may not be a big deal for most teams, but for Pittsburgh, they’ll take it. The Bucs haven’t had a winning record since 1992, the last of their three straight NL East titles, and also last year of Barry Bonds in the Steel City.

After winning their home series from the Astros Sunday, the Pirates went to 17-17 and tied their season high with a two-game winning streak. It’s been six years since the Pirates have been .500 this late, and it’s only May.

If it weren’t for the Marlins (0-3 record against), Brewers (0-2) and Rockies (1-4), Pittsburgh would be starting a catch phrase, or cling to a song for this year’s version of the team.

Even though two games in a row doesn’t sound like much, it’s when the Pirates win them that matters, like the front and back end of three game series.

The key to their success thus far has been terrific play on the road, winning four of five road series. Their win Sunday was their second home series conquest of the season.

This week the Pirates welcome the lackluster Dodgers for a four game set, then travel to Milwaukee to face the Pirate killers. The Brewers are 48-17 against the Pirates since 2007, including the two game sweep in April.

If thinking this could be the Pirates first World Series win since 1979, the Hilton is offering 300-1.

Injuries

Welcome back Jake Peavy! Wednesday looks to be the day 2007 Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy makes his return to the rotation for White Sox. He threw over 100 pitches in a rehab assignment last Thursday and had no pain. For some bettors, they may be happy to see Peavy back as well, or at least for his first start.

Pitchers coming back from an injury can be a great spot to bet against them, as was the case last week with Zack Greinke. Some pitchers take it to the extreme when they come back like Ubaldo Jimenez has in losing all three of his starts since returning to the Rockies rotation.

Jimenez pitched very well his last time out which may put a stop to that gravy train.

Others, like the Reds Johnny Cueto, have come back strong. In Sunday’s 2-0 win at Wrigley Field, Cueto didn’t allow a run in six innings of work after struggling somewhat in four previous minor league rehab appearances.

Rangers OF Josh Hamilton is coming back in two weeks. He’s been swinging the bat and is ahead of the timetable set. Hamilton went on the DL April 13 and was then expected to come back in six to eight weeks. The Rangers were 9-1 with him, 9-16 without him.

Over that losing stretch, it hasn’t helped that Nelson Cruz has also been banged up which forced the Rangers to put him on the 15-day DL on Saturday.