Morning Juice: Are the Tampa Bay Rays men or myth?

This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's AL roll call starts on Florida's Gulf Coast, where three crowds of 30,000-plus at Tropicana Field watched a Major League Baseball team get swept over the weekend, and it wasn't the Tampa Bay Rays.

Game of the Day: Rays 3, Red Sox 0

Things some people don't believe in:

The Rays —They're in first place in the AL East after James Shields tossed a 2-hitter Sunday against the Red Sox for Tampa's 6th straight win.

UFOs — In March, the people of Capitola, Calif. were confronted by this craft. On its way back to the mothership, or to the model shop?

Miracles — Most of America believed in miracles (Yes!) in Feb. 1980, when the U.S. Olympic hockey team beat the Soviets and won Lake Placid gold. Has anyone picked up a hockey stick since?

The Rays — At 14-11, they're 3 games over .500 for the first time since 2002 — when they started 3-0 and finished a franchise-stinkiest 55-106.

Bigfoot — Harry and the Hendersons was big-time box gold 20 years ago; it even produced a TV show that made it big in Germany (of course it did). But how many buy Bigfoot as anything except a big, hairy, man?

Moon landing - There's a sect out there who think Apollo 11, etc, never set men on the lunar surface, that it was all done in a TV studio like the O.J. trial. You gotta love Buzz Aldrin for disagreeing.

The Rays - The Red Sox, who fell by 5 combined runs in the 3-game series, don't believe in the Rays. Josh Beckett's quotes — all "me, me, me" — do not give credit where it's due. "I basically lost the game for us," Beckett said, with manager Terry Francona adding, "We didn't ever get anything going offensively."

Leprechauns - Born of Irish folktales, the li'l faerie will grant you 3 wishes as long as you don't steal his lucky charms. Who knows, maybe Joe Maddon captured one and wished to be in first?

Lumberjacks - Oh, I'm lumberjack and I'm OK, I sleep all night and I work all day!

The Rays - The Bostons hit .173 in the series and made 3 errors to Tampa's none.

Loch Ness Monster - Underwater ally to some, Scottish crap to others!

Curses - Goats denied admission to ballgames and Broadway plays financed with Babe Ruth money take the place of mummies and voodoo dolls in modern baseball folklore. The Rays weren't cursed; they simply were bad. And, maybe they still are. But they do have Longoria locked up.


Feelin' Rundown (Sunday's other games)

Yankees 1, Indians 0 — Three words no ballplayer wants to hear: Dr. James Andrews. He is the man to whom Jorge Posada is heading for a shoulder look-see. Chien-Ming Wang just reached 5 wins. On the other side, C.C. Sabathia allowed a run over 8 and lowered his ERA to 7.88; kinda like when you make the monthly payment on a credit card and it only covers the interest.

White Sox 6, Orioles 1 — South Side fans will debate it for centuries; Who was slower — Paul Konerko or Robin Ventura? Konerko definitely starts slow. He came in batting .197 with 3 homers, but belted a pair against the O's.

Rangers 10, Twins 0Vicente Padilla pitched the first Rangers home shutout by a righty in nearly 7 years. They're also 7 games out of first already in the AL West. Cowboys open camp in about 11 weeks.

Blue Jays 5, Royals 2Scott Rolen has 4 RBIs in three games back, which would literally extrapolate to 216 in a season — as if Rolen, in any fairy tale, could last 162 games without breaking something.

Athletics 4, Mariners 2Emil Brown has 22 RBIs, which is 2nd in the AL — in case there was something else you wanted to add to the "I can't believe it" list.

Angels 6, Tigers 2Justin Verlander roughed up for 6 runs, 7 hits and 4 walks despite having, "good stuff," he said. Do you take the word of a man with a 6.50 ERA?


Photo of the Day: Gulliver's Travels — The Tribe Edition

"Yeah, uh, C.C., like, me and Martinez were thinking of getting a 3-on-3 team together and were wondering, you know, if you wanted to play and stuff? There's a trophy."


Fantasy Freak

James Shields (Rays) 9 IP, 2 H, BB, 7 K, Win

Possibly the second best-pitched game in majors this season.


Fantasy Flake

Livan Hernandez (Twins) 2 2/3 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 BB, Loss

Is it me, or has Livan never quite been the same since Leyland let him throw 143 pitches in one game and 142 in another during the 1997 postseason?


Big Talker

"It's nice ... if they hit. If they don't, it won't make a difference." Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on having his entire lineup playing for the first time.

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