Saturday, June 28, 2008

Burnt to a Crisp

It was determined yesterday by the powers-that-be that upon appeal of Akinori Iwamura and Coco Crisps' suspensions Aki will have to serve the 3 game suspension that he was originally handed while Crisp (who initiated the entire fiasco by taking a cheap shot, at Aki of all people, the night before the brawl) had his suspension reduced from 7 to 5 games... RIDICULOUS!

Shields, who did nothing more than defend himself when Crisp charged him, got 6 games... again, Crisp initiated the event, but the harsher penalty goes to Shields...UNBELIEVABLE!

My wife's cousin was at the house when they first showed that Aki's suspension was upheld while Crisp's was reduced, and he hit the nail on the head, "Must be nice to be a Red Sock."... yeah, must be.

Except for the part about having to live in Boston.

Kid-K pitch Kount

Let me preface this by first saying that I am a huge fan of Scott Kazmir, and would be fairly annoyed were the Rays to lose him (via trade, injury, etc...).

That being said, if Kid-K can't figure out how to keep his pitch count down - or to be more precise, average less pitches per inning, he will eventually slide down the roatation, and rightfully so.

Your Ace is supposed to be as close to a lock for a W as you can find, and that means keeping the bullpen seated firmly on their tooshes.

The problem is that the young Mr. Kazmir hasn't made any progress in bringing his pitches/inning down at all over the first few years of his young career.


I'm glad you asked. I'll tell you why:

Scott has no doubt spent his entire life blowing batters away with his nasty stuff. The issue now is that major league hitters have seen it all before- especially scrappy old veterans. Don't get me wrong, Kaz can throw some nasty goods, but for some reason he feels the need to challenge every batter with every pitch.
He's got an ego the size of the Trop when it comes to pitching right-at solid hitters. There is no doubt in my mind that Kaz can 'fan' anyone in the league consistantly, but the major issue with trying to challenge every batter is that its going to put too many balls in hittable places, resulting in tons of foul balls as good batters try to fight off the heat, the outcome of which is: more pitches per inning.

I can't even count the number of times I've seen Kazmir record a big K- but it cost him 7, 8, or 9 pitches because the batter sprayed fouls all over the stadium before finally whiffing on the inside heat.

Every batter doesn't have to be a K, let your defense protect you. Put some balls in play and sit back and watch while Dirtbag and Co. take care of business.

I'm not a pitcher, never was, I pitched exactly 1 inning in my illustrious little league career, and know next to nothing of the mechanics of pitching, but I can assure you that if Kazmir can't figure out how to consistantly make it to the 7th innning he'll spend his career mired in the middle of the rotation, not the top.

Game Recap: Long(oria)ball

June 27, 2008

RAYS: 10
Pirates: 5


Evan Longoria is playing at a level well beyond his years. He has already emerged as one of the if not the best third baseman in the league and his offensive production has been steadily rising as well. Last night Dirtbag went 4-5 with a 2B and a 3-run homer to start off the scoring. That's 4 homers in the last 5 games and he now leads the team in HR's (15), Doubles (20), and RBI's (46)... not bad for a rookie.

Carl Crawford's offensive production has finally picked up as well; he was 3 for 5 with a solo HR in the 6th.

Hinske got the start in RF, again and it paid dividends on the offensive side; he was 2 for 3 with a 3-run homer.

Although Pena went hitless in his return to the lineup (although he did record a sac fly resulting in an RBI) he looked solid at the plate and I see no reason to believe that he won't get right back to crackin' 440 footers sooner than later.

Grant Balfour pitched 2 1/3 allowing 0 runs on 0 hits while striking out 3 and walking none.


If the Rays plan on being playoff contenders they cannot let a team like Pittsburgh get back into a game in which they (The Rays) led by 7 in the third; especially when its your Ace (Kazmir) versus a first tim starter.

Kazmir, although he pitched fairly accurately (70 of his 103 pitches were counted as strikes), packed it in as soon as the Rays mounted a nice big lead, and he's lucky it didn't cost him another W. If Kaz wants to continue his career as the Ace he is going to have to learn how to keep that pitch count down.
visit Rays Index.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Will the Rays sweep the Pirates?

The Rays are getting set to open a 3 game series with the Pirates tonight, will they be able to make it back-to-back road sweeps?

Points to ponder:

The Rays pitchers for the 3-game set are:
Scott Kazmir, LHP (6-3, 2.03)
Edwin Jackson, RHP (4-6, 4.35)
Andy Sonnanstine, RHP (8-3, 4.85)

The Pirates pitchers:
Jimmy Barthmaier, RHP (0-0, -.--)
Taubenheim (0-0)
Tom Gorzelanny, LHP (6-6, 6.43)

Advantage: Uh, Duh... Rays.

Defensively: The Rays have recorded 19 less errors than the Pirates. Call me a homer, but anytime Dirtbag is playing third that's an inherent advantage right off the top.

Advantage: Rays

Offensively: The Rays and Pirates have fairly similar offensive numbers with BA, OBP, and SLG all within a few hundredths of each other. The Rays have stolen substantially more bases with a league-leading 85, whereas the Pirates have a league-low 23. The Pirates have struck-out less, but they've also walked less. Pittsburgh has also scored more runs so far this season (382 versus Tampa's 365)

Advantage: I give a slight edge to The Rays, due to the dispairity in stolen bases.

Mindset: The Rays are preparing for another homestand v. Boston, so their heads may be on the wrong series. If they lose focus Pittsburgh could sneak up on them. The Pirates aren't well known for looking ahead, or backward, or really paying attention at all.

Advantage: Pirates

Well, I say even though all signs point to yes, with Jackson/Sonny pitching I never rule out an aweful game, so I'll say a resounding NO. Two out of three will suffice.

Poor Pirates

As someone who was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania (about 80 miles north of Pittsburgh) I have a unique perspective into the next series on the schedule, so being the humanitarian that I am, I'll lay out that perspective for you:

First and foremost, for those of you who commiserate that the Rays don't have a following outside of Tampa/St. Pete I can assure you that you should feel fortunate for the fans we do have, we're not alone in wondering aloud, "where's the love?".

For 24 years I lived a stones-throw from Steeltown, met thousands of people, watched tons of sports (and of course was born a Steelers fan), but of all those people and over all those years that I spent in such close proximity of Pittsburgh, I only knew 1 (just 1) actual Pirates fan. That's it! ONE!

The Devil Rays always had the excuse that there are just too many Boston/New York transplants in Tampa/St Pete to convert them all into Rays fans, but the poor, lowly Pirates have no such excuse.
The day(s) Bonds and Bonilla walked away so did the fans, and as the years have flown by the ownership has never given them (the fans) a single reason to come back.

If there is one team in the league that can relate to the Devil Rays/Rays or one group of fans (albeit a small group) that can relate to Devil Ray/Rays' fans its the poor bastards in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are the one team that has been as consistantly bad as the D. Rays over the years, so we, as Rays fans, should show a little sympathy toward the unlucky souls who've chosen to follow the ol Buc-o's- we can relate.

We know the pain that's involved with routing for a loser year after year after year... we know the heartbreak that occurs every year after we foolishly convince ourselves during spring training that "this is the year"- just to come to the realization by mid-June that we're once again going to be looking up at all the legitimate major league clubs... and a little piece of our heart disappears, never to be seen again.

It has been a staggering 15 years since the Pirates have sniffed a winning season. Sad, but true. I honestly don't know how Pirates' fans don't throw themselves from bridges every September (God knows there's enough bridges to choose from).
I admire their true, faithful fans. The ones who sit in an empty park when its 45 degrees in April and route for a team that they know can't win.
We are kindred spirits we fans of The Rays and the Pirates, we share a dubious, self-destructive, masochistic bond.

Its a sad story when a city/state that is sooo ridiculously faithful to the Steelers can be so cold and uninterested in the Pirates, but I can't blame them, and neither can you.
Too many years and too many lies have callused the hearts of the Pittsburgh baseball fan, and it should be a constant reminder to Rays fans of how incredibly close we came to the same fate had current ownership not come riding in on their white horses dressed in navy blue and sunshine yellow, writing checks, and carrying victory on their backs.

The Pirates, in turn, should draw some solace from the Rays in seeing that it is possible to right a sinking ship, even if that ship has been sinking for a very, very long time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Game Recap: Good Garza !!

June 26, 2008

Marlins: 1


Matt Garza pitched an awesome game this afternoon. As a matter of a fact, he pitched as close to a no-no as you can get; striking out 10, facing 1 over the minimum, and allowing just 1 hit (a solo HR by Ramirez in the 7th). This is the type of game that convinces me that if Garza can stay out of his own head he can be just as good as Kaz before all is said and done. Muy Impressivo

Longoria (AKA Dirtbag) had another great day offensively going 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and a homer. The way the ball jumps off of his bat is unreal. I firmly believe he will lead the team in homers by the end of the year.

Upton's patience at the plate. I've been bustin' BJ's chops a bit lately about being lazy, but his good eye at the plate is paying dividends (or maybe he's just too lazy to swing the bat...).

Homers by Longoria and Zobrist and a near grand slam by Riggans showed another glimpse of the offensive potential that the Rays are yet to live up to so far this year. Hopefully this series was the offense's coming-out party. We'll see when we face Boston next week at The Trop.


10 runners left on base.

The Prof over at Rays Index jinxed Garza by mentioning the NY Mets during his Live Blog-A-Baloo and cost him the no-no!

Game Recap: 5th Inning Frenzy

June 25, 2008

RAYS: 15
Marlins: 3


Carl Crawford had a great night, going 2 for 5 with 2 HR's and 5 RBI. Crawford's first homer of the night (in the 3rd) "drew first blood" and put the Rays up 3-0.

The 5th inning. In the top of the 5th every batter recorded a run. Crawford and Longoria both hit homers, and the Rays tacked on 10 runs (which isn't a Rays record by the way. They've scored 11 in an inning twice; most recently last year against Baltimore).

Jason Bartlett had his child... wait- let me rephrase that: his wife had their child. Congrats.


This is the part where I would usually complain about how Upton was still lazy out in CF and about how aweful Zobrist was at SS, but when a team wins by a dozen, you let some stuff slide.
Aki was credited with his 1st Error of the season... shucks, I was really hoping he'd stay error free until the beak in order to help bolster my argument that he should be the starting 2B at the all-popularity game. He still should be, of course, but 0 errors looks so much nicer than 1.
visit Rays Index for more coverage.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Welcome to Lazytown, population: 1, founded in early summer 2008 in the heart of center field at Tropicana Field (but not to worry- it travels around the country from one ball park to another-- it was last seen in Miami on the evening of June 24th).

I'm talking about our own dear, beloved Bossman Junior (BJ, for you folks who love to initialize everything) Upton.

As a fan who has only missed watching 2 games this year, I feel that I am more than qualified to chime in against one of our beloved Rays if I deem it necessary, and I do.

Let me expound:

Over the last several weeks I've noticed a decided difference in the defensive play of Mr. BJ Upton, in that he suddenly feels that it is no longer necessary to run at full speed or cover anything more than a 20 foot radius in CF.

While the rest of his teammates are bustin' their tails for every win it seems that Bossman has lost his will to compete. I guess winning a couple of games entitles him to acting like he deserves to be on the roster- regardless of his obvious lack of effort.

Mr. Upton will jog over in the direction of a soft blooper to middle center and watch it drop then once he finally finishes his stroll over to the ball, that inevitably dropped 6 feet in front of him, he grabs it and proceeds to throw a blooping hailmary to the plate... everytime! Hey BJ, throw it to the cutoff man sometimes! Or here's a novel idea: hustle after the ball and maybe you could catch it and record an out- or at least catch a runner at third and not have to throw a looper to the plate because you reacted so slowly... everytime! Yeah-yeah we know, "You're sooo talented..." , blah, blah, blah... I've seen tons of below average players have amazing years (or even careers for that matter) because they put forth the effort that "superstars" are too good to bother with, and we've all seen "superstars" get sent packing because they were "too good" to be benched or told what to do....

Okay, slow down... I am not implying that I want Upton shipped out of town or DFA'd or anything silly like that, but I am lobbying for a stern talking-to from management and a few days on the pine to think about it.

In case you haven't noticed, BJ's numbers at the plate are down as well, so its not like he's countering his laze-fair defense with superb offense either (stay tuned, I may just present statistical evidence to support that).

Case and point: BJ's gotten lazy. Winning's coming easily, so there's no pressure. How fast our beloved Bossman has forgotten how life as a Devil Ray was, or how much winning meant to The Rays as recently as this May. I think the whole team has lost some intensity as of late, but the "good ones", like BJ, are supposed to learn how to keep winning not how to rest on their laurels.

Here's Upton's batting numbers at this point this year vs. last year:

2007 .320 .402 .545 .947 9

2008 .284 .397 .424 .821 5

Don't get me wrong, I still love our little buddy BJ, but I'm getting tired of the nonchalant, lack-luster performances as of late. I honestly believe that he needs to be humbled a little, and I think the Pittsburgh series would be the perfect time.

Maddon could even spin it to the press that he's just giving BJ a "well-deserved rest"...

Well deserved, indeed!

Game Recap: Aki To Victory...

June 24, 2008

Marlins: 4


Aki went 3 for 5 out of the lead-off spot, including a 2 run homer (his 5th of the year) in the 3rd to put the Rays ahead 2-1. He also recorded his 12th double of the season and finished the night with 7 total bases.

Although Sonny was far from prefect he pitched a fairly good game, which is all the Rays ask of him. Andy gave up 6 hits in 5 innings of work, allowing 2 earned runs while striking out 5.

Howell, despite giving up a run, recorded 4 K's in 2 innings of work. J.P. continues to impress with some great pitches when they matter most and picked up the W.

Evan Longoria hit another clutch double in the top of the 9th to put the Rays up by a margin of 6-3. He came through in the clutch again in the bottom of the 9th; with the bases loaded Evan made an amazing diving stop to prevent an extra bases hit then threw to 2nd (from his knees) to record the second out of the inning. That play more than made up for the balls he lost in the lights earlier in the game.
Patience at the plate by Navi and Hinske. In the 8th, with the bases loaded, immediately following less-than-stellar at-bats by and Upton and Dirtbag, first Navi and then Hinske showed patience and allowed the Marlins to beat themselves by walking-in 2 runs.


BJ Upton's lackluster performance on both sides of the ball. The fellas over at Rays Index touched on BJ's recent lack of effort yesterday, and Mr. Bossman proved their point fabulously last night. Upton was 0 for 4 from the plate with 4 runners left on base. He also helped Crawford screw up a routine fly ball into left-center: after Crawford let one get by, BJ proceeded to stroll over in his usual cavalier manner and managed to muff a bare-handed grab of a ball that was nearly stationary, which gave the Marlins the go-ahead run. Upton better get his head in the game... more on this later today.

Troy Percival came in and recorded the save, and I have no idea how he got away with it. Percy faced 7 batters and walked... are you ready?... 4 of them! Look on the bright side; he recorded a K too. Over the last 7 days Percival has an ERA of 9.00, giving up 5 BB to only 2 K's in 2 appearances.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's a Full House...

With El Gato (Carlos Pena) set to come back either during the Pittsburgh series or the Sox series (as laid out by the folks over at TBO) the time is drawing near to start considering who gets moved/DFA'd to make room on the 25 man roster.

I pose the question to you, the Rays faithful:
Who will it be, and why?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

All-Popularity Team...

The "All-Star Game" is fast approaching and according to the latest numbers the only Ray even close to making it into the MLB's annual popularity contest is Carlos Pena.

I'm fine with Pena being there, as he's played fabulous defense all year, but my complaint is this:
How on God's green earth is Akinori Iwamura not even on the list for second basemen?

Aki is playing flawless defense (not nearly-flawless, but truly flawless) and has had as hot a bat as anyone in the league over the last 6 to 8 weeks, as denoted by the fact that he (Aki) has the 4th most hits by an AL second baseman this season (only one hit behind Pedroia, who has played 4 more games). Couple that with the fact that Aki has exactly ZERO errors in 187 attempts as opposed to Pedroia (who leads the vote for 2B, by the way) who has 5 errors in 203 attempts and its easy to see where I'm going with this.

Still not convinced?

Try this on for size: Ian Kinsler is second in voting right now, he has... wait for it... 14 errors in 221 attempts and a fielding percentage of .965, which is third from worst in the AL!
Guess who has the best fielding percentage in the AL (or the entire league for that matter), you got it... Aki (1.000).

And don't even get me started about the fact that Willy Aybar is listed as the Rays possible representative at 3B instead of Longoria, who is playing the hot-corner as well as, or better than, anyone else in the league (yeah, that includes you A-Fraud)... Ridiculous!

I say whichever Ray gets onto the "All-Popular" team by default (as each team is guaranteed at least 1 player) should reject the offer to play, as a means of boycotting the stupidity that is the MLB All-Star game.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Game Recap: Jackson loses...again

June 15, 2008

Marlins: 9



Grant Balfour recorded 4 K's and allowed no hits thru 2 innings of work in relief of Jackson.

Bartlett, Hinske, and Gross, all recorded 2-out RBI's. Putting runs on the board with 2 outs is a crucial part of the game and will prove to be of vast importance should the Rays make a run at the Pennant.

We only had to watch Jackson pretend to be a major league pitcher for 5 innings.


Edwin "Freaking" Jackson. The Dodgers should've left good enough alone and let Jackson be an outfielder instead of trying to make him a pitcher. He gave up 6 earned runs (two 3 run homers)on 5 hits in 5 innings while recording all of 1 K and walking 3.

Yet another E for Bartlett (that makes 8)... I'm just sayin'

Miller, Glover, and Hammel allowed 1 run each in relief of Jackson.
stop by Rays Index for more Rays info.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Game Recap: Sonny-side up...

June 13, 2008

Marlins: 3


Despite an absolutely horrible first inning in which the Rays were fortunate not to have given up at least 4 runs Sonny rebounded well and recorded the W. He pitched 5 1/3, giving up 3 runs (2 of which came in the 1st) on 6 hits, striking out 5 batters and walking none.

J.P. Howell is an inning-eater. I hate to admit it, but i may agree with Joe Maddon in saying that Howell is one of the team's MVP's so far this season. James Phillip pitched 2 innings, striking out 2 and allowing just 1 hit.

Troy Percival, fresh off the 15-day DL, came in as the closer and shut 'em down- striking out 2 of the 3 batters he faced.

The top of the line-up (Aki, Navi, Upton, and Hinske) went a combined 7 for 15 with a total of 5 RBI's and 4 BB's.

Jason Bartlett had a nice offensive outing, going 3 for 3 from the plate. He also stole 2 bases bringing his season total to 14.

It wasn't the prettiest thing, but big Cliff Floyd also recorded a stolen base (and took another via an error).


Eric Hinske got caugth stealing third, not usually a big deal, but this was ugly. Hinske got a late jump in an attempt to steal a base he had no business trying to take at that point of the game and is fortunate that it wasn't a game-changer.

The middle and bottom of the line-up, excluding Bartlett, (Longoria, Aybar, Floyd, Gross) combined for an embarrassing 3 for 15 against a pitcher that was just begging to be hit.

LOB: 10
be sure to visit Rays Index

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Being a Realist...

Hate me if you want to (it breaks my heart too), but (in my always humble opinion) our beloved Rays are headed for a nasty little trip back to the reality that is playing in the AL East.
Allow me to elaborate (please keep in mind these are just the grumblings of a Rays fan (and a realist)):

The Rays are the sweetheart story of the year so far in baseball, and its been awesome watching our boys garner so much national media attention. As recently as June 4th (technically until the end of the game on the 5th) the Rays have led the AL East, but that train has left the station never to be seen again (not this year at least).

The Rays are coming off of a tough 9 game roadtrip in which they posted a sub-par 3-6 record and the BoSox have amassed a 2.5 game lead with 3 games in-hand, and I guarantee that they're not looking over their shoulders after the Rays' dismal performance in Fenway last week, and as any wise baseball fan learned long ago: never, and I mean NEVER count out the Evil Empire, but its not Boston or New York that worries me, its the Rays...


Scott Kazmir can only carry this staff for so long. James Shields has performed horribly away from The Trop and Garza is pitching in a very similar manner as "No-win" Jackson did in '07 (tons of nasty stuff, but about as consistant as the bowels of a competative eater). Jackson will apparently never get it locked down consistantly, and Sonny is as close to a lost cause as you'll find (he should've been shipped to the pen 3 weeks ago (and i believe he would've been had the Rays had any real alternative)).
I feel that Kaz and Shields can be a dominating top of the rotation, but the bottom of the rotation isn't doing the team any favors.


If the Rays lineup top to bottom doesn't learn how to take a pitch/ show discretion at the plate than all the HR's in the world aren't going to win enough games to compete. Listen, offensive production relies more extensively on situational hitting than on any other statistic, period (this is the part where a good journalist would state some statistical evidence in an attempt to validate his previous statement, but I'm not a good journalist, or a journalist at all, in fact).
Too many K's coupled with lack of patience at the plate equals the other teams' starters staying on the field longer. The Rays also seem to lack the ability to successfully sacrifice and or bunt at the most opportune times. Lastly, with the "removal" of Ty Wiggington I assumed the Rays would hit into less double plays, but along comes Jonny-on-the-Spot, Jason Bartlett to take his place as the master of the GIDP (this would be another great spot for statistical evidence, but pish-posh, i'm busy).


Joe Maddon is a Busch-League manager who has a limited feel for the game. He makes bonehead calls at inopportune times and costs his team wins. I'd say he alone will cost the Rays 3-5 more games this season. He doesn't know when to bunt, when to intentionally walk or how to use his bullpen.

The Rays are headed for second-half mediocrity if they don't start playing better! Go ahead, hate me if you want to, I do!

Game Recap: The Umpire Strikes Back

June 11, 2008

Angels: 4


Kazmir, who got the L, pitched a great game. Kaz started the game by retiring 14 consecutive batters before giving up a HR to Matthews with 2 outs in the fifth. Kaz pitched 6 2/3 surrendering 3 earned runs on 6 hits and striking out 10. He pitched very accurately; placing 82 of his 117 pitches in the strike zone (bear in mind he intentionally walked Guerrero and had 2 obvious strikes called balls in the 7th so you can deduce that he could potentially have thrown 86 or 87 strikes (that's 75% or 3 out of every 4 pitches being strikes)).

Aki led-off the game with a nice triple and was quickly pushed across the plate by Crawford, giving the Rays a nice jump-start in a game where scoring opportunities were going to be at a premium.

Dirtbag hit another double.


Joe Maddon calling for an intentional walk of Guerrero when firstbase was already occupied (see post from yesterday).

Umpire Derryl Cousins cost Kaz and the Rays a win by giving Willits a BB after clearly being struck-out not once inthe AB but twice (at the time the Rays led 2-1). All events following this gaffe were a direct result of this phenominal screw-up.
visit Rays Index for more in-depth coverage

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Maddon Strikes again...

I'm in the middle of watching the Rays v. Angels game 3, its tied 1-1, and Kaz is pitching a gem.
Here we are in the bottom of the 6th the Angels have runners on first and third with 2 outs.

Easy situation, force out at 1st or 2nd and the inning's over, but nooooo, Joe Freakin' Maddon decides that this is the time for an intentional walk to Guerrero (with 1st base occupied!). Ridiculous!

I understand that Guerrero is a great hitter, but this isn't the situation for an intentional walk. Rule 1 (maybe not rule 1 but one of the top 10) in the "When to Intentionally Walk Someone" handbook is:

1. only walk a batter intentionally if first base is open.

Furthermore, Kaz is pitching very well and throwing very accurately, oh, and did I mention that the nearly-equally dangerous Torii Hunter will be following Vlad.... Oi!

Yes, Kaz got the K against Hunter to end the inning, but I still view this call by Maddon as a mis-step to say the least.

It's Maddon-ing!

Game Recap: Angels win, where's the Devil now?

June, 10, 2008

Angels: 6


Evan Longoria (AKA Dirtbag) coninues to swing a hot bat. Last night he was 2 for 3 with 2 doubles.

Shields pitched a complete game, his third CG of the season. He gave up 6 earned runs on 10 hits in 8 innings. Although he didn't have his best stuff he was able to stay in the game and give the 'pen a much needed rest.

Gabe Gross once again showed that he can be more than just a defensive player by cracking his 5th HR of the year into centerfield in the eighth, effectively spoiling Weaver's shut-out.

Willy Aybar made a nice diving grab at first to complete the 1,2,3 second inning.

Noodle-Arm Bartlett broke his form and made a great stop and throw on the run to end the eighth.


The Rays as a team combined for only 4 hits. Part of this was the pitching of LAA starter, Weaver, but part of it was just inconsistant AB's for the Rays.

James Shields went out and pitched without his "stuff" again. Shields is supposed to be the consistant pitcher in this rotation, but has been struggling to put a game together on the road as of late. Don't get me wrong, I'll take a complete game, but i'd like to see him in better control of a game.
Shields is a different pitcher on the road this year than at home, as detailed in this snipet of an article by Bill Chastain at

"In seven home starts this season, Shields is 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA, including a two-hit shutout against the Red Sox and a one-hit shutout against the Angels on May 9. After allowing six earned runs in eight innings Tuesday night, Shields actually lowered his road ERA from 7.06 to 6.99 as his record away from home moved to 1-4."
When asked about his struggles on the road Shields replied:
"Bad luck, pitching well. What are you going to do?"
Hopefully start winning on the road, mister!

Aki and Crawford, the one and two batters, combined for a grand total of 0 for 8 at the plate.

Upton was caught stealing, again.

Last night's loss ensures a losing road trip. Given that this was one of the toughest roadtrips, if not the toughest roadtrip of the year, I suppose that that's acceptable, but I still can't shake that horrible feeling I got last week during the BoSox series that the wheels are close to falling off of our "dream" season...I hope I'm wrong.

as usual, visit Rays Index for more in-depth analysis.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Game Recap: Who says 13's unlucky ?

June 9, 2008
RAYS: 13
Angels: 4


Back-to-back-to-back jacks from Dirtbag, Aybar, and Navi in the second inning gave the Rays the shot in the arm they needed against yet another high-octane offensive team in LAA.

Navi was 4-5 with 2 doubles, an HR, and 4 RBI, and was a triple away from the cycle.

Dirtbag was 3 for 4 with 2 HR's, 3 RBI, and a BB.

Ruggiano played well defensively in order to give Bossman a night off in CF (although BJ did cover DH duties) and was credited with 2 assists.

Willy Aybar also continues to impress with another solid outting; he went 2 for 4 from the plate including a HR, and is doing a fine job splitting time with Hinske at firstbase in Pena's absence.

Jason Bartlett, to whom I never give any credit, played a nice game- going 2 for 5 at the plate and playing solidly in the field.


Upon the advice of "Chalk", with a win this big I'll just ignore how bad Jackson was, and say that there were no low-lites.

for more in-depth coverage visit Rays Index.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Game Recap: Make it a Dozen!

June 6, 2008
RAYS: 12
Rangers: 4


The Rays bounced back nicely from the debacle that was the BoSox series. After a shaky start offensively the bats warmed up in the latter half of the game.

Evan Longoria (aka Dirtbag), smashed a homer into the second deck in leftfield of Rangers Stadium. Staats made some comment in passing that he (Longoria) was 1 of only 14 players to hit one into the second deck in Texas. Dirtbag also made some great infield plays on the run to get a couple tough outs at first (one of which was headed right for ol' Noodle-Arm Bartlett who was already camped out waiting for the ball and never would've had time to make the play at first had Evan not come to his rescue- from the looks of it, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find that management told Bartlett to let Dirtbag cover as much ground as possible). The Kid's
got a cannon!

Scott Kazmir pitched another gem. Kaz did exactly what the Rays needed, and that was to go out there with a solid performance and eat up innings so as not to use up the already tired 'pen.
Kid K went 8 innings giving up 6 hits, 2 earned runs, and recording 6 K's with no walks. He also recorded a pick-off when he caught Murphy trying to steal 2nd (although it was very close to being a balk, it was a great move).

The Rays, as a team, only struck out 5 times as opposed to 9 the night before.


Al Reyes looked old, and used up. He came in in the 9th as the closer and proceeded to give up 2 runs on 2 hits while recording just one K. I understand that the Rays effectively had the game in the bag, so there robably wasn't a lot adrenaline involved, but he looked as if he was already on his last leg and its only the beginning of June.

No bench-clearing brawl... ah, shucks!

Gabe Gross went 2 for 5 with a double, but still looked uncomfortable at the plate (being a huge GG fan, i feel like a Dad who holds his kids to a higher standard... come on Gabe, make Daddy proud).


be sure to check in at Rays Index too.

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's Maddon-ing

Last night's game is garnishing tons of media attention for its great bench-clearing brawl, but in case everyone forgot: there was actually a baseball game played as well (a poorly played one).

The Rays lost for a plethora of reasons including Shields' ejection, and too many K's, but those are just peripheral reasons. The primary reason, you ask?...

Joe Maddon!

The Rays were down 3 before the game even started because someone in the Cracker Jack factory forgot to include the "Potential scenarios for intentional walks" section in the managers' guide that they included in the box during their MLB promotion.

With 1st base open and Man-Ram at the plate there is NO EXCUSE as to why they decided to pitch to him.
The result? Mr. Ramirez hits a ball to Pluto...

Add this game to the perpetually growing list of games The Rays lost due, in large part, to poor management. Games like this just prove the theory that The Rays are winning in spite of Joe.

Get your head in the game, Joe. I haven't played organized baseball since I was in the 8th grade and even I knew the logical choice.

It's Maddon-ing !

Who pissed in his cereal?

Mr Crisp,

I am writing this letter on behalf of every baseball fan in America (the real fans, not the Chowda Heads who root for the likes of you and Manny) to inform you that we've had enough.

In the interest of preserving the game we love, we ask that you tender your resignation immediately.
Furthermore, we the faithful of America's Past-time, also move to have your name stricken from any MLB statistical records, effectively removing you from the tomes of baseball history all together.

In speaking with Commisioner Selig (who never gets anything wrong) we've found that he too is in favor of banishing you based on your silly name alone, and all the misguided attention it draws to our great sport. He also asks that you grab Mr. Milton Bradley on your way out (no, you don't get to pass Go or collect $200 - that money will be donated to help urban development so we don't have any more little Cocoa-Krispies running amuck in these great United States).

In short we have decided that anyone so delusional as to take a cheap shot at a second baseman and then start whining about it (shouldn't the person who recieved the cheap shot be the one who is angry?) and mouthing off to an elderly fellow from the safety of your own dug-out, then move on to the following day and proceed to charge the mound when poor Mr. Shields was doing nothing more than upholding the time-honored tradition of baseball symmetry, does not deserve a place in America's sport.

Upon reviewing the tape of last night's brawl the League has determined that you are indeed the world's luckiest fellow: considering that you narrowly avoided a broken orbital bone at the hands of a pitcher, nearly suffered three broken ribs thanks to Mr. Gomes, and missed a broken nose and cracked mandible from Mr. Crawford by the slightest of margins.
You should take this stroke of luck as a sign that you should get out now while you can before your luck turns.
There is no dishonor in resigning, you know. After all discretion is the better part of valor. Then again valor doesn't seem to be your strong point now does it?

Do baseball fans, Americans, and the world in general a huge favor and disappear. Go find Scott Norwood and live happily ever after.

Please, we beg you- go.
What are you still doing here. Go!

Love Deeply,


Thursday, June 5, 2008


Given how baseball is such a superstitious sport it occured to me that since I started blogging a "Game Recap" the Rays haven't won a game, so in the interest of trying to dig out a win.... today's recap has been cancelled (I know, how will you get through the day?... it's okay, we'll hold hands and get through it together).

...the game sucked anyways.
as always, for more in-depth analysis head over to Rays Index.

The Sox make me see Red !!

I waited all day to sound off on the whole Coco Crisp ordeal from last night, but the longer I stew on it the angrier I grow!

That filthy, scrawny, punk has got some nerve!
How dare he take a cheap shot like that at Aki and then have the gonads to turn around and act like a baffoon- yelling and screaming like some sort of rabid lunatic from the safety of his own dugout, coward!

Newsflash, dummy; you were the one who was playing dirty you scumbag! And don't even give me that bull-crap line about how Bartlett dropped his knee on your head earlier in the game... his knee was down before you got there you slimy little puke!!!
I now officially hate you more than Shellie Duncan you two-bit, over-hyped, thug.... bugger off!!!!!!

Rest assured, you will be re-paid in full, you sleeze (or at least one of your teammates will be, probably the defensless little Mr. Pedroia)!

Can Sully come out and Play?

So Sully, from Sully Baseball, wanted a heated rival betwixt Rays and Sox fans...

You sure you want to open that can of worms, Mr. Sullivan?

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand the Pink Stalkings' storied past, and recent success, and....blah, blah, blah. Truth is, we aren't scared of you anymore. The Rays may not finish their "Cinderella season" the way we hope, but there's no turning back now, baby- the days of being historically bad are behind us...

I may come off as a bit of a homer, but i feel like Red Sox fans might as well put the Yankees rivalry out to pasture-- the Rays are your new thorn-in-the-side!

In football terms the Rays are replacing the Yankees as the Sox' rival like the Ravens replaced the Browns as the Steelers' rivals...

Bring it on Chowda Heads...

And start looking forward to the top of a rotation in 2010 that goes something like this:
Scot Kazmir
David Price
James Shields

It's okay, go ahead, cry a little... i won't tell, promise.

Ding, Ding, Ding...

Round 1

Shoot over to Rays Index tonight at 6:00 for an all out war...

The Professor will be blogging the game live against challenger "Sully" from Boston...

There will be blood, oh yes, there will be blood...ah ha ha ha!!

I Love Being Right!

According to , The Rays will select SS, Tim Beckham with the 1st pick in today's Amateur draft.

Here's a snipet of the article from


Before the team had made its decision, Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison called Beckham "a really good player at a premium position."

"Middle of the field player, very good athlete, an advanced bat," Harrison said. "Has a real good awareness on the field. He plays the game with a great deal of enthusiasm. And then when you spend time with him away from the field, he's the same guy. He's a fun guy to be around."

...Beckham stands 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, which lends him the physical stature to play most positions. Harrison said Beckham "absolutely" will be a shortstop in the Rays organization. A five-tool player, he is said to have the prerequisite range to remain at shortstop.

I've heard it said that Beckham's got some holes in his swing, but that he has good "hitters'-hands", and should excell under the proper tutelage. I, for one, look forward to seeing him progress through the ranks.

Game Recap: Mommy, It Hurts...

June 4th, 2008


Red Sox: 5


Eric Hinske went 2 for 4 at the plate, driving in the Rays only run, and stealing 3rd (his fifth stolen base of the year. Hinske also played a decent game at first in place of the injured Carlos Pena.

BJ Upton threw an amazing ball from middle center to get Man-Ram at the plate. Upton leads all center-fielders in assists with 7 so far this year.

Joe Maddon firing back at Coco Crisp, who apparantly thinks that its okay to intentionally attempt to injure someone and then get angry about it... baffling.

The Rays did a decent job of hitting against the usually stingy Josh Beckett. They grabbed 7 hits in 6 innings against the Boston ace.


Edwin-Freaking-Jackson; just when I start to think that he may be ready to turn that invisible corner he's starting to remind me why I wanted him traded last year. He and Garza have choosen the wrong series in which to self-destruct. Edwin gave up 6 hits and 4 runs in 5 inninngs, and is darn lucky that it wasn't a whole lot worse.

BJ Upton facing off against homeplate ump, Paul Emmel. In my opinion the pitch was a strike. I don't know what Bossman Junior said to get the boot, but it did seem a bit premature on Emmel's part-- regardless of that, Upton has to compose himself with a little more dignity in my mind.

I hate to sound like I'm picking on the guy, but Jason "Noodle-Arm" Bartlett bobbled yet another routine grounder with a man at first. Bartlett had no chance to turn 2 because the runner was stealing and he (Bartlett) did actually get the out at first (barely), but the point remains the same, Mr Bartlett MUST put a quick end to these blunders if he plans on continue to fool all the Rays' faithful into thinking that he's a gold-glove caliber SS.

My man Gabe Gross looks so out-matched at the plate that its enfuriating. He went 0 for 4 with 2 more K's. Come on Gabe, get it together, this (Pena on the DL) is your chance to prove that you belong on the field day-in and day-out- take advantage.


Be sure to visit Rays Index for more in-depth analysis

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Draft Day is upon us...Tomorrow

With the 2008 amateur draft just hours away I've decided to sound off on it just as everyone else is; of course my guess is as good as yours as to whom the Rays will pick with the first overall pick in the draft but I figured i'd take a stab at it. Most experts, pundits, and baseball faithful have narrowed it down to 2 players, Buster Posey, C, FSU or Tim Beckham, SS, Griffin HS.
Kevin Goldstein from says it'll be Posey...
Here's what I say:

"With the first pick of the 2008 amateur draft the Tampa Bay Rays select...

wait for it...

...Tim Beckham, SS-Griffin HS,Ga"


In my humble opinion, Beckham has the tools... he's a prototypical "5-tool" guy. He may not be ready as quickly as Posey, but the Rays line-up isn't in need of any quick-fixes right now, espesially behind the plate where Navi is calling great games and hitting very well, to boot.

Game Recap: Garza! Garza! Garza!

JUNE 2, 2008
Red Sox: 7


started the game off with a homer on the 3rd pitch of the night giving the Rays the start they needed.

also homered, blasting a 2-run dinger as high as it was long, over the rightfield wall, and giving the Rays a 4-3 lead in the 6th.

The bullpen
was solid again last night, giving the Rays a chance to comeback. Glover worked 2 innings, giving up 1 hit and striking out 1. While Balfour worked 2/3 giving up 1 walk and also recording 1 K.


Matt Garza did his best Edwin Jackson impression last night. He ran into a buzz-saw line-up in Boston and couldn't find the plate... that's a deadly combination. For anyone who saw the game it was easy to see very early on that Garza wasn't going to have his best stuff last night.

Jason Bartlett, who played nearly flawless baseball in May, made a huge mistake in the sixth when a softly hit grounder took a short hop and tied him up- what should've been at the very least one out, and quite possibly could've been a double play ended up turning into nothing, and giving Boston bases loaded with no outs. Boston went on to score 4, and never looked back.

Gabe Gross (who I'm a huge proponent of) struggled mightily at the plate, managing to strike out 3 times. Gross, who hasn't gotten many chances to start in RF (given the Rays stack-up at that position), has to do a better job offensively if he wants to secure his job.

In the 8th, trailing by 3, the Rays had 2-on with no outs and were unable to produce even 1 run. In an important game against a division rival you've got to be able to take advantage of scoring opportunities. In total the Rays stranded 8.

Be certain to visit Rays Index for more in-depth analysis.