Short post from me today, as I am too depressed about yesterday's game to muster much analysis, wit, or whatever. Though I am not yet ready to call the season over (as the folks over at Rays Index have done), the odds are certainly long. It's too bad. David Price threw an absolute gem of a game on Saturday, and Jeff Niemann was his usual, consistent self, going strong through seven full on Sunday. Even Balfour, who might oughtta be the goat here, looked great through two batters. But keeping him in, walking Granderson, bringing up Polanco with a chance to win it...these things are baffling. I'm not going to rage on Joe Maddon or anything. That guy's done too much good for the team and deserves some slack, even when he does things that are totally boneheaded and end up in disastrous, season-ending taters.
Here're Curtis Grandersons lefty/righty splits: AVG.181/.288; OPS .509/926. Why not bring in Choate or Shouse? Why not let Balfour go after Granderson, instead of putting him on first? Why not win the game? After Niemann turns in an effort like that, after the Rays have a lead in the 8th against a very good pitcher, it sucks to lose. I don't mean to be alarmist or defeatist, but it does start to feel like this is happening to the Rays' season.
Shields vs. Washburn today in a game the Rays need to win if they want to keep things interesting into September.