Wednesday, September 30, 2009

CHEESE & WHINE: Wade-ing In Victory

Rays: 3
O's: 1

  • Wade Davis. Davis pitched 7 innings, allowing just 1 run on 7 hits while walking 3 and striking-out 3. Despite the poor K to BB ratio Davis looked good. I'm excited for next season with Davis in the rotation (presumably).
  • Willy Aybar. Say 'ello to my lil friend. Aybar is on fire over the last several weeks, and last night was no exception. Willy was 3 for 4 from the plate with 1 RBI.
  • Reid Brignac. The ragin' Cajun looked fairly comfortable at he plate last night going 2 for 3 with a triple and scoring a run. Brignac has also started to show how solid a fielder he can be as well, I'm just not sure where he fits into the Rays' short-term (2010-2011) plans.
  • The Laugh Staff. Amazingly, the troop of Springer, Cormier, Wheeler, Choate, and Balfour managed to pitch a total of 2 innings and did not allow a run, and some people say there's no God.


  • AL Wildcard. It was inevitable, but seeing Boston clinch the AL Wildcard stings nearly as much as watching the sad shell of a show that SNL has become, but I digress.


  • Carl Crawford recorded his 60th steal of the season and set a new franchise record.
  • The Rays now stand at 81-76 which ensures at least a .500 season. If they can dig-out 4 wins in their final 5 games they'll be able to hang their hats on an 85 win season in the AL East which, all things considered, is quite an accomplishment.

CAVIAR (game ball):

  • Wade Davis. The kid has good stuff, and I dream of a 15 win season next year and officially deem 2010 Wade Davis' coming-out party.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CHEESE & WHINE: Zo, Zo, Zorilla

Rays: 7
O's: 6

  • Ben Zobrist. Benny-Boo is officially ridiculous. He has played every position but homeplate ump this season and is good at them all. Last night Zo played some firstbase before moving to more familiar territory in the OF late (where he made a great catch to record the 2nd out in the 9th inning). Zobrist finished the game 2 for 4 with a double and a homer (his 25th).
  • Willy Aybar. Aybar came in as a pinch-hitter and delivered a 3-run homer to tie the game in the seventh. It was reminiscent of last season's magic.


  • Jeff Niemann. How can I vote for you for AL R.O.Y. if you have foolish outings like that? Niemann was bad from the start last night, going only 3 and 1/3, surrendering 4 runs on 7 hits while walking 3 and striking-out 3. Its an understatement to say that the Rays won in spite of Niemann last night.
  • Andy Sonnanstine. To me it's official; Sonny is done. I always thought he'd be a good reliever, and so far he has done all he can to prove me wrong. Hopefully he's just not mentally adjusted to being in the 'pen, but I'm pretty close to being done making excuses.
  • Fernando Perez. Perez is obviously not a major league hitter... yet.


  • Holy Homers. Last night's 4 home run performance gave the Rays a season total of 193 which is a new team single-season record. Imagine if Pena were still in the lineup throughout the last 6 weeks- they would've had a chance at 210.
  • Don't forget to enter to win a Jason Bartlett autographed card from Rays the Stakes and Sports Memorabilia. Enter Here to win.

CAVIAR (game ball):

  • Ben Zobrist. Zobrist is the definition of a utility player.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

JP will Howell No More

According to Joe Smith (no relation) of the St Pete Times the Rays have decided to shut-down JP Howell for the rest of the 2009 campaign.

Howell has pitched more relief innings than any pitcher in the majors over the last two seasons, and has been struggling as of late, presumably due to arm fatigue.

In the home-stretch of the season Howell has struggled quite a bit; going 1-3 with a Sonnanstine-esque 6.75 ERA, surrendering 4 homers and 13 walks over just 13 and 1/3 innings.

Howell jokingly replied to being shut-down by saying, "I'm on vacation, a paid vacation."

Rest-up JP, 2010 is just around the corner and I have a feeling that the Rays are going to need you more than ever.

CHEESE & WHINE: Texas Toast

Rays: 3
Rangers: 8

  • No one got hurt.


  • BJ Upton. Upton was 2 for 3 from the plate, but made 2 base running blunders that were costly. Bossman was picked-off at first and was caught taking a big turn around third on a hit that he presumably thought had gotten past Texas' SS Andrus... it hadn't.
  • Grant Balfour. Balfour came-in in the 8th and managed to walk 2 before giving-up a 3-run homer to Ian Kinsler. Well done Grant, well done indeed. Apparently Shouse and Springer are contagious.


  • Kinsler's 3-run dinger off of Balfour put him in the 30/30 club (30 homerS and 30 steals). Congrats to Kinsler.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Baseball Bloggers Alliance

Over the past month or so Daniel Shoptaw of C70 At The Bat, has been working extremely hard at putting together a network of baseball blogs.

His hard work is paying off; by bringing at least 2 blogs representing each major league team into the fold Daniel has indeed created a vast database of MLB blogs which was designed to promote cross-communication between the bloggers as a means of enriching each member's content.

An obvious byproduct of this network is that the faithful blog readers of enlisted blogs will benefit form the expanded knowledge/contacts of the blog writers.

Several members of what is being termed the BBA (baseball bloggers alliance) have also come together to create a BBA website as an arena for all the alliance bloggers to post hot topic pieces or pieces of interest.

Rays the Stakes is a proud member of the BBA, and joins Rays All Day (which I had previously not been aware of) as the BBA representatives of our Tampa Bay Rays.

You can check out the BBA website here.
You can also use the link to the BBA which has been added to the sidebar.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

CHEESE & WHINE: 10 to Go

Rays: 5
Mariners: 4

  • BJ Upton. Bossman's 2-run single in the 8th put the Rays in the lead for good. Upton was 2 for 3 from the plate with 3 RBI and a walk, add-in the amazing game-ending catch in CF and BJ was at his best last night.
  • Ben Zobrist. Zobrist was only 1 for 3 from the plate and left 3 on base, but his defensive efforts made up for his lack of offense; Zorilla made a tough straight-at-ya catch in RF in the 6th, and kept the Rays within 1 after cutting-down Saunders at home to end the seventh.
  • Shouse, Springer, and Choate. The "laugh staff" found a way to actually not lose the game. I'm thoroughly impressed.


  • The Top. Bartlett and Crawford were a combined 0 for 7. Pretty sure the top o' the lineup is supposed to do a wee-bit more than that.
  • Dioner Navarro. What a shame that last year was the exception and not the rule in terms of Navi's hitting prowess. Last night, 0 for 4. Again. Moving his average to an abysmal .219 (the lowest among the starters).


  • The Rays are sitting at 78-74 with 10 to play, which is good enough for 8th best in the American League (1 game behind both Minnesota and Seattle (79-73)).
  • Wade Davis was fairly good last night, pitching 5 and 2/3 innings (96 pitches- 64 for strikes), allowing 4 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits, while striking-out 6 and walking 1.

CAVIAR (game ball):

  • BJ Upton. Bossman came through in the clutch... twice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm Back

After another mini-vacation to Pennsylvania for my high school reunion, I'm back.
So Rays The Stakes will get back to some semblance of normalcy for the rest of the season.

Thanks again to our friend Dustin for filling-in while I was gone.
The Rays were 4-1 while I was gone... hmmm, if they start losing again maybe I should just fly back out of town again.

It's Finally Official

After tonight's 4-3 loss to the Mariners, the Rays' chances at the post-season are now quite clearly, undeniably, officially dead (courtesy of yet another bullpen malfunction). Let's all take a moment to mourn the arrival of the inevitable.

- Dustin

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Win a Jason Bartlett Autographed Card

**UPDATE (Sept 19)**
The entries keep rolling in, so get in while you still can- and tell your friends... its free.

Rays the Stakes in conjunction with our good friends over at Sports Memorabilia are proud to announce some good news:

We are having a giveaway contest:

Win this Jason Bartlett Autographed Card (with C.O.A.)


Send an email to telling us who you think will win this season's AL MVP award.

Everyone who correctly guesses the MVP will be entered into a random drawing to see who wins the Jason Bartlett autographed card from Rays The Stakes and Sports Memorabllia. Be sure to include your full name in your response.

Good Luck.

*Click here for more detailed info in regard to the card you could win.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Sight for Sore Eyes

Baltimore 0, RAYS 3

Wade Davis, welcome to the big leagues. Last night, Davis's third start of the season, was a 10-K complete-game shutout that was so good, it almost erased the past week and a half from my memory (though looking at this suggests that he was getting a little help from the umpire). Who'd have thunk that the best pitching performances all year would have come from rookies Niemann and Davis?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Deja vu all over again

Remember last May, when Jonny Gomes scored the winning run against the Yankees in extras at the Trop. Still out of breath when a reporter asked him how it felt to be a Ray, Gomes responded: "I tell you what, it doesn't suck." Remember that game? Why couldn't we relive THAT one over and over again instead of this 2007-ish bullpen-implosion script?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2010 Schedule... Same old, Same old.

Here's the Rays' press release in regard to 2010's schedule:

"The Rays will open the 2010 season at home vs. the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, April 6, according to the Major League Baseball schedule released today. The schedule is subject to change.

The Rays have not played at home on Opening Day in five years, since they hosted the Toronto Blue Jays on April 4, 2005. The season-opening six-game homestand includes three games vs. Baltimore (April 6-8) and three games with the New York Yankees (April 9-11), the first of two weekend series the Yankees will play at Tropicana Field in 2010.

On the Interleague schedule, the Rays host the Florida Marlins (June 11-13), San Diego Padres (June 22-24) and Arizona Diamondbacks (June 25-27). They visit the Atlanta Braves on June 15-17, their first trip to Atlanta since 2001, and travel to play the Houston Astros (May 21-23) and Florida (June 18-20).

As it was in each of the last nine seasons, the 2010 major league schedule follows an unbalanced format, meaning each team will play more games against teams in their own division. The Rays will play 72 games against the four American League East opponents: 18 each against the Boston Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles and Blue Jays.The Rays host Boston on May 24-26, July 5-7 and a weekend series, August 27-29. The Yankees visit Tropicana Field on April 9-11, July 30–August 1 and September 13-15.Tampa Bay’s 2009 home schedule concludes with the Rays hosting the Orioles, September 27-29, followed by a four-game series at Kansas City, September 30–October 3.

While each AL East team will make three visits to Tropicana Field, all other AL teams will make one trip to Tampa Bay except for the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners, who each come in for two series.

Season tickets for 2010 may be reserved by calling 888-FAN-RAYS or
online at"

CHEESE & WHINE: Losing My Religion

Rays: 5
O's: 10

  • Pat Burrell. The Bat had a nice night, going 2 for 4 with a 3-run homer and 4 RBI total. Where was that all season?
  • Ben Zobrist. Benny-Boo was 3 for 4 with a double, a triple, and an RBI. Well played, sir.
  • Low-K. The team, as a whole, only struck-out twice. That's quite the improvement from the team average which hovers somewhere around 672 per nine innings (or so it seems).


  • Jeff Niemann. The Rays' most consistent starter and AL R.O.Y. candidate didn't do himself any favors last night; lasting only 4 and 1/3 innings, allowing 6 runs on 11 hits. However, he did manage to strike-out 6 while only walking 1.
  • Brian Shouse. I consider myself a good Christian man, but if I ever see Brian Shouse on the street I'm going to walk up and punch him in his lip. He comes in as a lefty specialist v. Scott and promptly surrenders a solo homer followed by a 4-pitch walk. Ridiculous amounts of anger.
  • Russ Springer. The same punching possibility applies.


  • The Rays are now only 1 game over .500 for the season, which is an absolute travesty considering where they stood just 3 short weeks ago (69-56).

CAVIAR (game ball):

  • Pat Burrell. The Bat came through with some serious run-production.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CHEESE & WHINE: Thank Heaven For Small Miracles

Rays: 8
O's: 4

  • The Law of Averages said that it had to happen eventually. The O's were just the salve the Rays needed for their weeping wounds.
  • David Price. After a bad start, giving-up 4 runs in the 1st (3 earned), David settled-in and shut 'em down. Price lasted 7 innings, recording 4 K's and walking 2.
  • Reid Brignac. 4 for 4 with a homer, a steal, and 3 RBI. That's more like it young man.
  • Carl Crawford. 3 for 5 with a double, an RBI, and his 57th steal.


  • Evan Longoria. Dirtbag was 0 for 5 from the plate with 3 K's and leaving 5 runners on-base, oh and he had a throwing error from the field. It was not one of his better days.


  • The losing streak ended at 11... thank God.
  • The Rays are now 73-71 and will have to go on a real tear in order to reach 90 wins. Perhaps they should aim for 80.

CAVIAR (game ball):

  • Reid Brignac. Great performance.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Eventually, this is gonna stop, right?

Not only does the above cartoon sum up my feelings about the past week or so, but it works thematically with the last post. The Rays load the bases with one out in the first? Rainout. The Rays give up 8 runs in the third? The umps hold on long enough to make the game official.

There are really only a handful of reasons to watch the Rays right now. One is the chance to see young players, like Wade Davis and Fernando Perez, play. Another is the hope of beating the Red Sox, thereby affording the citizens of Pink Hat Nation the opportunity to turn their attention to that charming NFL team of theirs this October. Of course, Perez sports a .316 OPS on the season, Davis looked lost last night, and the Sox thumped the Rays. Maybe things will work out better for today's double-header. Yeah, I know...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

CHEESE & WHINE: Rain Delay... Postponed

That sums it up.

Red Sox:

  • The Rays didn't lose.
  • No one got hurt.
  • There's nothing I'd rather do on the NFL's opening Sunday than to try to navigate through 14 NFL games... and 2 Rays games.
  • Boston fans got all wet. What a shame.


  • Knowing that God is against your favorite team. Having the bases loaded in the top of the 1st in Boston with one out just to have the game postponed due to rain. Thanks a lot Big Guy! If I find out you're a Sox fan I may just have to switch to Buddhism.
  • I really wanted to watch the game.
  • Did I mention the Sunday doubleheader vs. NFL thing?


  • Wade Davis will get his scheduled start today with Garza pitching the first game Sunday and Shields pitching the second half of the double header according to Marc Topkin over at The Heater.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program...

...To remember the innocent Americans who were robbed of their lives by the selfish and pointless acts of others, and to remember the heroes of the NYPD, NYFD, Red Cross, and other organizations that either risked or lost their lives while trying to help the victims in and around the towers.
We also want to remind the families who were ripped apart, and who's lives are forever changed, that we are still thinking of and praying for them. And lastly, we remember the heroism of Jeremy Glick and the fellow passengers of flight 93 who selflessly sacrificed their lives to save the lives of others.

God Bless America!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Post from last season- Randomly re-posted today (totally random, I swear)

***REPOST original post 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!


Rays: 2
Yankees: 4

  • Jeff Niemann. Niemann continues to prove why he belongs at the top of the rotation, and has quickly become the Rays' most consistent pitcher. Last night Jeff pitched a great game and was rewarded by his bullpen with a no-decision. Niemann lasted 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 8 hits while walking 1 and striking-out 8, several of which were swinging K's thanks to the addition of his new toy, the splitter.
  • Jason Bartlett. His lead-off homer would've been enough for the win if the Rays had anything that remotely resembled a major league bullpen. JB is hitting .331 for the season.
  • Watching History. Even if it is Yankees' history. Seeing Jeter tie Gehrig as the all-time Yankees' hits leader was a treat. When you see Jeter at the top of a list that includes Mantle, Ruth, and Gehrig it puts how good he really is into perspective. Jeter represents all that is good in baseball (except for the fact that he plays for the Yankees, of course).


  • Grant Balfour. Balfour allowed a 3-run pinch-hit homer (Posada) which allowed the Yanks to complete the comeback win. This was Balfour's third blown-save in a week.


  • Congrats to our friend Prof (aka Cork) over at Rays Index. Who welcomes a new Rays' fan to the world.

CAVIAR (game ball):

  • Derek Jeter. Well done.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dirtbag Gets "Player of The Week" Award, but has to Share

Rays third baseman and resident stud Evan Longoria received the AL Co-Player of the Week Award for the week which ended Sept 6th.

During the 7 games included in the week Dirtbag led the league with a .467 batting average, he also recorded 5 doubles, 10 RBI, and 3 HR's. On top of that he boasted a slugging percentage of .933 over that span.

Evan had already received the award twice this season, 4/13 and 5/4.

He shares the award with Toronto outfielder Adam Lind.

CHEESE & WHINE: And Yet Again...

*a picture truly is worth a thousand words:Rays: 2
Yankees: 3

  • David Price. King David looked solid, pitching 6 innings allowing 2 runs on only 3 hits while walking 2 and striking-out 6. Price looked like we expected him to look all season, and hopefully he can finish strong and head into next season with all the confidence he lost when he was sent down to Durham to start this season.
  • Evan Longoria. Dirtbag is ridiculous. Another day, another homer. Dirtbag now has 30 homers.
  • Chris Richard. Richard played a solid 1st base, making some nice stops on tough hops, and also managed to record his first major league hit in 6 and a half years.


  • RISP. Team RISP 0 for 5.
  • Beating Dead Horses. I'm tired of complaining about the bullpen. Every day its a new scapegoat, this time it was Wheeler who surrendered the walk-off homer. A little offensive help would've been appreciated though. When your bully has been struggling the guys in the dugout should work extra hard to put runs on the board to make certain that no matter how bad the relievers are- they'll still have a shot at the W.
  • Tailspin. The fall into the abyss continues as this is the Rays' 7th straight loss- their longest skid since their pre-all-star break meltdown last season.


  • Evan Longoria is just the ninth player in MLB history to finish a season with 30 homers, 40 doubles, and 100 RBI while under the age of 25.

CAVIAR (game ball):

  • David Price. Quality start under pressure in the Bronx. Dirty, rotten shame his team couldn't get him the win.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

CHEESE & WHINE: Hold the Cheese... Double Duty

Game 1
Rays: 1
Yankees: 4

Game 2
Rays: 1
Yankees: 11

  • Carlos Pena. El Gato is gone for the season thanks to a pitch that broke two of his fingers. Ouch. Its a darn good thing for the Rays that they're not playoff bound because they'd be lost without Pena's big bat.
  • The Unnamed Feeling. I borrow a term form Metallica (the best song on their St Anger Album) when I call the sadness and frustration and anger that I feel from watching the Rays over the last 2 weeks the "Unnamed Feeling". The bullpen literally makes me ill. If you were a Rays fan waaaaay back in 2006 and 2007 you're very very familiar with the sinking feeling you get every single time a starting pitcher gets the hook. Its a foregone conclusion that no matter what the scoreboard reads when the call goes out to the laugh staff, the Rays are headed toward a loss. Suddenly, as of late, the names Stokes, Corcoran, Lugo, Fossum, Ryu, Seo, and Camp have come back from the dead to haunt me. They're laughing at the frauds currently hiding in the bullpen on a supposed contending team; Springer, Cormier, Shouse, Bennett... they whisper their names into my ear while I sleep and every day I wake to find that its actually true; they really are on the Rays active roster and the Rays really are no longer in contention in large part because of these clowns- and a little piece of my heart breaks off and floats slowly down to the depths of my blackened soul, and the unnamed feeling comes again.
  • Andy Sonnanstine. 2.2 innings, 6 hits, 8 runs, 3 walks... whatever dude.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Well, THAT was almost fun

Instead of complaining about another bullpen meltdown, a sweep at home at the hands of the solidly mediocre Tigers, and the obvious and, by now, undeniable sinking of the Rays' post-season hopes, I'm gonna be excited about the performance Wade Davis turned in today. One walk, one run (off a dinger to, of course, Aubry Huff), three hits, and nine strikeouts over seven innings is a very nice bit of work. Welcome to the bigs, Wade. Too bad they couldn't get the win for you.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

CHEESE & WHINE: Paging the Real JP Howell

Rays: 3
Tigers: 4

  • Evan Longoria. Dirtbag is a stud. Two more doubles brings his season total to 40. That certainly helps detract attention away from his league-leading double play numbers. Last night Longo was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI.
  • Carlos Pena. El Gato was 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
  • Jeff Niemann. Niemann was good again (which makes me wonder why I'm still pleasently surprised everytime he turns in a good performance), lasting 7 and 1/3 innings allowing 1 run on 6 hits while striking-out 6 and walking 2.


  • JP Howell. 2/3 of an inning. 2 walks. 2 K's. 1 hit. 3 runs. Unacceptable.
  • Randy Choate. 1 batter- 1 hit. Again.
  • If there was any hope left for a playoff run last night closed the door. A win last night would've made-up a game on Boston who lost v. the ChiSox (and the dying dream may have stayed alive), but as has been the case all season, when it mattered most it just didn't happen.


  • Happy Labor Day weekend.
  • I'm not going to complain about Tom Foley, neither should you.

CAVIAR (game ball):

  • Jeff Niemann. Another start, another solid performance.

Friday, September 4, 2009

CHEESE & WHINE: I'm Calling It

I'm calling it:
Rays time of death, September 3, 2009 @ 10:23 pm.
Rays: 3
Red Sox: 6


  • Gregg Zaun. Zaun is a great addition to this team. I really hope they keep him around through 2010, so he can, at the least, mentor the young guys behind the plate. Zaun has also been a force from beside the plate, last night he finished just 1 for 4, but his 1 hit was a nice RBI double.
  • Evan Longoria. Longo has been on fire from the plate again. This time he went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles and an RBI.
  • Young Guys. The sadness of knowing that the postseason is just not gonna happen is somewhat off-set by the excitement of getting to see what some of the top minor league prospects have to offer over the next several weeks. Wade Davis makes his major league debut on Sunday, and several other players are on their way soon. I'd love to see the Rays find a way to make room for Desmond Jennings also.


  • Flippin' Bullpen. Springer, Bennett, Shouse... you can have 'em. I'm done with 'em. Russ Springer is completely useless and Shouse makes even him look good.


  • The Rays are now 6 games behind Boston in what I call an already-over playoff race. But I do believe in miracles, so there's that. Its gonna take God's help to make it happen, because these guys sure aren't going to do it themselves.

CAVIAR (game ball):

  • Longoria. 2 more doubles (37,38) and an RBI (94)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BJ Down-ton

BJ Upton has had a down season.
BJ Upton is just as disappointed in himself as we are in him.
BJ Upton is still the real deal.

That being said, at what point does his liability at the plate (and on the basepaths) supersede his ability in the outfield?

Is it time for BJ to take a seat for a few games, again? would it benefit the team to plug in someone else who could be a potential sparkplug much as Zaun has been from the catcher position?

Holding-out Hope

Okay, so in the interest of trying not to completely throw in the towel, here is some fat to chew:

We've known all along that, whether they were in the hunt or not, the Rays would be limiting David Price's innings this season, so as not to put the team's present ahead of it's future.

I say what better time then right now to stick Price in the 'pen, and help solve several problems at one time... you know, two birds- one ball.

First, moving King David to the bully helps save his arm for future campaigns- which is of the greatest importance (obviously).

Second, moving Price to the 'pen would put a legitimate arm out there, so that if the game is on the line in the 6th or 7th inning of a must-win game the Rays can call-on someone with gas and a live, major league arm to come preserve the win.

I can't think of a more opportune time to make the move. Can you?

CHEESE & WHINE: They're Alive... Barely.

Rays: 8
Red Sox: 5

  • Resiliency. The Rays struck early, but Boston crept back into the game. Despite a complete momentum shift the Rays battled back to take the lead for good in the 8th.
  • Gregg Zaun. Zaun finished the night 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and an RBI.
  • Evan Longoria. Longo was 2 for 4 with 3 runs and a 2-run homer that was absolutely crushed into deep left field.
  • Not waving the White Flag. Despite knowing that their playoff chances are slim at best the Rays came out ready to play, and it seems as if they still think there's hope. I don't think they have a prayer, but what do I know- I'd love to be wrong.


  • Ben Zobrist. Zo was 0-4 on the night and left 3 men on base.
  • The 'pen. Even if the Rays find a way into the post season these guys will sink the ship. How confident do you feel when you hear these names; Bennett, Springer, Shouse, Balfour, Choate? And as of late Howell seems to have lost his feel a bit as well. I was actually happy to see Wheeler yesterday... file that under "signs of the apocalypse".
  • Staats & Kennedy. Every flippin' time Joe West is the home plate ump we have to listen to these two go on, and on, and on about how Joe West is still a National League ump who won't expand his strike-zone, but isn't afraid to ring people up. Yawn.


  • JP Howell was tagged with the blown-save and the win. Pretty sure that doesn't happen often. $1 to anyone who can site the last time.

CAVIAR (game ball):

  • Longoria. 3 runs and a monster homer when it mattered.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Reality Check: Here Comes Boston. Right... Now.

One series to rule them all.
One series to define them.
One series to make a push-
or in the playoffs we won't find them.

The gravity of the Rays' situation cannot be overstated.
Boston heads into town for a three-game set in what now becomes a do-or-die situation for the Rays.

I'm going to go out on a fairly short limb here and say that if the Rays don't sweep Boston at the Trop then Durham will soon be losing half their roster. In other words, the fat lady will have sung, and it'll be time to give some of the prospects a shot at some major league playing time (which could be exciting in and of itself, but not nearly as exciting as a late season playoff push would be).

As I'm sure you're already aware, the Rays trail Boston by 5 games in the AL wildcard race so a sweep would put them within 2 games with 25 to play- 3 of which would be against Boston.

This could be the most important 3 game stretch in franchise history (yes, it'd be easy to argue that 3 games of the World Series were bigger, but hear me out).
Although last season's fall classic was gargantuan the reality of the matter is that the Rays had already garnered tons of attention, new fans were arriving by the truckload regardless of the outcome v. Philly, and the Rays had finally after more than a decade made a splash,whereas losing this upcoming series to Boston, and there by extinguishing any chance at a playoff birth, would have an amazingly adverse effect on the national fan base. It would prove every naysayer right (or so they would think- I'd still beg to differ), that the Rays can't hang with the big boys, that 2008 was a fluke, and that the fair-weather/newbie fans would drop like flies.
Oh, and Bostonians would just be laughing their tails off all the way to Fenway, or at least back to their condos in St Pete (which may just be the worst part of all).

One series to rule them all.
One series to define them.
One series to make a push-
or in the playoffs we won't find them.

Why No C&W and Here Come the Call-ups.

Okay, Back from my typical, but odd, weekend (Sunday and Monday), and ready to roll.

No Cheese & Whine today (please don't TP my house again!) due to the fact that yesterday's game ended nearly 20 hours ago. If you're still somehow in the dark, let it be known that the Rays won a game, on getaway day nonetheless, despite Brian Shouse's best efforts. The Rays roll out of Detroit having split the series at 2 apiece (a series which for all intents and purposes should've been a 3-1 Rays victory on the strength of Niamann's nice outing Sunday, but alas was just not meant to be).

First round of September call-ups are here, and it includes the following players:
  • Fernando Perez. Welcome back Mr Perez-ident. Your speed is what we desire.
  • Jeff Bennett. What? Maddon says his arm is stretched and he can be used as a long reliever if need be. The mere possibility scares me.
  • Shawn Riggans. Navi has to feel great.
  • Andy Sonnanstine. Please, please, please don't come out as "hittable Sonny", because when Sonny is hittable its like BP for the bad guys. Conversely, when he comes out sharp he's a darn valuable fella. I'm not a big fan of coin tosses though.

I would've bet someone else's money that Joyce, Nelson, and Davis would've been here a.s.a.p., but no dice.