That headline states it all.  The Rays offense busted out to a 10 run lead only to see it slowly evaporate by poor pitching from start to finish.  Highly touted prospect, SP David Price, got the call when Scott Kazmir was placed on the 15 day DL to open the series on Cleveland.  Mr. Price wasn’t able to stick around long however due to an out of control pitch count.  Price lasted only 3 1/3 innings throwing 100 pitches even.  He scattered 4 hits, 2 ER, 5 BB and collected 6 strike outs.  So off to the bullpen we go.  Lance Cormier and Joe Nelson went 3.2 innings allowing only 1 hit – no ER, no walks, no K’s.  Nice outing for those 2 guys and they were the high point of the bull pen pitching effort.  Dale Thayer, Randy Choate, Grant Balfour and Jason Isringhausen all combined for 1 2/3 + innings pitched, 7 hits, 9 runs and 5 free passes.  Not to be lost in all this was the spectacular error committed by SS Reid Brignac causing only 6 runs to be earned.  This was an absolute ridiculous performance.  Izzy couldn’t hit that plate if his life had depended on it.  At this level you must come out and close the door on a 10 run lead.  Sorry guys – bad, bad performance.  

The offense was busting on all cylinders the first 4 innings of the game when they scored all 10 of their runs.  From the 5th inning on the door was closed.  Gabe Gross was the big bat of the day contributing 1 hit on 3 attempts, 2 free passed, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI.  His lone hit was a 3rd inning bomb, his 3rd of the year. 

BJ Upton remains leading off and hitting below the Mendoza line.  Yet another ridiculous day for BJ going 1 for 6 with 3 K’s.  Not sure what it’s going to take for Joe to realize he needs to be moved from that #1 hole. 

The Rays have now lost Akinori Iwamura for the entire year with a torn ACL.  The starting pitching and bullpen are in shambles.  It will be interesting to see how the team recovers from such devastating losses.  If the Rays come out and win this series this game becomes a non factor in discussion.  If they don’t this game becomes the game that potentially ended the Rays season.

Come on Rays – pull your heads out of your %#*&%$&*!

 

Post info: By Rays6 on May 26th, 2009
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Nice starting pitching performances from both sides kept this game close into the 9th inning.  Going into the top of the 9th inning the Rays came to the dish in a 3-3 tie with the Marlins.  The Rays decided they had had enough and opened the can of whoop ass.  The Rays batted around in the 9th inning scoring 6 runs and taking the lead for good.  The 9th was a nice inning to watch because the Rays were really making the Marlin pitchers work hard.  They were patient at the plate and busy on the base path.  So busy in fact they induced a run scoring balk out of RP Matt Lindstrom. Michel Hernandez and Ben Zobrist each had RBI singles, BJ Upton hit an RBI double, and Jason Bartlett knocked in two with a bases-loaded double.

SP Jeff Niemann had a nice outing on the bump.  He went 6 strong innings scattering 4 hits, 1 ER, 1 free pass while striking out 5.  He left with the Rays ahead by 2 but the bull pen was not able to hold the Marlins silent.  JP Howell blew the save in the 7th by allowing 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks in 2/3 of an inning.  Grant Balfour put an end to the Marlins hopes by blowing a 95 mph fastball right by Ramirez for the third out in the inning. 

Evan Longoria was nailed in the left tricep with a fastball in the 9th inning.  Man, he was drilled.  His arm was black and blue by the time he hit first base.  He was clearly in a lot of pain.  Longo left the game to get treatment but do not be surprised if he is not in the lineup today.

Niemann definitely deserved the win but that’s not always going to happen.  I mean the other guys are MLB players also.  They are not just going to lie down and give it up.  The key is that, even though the Marlins staged a bit of a rally, the Rays quickly put an end to it.  The Marlins looked totally deflated out there mid way through the 9th as it was becoming obviously clear that the Rays would not be denied.  These are the games was have been missing the first quarter of the season.  This was fantastic to watch because it was like 2 different games in one.  Innings 1 though 6 were a pitching dual as the Marlins SP matched Niemann pitch for pitch, out for out.  Innings 7 through 9 were an offense battle with the better team showing the other how it’s done. 

I loved this game and this series.  Not only because, with this victory we have secured the series, but the Rays look so much better at the plate, they look very controlled and very well organized with a game plan.  The SP has been very good through 2 and to be honest about 2 weeks ago I didn’t know how much of a shot either Sonny or Niemann had at sticking around.  It no looks like the Rays have worked the bugs out.  Not that I don’t expect them to have a bad game here and there.  But I think the effort is going to be more “Ray like” from this point forward.  With this victory and the loss by Toronto we are only 3.5 games out.  We are now moving in the right direction!  The Rays go for the sweep today – see you in Miami!

Post info: By Rays6 on May 24th, 2009
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SP Scott Kazmir and RP Troy Percival were both placed on the 15 day DL Friday.  Kaz was shelved for a strained right quad due to poor mechanics.  Percy was placed for right shoulder tendonitis.  Kaz will continue to throw off flat ground and does not expect to be out long.  Percival was frustrated and flew home to be with his family and discuss his future.  Called up were IF Reid Brignac and RP Dale Thayer.

Interesting situation wouldn’t you say? Love this move by the Rays – this needed to happen!  Kazmir was losing confidence by the bucket.  Kazmir hopefully will be talking to the sports psychologist during his time off and getting his head together before his return! 

Percy may be done.  My thought is the Rays may have pulled him and his 6.35 ERA aside after his awful performance last night and told him he has reached the end.  They may have given him the choice of DFA, retirement or coaching.  My hope is he will stick around to coach if he was given that option.  He is a fiery competitor with a lot of heart, the body is just no longer able.  He has a lot to teach our young pitchers.

An interesting call up of Brignac as well and no SP yet.  A few thoughts on this, Maybe the release of one of the Gabe’s thus allowing Ben Zobrist more playing time, he’s earned it.  In that case they would need an additional backup infielder.  Or maybe a trade of Akinori Iwamura is looming to gain a SP.  Aki is due a new contract and if the Rays don’t think they can afford him for the right price they may deal. 

Kaz would not be due to pitch again until Monday so hang on to your hats kids, the moves are not finished!  Price? Davis?

Post info: By Rays6 on May 22nd, 2009
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Yes folks that’s right!  Rays SP Andy Sonnanstine not only pitched well but aided his own cause by belting a run scoring double in the 4th inning in the series finale against the Tribe!  Why was our SP batting you may ask yourself.  Well here’s the story – Evan Longoria was slated to DH while Ben Zobrist was to play the field at 3B.  An error on the scorecard showed both players playing the #5 position.  After the completion of the top of the 1st inning Indians manager Eric Wedge brought this to the attention of the umpires.  After a 13 minute delay the umpires correctly ruled that the Rays had lost the DH for the game and the pitcher would have to bat.  Obviously Joe Maddon shouldered the blame for the scorecard snafu but let me tell you this was awesome to watch!  The crowd went nuts when Sonny stepped to the dish batting in the #3 hole in the bottom of the 1st.  He had a nice shot to short but ended to be a fielder’s choice – he beat the throw to first to avoid the DP.  His 2nd AB he K’d but his 3rd attempt was golden.  The outfield was playing him short and he knocked an opposite field shot over the LF head to the fence.  This scored Michel Hernandez, who himself had just knocked a 3 run 2B, from second base.  The crowd went wild ringing cowbells and cheering.  I’m sure this totally pissed off the opposition!

By the way, Sonny pitched well going 5 2/3 scattering 7 hits and 5 ER while walking 1 and striking out 3.  I know it doesn’t look like he pitched all that well by just looking at his line.  But 4 of those runs came off 2 Ben Francisco HRs.  Other than that damage Andy looked as good as he’s looked in a while.  I think he should hit every game – LOL!  The bullpen came in and kept the Tribe quiet for 3.1 innings giving up only 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 5.  The 3rd outstanding BP showing in a row and look 3 wins in a row – think there’s a correlation?!

The offense had outstanding at bats today!  Not only did they hit well (8 hits, 4 for XBH) they showed their great eyes for the zone collecting 8 free passes!  They did strike out 8 times as well but no one had a multiple strike out day.  Jason Bartlett carried the big stick of the day going 3 for 4 with a 3B, 2B, 2 runs scored and an RBI.  Yes, a HR away from the cycle!   Hernandez came through big for the Rays belting a line drive 2B to LF to score 2 runs and put the Rays up for good in this game. 

And I have yet to even mention the bench clearing incident in the 8th – LOL.  The Tribe brought in Kerry Woods to take revenge on BJ Upton in the bottom of the 8th inning.  Why you ask?  Apparently it hurt the Indians feelings the BJ would try to spark his team Thursday evening when they were down 9-0 and steal a bag.  Are you kidding me?!  So, Woods through the first pitch behind BJ and the second in tight.  This upset Maddon and he let everyone know.   Tempers flared, words were exchanged then benches emptied.  Luckily no one through any haymakers and order was restored.  The best sight was seeing Pat Burrell, just placed on the 15 day DL, charge out of the dugout putting on his shirt the whole way.  It was comical.   Look, most of the time I can get a clear understanding of retaliation but in this case, are you kidding me?!  The Rays are down and are supposed to just quit?  I don’t think so.  That is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve every heard.  Get a grip Cleveland – just because you are not living up to expectations this year do not think anyone else is quitting!

What a game!  This was a great game to be at.  Oh and did I mention the game’s final out was a beautiful diving catch in LF by Carl Crawford.  The Trop went crazy once again.  We have now won 3 games in a row against a team we should have beaten.  The Rays are 1 game under .500 and have a 4 game set at home against the bottom dwelling Athletics who we owe a whoppin’ to.  Remember we played very poor against them out in Oakland – payback time!

      

Post info: By Rays6 on May 18th, 2009
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SP Jeff Niemann earned his 3rd victory of the season.  Niemann lasted 5 innings giving up 8 hits, 2 ER, 3 BB while striking out 2.  In my humble opinion Niemann was less than stellar in this outing and has been all season long.  He was in trouble in most of the 5 innings and a few outstanding defensive plays helped him survive.  I don’t know about you guys but I’m wondering what the hype about Niemann was.  I haven’t seen anything impressive from the guy.  He doesn’t throw hard, he doesn’t have great command, he gives up a multitude of this in every start and he always looks like he’s scared to death standing on the mound.  The guy is 6’9” and should be intimidating his opposition by pitching inside occasionally brushing people off the plate.  He does not show any look of confidence what so ever on the mound.     

The bull pen did an outstanding job EXCEPT for Troy Percival.  This guy cannot just come in and have a 1-2-3 inning EVER!  Look I know this guy, in his prime, was an excellent closer – his time has passed!  Percival entered the game in the ninth after shutdown innings from Lance Cormier, Dan Wheeler and Brian Shouse and an 8-2 Ray’s lead.  Percival lasted 1/3 of an inning, gave up 4 ER, 2 HR on 4 hits.  Really?!  JP Howell followed the tragedy that was Percy and put a stop to the madness ending the game with a save and a Ray’s victory.  

The offense tallied up 15 hits including Jason Bartlett’s 5th HR of the season.  Man this guy is on fire!  He is the top hitting shortstop in the league and is beating his next closest competitor, Jeter, by about .90 in BA!  JB finished the day 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored, 1 RBI and a beautiful bunt for a single in the 8th.  This guy is the complete package as a player.  He plays an outstanding ‘D’, has all the tools at the plate and makes great decisions on when to swipe a bag or 2.   Nice trade RFO!!!!  Replacements Willy Aybar, 1 for 3, 2 BB, 1 run and 1 RBI, and Ben Zobrist, 2 for 2, 2B, 1 BB, 1 RBI, did outstanding jobs off the bench!

Aybar was replacing Pat Burrell who earlier in the day flew to Tampa to see the team doctor’s regarding his neck issues.  There is concern this may land him on the DL for an extended period of time.  Zobrist was called upon in the 6th inning to take the place of Carl Crawford.  CC made an outstanding diving catch in LF and left with a sore shoulder.  This did not look serious and he will probably be listed as day to day.  It’s nice to know that we have such outstanding professionals on our bench.  These guys are always ready to go, they keep themselves mentally in to the game just in case.

The Rays completed this road trip with a winning record of 4-3.  Nice job guys!  They now head back to The Trop for a 4 game series against Cleveland then with Oakland.  This is the light part of the schedule and time to make up ground!

See you at The Pit!!!!!!!!! 

Post info: By Rays6 on May 14th, 2009
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Ok ,Ok …..I’ve been reading the newspaper and reading message boards and taking in all the anxiety everyone now feels towards the Rays due to CC and Longo being placed on the DL. I thought I should throw out my 2 cents as well….

First, let me say that OF COURSE we are going to miss these guys. Everyone knows that, from the RFO to the dugout to the fan base and beyond. Let’s not kid ourselves. How do replace these guys and not feel any repercussions? You can’t.

BUT…..I will say that all season long our bench and AAA guys have proven themselves VERY worthy to step on the field and produce time and again. We have had 16 guys head to the DL this season for a total of 562 games! That means that at most times we have multiple starters on the DL at the same time. And look where we are, 4 games above the Red Legs and 9 over those that wear pinstripes! Do you know what this means?

This means we have a TEAM — a complete TEAM. This team does not take too long to feel sorry for themselves when a starter goes down. They know they have the backup to step right in. Remember a guy named Zobrist belting HRs on consecutive nights when JB was down with the knee? Remember a guy named Balfour who stepped up big time when Perci was down? Remember a guy named Aybar who clubbed 2 HRs in a game in Seattle? And you will get a chance to get to know the new kid on the block – Ruggiano. Ruggs is batting .315 with 11 HRs and 51 RBIs in AAA. And Ruggs was no slouch during his stint with the big club earlier this season batting .290 with 1 HR in 15 games.

People this team is complete team. Although we will dearly miss CC and Longo (who will be back in a few weeks) do not forget the rest of the team. This team believes in one another and have proven through out this season they are capable of winning regardless of who is and isn’t in the lineup. This team’s resiliency will shine through!

Just believe!

Post info: By Rays6 on August 12th, 2008
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The Rays will invite the Kansas City Royals into The Trop for a 4 game series beginning Friday July 4th.   The Rays will look to extend their lead in the AL East by beating up on the 39-47 Royals.  While the Rays face the 4th place (AL Central) Royals, the Red Sox and Yankees will spend the next few days beating up on each other in the Bronx.

Here are the scheduled pitching matchups: 

July 4 – Edwin Jackson (4-6, 4.33) vs. Brian Bannister (7-7, 4.88)

July 5 – Andy Sonnanstine (9-3, 4.60) vs. Zack Greinke (7-4, 3.65)

July 6 – James Shields (6-5, 3.70) vs. Luke Hochevar (5-6, 4.91)

July 7 – Matt Garza (7-4, 3.47) vs. Gil Meche (6-9, 4.74)    

The Rays have had to make several roster moves on the off day.  Jason Bartlett was placed on the 15 day DL with a keen sprain.  IN his absence the Rays have called up both Ben Zobrist and Reid Brignac.  Zobrist was last called up to fill in while Bartlett was away for the birth of his son.  Zobrist, although he committed several errors at shortstop, hit consecutive HR while facing the Florida Marlins.  Reid Brignac is also being called up as Zobrist has been dealing with a sore shoulder and Joe Maddon is unsure if he will be able to play every game.  This will be Brignac’s first call up to the major league club.  Brignac, 22, was named to the International League All Star team hitting .265, 7HR and 38 RBIs in 78 games with the Durham Bulls.  Mitch Talbot was optioned back to Durham.    

My prediction for this home stand is ANOTHER SWEEP!   It’ll be a 7-0 home stand!  

 GO RAYS!!

Post info: By Rays6 on July 4th, 2008
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Tampa Bay rays signed #1 pick Tim Beckham Thursday.   Beckham, 18, received a $6.15 million signing bonus and will report to the Rays’ Appalachian League affiliate in Princeton, W.Va., to begin his professional career.   Beckham was present for all the festivites of Thursday nights series sweep against the Chicago Cubs …. bet he’s chomping at the bit to get out on the field!

Jason Bartlett was a late scratch from the lineup Thursday after fouling a ball off his foot in batting practice.  He is listed as day to day.  In the interim Evan Longoria filled in at SS.  Longoria has had some experience playing SS at Long Beach State and has been working during practice at the position.  With the impending birth of Jason Bartlett’s child, Longoria is likely to be seen lurking at SS for a few game sthe next week or so.   

Post info: By Rays6 on June 20th, 2008
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The Tampa Bay Rays placed 1st baseman Carlos Pena on the 15 day DL with a fractured finger. The finger was fractured when he was hit by a pitch by Red Sox Starter J. Masterson in the opening game of a 3 game series last night. After Pena was hit by the pitch he remained in the game to hit a run scoring 2B and a 2-run homerun.

The Rays recalled outfielder Justin Ruggiano from Durham. Ruggiano was hitting .325 with five homers, 27 RBIs and 12 stolen bases for Durham. Ruggiano has played in 3 games this season for the Rays going 3 for 12.

The good news is Carl Crawford is scheduled to start tonight in game 2 at Boston. The line up will be solid even with the absence of Pena. Hinske or Aybar will get the start at 1st and Gomes will probably get the start in right.

Go Rays!

Post info: By Rays6 on June 4th, 2008
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Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir will start the 2008 season on the disabled list for the Tampa Bay Rays.  Kazmir is still having some arm troubles that he first had during his first spring training appearance.  The trip to the disabled listed will be retroactive to March 21st.

To be honest, I think this injury is a lot worse then was first expected and Kazmir and the Rays are only hoping that it gets better with rest.  I wouldn’t be suprised one bit if we don’t see him in ballgame until the middle to late part of May.

Rays Blog

Post info: By TBRays01 on March 25th, 2008
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