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    The Tampa Bay Ray offense put on a power display in the finale of the 3 game set against the LA Angels.  The offense put up 15 hits, 7 for extra bases including 4 home runs.  Carlos Pena, Dioner Navarro, Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford all went deep while Navi, Ben Zobrist and Reid Brignac checked in with doubles.   Gabe Gross chipped in 4 RBI’s in his 3 for 4 performance while swiping a couple of bags as well.  Gabe has been swinging the bat well lately as he’s getting more regular playing time.  Now that Matt Joyce has been sent to Durham with the activation of Pat Burrell Gabe should be able to keep his groove on as he gets time in the OF. 

    SP David Price threw out a mixed bag of good and bad.  He did not figure into the decision as he had to be lifted after 4 1/3 innings due to a very high pitch count (105).  To be honest he got into a lot of trouble in the first inning with a base hit and 2 walks to load the bases but wriggled free without any damage.  Here’s how mixed his performance was – 6 K’s with 6 free passes.  He was brilliant one minute and couldn’t hit the zone the next.  I attribute this to youth and as the season develops so will David.  The bullpen backed Price by going 4 2/3 allowing only 2 hits, 2 free passes while striking out 6. 

    Grant Balfour was credited with the win, his 3rd of the season; half of what he won all of last season.  This is really indicative of the issues our starting pitching has had going deep into games.  There have been at least 3 guys that struggle to get through the 5th inning Niemann, Kazmir and Sonnanstine.  You can now switch Price with Kazmir and add him to that list. This presents the obvious issues for the bullpen being worn out early in a lot of games.  On the upside Niemann has shown much better location as of late allowing him to conserve pitches and go deeper in.  Sonny I think will always be hit or miss and I think he will find himself in the pen upon Kaz’s return.  Price should work it out like Niemann has and, when this happens, will solidify a brutal 5 man starting rotation.

    The Rays host the Washington Nationals this weekend at The Trop for 3.  This series should be a “gimme” for the Rays and allow them to, at least, keep pace if not make up some ground.  See you at The Trop!


    Post info: By Rays6 on June 12th, 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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    Spring training is right around the corner Ray fans!   YAY!!!  I cannot wait.  Although the new MLB Network has relieved some of my withdrawal it’ll be nice to see live action again.  With that being said, let’s look at the major moves the RFO has made and grade them:

    1.  Joe Nelson.  Nelson has been around a while but has played in limited duties at the major league level.  His first significant ML experience was 2006 with the KC Royals.  He made a big splash in the BP for the Florida Marlins last year.  He has a lifetime WHIP of 1.36.  He racked up 60 Ks to 22 BB last year finishing the year with an ERA of 2.00.  Anytime you can bolster a BP – especially one with little needs like the Rays – it is an excellent signing.  My only concern is that Nelson has not pitched in the majors in back to back years since he first emerged in 2001.  I still consider this a solid signing and will give the Rays a solid B+.

    2. Matt Joyce.   It appears that the Rays got the better end of this trade with Detroit.  We get a solid young (24) player to mold in the “Ray Way.” Joyce has played only 92 ML games but has a decent BA (.252) and has shown some pop (12 HR in 242 at bats).  If you extrapolate that number out to a 600 AB season he has the potential to crack about 28 dingers.  On the downside he only has 92 games of major league experience.  He also has a 2/1 K to BB ratio – if he were a pitcher that would be good thing but….he’s not a pitcher.  Clearly Joyce has some things to learn yet so he may begin the year in Durham.  What we lost in the trade as a pitcher (Edwin Jackson) who may have had the best year he may ever had.  Yes, he won 14 games but Jackson gets in his own way when it comes to growth and improvement.  There was no room in the starting rotation with the emergence of David Price and his focus issues made it clear the BP would not be his place and no options remained.  So, we got a solid young player with a lot of promise and options.  This is an excellent trade and I’m giving the RFO an A.

    3.  Pat Burrell.  Burrell is a veteran leader with great clubhouse presence.  He will fill the void left by the departure of guys like Hinske and Floyd.  He is a slugging RH hitter that has been sorely absent from the Ray lineup. He has racked up and average of 28 HR and 92 RBIs in his 9 seasons.  Add those power numbers to the middle of the Ray lineup with Longoria, Pena and a healthy Upton and you have the power line up we were missing to take us to over that final hurdle last season, a World Series victory.  On the downside Burrell does K a lot, an average of 141 K’s per season.  He also carries a low BA at career .257.  A change of scenery and a new role may spark Burrell to increase his productivity.  I’m giving the RFO a B.

    The Rays made these 3 very significant moves to fill specific needs.  Each of these players possess the ability to become the final spoke in the wheel that is the Tampa Bay Rays.  The RFO have made decisions that, at this point, appear to be ideal for our current situation.  We all know the reality though, only time will tell.

    See you in Port Charlotte! 

    Post info: By Rays6 on January 7th, 2009
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    Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season so far. Personally, I’m bored without baseball! Football is a distraction but its 1 day a week. Anyway our Rays finally made some moves we can talk about!

    SP Edwin Jackson has been traded to the Detroit Tigers for home grown OF Matt Joyce. Ok, so we kinda figured E-Jax was going to be the odd man out with SP David Price looking so good after his call up. Price pitched well in some pressure packed situations and proved his future worth. Jackson struggled with his focus throughout the season and into the 2nd season. Granted he won 14 games BUT we have to remember wins and losses belong to the team. They may get credited to the SP but if he did not have the defense behind him and the BP to bail him out of a few situations he very well could have finished with a lot less than 14 wins. A victory earned by Jackson did not come without its issues usually. Jackson did not have the mental strength to come out of the BP which is unfortunate. He has the stuff to be a great closer. Personally I think Jackson will be one of those players that never can get over that hump and live up to all the potential he clearly has.

    So, that being said lets look at Matt Joyce.

    Joyce is a 24 year old LH OF. He had decent numbers in 92 games with Detroit (.252, 16 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR and 33 RBI). He has been blowing up his BA to a healthy .292 in the Mexican Winter League. Joyce has pop in his bat, has a gun for an arm and has a little bit of speed. Matt can play all 3 OF positions as well. And equally important is the Rays will control him for 6 years and he has options. I can see Joyce beginning the year in AAA as Gross and Perez alternate in RF until he is called up midseason. I like the outfield of Crawford, Upton and Joyce at some point in the season. I think this deal is another Andrew Freidman gem!

    The only other big name item to cover is the non-tender of crowd favorite, Jonny Gomes. Ok, let’s not act surprised here. We all knew this was going to happen. Gomes may be a great team player but he is not worth $1.275mil or more. His salary would have probably gone up in arbitration even though he hit only .182 with 8 HR and 21 RBIs in 77 games this season. People love to argue that Gomes wasn’t given a fair shake, Maddon didn’t give him time, yada, yada, yada. Fact is folks – he was given plenty of opportunity and failed PERIOD. Gomes did a great job being a great teammate but between the lines he was less than spectacular. Being a poor fielder Gomes best hope is that a team may look at him for the DH role. Good Luck Jonny!

    So folks…..that’s all to report as the Rays have been fairly quiet so far. But it’s still not over! They have spoken to a few potential DH – Milton Bradley (who is also being courted by the forever cursed Cubbies), Jason Giambi, and Bobby Abreu with a few others still looking for work, Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell to name a few.

    So folks – keep checking back!!

    Go Rays!!!

    Post info: By Rays6 on December 13th, 2008
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    With the addition of submariner Chad Bradford someone had to go out of the Ray bullpen.  That unlucky fellow turned out to tbe El Assassino, Al Reyes.  Reyes has done 2 stints on the DL this year and has been uneffective since his return from the last trip.

    Bradford, a side arm pticher with an extremely difficult move to follow, was acquired from Baltimore for a player to be named later.  Bradford is 3-3 with a 2.47 ERA this season.  He is a ground ball pitching machine.

    Welcome Chad! 

    Post info: By Rays6 on August 9th, 2008
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    With the trade deadline fast approaching the RFO will tell us what their take on this season is:

    1. If no trades are done — the RFO has an unrealistic view of what’s been happening between the lines and feel we have all we need. Well here are some numbers for you:

    Team BA — .258 — 18th in MLB and LAST in the AL East

    Team ERA — 3.81 — 3rd in the AL East (this one isn’t too horrible however Reyes and Miller need to disappear and Perci needs to become Balfour’s setup man).

    The RFO could not possibly think this is good enough to get it done. If no trades are made I feel the RFO is telling the team we’re playing for next year.

    2. If trades are done I think you’ll see a rejuvenated team. The message that “here is the last piece of the puzzle for you to make that stretch run” would send a vote of confidence into the players.

    Needs are pretty obvious: RH hitter with average and some pop and bullpen help (see above). I’d love to see Price promoted to AAA to get ready for his stretch run call up. Place Jackson in the BP and call up Birkins (his ERA was less than 1 during his stint with the Rays). Otherwise need to acquire lefty BP help –Miller is a disaster and not to be trusted.

     I hate to think the RFO is counting on Rocco to be the RH savior — I love Rocco just as much as the next and hope he can make it back someday — but it seems management may be leaning a little hard on this actually happening this season.

    Message to the RFO – This team can get it done this year – go get some help!

    Just my humble opinion!

    Post info: By Rays6 on July 28th, 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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    The Tampa Bay Rays have activated Ben Zobrist from the 15-day disabled list and designated Andy Cannizaro for assignment to make room for Zobrist on the roster.

    Zobrist had pins taken out of his hand on Monday and played in four rehab games going 4-14.  He will take over the utility players role for the Rays.

    Cannizaro was expected to only be with the big league team until Zobrist came back.  He only got one at bat and went hitless.

    Rays Blog

    Post info: By TBRays01 on May 13th, 2008
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