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    Now that’s what I’m talking about!  I told you that these 2 games would show us what the Rays are made of.  We’d see how much desire they had to win and we did!  They showed anyone questioning their heart that the Rays are going to make a run for October the last part of the season. 

    To me the big story was the pitching.  The Rays flat out pitched much better than the Red Sox.  Tuesday’s SP Matt Garza gave up 2 solo bombs but limited the damage to that alone.  Matt’s fiery personality lent itself to focus and a great approach on the mound.  Had it not been for 2 poorly located pitches he would have held the Sox scoreless.   Wednesday’s SP David Price pitched his best game of the season.  Price pitched 6 strong innings giving up 2 solo bombs as well.  The important thing about Price’s performance – zero walks!  Price had the best command of his fastball I have seen all season long.  

    The starting pitching was awesome for this 2 game set but more amazing was the performance of the bullpen.  In 2 games the bullpen threw 9 innings allowing only 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 4.  This bullpen was outstanding!  Enough cannot be said about their progress as the season wears on.  These guys had a bad start and are now one of the best in the business.

    The offense did enough to win.  Although they didn’t beat the cover off the ball they got the big hit when needed blasting out 6 HRs in 2 games.  It was nice to see some of the guys who have come under fire for a lack of production respond to their critics with one swing of the bat.  Evan Longoria was the big hero in game 1 hitting 2 HRs –one to tie the game and the other to win it in the 13th inning.  Both Carlos Pena and Pat Burrell hit monster blasts into the outfield seats.  Jason Bartlett has taken a definite liking to batting in the number 1 hole and blasted out his 9th HR of the season far surpassing last year’s total of 1.  Carl Crawford also chipped in with a 2 run blast on his birthday – Happy Birthday CC!

    These two victories in conjunction with Texas’ 3 game skid have placed the Rays 3 games out of the Wild Card race!  The Rays travel to the left coast to take on the Mariners and the Angels over the next week.  They’ll need to keep the momentum and focus on winning each series.  The Yankees and Red Sox will spend the next 4 days beating up on each other so we can gain more ground on someone if we win.  This is going to be an exciting year end!   I still believe the race will be determined in head to head meetings with the Yankees and Red Sox in September. 

    Keep it going Rays, we’re behind you!

    Post info: By Rays6 on August 6th, 2009
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    SP David Price out dueled SP Roy Halladay to earn his 3rd victory of the season and secure the series sweep for the Rays early Thursday afternoon.  Price looked much better than his previous start going 6 innings scattering 6 hits, 1 ER, 1 free pass while striking out 7.  This was a VAST improvement from his last outing in Arlington!  The thing that I found most impressive was his battery mate, Michel Hernandez.  This guy works so well with young pitchers it’s awesome to watch.  He called a great game for Price and Price hit his spots thus we win.  Hernandez is by far, in my opinion, the best catcher on our roster.  He calls great games, has confidence in what he does and the pitchers seem to respond well to him.  I’d like to see him suit up more often especially in tandem with Price and Niemann.

    The offense did just enough to get by this game.  They were 3 for 11 with RISP but that’s all we needed with the pitching we got today.  Carlos Pena came through with a big 2 run double in the 5th to put the Rays ahead for good.  Carl Crawford continues to tear up the base path swiping #44 that lead to the Rays first run of the game. 

    This was a great series sweep heading into the weekend!  It is nice to put a little cushion between us and the Jays and keep up with the Red Sox and Yankees.  Looking forward to more of the same when the Rays take on the A’s this weekend! 

    See you at The Trop

    Post info: By Rays6 on July 9th, 2009
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    SP David Price earned his second victory of the season and led our Rays to a sweep of the Marlins Sunday afternoon.  David’s day was again a bit of a mixed bag.  He limited the Marlins to 2 hits, 1 ER and 4 K’s.  But he walked 5 and ended up needing nearly 30 pitches to get out of the first inning.  He still struggles with putting guys away when he’s far ahead in the count.  This was evidenced by a 12 pitch at bat by Ramirez who eventually singled in a run.  Now granted, it was Hanley Ramirez, a very good hitter BUT this has happened time and again to all the Rays pitchers.  You need to find a “put away” pitch guys!  Every pitch a hitter sees gets them 1 pitch closer to a hit and every pitch a pitcher throws gets them 1 pitch closer to the bench.  If we could finish these hitters we’d have starting pitchers going deeper into games and not be yanked due to high pitch counts.  Overall Price did an adequate job of making pitches when he needed to.

    The offense got off to a fast start and never looked back scoring 2 runs in the 2nd inning.  BJ Upton drilled a rope into the LCF seats on the first pitch of the 3rd inning.  BJ has been swinging the bat much better the last month and ended the day going 2 for 4 at the dish with the HR, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI and a stolen base.  Overall just about everyone on the offense contributed and the hits came when the opportunities presented themselves.

    This was a great home stand for the Rays!  They finished 5-1 and are currently sitting solo in 3rd place 2 games out of the WC and 5 games out of first.  They are starting a HUGE series Monday in Toronto.  Ray fans send out all your good mojo as the Rays open with Halladay vs. Niemann! 

    Go Rays! 

    Post info: By Rays6 on June 29th, 2009
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    SP David Price stepped onto the mound and into trouble from the start in game 1 of this 2008 World Series rematch against the Phillies.  Price was rocked in the first inning allowing 6 runs on 40 pitches including a 3 run blast by John Mayberry.  Price ran into another crooked number in the 4th inning by giving up another 4 runs.  Price again showed he had no “put away” pitch which is a very big disappointment.  He got out ahead and ran counts to 2 strikes then hung a pitch that clearly was not working, slider, over the heart of the plate for batting practice.  I am a bit perplexed as to WHY Price and C Dioner Navarro continued to throw the slider whilst it was getting hammered!  If Navi was calling for it Price should have shook him off!  If Price was shaking off Navi to get to it Navi should have ran out to the mound and told him to forget that pitch for tonight!  Where the hell is the leadership?!  Mr. Price may have just worked himself back to AAA with the impending return of SP Scott Kazmir.  If there was any question before who the odd man out may be this may have answered it.  Price clearly is not ready for the big stage yet.  Not only in this start but all of his starts have been hindered by high pitch counts and the inability to pitch deep into a game.  In AAA he really needs to find an “out” pitch!

    The bullpen stopped the bleeding and finished the game strong once again.  RP Winston Abreu and Lance Cormier completed 4 2/3 innings allowing only 3 hits and 1 free pass while striking out 5.  This bullpen has turned its’ season around.  They were getting pounded at the beginning of the season now they are 3rd in ERA in the AL.  Nice job guys!  Now go and straighten out those starters please!

    The defense had a large part of the blame for the crooked numbers put on the board.  Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena each committed their 7th errors of the season while BJ Upton committed his first.  This lead to 5 of the 10 runs scored being unearned!

    The offense was pitiful against Phils SP Moyer.  They only managed 5 hits off a guy who tops the radar at about 80 mph.  As a whole the team was 2 for 10 with RISP.  Not much good went on here and Pat Burrell continues to struggle at the plate.  The guy who was signed to be the big RH power bat and protect Pena has now been bumped down to 6th in the line up due to his struggles.  Sorry but this was a bad signing!

    The Rays attempt to put this horrendous performance in the past as they send SP Matt Garza to the bump in game 2.  Now, same prediction as the last game he pitched – if he keeps it in the park, Rays win.  If not rays will struggle.  This is a very simple formula, keep the ball down and away and mix in the occasional buzz on the hands to keep them honest.  Go Rays! 

    Post info: By Rays6 on June 24th, 2009
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    SP David Price had set his goal this start to decrease his walks allowed.  He was VERY successful as he did not allow a free pass.  The problem was he turned that into a career high 10 hits allowed including 2 home runs.  To be honest Price is still finding himself as a big league pitcher.  Clearly he has some work to do.  BUT, this was a successful outing for Price, maybe not for the team as a whole.  Price went 7 innings on 99 pitches.  This is a vast improvement over his last few games.  He gave up zero walks which is also a vast improvement on his past performances.  He allowed 10 hits yes but if guys are making contact the defense has a chance to make a play.  You cannot defend walks.  What I saw is Price continuing to want to use a pitch that just was not working for him, his slider.  C Michel Hernandez failed to talk to him about this thus he left it hanging in the thin Colorado air.  Overall I was happy with his performance, he’s working it out.  He had 1 bad inning but kept his pitch count low, struck out 5 and gave his team a chance to win.

    The offense was a mixed bag after an outstanding performance in game 1.  Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford connected for bombs unfortunately for us these were solos shots.  Longo was the only Ray hitter to collect multiple hits.  We had opportunity to win this game but the bats fell silent. 

    The Rays are looking to win the series on getaway day Wednesday afternoon.  SP Matt Garza looks for his first victory in a while.  The key will be Garza keeping the ball in the park.  Garza has given up 10 HR to date while giving up only 19 all of last year.  If he keeps in it we win – simple.  If not, we’re in for a battle.

    Go Rays!!

    Post info: By Rays6 on June 18th, 2009
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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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    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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    celebrate

    The Tampa Bay rays are the 2008 American League Champions!!!  WOW, doesn’t that sound great?!

    I cannot hear it enough!  ALCS series MVP Matt Garza pitched an amazing game yesterday!  Garza pitched beyond what anyone could have imagined.  He shut down the Red Sox in a 7 inning pitching clinic.  He left one bad pitch up that Pedroia made him pay for by placing it over the LF wall.  Beyond that he gave up only 1 other hit, allowing 3 free passes while striking out 9.  Joe Maddon then employed hitter to pitcher strategy and used 5 pitchers in the 8th inning to keep the mighty red Sox bats quiet.  David Price came in with bases loaded and 2 outs in the 8th to dash the Red Sox hopes by striking out JD Drew.  Price earned the save in the game by pitching a solid 9th inning as well.    

    The Ray bats were able to provide just the amount of scoring necessary to catapult the Rays to the top of the American League.  The scoring began with a 2 out double by Evan Longoria to score Carlos Pena all the way from 1st base to tie the score.  Next came a double by Willy Aybar and a nice at bat by Rocco Baldelli to single him home.  The final bit of scoring would be an Aybar blast to LF off SP Lester late in the game.  Due to the outstanding pitching turned in by the Rays staff that was more than needed to push the Rays over the top.  

    This was an amazing all around performance by both teams really.  But the Rays were too much for the Red Sox to handle.  The Rays outplayed the Red Sox in all facets of the game.  Enough cannot be said about the pitching performance in this ALCS by Matt Garza.  He beat the seemingly unbeatable John Lester twice and shut down the Red Sox bats both times as well!   

    Being at The Trop last night was absolutely amazing!  That place was electric!  I don’t care what any national reporters or anyone else says – the Rays have a very devoted fan base.  It was evident in the eyes of those holding big crocodile tears after the victory, the years of sitting in the cellar and hoping for something better next year finally paid off.  I’m emotionally and physically exhausted and need to go lie down now!  LOL – would not have missed it for anything!

    Next, bring on the Phils!  See you at The Trop Wednesday evening for Game 1 of the WORLD SERIES!     

    Post info: By Rays6 on October 20th, 2008
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    price

    The Tampa Bay Rays inched a bit closer to their first ever AL East Division crown with a 4-2 victory Monday night over the Baltimore Orioles.  That coupled with Boston’s loss to Cleveland takes the magic number down to 4 games!  How exciting is this Ray fans?! 

    David Price made his first career start Monday night pitching 5 1/3 innings.  He showed great poise on the mound.  He did run himself into trouble in a few innings by allowing 4 hits and 3 free passes.  The defense did not help his cause by committing an error and allowing a run to score.  Evan Longoria committed the fielding error giving him 12 for the season and 3 in his last 2 games.  Longo may be still trying to regain his feet after his stint on the DL.  Price gave up 2 runs – 1 ER – and garnered a no decision.  The good news is that Price showed great command of his pitches at key points in the game.  He also pitched ahead in the count to almost all of the hitters he faced.  He really gave us a glimpse of what he will bring to the starting rotation in the very near future. 

    This game was very quiet and unemotional.  The offensive push came from Jason Bartlett who was 2 for 3 with 2 doubles.  He knocked in the go ahead run with a double in the 7th.  The other 2 runs were generated off the bat of Akinori Iwamura.  The Rays looked sluggish again offensively.  They only managed 3 hits in this game off a very poor pitching staff.  The bright side to the lackluster offensive performance was the Rays had some quality at bats and showed patience at the dish.  This patience translated into 8 free passes by Baltimore pitching.

    Tuesday will have the Rays in a doubleheader against these Orioles.  Mitch Talbot will toe the rubber for his first MLB start in the 2nd game as James Shields will go in the first game.  It will be nice to see the Rays turn up the offense in support of these great SP! 

    Go Rays!

    Post info: By Rays6 on September 23rd, 2008
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    Sonny

     

    The Tampa Bay Rays fielded their “AAA” lineup Sunday afternoon and looked it.  After and incredible night Saturday, Joe Maddon felt it necessary to rest his starting lineup, aside from Longo, and replace them with the 2nd string.  Andy Sonnanstine endured poor defense and no offense while getting sacked with the loss.  Sonny pitched a game typical for him.  He gave up 7 hits in 6 2/3 innings, 2 ER (4 runs total), 2 BB and 4 K’s.

    The 4th inning was the undoing of the Rays on this day.  Evan Longoria committed 2 throwing errors that led to 2 unearned runs.  The Twins ended the inning with 4 runs scored which was all they needed as the offense sputtered for the Rays. 

    Ben Zobrist killed 2 rallies by hitting into double plays and no one else could muster any type of offense.  The only bright star on the offense this day was BJ Upton.  BJ returned to the lineup to go 3 for 3 with a BB. 

    Well, let’s hope this is the last we see of this experiment.  The Rays still have unfinished business this season.  They still are in the lead for the AL East pennant and I certainly hope Joe realizes that this lineup is not the lineup that will get it for him.  Seems to me the smart path would be to bear down and win the next 6 games to secure the pennant then rest your regular starters for the playoffs.  The Rays lost a game in the standing today as Boston blanked Toronto.   

    The Rays announced David Price will get his first start Monday night in Baltimore.  With a strong defense behind him we should secure this game rather easily I would think.  See you all in Baltimore!

    Post info: By Rays6 on September 21st, 2008
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