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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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    OK, so by now you’ve heard of the Mohawk trend flying through the Ray clubhouse.  Just about all the Rays have been skinned with the pressure being applied to those who haven’t.  Expect all Ray players, coaches and fans to be ‘hawked by the time the post season begins!  Yup, I’m even considering it……for about ½ a second anyway.  This is a great show of team unity and support for one another.  A great idea to bring even more cohesion to an already close Ray clubhouse!   BJ Upton and Evan Longoria are the father’s of this trend for the Rays – GREAT job guys!  Way to spark some extra closeness amongst your teammates!

    The Rays made a significant jump toward history by crushing the Minnesota Twins 11-1.  The Rays only need to win 1 more game to guarantee the franchise’s first ever trip to the playoffs!!!  That is not the only history that was made during this game.  The first ever instant replay aided overturned call was also made.   

    Edwin Jackson pitched lights out in this game.  I have to admit after he walked the first batter he saw in the game I had my fears that this may end badly.  But, E-Jax recovered and did not allow that run to score or even advance for that matter.  Jackson pitched 7 2/3 strong innings allowing 7 hits, 1 ER and 1 free pass while collecting 5 K’s.  Jeff Niemann made his first appearance since his call up to close the game out for E-Jax.  Niemann pitched 1 1/3 inning not allowing a hit or a free pass.  Great job by the pitching staff!

    Ok, the overturned call.  Carlos Pena launched a blast to RC that the umpire originally ruled a double due to fan interference.  Joe Maddon made his plea for instant replay.  Four minutes later the umpires emerged from the replay room and signaled HR.  Great job by the umpires to get it right!  Pena was credited with a 3 run bomb! 

    This was a great game overall.  All sides of the ball performed well after the disappointing 9th inning loss the night before.  This team has been termed resilient over the entire course of the season.  I’m not sure that’s the right term anymore.  I’d like to term them consummate professionals.  They may lose games but they understand that’s a part of a long season.  They come ready to fire the next night.  Great job Rays!  One more!

    See you at The Trop!!



    Post info: By Rays6 on September 20th, 2008
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    How do you hit 5 HR, score 8 runs and lose a game in MLB? I’ll tell you how – bad pitching! The Tampa Bay Rays gave the Twins the first game of this 4 game set by letting them off the hook in the 9th inning. But, we really should start at the beginning with our SP James Shields. Shieldsy was not sharp and pitched into and out of trouble through 6 1/3 innings. He gave up 8 hits, one of which was a first inning 3-run bomb, and 2 free passes that equated 6 ER. David Price made his second appearance of the season giving up a 2 run single to Joe Mauer before striking out the final 2 batters to complete the 7th inning. Troy Percival looked good in his return to the bump by pitching a solid 8th inning.

    The big hurt came in the 9th inning when Dan Wheeler gave up a 2 run blast to tie the game at 8. Wheels then allowed the next 2 runners on base while garnering no outs. Those runs eventually came around to score giving the Twins a total of 5 runs scored in the 9th inning for a well earned victory. This is what the Rays usually do – it has not been done to us!

    Evan Longoria lit up the Twins pitching staff blasting 3, that’s right 3, home runs! He clearly has recovered the eye he had before his stint on the DL and that was GREAT to see! Dioner Navarro and Carlos Pena chipped in with taters of their own giving the Rays a total of 5 for the game. As a matter of fact, the Rays were swinging the bats really well! They added doubles by Ben Zobrist and Gabe Gross to give them a total of 7 extra base hits out of their 9 hit total!

    Great offense was derailed by poor pitching in this game. It is a bit of a concern that bad pitching has found its way to The Trop for the 2nd time this week. The first game of the Boston series being the other bad pitching performance this week. I have to also question the Price move. Here are the facts. Price is LHP, Mauer hits better off LHP and the pitch called was thrown right into an optimal location for Mauer to take full advantage, which he did by hitting a 2 run single and breaking the tie in the 9th. It is clear this was a questionable decision to bring Price into the game. Even if Price had elicited an out from Mauer the move must be questioned. Wonder who was reading what charts? Why would Navi call for a pitch right in his wheel house?

    Oh well, a loss, no matter how painful to watch, is still a mere loss to this team. They will come out firing on all cylinders tonight. Edwin Jackson is due for an outstanding performance and tonight is the night!

    See you at The Trop!

    Post info: By Rays6 on September 19th, 2008
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    Edwin Jackson pitched a strong 7 innings giving up 6 hits and 1 ER to earn his 11th victory for the Rays this season.  The Rays did what they have done all season long and took another series!   Dan Wheeler notched his 10th save of the season as well.

    The story of this game was the long ball and awesome defense.  The Rays collected 10 hits in total, half of which were for extra bases.  Akinori Iwamura smacked 2 doubles, Gabe Gross chipped in with a stand up triple, while Cliff Floyd and Willy Aybar blasted solo bombs!    

    Eric Hinske laid out for an extra base saving catch in the top of the first inning!  Hinske still has some giddy up in those legs.  And for the second night in a row a Ray defender made Sportscenter’s 10 Top Plays.  Great job!

    Today I purchased my postseason tickets!  I’m so excited!  This is going to be awesome!  The Rays are hosting the Baltimore Orioles this Labor Day weekend while the Red Sox will be hosting the Chicago White Sox.  We may look to pick up and additional game or 2 in the standings!   

    Get to The Trop and enjoy a GREAT family experience together!  If you haven’t been top The Trop lately the new Rays front office has improved the family friendly atmosphere tremendously since they have taken over. 

    Cheer on your Rays! 

    Post info: By Rays6 on August 29th, 2008
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    The Tampa Bay Rays convincingly took game one of the 3 game set with the Chicago White Sox using outstanding pitching and offense.  Edwin Jackson gave a very strong 6 inning performance giving up only 2 runs to the powerful White Sox lineup.  E-Jax scattered 7 hits and 5 free passes within his 6 innings.  Clearly he ran into trouble more than once during his time on the bump, the impressive thing was he did not break.  He managed to get the outs when he needed them including 5 Ks.  E-Jax had some help from the bench and his catcher, Dioner Navarro. The bench called for 2 pitch outs that led to outs at 2nd base. It was as if Joe Maddon knew something the rest of us did not.   Nice job!

    The offense came alive in this game in bug fashion!  The Rays banged out a total of 14 hits – 9 of them for extra bases!  The home run parade included Carlos Pena (26), Ben Zobrist (6) and Rocco Baldelli (1).  That’s right folks!  Rocco’s first dinger since May 3, 2007!  Congrats Rocco!  The hit parade did not stop here.  Akinori Iwamura banged out a run scoring 3B to put the Rays ahead.  And the 2B were many – Willy Aybar had 2 doubles.   Dioner Navarro, Jason Bartlett and Pena also added to the 2B total.   

    The only negative in this game was the top of 2nd inning.  There were 2 major base running mistakes that ended in 2 outs at home plate – never a good idea.  Rocco decided to run on a dribbler in front of the plate – there were runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs at this point.  It was clear it was his own decision and was not sent by Foley, but – bad idea.  The SP Danks grabbed the ball and barely tagged Rocco out but he did.  The next flub came with 1 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd.  On a short line drive to LF Willy opted to tag and attempt to score.  Once again, not a good idea.  Willy was thrown out by a mile. 

    Aside from our mistakes in the 2nd inning this was a well played game on all sides of the ball.  The pitching showed great poise and determination on the mound.  The offense was patient and picked good pitches to hit and did so!  The defense was exceptional as always!  Nice way to begin this tough series.   

    Today the Rays get some much deserved national attention as the FOX game of the week!  Scott Kazmir rides the bump and should show continued improvement on previous starts.  Go Rays!    



    Post info: By Rays6 on August 23rd, 2008
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    A day after a masterful performance by Matt Garza in a shut out of the Texas Rangers, Rangers pitchers exchange the favor shutting out the Rays 3-0.  Ranger pitcher Matt Harrison looked equally impressive shutting down the Rays bats for 8 innings.  Their closer, Guardado, held the shut out intact while gaining the save in the 9th.

    The only offense the Rays could muster was a HR distance shot by Ben Zobrist that would have tied the game.  The ball was brought back in the park engulfed in leather worn by former Devil Ray Josh Hamilton.  Other than that the Rays were held silent collecting only 3 hits and 1 walk while giving up 8 K’s. 

    Shame too because Edwin Jackson really pitched well.  He gave up a lead off HR to Ian Kinsler on the first pitch he threw but other than that he scattered 4 additional hits over 6 innings.  When E-Jax left the game the score was 1-0.  JP Howell followed E-Jax and allowed 2 additional runs on 3 hits. 

    And no, I do not believe the score would have been any different had BJ Upton played the game.  His absence made no difference in this outcome.  The difference was Matt Harrison for the Rangers.  Just as Matt Garza had been the difference the previous night.  Good pitching beats good hitting and that was the difference tonight plain and simple.  The rubber game of this series has the Rays sending Scott Kazmir to toe the rubber with aim at securing another series victory.

    Post info: By Rays6 on August 17th, 2008
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    The Tampa Bay Rays cruised to a road series victory against the Seattle Mariners Sunday 11-3. Edwin Jackson pitched deep and was very effective against a hard hitting lineup. Jackson pitched 7 only allowing 1 ER. E-Jax pitched with a lot of focus and he pitched to the zone. He gave his defense opportunities to make plays which they did.

    With Carl Crawford on the 15 day DL (maybe longer pending his doctor appointment today), Evan Longoria and Jason Bartlett still out it was a different look line up. But Rocco’s back!!! A clean shaven Rocco Baldelli returned to the Rays Sunday and went 1 for 4 with an RBI and a nice diving catch in RF! Welcome Back Rocco!!

    The big bat of the game came from Willy Aybar. Willy cracked a pair of HRs collecting 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored! Shawn Riggans added a 3-Run blast to put the game far out of reach for the Mariners. The hit parade was robbed of a Carlos Pena HR that hit the top of the wall above the yellow line (which by rule is a HR) but was called in play by the umpires. Carlos ended up on 3rd and scored a few plays later.

    This was a GREAT team win! Four of our regulars were out of the game and still the Rays were relentless in their attack. They did not skip a beat. I am not insinuating that CC being out isn’t hurting the Rays. It will at some point. I have a lot of faith in our outfielders BUT let’s be realistic…..Hinske or Gross are not going to track down the balls CC can due to his speed. But, that being said was a great win and should give the Rays a ton of confidence heading to Oakland.

    Post info: By Rays6 on August 11th, 2008
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    The story of game 2 between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Indians were the Ray bats. The offense banged out some timely hits and some long blasts to help Edwin Jackson earn his 8th victory.

    Several Rays had big offensive days! Dioner Navarro lead the pack with a key 2-out, 2 run game tying single and blasted a solo shot to right field. Navi finished the day going 2 for 3, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and 1 BB. Impressively all 3 of Navi’s RBIs were collected with 2 out. Navi wasn’t the only Ray to go long! In the same inning Evan Longoria hit a monster blast to left and Cliff Floyd went deep over the center field fence. Among the other extra base hits the Rays collected Aki and Gabe Gross each hit triples and Carlos Pena had 2 doubles. Over all the Rays collected 10 hits, scored 8 runs and had 7 extra base hits – great day at the dish!! The Rays collected their 5th back to back HR game when Floyd and Navi did it in the 7th.

    The pitching staff was not stellar; from the starter to the BP they all ran into issues. But they came up with big outs when they needed them and had a nice overall day!

    It was a great game to watch as a Ray fan! You can definitely see the Rays pulling it all together again after a poor July! They look confident and relaxed at the dish and their defense has been outstanding. Today the Rays go for the series victory early (get away day) with first pitch at 12:40 – IT’S ON FSN!

    Go Rays!!

    Post info: By Rays6 on August 6th, 2008
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    The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon 3-2 to win 2 out of 3 games and head home with a winning road trip record.  The Rays go back to The Trop having won 4 out of 7 road games on this trip.  That combined with a sweep of the Red Legs in Fenway gives the Rays a 3 game advantage in the AL East.

    Edwin Jackson pitched his usual game.  He was hit hard at times and made phenomenal pitches to get key outs at other times.  You just never know what you’re gonna get from E-Jax day to day.  That being said he is the winning pitcher going 5 innings allowing 7 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB and 3 K’s.  Troy Percival came into gain his 23rd save by closing the door in the 9th. 

    The offense was less than stellar as well.   They managed 9 hits but stranded 6 runners.  The big blow was a solo blast by Carlos Pena to tie the game.  The go ahead run scored on a double play.  The one guy who stood out offensively on this road trip is Carl Crawford.  He has been swinging a much better bat and picking nice pitches to hit.  He ended this road with 4 triples and 2 doubles amongst his 9 for 29, .310 road trip. Let’s hope he is just getting started. 

    The Rays have a day well deserved off on Thursday.  They invite the Detroit Tigers into The Trop for a 3 game set starting Friday.  Saturday’s game is already a sell out so get out to cheer on the Rays Friday and/or Sunday!  See you there!

    Post info: By Rays6 on July 31st, 2008
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    The Tampa Bay Rays climb back into the top spot in the AL East with a victory over the Royals Friday evening.  That victory coupled with a rare home loss by the Red Legs propels the Rays to sole possession of first place in the AL East.

    Edwin Jackson looked like an entirely different pitcher on the mound as compared to his last outing.  He pitched 5 innings, with deuces wild on his line, giving up 2 ER, 2 HR, 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 K’s.  The bullpen came in a shut the door other than a solo blast given up by none other than…..who?….. you know it…..Troy Percival.  Why he is still closing games and Grant Balfour is not is a mystery to me!  Balfour pitched a perfect 1.2 innings other than giving up 1 BB while striking out 3.  

    I remember at the beginning of the season when a lot of fans were hammering Jason Bartlett for his sloppy play and non existent offense.  What do you think now?   His defense is stellar.  Having him back on the field makes such a huge difference defensively to this team.  Both he and Evan Longoria were both flashing leather last night.  Bartlett opened the game with a leaping catch of a line drive and was in the middle of 2 double plays and Longo stabbed a potential run scoring line drive on a GREAT diving effort to record and out. 

    Our offensive effort was average.  The big shot was a 2 run blast in the 9th by Carlos Pena to just about put the game out of reach.  Pena looked to be swinging a bat that was a little more level last night so hopefully taking the pressure of him by sliding him down will pay dividends.  We did manage to bang out 9 hits and garner 3 walks.  However, we left 10 runners on base and at one time were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.  The hits came they were just not necessarily timely hits.  But, if the offense continues to put the wood on the bat the hits will come.    

    The one play I do want to mention, because it just really ticked me off, is BJ Upton’s lack of hustle running down the first base line.  Let me set the stage –  Aki on first and BJ hits a slow roller up the middle.  The Grudzielanek gloves it and flips to Aviles who is too far from 2nd to get the out.  Aviles then throws to first to get BJ.  OK – replays clearly show BJ NOT hustling down the first base line until he realizes he may make it.  He then tries to turn it up a notch but it is too late.  This play cost the Rays a run!  If I was managing that team Upton would have found his ass riding the pine!   Bobby Cox did it to Andrew Jones and Charlie Manuel has done it twice this season to Jimmy Rollins.  Look — you need to teach these kids a lesson and send a message to the rest of the team!  That should NEVER be acceptable!  I think it’s about time for some of the veteran’s on this team to have a closed door session with this kid.  It seems painfully obvious to me that his personal performance is much more important to him rather than the team’s performance together.  Someone needs to give the guy the definition of TEAM – no ‘I’ in TEAM!

    Every good team goes through these periods.  Hopefully Friday night was a step toward returning to our first half performance.  The bats looked more alive, the pitching was excellent and the leather was flashing all over the place.  We need to win the games we are supposed to during the “soft” sections of our schedule because September will be brutal.   

    Go Rays!


    Post info: By Rays6 on July 26th, 2008
    Comments: 1 Comment »
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