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For the first time since the Tampa Bay Rays franchise came into existence someone other than the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox have been crowned the Champions of the toughest division in baseball – the AL East.  That team is our loveable group of blue collar grinders the Tampa Bay Rays! 

The Tampa Bay Rays have had a remarkable year to say the least.  At the end of last season the “Devil Rays” were in the cellar just begging for the season to come to an end.  Their record at that time was 66-96 and they stood 30 games behind the Beantown  Bullies.  The RFO made some changes including having the “devil” exorcised, changing the team colors and filling in a few pieces of the puzzle with guys that were considered “throw aways.”  It was clear beginning in spring training that the changes made would have a major impact on the approaching season.  The Rays showed an explosive offense and improved pitching potential from starters and relievers alike.  They also showed a changed culture that was evident when they literally ran over the Yankees.  They were now a team and they believed in each other.    

Then it began, the regular season.  The Rays broke out with a good April.  They finished in second place for that month with a record of 15-12.  They were only trailing the Boston Red Sox.  From there it just got better!  From the months of May through September the Tampa Bay Rays finished each month atop the AL East.  Many games won on walk off hits, defensive gems and outstanding pitching from the most improved bull pen in baseball history.  A bull pen who the previous year had given up 52 games in which the “Devil Rays” had a lead had now learned how to pitch effectively late in a game.  Some of that turnaround must go to the acquisition of veteran Troy Percival.  Percy had an outstanding first half of the year saving 19 out of 21 games.  But that is only half the story.  His veteran presence made him invaluable to others sitting next to him in the BP.  They watched, asked questions and took notes.  He made the BP better!

The Rays were bit by the injury bug all season long, Scott Kazmir, Troy Percival, Al Reyes, Gary Glover, Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria, BJ Upton and on and on.  The goods news is those “throw away” guys were able to call on their veteran leadership and step in to fill the needs of this team.  Eric Hinske, Cliff Floyd and Willy Aybar walked right between the lines and did the job beyond all expectations I think.  They flashed the leather, made the throws, stole the bases and got the hits.  Newcomers like Gabe Gross, Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett also proved more valuable than anyone could have imagined when they were traded for.  When called upon our AAA players filled in for injured players like they had been here all season long.  Dioner Navarro was challenged by Manager Joe Maddon to step up his game, especially on the defensive side of the game.  Boy did he!  With a fielding percentage of .994 and having thrown out 28 attempted base stealers he earned his right to participate in the All Star game.  Oh and by the way, he has led the Rays in hitting most of the year! 

Enough cannot be said of the changes made by the Rays front office and Manager Joe Maddon.  They rid the clubhouse of negativity and brought in guys who wanted to win.  And that’s just what they have done!  Win, win, win!  These Rays are not satisfied with just making it to the playoffs.  Joe Maddon has made it clear this is just the first step of their ultimate goal.  Their sights are set on the World Series – not just playing in it but winning it!

I will be there at The Trop for every playoff game!  I would never miss an opportunity to enjoy such a precious gift the Rays have finally given their long suffering fans!   

Congratulations Tampa Bay Rays and we’re all behind you!

Post info: By Rays6 on September 27th, 2008
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WOW! That headline says it all! Amazingly Andy Sonnanstine was pitching a fantastic game for the first 4 innings of play Thursday night in Cleveland. His control was dead on. Then came the 5th inning and that was all she wrote. Andy began the 5th inning with a 2 run lead thanks to a Johnny Gomes 2-run blast. Then it all came apart. Andy began to hang pitches right in the middle of the zone and BAM! One after another the Cleveland hitters took full advantage of his mistakes and took him deep 3 times innings costing him 6 ER. Gary Glover also had control issues and allowed the Indians 7 ER in 2/3 of and inning pitched! It was an amazing sight to behold.

This game could have been different but for 1 play. After Sonnanstine gave up the game tying HR he had the opportunity to escape the inning. He enticed one of the Cleveland hitters into a DP play ball to him. Ben Zobrist threw the ball wide at 1st. The rest is, as they say, history.

The offense was non-existent once again. Gomes 2 run shot was all the offense could bolster. Another poor performance at the plate against a below average pitcher.

I know the fan base is a bit upset at how the Rays have been playing but there is some good news in all this. First, we had such a large lead in the AL East that we are still in first place! Second, we still have the best record in baseball with a .604 winning %. Third, the team is going to get some rest and be able to come back fresh. Fourth, every good team goes through these times during a LONG season. This will give them an opportunity to remember how it feels to loose. They will come back with a vengeance! Fifth, WE HAVE 3 ALL STARS FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! Love to see Longo in the HR derby!

I predict James Shields will put and end to this tonight and the Rays will take this series from the Tribe. Go Rays!

Post info: By Rays6 on July 11th, 2008
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Scott Kazmir struck out 9 batters and only allowed 2 ER in his 5 innings of work but the Rays offense was woeful!  Kaz hung 1 bad pitch to Jeter with 2 out that he smacked to the fence allowing the 2 runs to cross the plate.  Other than that Kaz pitched well.  The only concern is that he is still going too deep into the count with hitters.  In 5 innings of work he threw 97 pitches.  Kaz is aware of his shortcomings and working on them with pitching Coach Jim Hickey according to him.  Gary Glover allowing 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th made this game look worse than it really was.

OK, when the first inning for our offense began with 2 pitches and 2 quick outs I knew it was going to be along night.  Yes, that’s right 2 pitches and 2 outs for Pettitte.  What happened to patience?  When a pitcher of Pettitte’s quality sees hitters expanding the zone he WILL take advantage of that and he DID.  Even though the Rays struck out only 6 times (Pettitte 5, Ramirez 1) they did not record 1 walk and only managed to collect 4 hits, 2 by BJ Upton.  Our “power” hitters, Pena and Gomes, combined for 1 for 7 with 4 K’s.    

Pettitte pitched a quality game no doubt.  However we made it very easy for him to do so.  We never put pressure on him and continued to expand the K zone all night.  This does not a season make.  However we need to show a vast improvement in today’s offensive performance to walk away with a split in this short 2 game series.  We have given the Red Sox back 2 games and are giving momentum to the Yankees.  Hopefully we open it up today and leave with a victory! 


Post info: By Rays6 on July 9th, 2008
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James Shields pitched an outstanding game and 6 different Rays came through with RBIs to secure a win over the Kansas City Royals 9-2 on Sunday. Shields pitched 7 innings allowing only 4 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB and 8 K’s. He hit a little bump in the 2nd inning allowing the 2 ER but pitched masterfully for the next 5 innings. Gary Glover and Trever Miller pitched the 8th and 9th respectively giving up only 1 hit each.

The offense was clicking on all cylinders as well. Evan Longoria and Gabe Gross each belted a HR. Longoria, BJ Upton and Carlos Pena had 2 RBIs each to lead the team. Pena looks as if his bat might be heating up. He beat the right side shift in the 2 inning by laying down a nice bunt for a single. He then added another single, a 2B, scored 2 runs and had the 2 RBIs for a GREAT day at the dish. He looked as if he was swinging within himself and NOT swinging for the fences. Hopefully this is a look at what’s to come for him!

The Rays go for the series sweep over the Royals today sending Matt Garza (7-4) to oppose Gil Meche (6-9). The Rays record in the last 10 games is 9-1! Today the Rays go for a complete sweep home stand that would leave their record for the last 13 games 12-1 – that is AMAZING! It’s hard to fathom that there are still non believers out there but they do exist. For them I say — PAY ATTENTION! THE RAYS ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!

Post info: By Rays6 on July 7th, 2008
Comments: 25 Comments »

WOW, the Tampa Bay Rays destroyed the Florida Marlins 15-3 Wednesday evening.  It was an amazing display offensive prowess!  The Rays banged out 15 hits including 2 HR by Carl Crawford, a HR by Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist, 2Bs by Eric Hinske, Akinori Iwamura and Longoria.  The Rays also showed their patience at the dish by collecting 9 walks.    

James Shields pitched a strong 7 innings only giving up 1 run on 4 hits and collecting 5 strike outs.  This brings his overall record to 5-5, 3.76.  He was followed by Jason Hammel and Gary Glover who, combined, gave up 5 hits and 2 runs in 2 innings (they were trying out their best Percival imitation).

It was nice to see the Rays run away with a victory!  They showed a bit more plate discipline that they have been lately.  This plate disciple allowed them to get the pitches to hit.  And they hit them!  The Rays now move 15 games above .500 at 46-31.  What an amazing season!

Today the Rays go for the series sweep in Florida.  This will be a huge accomplishment for the Rays as they haven’t been a great road team.  A sweep of the Marlins, a very good NL team, may build the Rays “on the road” confidence.  I know I’ll be glued to my TV!

Post info: By Rays6 on June 26th, 2008
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The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees once again and sent them into last place in the division.  The Rays beat the Yankees by the score of 5-2 on Thursday as they won the series 3-1.

Scott Kazmir pitched six innings and allowed three hits and no runs as he picked up his second win of the season.  Kazmir is now 2-1 on the season as he continues to come back from his arm injury.

Gary Glover was the pitcher that allowed both Yankees runs.  He pitched 2/3 innings and gave up three hits and two runs.  Both runs came on singles in the seventh inning.  Troy Percival worked the ninth inning to get his tenth save of the season.

Akinori Iwamura got the Rays scoring started in the first inning as he took Ian Kennedy deep for a solo home run.  Carl Crawford then had a sac fly in the third innning to put the Rays up 2-0.  In the fourth inning Shawn Riggans hot a two run home run.    And then in the fifth inning, B.J. Upton had a sac fly that put the Rays up 5-0.

Good four game series for the Rays as they took three games from the Yankees.  It will be fun to see if they can carry the momentum into their next series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

You can now be a game recap writer right here at Rays Homeplate!  We are looking for a Rays fan that would like to write game recaps on the site. If you are interested, please click the contact us link at the top of the page and email us.  Rays Blog

Post info: By TBRays01 on May 15th, 2008
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The Tampa Bay Rays won their fifth straight game as they beat the New York Yankees 7-1 on Monday night.  What a way to open up a four game series against the Yankees!

Matt Garza tossed seven innings of shutout ball.  Garza only allowed five hits in the game as he struck out three batters and only walked one to pick up the win and improve his record to 2-1.

Gary Glover and Trever Miller both pitched a inning of relief after Garza left the game.  Glover gave up one run but Miller pitched a scoreless inning.

Dioner Navarro and Jason Bartlett both had two rbi in the game.  Akinori Iwamura, Jonny Gomes, and Eric Hinske all had one rbi each in the game.  Great production by the Rays at the plate donight as it just wasn’t one player doing all the damage.

The Rays are now six games over .500 with a 22-16 record.  Rays Blog

Post info: By TBRays01 on May 12th, 2008
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The Tampa Bay Rays had a hard time getting on base or hitting the ball for that matter on Sunday against the White Sox.  With only four hits in the game the Rays lost 6-0 to the White Sox putting Tampa Bay at 8-11 so far this year. 

Tampa Bay started out the day with Edwin Jackson pitching and let him do his thing on the mound for only 4.1 innings.  Jackson gave up all six earned runs in the game.  The Rays brought in four more pitchers trying to hold the White Sox to their lead including Gary Glover, Trever Miller, Dan Wheeler, and Troy Percival to finish the game.

The Rays didn’t have much for hitting and even managed to pick up a few errors during the game.  Shawn Riggans and Elliot Johnson each got the dreaded E for errors added to their stats after today’s loss.

With the battle against the White Sox over losing the series 2-1, the Rays will take on the Blue Jays starting Tuesday night.

Rays Blog

Post info: By TBRays01 on April 21st, 2008
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The Tampa Bay Rays lost another one run ballgame and this time it was to the Seattle Mariners by the score of 6-5.  The reason the Rays lost was because they only had six hits the entire game while the Mariners had 13 hits.

Two of the Rays six hits were homeruns by Shawn Riggans and Carlos Pena.  Riggans, Pena, and Willy Aybar all had one RBI each.

Gary Glover took the loss for the Rays.  The Rays used six different pitchers in the game, and Glover was the one who allowed the two runs in the 6th inning.

Rays Blog

Post info: By TBRays01 on April 8th, 2008
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The Tampa Bay Rays were never really in the game tonight against the Yankees as they lost 6-1.  The Rays bats couldn’t get going against Mike Mussina and the Yankees bullpen and Bobby Abreu hurt the Rays pitchers.

Jason Hammel took the loss for the Rays.  Hammel pitched six innings and gave up eight hits and four earned runs.  Scott Dohmann pitched one inning and gave up two earned runs.  Gary Glover pitched one scoreless inning.

The only offense for the Rays came off the bat of Jonny Gomes when he hit a solo homerun in the third inning off Mike Mussina.

Rays Blog

Post info: By TBRays01 on April 7th, 2008
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