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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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    The Rays rebounded from a loss in game won to a nice victory in game 2 to even the 3 game set with the Angels.  SP Jeff Niemann did not have his best stuff on the mound and did not make it out of the 3rd inning and did not factor in the decision.  Niemann threw 3 2/3 innings giving up 5 runs (4 ER) on 7 hits and 3 free passes while striking out 3.  His location was far off the mark tonight especially in comparison to his last few outstanding outings.  The bullpen did an outstanding job of shutting down the Halos.  Four relief pitchers combined for 5 1/3 innings and allowed only 3 hits and 1 free pass while striking out 5.  RP Lance Cormier walked away the victor. 

    Big days at the dish for Carlos Pena, Ben Zobrist and Willy Aybar carried the Rays to victory. Pena was 2 for 4 with a HR, 2 runs scored and an RBI.  Zobrist went 3 for 3 with 3 runs scored and a free pass.  Aybar was 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored, 3 RBI, a HR and a free pass.  This is the kind of production we need out of the middle of this order!

    This was a well put together game for the Rays.  They did make 2 more errors in this game – this is killing me!  However, once again I will say that through all these injuries and inconsistent pitching we are still only 6 games out of first place with a lot of game to go!

    Post info: By Rays6 on June 11th, 2009
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    The Rays continued their losing ways in Cleveland and on the road by losing their 5th straight game on this road trip and 17th straight in Cleveland.  The pitching wasn’t bad the hitting stunk this time.

    SP Jeff Niemann went 3+ innings giving up 5 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB while collecting 5 K’s.  Niemann looked good on the mound today – he’s beginning to show a bit more confidence pitching on the inside.  After a 2:40 rain delay RP Lance Cormier took to the bump and had another really good outing.  He gave up 1 ER on 2 hits and 1 BB while striking out 4.  JP Howell competed the last 2 innings of the game in stellar fashion by giving up 0 hits and 0 BB while striking out 3.

    The Ray shave been begging for a great pitching performance and they got it.  The Ray offense was not able to capitalize on the opportunities given to them.  Willy Aybar was responsible for the lone Ray run by belting a HR off the RF wall that was upheld upon review.  Aybar, Carl Crawford and Ben Zobrist were responsible for the majority of the Rays offense each having 2 hits in 4 attempts.  The 7-8-9 hitters were not able to take advantage of the runners on before them.  The Rays were 0 for 7 with RISP.

    Look I cannot be too upset over the lack of run production as the Rays currently lead MLB in that category.  However, I will say that I think our offense needs to be a bit more creative and needs to play a little small ball.  I hate to say this but I’m going to.  CC tried to lay down a bunt and hit a lazy pop to 1B.  At this level and with the speed CC has it is an embarrassment that he cannot drag bunt.  I know bunting is a lost art and everyone is swinging for the fences but let’s get real.  CC does not possess enough power to be a big hitter he has the speed to be a great bunter but, I guess, he flat out refuse to learn it and apply it.  That’s embarrassing in my opinion.

    The Rays are clearly not the same team they were last year.  Did you really expect them to go wire to wire in 1st place again?  If you did you are/were being unrealistic.  Now the question is what are they going to change to gain some momentum?  Play small ball – it is what you have to offer!  You have speed – use it! As far as the pitching goes – not much to change here, pitchers just have to do a better job hitting their locations.  Too many balls left hanging over the middle of the plate. 

    The Rays head back to The Trop to take on the Twinkies.  See you there!

    Post info: By Rays6 on May 29th, 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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    Hey Ray fans!  Thought I’d report my thoughts on what I’ve seen to the quarter point in the 2009 season. 

    Grade A = Evan Longoria, Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena off to fast starts.  Longo is currently on pace for 184 RBI’s.  JB improving all aspects of his offensive output currently leading all AL shortstops in BA.  He is on pace for 20 HR as compared to 1 all of last year.  CC is off and running on the base path leading all of MLB in stolen bases and on pace for 100 steals!  Carlos is knocking the cover off the ball hitting out 14 HR in the first quarter leaving him on pace for 56 dingers for the season.  

    Grade C = Pitching, pitching and more pitching.  This is the area I feel is most change form last season – the consistency from 2008 appears to be gone.  The only consistent pitching performances we have come from Matt Garza and Lance Cormier.  James Shields and JP Howell have recently stepped up their performances so hopefully they are turning the corner as well.  Our starting pitching has been the main issue.  The average ERA of our starting 5 is 5.39 with 2 over 7.  Numbers like this will wear out the bullpen and not give your team a chance often to win games. 

    Grade F =  BJ Upton, Dioner Navarro, Gabe Kapler and Pat Burrell have all failed to live up to their expected performance.  They really haven’t even come close.  BJ was supposed to come out of the shoot blazing’ but he is only batting .177 with an OBP of .282 – not blazing’!  Navi is a mere shadow of the all star performer he was last year with a BA of .178 and poor defense behind the plate.  Burrell was signed to give us the power from the right side of the plate that we lacked last year and protect Pena.  To this point he has 1 HR, is batting.250 and is on the 15 day DL.  I even saw Baltimore intentionally walk Pena to get to Burrell – not much protection there!  Kapler has just been a nonfactor to this point in the season with a BA of .193.  He really hasn’t brought anything to the table to speak of – he has been an average defender and below average at the dish.  

    So we have some guys having career years and others that cannot even hit the Mendoza line.  We have 3 out of 5 starting pitchers that cannot consistently go 5 innings a start.  What does this all equate to = Mediocrity. 

    The first quarter of 2009 has given us a team that is merely average as a whole. Maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.  Look, these guys learned how to win as a group last year.  Now they are learning how to live up to expectations and adjust to adversity.  This is a vital lesson in this young group’s growth toward the champions they will soon be.  I believe in this team and the “Ray Way” and we’ll check back in to see if any of these grades improve by the mid summer classic.

    Post info: By Rays6 on May 21st, 2009
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    WOW!  The Rays did something never done before in franchise history.  The Ray’s offense recovered from terrible starting pitching to come back from a 7 run deficit to defeat the Tribe Friday night.  This was amazing to watch and really brought back memories of the 2008 magic!  The Rays remained patient at the plate and kept chipping away at the big lead culminating in a Ben Zobrist 8th inning, game tying, line drive BOMB.  Zobi’s 2nd HR in as many games!  BJ Upton had his best game of the season without a doubt!  He made several run saving plays in the outfield including throwing out a runner at the dish to end a Cleveland threat and went 3 for 5 at the dish with 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, a 2B and 2 swiped bags.  But the biggest play for BJ came in the bottom of the 9th inning.  BJ unloaded on a pitch to deep LF for his 1st HR of the season and a walk ff victory for the Rays – their first this season.  This was an outstanding effort all around for the offense.  Having been down so many runs so early it would have been very easy for this team to lie down and quit but they never did.  They gave themselves the chance their starting pitching did not.

    A huge effort from the bullpen considering they had to pitch 5 2/3 innings!  Lance Cormier followed Kazmir in and shut the door on the Tribe.  In 5 2/3 innings the bullpen gave up only 1 hit and 2 walks while racking up 4 strike outs.  This was also reminiscent of the 2008 team.  Great job guys!  Everyone has been wondering why the bull pen has been so bad this year.  They are overworked!  They pitch about 4 innings everyday and this gave was no different!  We have 3 starting pitchers out of 5 that routinely barely last through the 5th inning and this will need to improve a ton before we can have hopes of touching October.

    SP Scott Kazmir was absolutely horrible.  I hate to be that blunt but it’s getting a bit ridiculous now.  Kazmir lasted only 3 1/3 innings giving up 10 hits, 4 free passes and 7 ER.  He threw 91 pitches in 3 1/3 innings – I mean come on already.  Kazmir has been bad for 2 years now.  I think the Rays should seriously consider sending him to AAA to work out the kinks because he is doing this team no good and has not shown ANY improvement from game to game.  He looks like he’s throwing batting practice every outing.  The offense is averaging about 6.5 runs in May but they cannot do that every day. 

    This was a great team recovery effort in this game!  These guys showed signs of life and that never quit attitude they displayed all of last year.  Maybe this is the game that inspires this team to turn that corner.  I will be at The Trop to watch the magic!


    Post info: By Rays6 on May 16th, 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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    I know it doesn’t seem like it was close due to the final score but the Rays had opportunities and had even brought the score as close as 6-5.  The BP couldn’t hold it there and the offense could not take advantage of the chances they had. So, let’s review…

    Jeff Niemann had a tough outing and only lasted 3 innings giving up 5 ER (6 total runs).  Jeff never looked comfortable and his ability to hit his location was absent.  Jeff looked a bit tentative on the mound.  Look this guy is 6’9” and can bring it – so bring it, be aggressive! Knock these guys on their tails pitching in then finesse something.  You have got to use that fastball to setup your out pitch. 

    Lance Cormier did a GREAT job following Niemann and shutting down the Red Sox.  Cormier went 2 innings giving up only 1 hit.  Grant Balfour followed running into some trouble in the 6th inning.  Balfour allowed 1 hit and 2 free passes to load the bases with only 1 out bringing Youkilis to the dish and Joe Maddon from the dugout.  Brian Shouse was called on to clean up this mess and failed by allowing a 2 run 2B to Youkilis putting the Red Sox up 8-5.  Shouse continued a poor outing by giving up a “no doubter” to Lowell in the top of the 7th.  Shouse has got to be one of the most unimpressive pitchers I have ever seen.  Not sure what the Rays saw in this guy or if they just grabbed him because he was a cheap lefty.  Sure has not shown that he deserves a spot in this BP!  Shouse walks in the 10th run forcing Maddon to go to the BP again because he couldn’t get the job done.  Terrible!  Joe Nelson struts in to save the day and record the last out of the 7th – thanks Joe!  Nelson pitched an amazing 8th inning throwing only 14 pitches, 10 of them for strikes to record the 3 outs!  To this point in the season Nelson has been the best signing of this year by far!

    The Rays offense had responded nicely to Cormier’s 2 innings of work by scoring 1 in the 4th, Carlos Pena’s MLB leading 11th bomb, and 3 big runs in the 5th.  The big blow once again came from Evan Longoria, otherwise known as Evan Almighty, a 2 run 2B with 2 outs. Pena followed with a free pass and Pat Burrell completed the scoring by lacing a 2B down the left field line scoring Longo.   

    The Rays blew a big opportunity to add a run or two in the 6th inning and creep closer.  With runners on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out the top of the order, BJ Upton and Carl Crawford, gave away 2 easy outs to the Sox. 

    Dioner Navarro is struggling needless to say to this pointing the season.  Look as a catcher I can live with a lack of offense but I cannot live with the horrible defense.  Navi has absolutely been horrible blocking balls in the dirt and throwing out base stealers.  To this point in this game they have 4 swiped bags and a 5th that would have been had the runner not tripped over his own feet.  Look something has to give with Navi one way or another and the coaching staff needs to make that happen.  He is currently a liability both offensively and defensively and it needs to get sorted sooner rather than later.

    Speaking of defense, more errors tonight.  Getting tired of adding these things up!  Akinori Iwamura made his 4th error of the season on a ground ball that should have been automatic. Gabe Kapler also chipped in with his first error of the season.  But, I’m going to tell you what I saw, Kapler made a throw to the plate that would have hit Navi in the chest on one bounce but Navi was standing behind the line rather than in front therefore the ball hit the runner and bounced away.  This error might have been charged to Kapler but it was not his fault.  There was also a ball that Ben Zobrist should have corralled for out at short but he bobbled it allowing the runner to reach base.  Not sure why but the official scorer was in a forgiving mood and scored it an infield hit.  NOT!  These guys need to be out drilling daily until they can clean this up.  You must have good pitching and good defense to win ala 2008.  Good defense can snatch a few victories for “ok” pitching which is what we’ve had so far this season (aside from Garza’s last start) so let’s get this cleaned up!

    The Rays will go for only their 2nd series victory tomorrow when they send James Shields to the mound.  Let’s pack The Trop and give the Rays the “Dome Field” advantage they deserve!  See you there!


    Post info: By Rays6 on May 2nd, 2009
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    Well Ray fans my prediction of a turnaround could not have been any further from the result.  The Rays have been playing some bad baseball as of late but in game 3 against the Twins they were unrecognizable as the reigning American League Champions.  I sat and watched in disbelief as the Rays handed game 3 to the Twins by failing to execute in all facets of the game.  To add insult to injury our hot bat, Jason Bartlett, may be out of the lineup due to a hammy injury.  Although JB says the hammy is fine and coming out of the game was precautionary, doesn’t take much to end up on the DL with a hamstring.

    So, where to begin?  Let’s start at the beginning, inning #1.  SP Scott Kazmir strode to the mound with the hope of stopping this series losing skid.  Well, that thought went out the door quickly when it became evident he had little to no control over any pitch he threw.  Kaz loaded the bases with 0 outs and it just went downhill from there.  A couple of wild pitches, a couple of bloop hits and the Twins were up 4-0 at the end of the first.  They never looked back.  Kaz’s line was 4 innings, 9 hits, 6 ER (8 total), 4 BB and 2 wild pitches.  The only saving grace in this pitching performance was from Lance Cormier who pitched the final 4 innings giving up only 3 hits and 0 runs.  

    The defense was pathetic at best.  Dioner Navarro allowed a passed ball that scored a run due to his lack of hustle to get it. Akinori Iwamura was charged with 2 errors in the same play.  One of the bloop hits charged to Kazmir in the first inning was a ball that should have been caught by Ben Zobrist charging in from right field.  Due to his lack of experience he did not take charge of the situation and the ball fell between him, Aki and Pena for a run scoring single. 

    The offense actually produced hits (10) and walks (3) while cutting down the strike out total (4).  BUT they managed to go 1 for 12 with RISP stranding 10 runners total. 

    This effort from the Rays was amateur at best.  They looked sluggish and unfocused.  They lacked any resemblance to the team of 2008 – you know, they team that was supposed to be the worst team we’d see for the next 5 years.  Here’s the problem as I see it – there are no leaders in the clubhouse.  This is the time we are dearly missing guys like Hinske and Floyd.  They need someone to take charge of this turnaround and make it happen.  There is no BIG personality on the coaching staff or within the ranks to light this team up.  They have no fire and appear to have no desire to this point in the season.  Personally, as a fan, this is a HUGE disappointment to me.  To see them open the 2009 season taking the series from Boston in Fenway pumped me up for an exciting 2009.  Now, to see them drop 6 straight series since and in the fashion they have makes me wonder “what the HE!!”…….

    It’s easy to be a fan, be a player, be a manager, be a coach when all is going well as it did in 2008.  Now is the time when we’ll get a true gauge of how committed any of us are to this team.  The tough times will bring out the true fans, team leaders and ask that laid back coaches step up and do what is necessary to win.  I for one will not give up on the talent that exists on this team.  It’s time now for the cream to rise.

    Post info: By Rays6 on April 30th, 2009
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    The Rays essentially replayed yesterday’s defeat at the hands of the Oakland A’s by losing with both bad pitching and poor offense today 7-1.  SP Andy Sonnanstine struggled through 4 innings allowing 10 hits and 7 ER to skyrocket his ERA to 7.78.  Lance Cormier came in to mop up the long relief and did a nice job for 3 solid innings giving up 0 hits and 0 runs.  Dan Wheeler echoed Cormier’s effort in the 8th by allowing 0 hits and 0 runs.    

    The offense was pitiful, hate to say that but you saw the same thing I did.  The Rays manufactured 1 run early and that was all the noise they made.  Any hint of a rally was quickly put to rest by a double play or some sort of easy out.  Carl Crawford was the only Ray to manage any sort of offense going 2 for 4.  CC accounted for half of the offensive effort in this game as the Rays managed only 4 total hits.  BJ Upton, Evan Longoria and Pat Burrell were all ‘0’fer at the plate with Longo and Burrell eeking out a free pass a piece.  

    After watching today’s game I am a bit concerned.  We have won only 1 series to this point and are falling far behind the AL East leaders.  Granted yes, it’s early BUT to this point I have not seen anything to indicate the Rays are improving.  Shortly the first month of the season will be behind us and by all indicators we will be sitting in the cellar.  The way the Rays are playing right now realistically they don’t stand a chance once Boston rides into The Trop for next weekend’s match up. 

    The Rays will head to Minnesota for their last regular season series in the dome.  I will be looking for changes in the way the offense is working the count and their situational hitting.  

    Come on Rays …let’s right this sinking ship!

    Post info: By Rays6 on April 26th, 2009
    Comments: 2 Comments »
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