So far, the magic of 2008 has not returned to the 2009 edition of the Rays. They finish their first homestand of the year losing 2 of 3 to NY and 3 of 4 to the White Sox, now head out to Seattle, where the Ms are playing well. Our SPs are scuffling and our relievers, especially Wheeler and Balfour, have been between awful and terrible. If we don't hit a HR we lose, and more than half the runs we have scored have come via the HR. The clutch hits that came in bunches, including walkoff HRs, have failed to materialize.
Perhaps this road trip has come at the perfect time for them to gel and get back to the basics that served them so well in the past. Moving the runners up, taking the extra base, bunting, 2 out hits...fundamentals are lacking right now. Upton strained his quad today, but hopefully will be ready by Tuesday. If Pena and Longoria weren't hot, we would be the worst team in the AL. We started 8-11 in 2008, so it's not like we should throw in the towel already. But we know the Red Sox and Yankees won't be struggling much longer, so it's time to turn up the engines and start playing better baseball.
Im hoping that their play this past week has been a side effect of "Championship Week." Maybe now that the distractions of trophies and banners and rings are gone, they can get back to playing like champions.
It was pretty bad watching from one section over when Chicago hit the back-to-back HRs yesterday.
Right now, this team has faced it's first adversity since the World Series. The batters are gripping the bat into sawdust trying to be the guy to kickstart the offense, The pitchers are thinking they have to throw a perfect game or we'll lose. Maddon needs to figure out quick how to get things turned around. Platitudes and sayings will only go so far. We are losing to some pitchers that this team should rake against. We need to win 2 of 3 in Minnesota because the Red Sox will be waiting for us at home for 4 on Thursday and it could get ugly if things don't get turned around soon.
Shoulda saved some of those runs from last night for the rest of the series
Luck..just pure luck...
Man, do I *HATE* the Yankees!!!!!!
I guess that explains last night as well
3 outta 4 is not luck. Hopefully this series has awakened a sleeping giant, and the Rays start playing like the Rays of 2008. We will know more when the last place Orioles come to town tomorrow, and if I see a letdown, then I will resume my worrying. Carl Crawford was sick today, 4 for 4 with SIX stolen bases! If we hadn't left so many on base, and in scoring position, this game could have been decided early.
Troy Percival sucks.
That is all.
This team has lost the magic it had captured in a bottle in 2008. Right now, I wonder if they can ever get it back. There are too many disturbing trends right now to list them all. A couple, is BJ Upton's lack of batting average and power, yet continues to be the leadoff hitter. Our last 3 starters have gone 2, 5 and 5 innings, which taxes the bullpen. The bullpen has had chances to shut the door after a Rays comeback and promptly throw more gas on the fire. They are not handling the expectations of being the AL Champion this year well at all. They can't sneak up on teams anymore, and they all give us their best shot, and we are not responding like champions. A shakeup may soon be in order.
So what's the story with the lineup card screwup that has the Rays pitcher batting third and Longoria unable to play other than to pinch hit?
Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis
Maddon admitted he screwed up, having both Zobrist and Longoria at 3B when he meant to have Longoria be the DH. So Sonnanstine had to bat third but he came threw with a clutch double driving in runs, so it all worked out.
My collection of autographs: TTM Autos
They must mean AL game only, not interleague, as it's happened many times in interleague games.
Well Percival is on the DL and possibly retiring, and Kazmir to the DL with a quad strain and a mechanics overhaul. Looks like closer by committee, and David Price to the rotation. A tough loss today, too many LOB again. On to Cleveland, and let's see if Price can pick up where he left off in game 7 of the ALDS, only in a starting role.
However, it looks like we have lost Iwamura, possibly for the season. He was taken out at 2B by Marlins rookie Chris Coghlan and he had to be carted off the field. He is on his way back to St Pete for an MRI, and it doesn't look good. Aybar, Zobrist and Brignac are the candidates to replace him in the everyday lineup. Bartlett sustained a left ankle sprain as well an inning late, and will be off tomorrow and is considered day to day.
Last edited by raysnbran; 05-24-2009 at 05:55 PM.
Aki out for the year, and today Bartlett went on the DL with a sprained ankle from the same game vs the Marlins. Burrell still has a stiff neck and won't be back until Friday at the earliest.
After watching that historic meltdown by our bullpen last night, reminded me what a special year 2008 was. Nothing is the same this year. The SPs are not going deep into games, we are not getting the clutch hits with RISP, the walk off wins are rare, and the bullpen has been terrible. We lead the league in SBs, HRs and runs scored and are below .500. We cannot seem to win in Cleveland, blowing a 10-2 lead with 6 outs to go. If we cannot beat the worst team in the AL with a 10-0, fuhgeddaboudit....
Time to skulk out of our Cleveland house of horrors, limp back to Tampa Bay, and try to find where the AL Champion team disappeared to. The Rays are 0-4 since it was announced Maddon got a 3 year contract extension. Now we get to face a very good Twins team at home. Shields, Price and Garza this weekend, Shields needs to earn his nickname of Big Game James, because I a'int seeing it yet. Pena needs Burrell to get off the DL for a stiff neck, because he has sucked since Pat the Bat isn't protecting him in the lineup. Burrell needs to produce, and quick, and earn his $8 Mil. 1 HR and less than 20 RBI for 2 months of the season is just not cutting it.
Another gut wrenching W today, but we'll take it. We score 4 in the 9th to take the lead and Wheeler tries to give it right back. 3 out of our 4 starting infielders were out again, but they find a way. Longoria should be back starting tomorrow, and Bartlett by the end of the week, along with Burrell. The Rays need to find a place for Zobrist in the every day lineup. If it's at 2B and the defense suffers a little bit, so be it. But he produces every time he is in the lineup. I still don't think this closer by committee approach can be sustained over the long haul, especially when you never know what you will get from Wheeler and Balfour this year. Might as well try Isringhausen, at least he's got the experience.