The Rays pitching staff is great. The offense, while not horrible, could use a touch up or two. They finished eighth in runs scored which puts them right in the middle of the pack but while they’re twelfth in batting average, they’re sixth in OBP so I like that. They also led the AL in stolen bases with 155, but they also led in caught stealing with 62. I don’t like those percentages .
Evan Longoria anchors the offense and even he didn’t have his best year. He missed some time and only hit .244 but he made up for it with 30 home runs and 80 walks. Ben Zobrist also had a nice season with 46 doubles and 20 home runs while Justin Upton and Matt Joyce had solid season in the outifleld. Johnny Damon will most likely be gone.
Reid Brignac is the guy who has to pull it together. He played in 92 games and he had a horrendous OPS+ of 29. His slugging was just above the Mendoza line with a .221 mark. And he struck out 63 times versus 10 walks. He was a full run below replacement if you’re a fan of WAR.
With some incremental gains, the Rays should be very competitive next year. Their pitching will make the noise, but they definitely have some fire power to help things along when those pitchers have a rough start or two.
Well, the Rays are the playoffs. It wasn’t looking good because they were down 7-0 to the Yankees as late as the eighth inning but a six inning rally in that frame and a walk off home run in the twelth inning by Evan Longoria finished what was a historic come back for the Rays.
Longoria also had the big hit with a three run blast in the eighth. He finished with four RBIs and 31 home runs on the season. Dan Johnson hit just his second home run but it was the hit that sent the game into extra innings.
David Price was lit up but the pen did their job. Five different relievers held the Yankees scoreless in the final 5 1/3 innings. Kyle Farnsworth struck out the side but walked two in his inning of work.
So now it’s on to Texas and it’s time to find some Rays playoff tickets. With this rotation, I like our chances and the rookie will be throwing in game one. Leave it Maddon to make things interesting.
It’s tough being in the AL East. You could make the claim that the Rays are the third best team in the American League, yet they’re going to go without a playoff spot because they play in a division with the two best teams. Throw in the way the ownership is holding the team hostage to get a new ballpark and it makes it tough to be a Rays fan. Still, we have a month of baseball left and while the chances of the Rays making a run are slim, they could still have an impact on some of the races.
Last night they did just that with a win over the Rangers. James Shields pitched eight shutout innings in a 4-1 win. Kyle Farnsworth came in and gave up a run in the ninth but that was it.
Johnny Damon went one for three with a walk and an RBI. Matt Joyce also reached base with a single, a walk and he drove in a run.
The rubber game is tonight. Jeff Niemann throws for the Rays and C.J. Wilson gets the ball for the Rangers. Let’s hope the Rays at least make things interesting in September.
The Rays have pretty much fallen out of the race but man is this pitching staff fun to watch. Alex Cobb improved to 3-0 (both on the season and in his career) with seven shutout innings in a 5-0 win over Kansas City. He gave up six hits and he struck out two without giving up a walk in the win. Jake McGee pitched a shutout ninth to close out the game in a non-save situation.
Ben Zobrist had a big day at the plate. He went three for four with two RBIs and a run. Desmond Jennings went two for three.
53-47 isn’t anything to scoff at but it’s still only good for third base. So goes life in the AL East. At this point, with the big deficit, the Rays should start concentrating on developing for next year. I know they’re not out of out, but the Red Sox and Yankees are just going to be tough to catch.
James Shields came through in a big way against one of the hottest teams in baseball with a five hit shutout. Even more impressive was he did against the vaunted offense of the Boston Red Sox and in effect, snapped their nine game winning streak. In all, Shields gave up the five hits and three walks and he struck out five. It’s his sixth complete game and third shutout of the season.
Casey Kotchman went two for three with an RBI in the win. Justin Ruggiano went two for four with a solo home run.
The Rays fell to 26-23 on the season with their fifth loss in six games after being in first place in the American League Central. This one was tough because the Rays had a 4-1 lead and the Tigers pummelled Wade Davis and the pen as they dropped this one 7-6.
Matt Joyce continued to rake. He went three for four with a home run, two RBIs and two runs. Sean Rodriguez also had a nice game and he went two for four with a run.
Joyce has been on fire. He’s now hitting .367 and he’s the top guy in the batting title race. It’s nice that we’re finally getting some dividends from that Edwin Jackson trade from a couple of years ago.
The Rays have finally picked things up. They’ve won five of their last six and eight of their last eleven to pull within a game and a half of the New York Yankees in the AL East. The bad news is, they’re tied in the win column but three losses back so they still have some work to do. They lost to the Angels in their current series opener so hopefully they can right the ship and finish of the weekend on a winning note.
The team has a few hitting stars. Ben Zobrist broke out the other with ten RBIs and he now sits atop the team lead with seven home runs and 25 RBIs. Johnny Damon has been a quality pick up too and he has four home runs and twenty RBIs. Batting wise, Matt Joyce leads the starters with a .311 average.
The pitching has been there as well. David Price’s ERA isn’t all that yet but he has three wins and 30 strikeouts. James Shields and Wade Davis have also been effective and Jeremy Hellickson looks like he’s just heating up. I like this rotation (for good reason) and if they keep it up, the Rays should be able to hang with most of the other teams in the American League.
Shields throws today. It’s an afternoon game so be sure to check it out.
The Rays always get ragged on because no one shows up to their games even though they’re a young, exciting team that wins a LOT of ball games. I couldn’t watch games at that dump either. It’s not easy to enjoy a baseball game when you feel like your sitting in the bathroom from “Saw”. Let’s take a look at your 2011 Rays, a team with some new, and yet, familiar faces.
Left field: Johnny Damon. 2010 splits: .271 average, 8 home runs, 51 RBI, .756 OPS. Brief: I like this signing by the Rays with the absence of Carl Crawford. No, Damon is no longer an all-star, but Damon was a steady, reliable fail-safe for the Tigers in ’10. Look for him to split left field duties with longtime teammate Manny Ramirez. What a wacky platoon that’ll be. Between Damon, who possess the arm strength of a 9-year-old girl and Manny’s head-scratching decisions, it should be fun, if nothing else.
Center field: B.J. Upton. 2010 splits: .237 average, 18 home runs, 62 RBI, .745 OPS. Brief: Too many strikeouts for somebody with as much talent as Upton. A disappointing year by most accounts in 2010, Upton still swiped 40+ bases. If he can tighten up that swing while still getting around 20 home runs, Upton could finally turn into the player Rays fans (the ones that actually go to the games) hope for.
Right field: Ben Zobrist. 2010 splits: .238 average, 10 home runs, 75 RBI, .699 OPS. Brief: Zobrist took a dip from his breakout in ’09. Still, 24 stolen bases out of your right fielder is impressive. He also has some flexibility with the ability to play first base. Man, I’m good at sugar-coating things aren’t I?
Third base: Evan Longoria. 2010 splits: .294 average, 22 home runs, 104 RBI, .879 OPS. Brief: It’s got to be nice to have a stud third baseman who excels both in the field and at the dish while still just barely entering his prime. More importantly, Longoria is one of the new spokesman for Gillette razors. You haven’t made it as a superstar until you’re in cool, chic commercials peddling crap to the masses.
Shortstop: Reid Brignac. 2010 splits: .256 average, 8 home runs, 45 RBI, .692 OPS. Brief: Sort of your run-of-the-mill shortstop with the absence of Jason Bartlett. He should be steady in the order as well as in the field.
Second base: Sean Rodriguez. 2010 splits: .251 average, 9 home runs, 40 RBI, .705 OPS. Brief: A lot of competition at second base means Rodriguez is going to have to produce if he wants to stay in the lineup. Still, a pretty big guy for a middle infielder at six-foot and 195 pounds means he could bring a little pop to a position that doesn’t normally see it.
First base: Dan Johnson. 2010 splits: .198 average, 7 home runs, 23 RBI. Brief: Rays fans are going to miss the pop at first base that Carlos Pena provided for so many years. I remember when Pena was with the Tigers, man he sucked. Maybe Johnson will take to the Trop like Pena did so many years ago.
Designated Hitter: Manny Ramirez. 2010 splits: .298 average, 9 home runs, 42 RBI, .870 OPS. Brief: I FREAKING LOVED this signing by the Rays in the offseason. Tampa acquired Man-Ram on the cheap for 2011. When healthy, and frankly, “all-there” Manny is arguably the best hitter in a generation. The key now is finding out whether Manny will give a rip this year.
Catcher: John Jaso. 2010 splits: .263, 5 home runs, 44 RBI, .750 OPS. Brief: Jaso won the catcher’s spot with his top-notch plate discipline last season. Man that’s exciting isn’t it? Right behind him is the free-swining Kelly Shoppach who possesses a lot more pop but also a higher potential to swing three times and walk back to the dugout with his tail between his legs.
Alright, be back next week to preview the starting rotation and relievers. Salude.
They may be old, but this is an interesting move. After seeing free agent after free agent leave the team, the Rays signed aging veterans Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon for a combined $7.25 million this year. They’re both one year deals so this is pretty low risk. Damon will play left field mostly while Ramirez will be the DH.
It is an interesting move. It doesn’t totally replace Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena, but these two guys, if they have another good season in the tank, could really come close for a bargain price.
The Rays parted ways with starter Matt Garza after his career season. The Rays minor league system is getting stocked, but the big league team might suffer here for a bit. On a good note, if the Rays had one thing they could part with, it’s starting pitching.
The Rays gave up Matt Garza, Fernando Perez (hardly a prospect at 27) and Zachary Rosscup (reliever, could do something down the line) for Chris Archer (another starting pitcher), Hak-Ju Lee (shortstop, could eventually replace Bartlett now that he’s gone), Brandon Guyer (another blue chip), Robinson Chirinos and Sam Fuld.
Garza would have been due for a nice raise but he won’t be a free agent until 2014. Still, it’s probably better for him and us that he goes somewhere where they’ll lock him up. The Rays are going to keep crying poor until they get their new stadium.
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