Orioles 1, Devil Rays 0.
Ok, we have ignored this post long enough. Quite frankly (I hate when I quote Steven A.) we we weren’t sure if we would be able to write a “Hangover” today. Last night hurt on so many levels. Let’s count them:
- For the second time this season, James Shields had a masterpiece go for naught. He was brilliant. Nearly unhittable. 9 innings, 3 hits and only 1 walk.
- For the umpteenth time (actually 4th) Brian Stokes gave up a game-deciding home run in the 9th inning or later. We think it is probably time to stop giving Stokes the ball in the 9th inning or later. He is brilliant in the 7th and 8th. At this point, we would have more confidence if Andrew Friedman was pitching in a tie game.
- It was another loss to the Orioles. This is the ONE TEAM that the Rays have to start beating. The goal’s for the 2007 season should be simple ones. Get out of the cellar first and then shoot for The Charlie Hough Line. Neither of those will happen if the Rays can’t beat the Orioles. And with the way the Jays are playing third place in the AL East is legitimately up for grabs.
- Aubrey “Friggin” Huff. We heard a stat, but unfortunately do not remember the exact numbers. Over the last X years, Huff has the lowest percentage of home runs that have given his team the lead. In other words Huff hits a lot of home runs, but rarely hits a home run with the game on the line. We can remember one big homer for the Rays, when he hit a walk-off home run against the Marlins last season. That is not completely fair, as we are sure there are a couple of others. But the fact remains, Huff never left an impression that he was a clutch hitter. Why did it have to be Aubrey “Friggin” Huff.
Ok, the blood is starting to boil again. We thought we were getting over the loss, but the sound of the fingers on the keyboard is getting progressively louder. So, let’s go back to what was making us feel better a little earlier. First of all, we are NOT ones for moral victories. Either you win or you don’t. We hate excuses. We hate the “One mistake” line. But after Jae Seo’s latest implosion and the heart-breaker last night, and with Casey Fossum taking the mound tonight, we need something positive…ANYTHING positive. Last night there were some positives to take home…
- Is it us or is James Shields getting better every time out. You can see the confidence grow in his face and his demeanor. He is 3-0 (should be 5-0) and has a 3.10 ERA good for 12 the in the AL and has given up less than a baserunner per inning. The Devil Rays now have two legitimate major league starting pitchers, which is one more than they had last year and in Spring Training this year. There are 5 legitimate prospects at Durham. The Rays are not dependent on a AAA prospect being a sure-thing. because there are others if one fails.
- The anger after Tuesday’s debacle and the pain of last night’s loss may actually be a good sign. Losses are no longer expected. Mediocrity is no longer accepted and bad performances are no longer shrugged off. The Rays lost 101 games last season and not one of them was as blood-boiling as Tuesday’s and not one was as heart-breaking as last night’s. These are new feelings for baseball and the Rays. This could be a good thing, but it sure doesn’t bode well for our drinking or sleeping habits.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Last night’s game marked the third time in the Rays 10-year history that they entered extra innings in a scoreless tie.
- Last night was the Rays 8th loss by the bullpen, second in the majors (KC-9).
- It has been 8 games since the Rays stole a base (0-3).
- Elijah Dukes is clearly better when he is playing the field, which is creating an interesting problem for the Rays. Just when everyone thought that roles for the Rays “five” spring training outfielders (including BJ Upton) had been established, this may force a move by the team. As long as Rocco Baldelli is healthy he is the team’s most days center fielder. Dukes needs to make an adjustment or he may be forced to sit on days that Rocco is in center.
- Juan Salas made his first comments since being suspended for being an idiot. He earned back a couple of points for not making any excuses.
I deeply regret that this situation occured and appreciate the outpouring of support around me. I also regret any distraction or embarrassment that I have caused to my family, my teammates, the Devil Rays organization and the fans. I remain fully committed to the Devil Rays organization and to the game I love.–Juan Salas
- Hillsborough County commissioner Jim Norman made it clear that a new stadium on the Tampa side of the bay would not be on the agenda anytime soon.
- In a surprise statement Joe Maddon says that Akinori Iwamura could be ready to being a rehab assignment as soon as next week.