Devil Rays 5, Toronto 3.
We’re done trying to figure out this team. They do this all the time. Tuesday’s loss was the sort that can kill a team. It was the sort of game that can lead to a 6-game losing streak and a 7-28 stretch, and all of the sudden the season is over, and next thing you know the Rays have the #1 pick again next year. The Rays have had a few of these losses this season. And every time the team has bounced back big. On Tuesday night after that last runner stepped on home plate, did anybody think there was a chance in Hades that the Rays would win the series? Nobody would have been dumb enough to make that bet.

But there is a pattern here…

  • Apr. 22. James Shields strikes out 12 and allows only 2 hits and 1 walk in 8 innings. Brian Stokes gives up a 3-run home run in the 9th and the Rays lose 6-4 to the Indians.
  • May 4. Brian Stokes gives up a 3-run home run in the 9th inning of a 2-2 game. Rays lose 5-2 to the A’s.
  • June 5. Rays take a 11-6 lead into the 9th against the Jays. Four relief pitchers combine to walk 64 batters and can only record one out. Rays lose 12-11.

In each case, the Rays rebounded to win the next day. And on two of those occasions, the Rays won the next two games. So what was the common denominator in the three games? In each case, Al Reyes was not available to pitch.

Reyes will not be with the Devil Rays in August and September and that scares the hell out of us. Might be a good time to plan that trip to Fiji.

Speaking of which. For those of you that actually read our “AL East Roundup” in the past, know that we are no fans of Kyle Farnsworth. He throws real hard, but his fastball is straight as an arrow and he does not have a good complimentary pitch. The Yankees have finally soured on Farnsworth and will probably do anything they can to get him off the team. He has one more season on his contract and is set to earn $5.5 million in 2008. As long as the Yankees stay within ear shot of the wild card, they will look to improve their pen down the stretch. Does a Farnsworth-Reyes trade make sense? Let’s say the Yankees are willing to pay $4 million of Farnsworth’s contract for the rest of 2007 and 2008 and throw in a AA pitching prospect?

Reyes is going no matter what. The Rays do not have a closer for 2008. Any potential closer on the market will only be slightly better than Farnsworth and will cost a lot more. Don’t get us wrong here. There will be games next season when we would burn Farnsworth in effigy. We will curse his name. But the Rays may also catch lightning in a bottle. Farnsworth can be a good closer and getting him out of the glaring lights of New York could be good for him…Just a thought.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Al Reyes is now comfortable working three straight games. He believes he is close to being able to work four straight, depending on pitch counts.
  • We are a little confused this morning. Marc Lancaster of the Tampa Tribune gives us this title yesterday afternoon: “Rays Pick Price; How Much Will He Cost?” And then the first paragraph of the story is this:

Now that the Devil Rays have eliminated the suspense and chosen Vanderbilt LHP David Price with the first overall pick in the draft, two questions loom: How quickly can Price be signed? And, how soon will be be in the majors?

So…Is that two questions or three? Math was never our thing, but we did learn to count. Mr. Lancaster does address the question from the title, stating that the Rays are willing to sign Price in the $3-3.5 million range. He also addresses the first question from the first paragraph by stating that the team has until August 15 to get Price signed. But for some reason Mr. Lancaster never addresses the third question. So was the third question not a question at all? Or was the first question not a question even thought he answered? Our heads hurt.

  • These two wins are the first time the Rays have won two straight road games since June of last year.
  • 13 more strike outs last night and the Rays are now second in the majors with 462. Tonight’s opponent, the Marlins lead the majors with 516. Of course they have the advantage of having their pitchers hit 2-3 times a game. What is the common factor between these two teams? They are the two youngest teams in baseball. Ahhh. Growing pains.
  • Elijah Dukes is mired in an 0-21 stretch.
  • Akinori Iwamura will be in the lineup tonight against the Marlins. He will return to the leadoff spot.
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8 Comments

  1. Jason Lyman - W. Hazleton, PA says:

    Just curious professor, but why would the Rays trade Reyes? I saw on Mlb4u.com that the Rays have a club option on Reyes for next season. Why wouldn’t they just exercise that unless someone offered the world for him???

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  2. jason lyman....again says:

    PER BLB 4U.COM
    Contract:
    signed deal for 2007 season w/ invite to ST- + contract was PURCHASED on 4/1/07, giving him a $750K salary- + he can earn $1.5M in performance bonses while on the major league roster- + the deal includes a team option for 2008 worth $1M- + the value of the option can rise to match his total 2007 earnings if that amount is higher- + he can earn $1.5M in performance bonuses in 2008 if the option is exercised
    Agent: Bean Stringfellow

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  3. The Professor says:

    Because he will be 38 in 2008 and has already had 2 tommy john surgeries. His value will never be higher than it is right now. He is on top of his game and he is not part of the Rays future.

    the team would be silly not to trade him. It is a big risk to try and ride his train for another year.

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  4. JASON LYMAN says:

    who would you say out closer of tomorrow is then??? It can't be Mcclung, or Orvella, I have been of the mind that McGee or Davis would end up there at some point, but they aren't ready yet...

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  5. The Professor says:

    I like your idea of McGee and Davis, although more likely Davis as McGee is a lefty and more valuable as a starter.

    In 2008 (maybe) and 2009 (definitely) i think the team is still hoping Salas can be the closer of the future.

    He has that one dominant pitch (fastball with natural cutter movement) that everyone looks for in a closer. if he can just learn to harness it (and stop taking roids).

    Remember Salas only has 2 years of pitching experience before this season, which is pretty amazing that he is already in the majors.

    let him be the 8th inning guy next year behind a more experienced arm and groom him to take over in 2009.

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  6. 3runhomer says:

    Jackson for closer!

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  7. Charles Slavik, CPT*D says:

    RE: THE THIRD QUESTION

    Usually writers don't craft the headlines to the stories. The sports editor likely did and he must have been looking for a catchy "The Price is Right" angle.

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  8. The Professor says:

    Normally that is true...but this is the paper's "blog" so i dont know how much input the editors have. plus...even if the editor is writing the title (or somebody else) they should really read the post first.

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