Rangers 9, Devil Rays 1.
Jason Hammel deserved a few starts worth of buffer from criticism as he adjusted back to being a starting pitcher. After making 13 starts in Durham, Hammel was called up to the Rays and inserted into the bullpen. At first it appeared as though he was one or two appearances away from replacing Edwin Jackson in the rotation, but then Jackson started to pitch a little better and Hammel was stuck in the ‘pen. With the demotion of JP Howell, Hammel finally got his opportunity to start again at the major league level after 10 relief appearances.

Hammel was going to need a few starts to lengthen out his arm and increase the pitch-load that he could sustain. We are now 5 starts into the conversion process and the reigns now come off and the pressure is on. Joe Maddon has made it clear that players are more likely to win positions for 2008 by their play in 2007 rather than their play in Spring Training. With at least two spots open, Hammel is auditioning for a spot in the 2008 rotation and he is off to a bad start. His numbers at Durham were solid (3.42 ERA), but he did have occasional bouts of control problems. He averaged 3.30 walks per 9 innings to go with 7 wild pitches in 13 starts. The problem has only gotten worse at the major league level, as he is averaging 5.92 walks per 9 innings after walking 4 more last night in his 4 innings of work.

In two stints as a starting pitcher with the Rays, Hammel’s numbers have failed to impress and they are only exasperated by his inability to find the strike zone. Nothing irks a manager more than a walk. If Hammel has any hopes of being a starting pitcher at the major league level in 2008 he needs to start hitting the strike zone on a more consistent basis. Otherwise, one of those “?”s in the 2008 rotation will not be replaced with the name “Jason Hammel”.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • A little overdue but the CorkBoard (in side panel) has been updated. Enjoy.
  • With two days left to sign David Price we have upped our alert level to “scared shitless”. Pressure from Major League Baseball could be making the negotiations more difficult than they need to be. If the Rays fail to sign Price, the team will receive a compensatory pick next year after the #1 pick, and we will award the team and Major League Baseball a compensatory middle finger. [tampabay.com]
  • We would like to present Ken Daley with this weeks “Captain Obvious Award” for pointing out that the Devil Rays are not likely to have a 20-game winner this season. Considering the franchise record for wins in a season is 14 (Rolando Arrojo, 1998) and that the team is now 3/4 of the way through the season and the team leaders have 9 wins, we would be happy if either Scott Kazmir or James Shields won 15. Of course with only 6 weeks remaining, that would require 6 wins by one of the young hurlers in their final 9-10 starts. [Devil Rays]
  • The runner up for the “Captain Obvious Award” goes to Matt Silverman when asked about the negotiations with David Price as the Wednesday deadline approaches. [TBO]

“If he ends up not getting signed, it’s because we couldn’t reach an agreement with him,” said Silverman.

  • Marc Topkin redeems what little faith we had in Rays writers with something “not-so-obvious”. Jonny Gomes was inserted into the leadoff spot last night by Joe Maddon and Topkin cited Gomes’ OBP and that he “has some speed”. Gomes has some speed? Huh-wah? We were ready to jump on Topkin for this guffaw but we decided to looked it up first. Did you know that Gomes was 23-25 in 2003 with AA Orlando? Neither did we. And with his stolen base last night (albeit a terrible throw), Gomes is now 9-11 this season combined between Durham and Tampa Bay. Who knew that Mr. Kotter could gets those legs moving between first and second? [tampabay.com]
  • A scheduling quirk had the Rays playing a night game on getaway day. The late time, meant the team would not likely be in their Boston hotel rooms until about 6:00 am. With noontime temperatures approaching 105, the late start was understandable, but will likely leave the team sluggish in their series opener against the Scarlett Hose. Tonight’s starter James Shields made the trip a day ahead of the rest of the team so that he may be well-rested. [TBO]
  • The Red Sox lead in the AL East is down to 4 games. Is there panic in the land of pink hats? I didn’t know there was baseball in Ireland?! reviews the various panic levels in the Red Sox blogosphere…HA! There was panic when the lead was back to single-digits. It is the nature of Red Sox nation. How much fun would it be if the Red Sox lost another game or two at the hand of the Rays. Oh boy! We are starting to get giddy for this series. [I didn't know there was baseball in Ireland?!]
  • Red Sox Chick lists the “Reasons to be cheerful”, with number 6 being that the Devil Rays are in town. The list sounds like she is trying just as much to convince herself as much as she is trying to convince the rest of the Pink Hat Nation…Can this be? Are we openly rooting for the Yankees to catch the Red Sox? Ahhh, the Evil of Two Lessers. [Red Sox Chick]
  • HAHAHAHA! [Over The Monster]
  • A Canadian blogger looks at the history of the Devil Rays in part 1 of a 2-part series. Who knew it could take so many words and two entire posts. We could do it in four words…”Big pile of poo”. [Jack Jock's Thought]
 
 

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