Devil Rays (off day)
The Rays open a three game set tonight at the Trop against the Baltimore Orioles. How bad have the Devil Rays been this season? At the beginning of June, the Rays had thoughts of third place in the division. Now Tampa Bay is 9 games behind the one team they should be ahead of. If the Rays have any hopes of ever getting out of the cellar the Orioles are the one team the MUST beat on a regular basis when in fact the exact opposite is what they have done. Baltimore has won 7 straight in the series and 8 of 9 this season. The Orioles have taken 14 of the last 16 and 38 of 53 since the beginning of the 2004 season.
With a new bullpen and a new-found confidence, the Devil Rays absolutely cannot lose this series.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- It seems like we get another story every day about how happy Carlos Pena is playing for the Devil Rays after failing in five other organizations. This means absolutely nothing to us unless Pena signs a long-term deal for below market value. Otherwise, when he becomes a free agent and signs someplace else for whichever team offers the most money, we are certain that he will “love” that city and that team more than Tampa and the Devil Rays. [Devil Rays]
- Andrew Friedman is starting to put together a team that Joe Maddon has long coveted. A team driven by their 7th, 8th and 9th inning pitchers. It was the formula that the 2002 Angels, a team coached by Papa Joe, road all the way to the world series. We still are not sold on Gary Glover as one of the 7th inning guys, but Grant Balfour (in the 7th), Dan Wheeler (in the 8th), and Al Reyes (in the 9th) is not a terrible lineup. Of course we still prefer the 7+1+1 formula, where the starter gives the team 7 innings and hands-off to Wheeler. [TBO]
- Grant Balfour missed nearly two seasons due to two separate surgeries with two and half seasons between major league appearances. [TBO]
It wasn’t until spring training this year, after the Brewers picked him up off waivers, that Balfour finally felt he was back. He allowed 10 runs in eight Cactus League innings, failing to make the cut for Opening Day, but all the little things felt better than they had in years. He felt like a pitcher instead of a patient.
- Baseline Report has written an open letter to Stuart Sternberg. The premise of the letter is that the Devil Rays should run their organization in much the same manner as a small company trying to compete against giants. You know. The companies that later get purchased by the giant company. We are fairly certain that there are a lot of people that think the Rays should be purchased by another franchise to be their minor league team. As for the outline of suggestions, we hope that the organization has already instituted most of them (ie. emphasize defense in the minors). [Baseline Report]
- Is Joe Maddon the 6th “Crappiest Baseball Manager”? We are not sure, but Maxim thinks so. We still stand by the the old maxim (see what we did there? cool, huh. no? ok) that baseball managers get too much credit when the team does well and too much criticism when the team performs poorly. A manager can’t win the game. They can only put the players in a position to win the game. On the other hand, we also believe that a manager can lose a game, so maybe the criticism is fair. [Maxim]
- The Devil Rays are trying to do something that the Vince Naimoli regime never could. Build a presence in Tampa. The latest step was to open an office in Downtown Tampa. [Devil Rays]
Located on the first floor of the Park Tower Building, the space will feature full mock-ups of a Tropicana Field suite and other featured premium hospitality options. The office will also serve as an outlet for Rays tickets, high-end team merchandise and promotional material for sporting events throughout the Tampa Bay area…”Our intent is to not merely strengthen our ties to the very large segment of the Tampa Bay community located in downtown Tampa, but to become a significant part of that community ourselves,” said Rays Senior Vice President of Business/Chief Sales Officer Mark Fernandez. “To this end, we will also use the space as a staging area for community activities and special events, both inside the office and across the street in Lykes Gaslight Park.”