Angels 2, Devil Rays 1.
This is what drives us absolutely nuts about the local coverage of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. We stayed up late last night and caught every pitch of the Rays 89th loss of the season. We went to bed frustrated with the offense, but content that Jason Hammel had pitch well and has shown improvement in his last four starts.

Then we wake up this morning to THIS headline in the St. Pete Times

“Banged-up Rays waste Hammel’s latest gem”

Now..instead of feeling good about Hammel’s performance we now feel compelled to explain to Marc Topkin and the editors of the Times why Hammel’s performance was far from being a “gem”. Instead of feeling good about his start, we now have to point out the faults.

  • It took Jason Hammel 98 pitches to get through 6 innings. Therefore, for the 12th time in 12 starts, Hammel was unable to pitch into the 7th inning.
  • 6 innings and 2 runs is not a “gem”. That is an ERA of 3.00. Good. Not great. 9 innings and 2 runs might be a gem, but even then we would need to see 8-10 strikeouts and only 1-2 walks.
  • Hammel allowed 7 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings. That is a WHIP of 1.50! That is NOT a gem.
  • He struck out 3 batters. a strikeout to walk ratio of 3:2 is NOT a gem. A ratio of 8:1 might be a gem…if he also pitched 8 innings and gave up only 1 run.
  • In 3 of his 6 innings, Hammel allowed the leadoff batter to reach base. Two of those runners scored. That is definitely NOT a gem.
  • Chone Figgins scored the first run on a wild pitch. That is right. A wild pitch with a runner on third base. Apparently that is “gem”-worthy.
  • Hammel had exactly ONE 1-2-3 inning. Hammel allowed base runners in 5 of the 6 innings. That is NOT a gem.
  • Eight innings. M-INIMUM are needed before we even think about calling a game a gem, and really we would prefer 9. And is it too much to ask that a few of those innings be 1-2-3?
  • If a starting pitcher for the Yankees or the Red Sox gave up 2 runs in 6 innings and LOST, would ANYBODY call it a gem? NOT A CHANCE IN HELL. They would wonder why he labored and couldn’t get the ball directly to the set-up man in the 8th inning.
  • His “Latest gem”? IS ANYBODY AT THE TIMES AWAKE OVER THERE?!? Hammel is yet to pitch into the 7th inning. In his last start, he allowed 5 hits and only 1 run in 6 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out 6, against an overrated Seattle Mariners club. That was a very good start. But even that was NOT a gem.

Is this what we have been reduced to as fans of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays? Has the pitching been so bad that when somebody other than Scott Kazmir or James Shields allows 2 runs over 6 innings, we are supposed to be giddy?

We hope that Jason Hammel does not read the St. Pete Times. If he does, he might actually be content with his performance last night, and not see that there is still plenty of room for improvement. We understand that a lot of times, wins and losses are out of the control of the starting pitcher, but when it comes down to it, there is one stat that counts from last night’s start…L. As in Hammel lost. The Devil Rays lost.

If a team is going to only score 1 run, then the pitcher needs to find a way to keep the other team off the board. If he can’t? Let’s just say we are not about to start calling him Tom Seaver. Now there is a guy that threw some gems.

Banged-up Rays waste Hammel’s latest gem []


  • MLB Trade Rumors did an excellent job of breaking down exactly how ridiculous Scott Boras’ comments on Carlos Pena were. They challenge both the assertion that Pena is the best player to ever wear a Rays’ uniform and the boast that Pena is one of the top 5 players of 2007. They then go on to show that any claim that Pena is a $15 million player in his 4th full season is ludicrous. They even speculate that because Pena is not a free agent until after the 2009 season, the Rays best move may be to go to arbitration for the next two seasons and then trade Pena during the 2009 season. [MLB Trade Rumors]

Boras says the DRays basically got a $15MM season for the cost of $1.2MM and also takes some digs at the franchise. But it’s disingenuous to imply that a fourth-year player should be earning free agent prices. That ain’t the way it works. Albert Pujols earned $7MM in his fourth year, which seems like some kind of record. Jason Bay is earning $3.25MM in his fourth year. Matt Holliday is at $4.4MM. I could make a laundry list of young players who are huge bargains because of baseball’s pay scale. Hanley Ramirez is making $402,000 this year…Pena reaches free agency after the 2009 season, and Marc Topkin says the Rays have already begun discussions on a three or four-year deal. If the Rays are to buy out a year or two of free agency, those might cost $12-15MM each. More likely, the team just goes to arbitration with him twice and trades him in a summer of ’09 blockbuster (assuming he remains a 40 HR threat).

  • The Devil Rays are 63-89 with 10 games remaining and are 2 games behind (1 in the win column) the Orioles in the AL East and for the worst record in baseball.
  • The Devil Rays have decided to shut down James Shields for the remainder of the season. The move is simply an effort to limit the number of pitches thrown by the emerging ace. JP Howell will fill Shields’ spot in the rotation. []
  • Brendan Harris was injured during batting practice and was scratched from the lineup. []
  • Jim Alexander has a conversation with Joe Maddon about his return to Anaheim to face the franchise he was a part of for 31 years. [Many Opinions, No Waiting…]
  • Joe Madden believes that Carl Crawford will be ready to go on Friday, but the team is still likely to call up an extra outfielder from Durham, with Jason Pridie being the most likely candidate. Pridie will need to be added to the 40-man roster this winter anyway or risk being lost in the Rule 5 Draft. [Devil Rays]
  • Gerry Hunsicker will appear on the Baseball Digest Daily radio show this Sunday. [Baseball Digest Radio]
  • Carlos Pena has 18 home runs in the past month, the most in the majors over that span. [USA Today]


  1. Big Mike says:

    there is a reason that local writers never move on to more prominent publications.

  2. Simon says:

    Unfortunately if your Injury rate % is correct. Shields threw 186 innings last season. 15% more is 214 innings. He's already eclipsed that.


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