Yankees 3, Devil Rays 3.
The biggest game of the weekend is not one of the D-Rays games against the Jays. Surprise! Most would say that the biggest game is the Bucs tilt against the Panthers on Sunday for first place in the NFC South. But a case could be made that the biggest game this weekend amongst Florida teams, and maybe the biggest game in college football is Friday night when South Florida takes on West Virginia at Raymond James.
There is a promising new blog on the block and Bulls Index has coverage of the biggest game in the short history of the USF football program.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Last night, Scott Kazmir struck out 10 and took over the league lead for strikeouts and is likely to finish the season on top of the leaderboard. [tampabay.com]
- Joel Guzman and Justin Ruggiano will start all three games this weekend against the Jays. [USA Today]
- Stuart Sternberg addressed the media Thursday night, the Rays final home game of the season. Among the topics covered, Sternberg stated that he expects the payroll to be increased about 20%. While that sounds like a lot on the surface keep in mind that 20% of “not very much” is still “not very much”. A 20% increase on a $30 million payroll is only $6 million. Carlos Pena alone will likely receive most of that increase, with the rest of the 20% increase likely going to other in-house players that will need pay increases due to existing contracts or arbitration eligibility. [Devil Rays]
- Stuart Sternberg also stated that he believes the Rays can be a playoff contender on 2008. [tampabay.com]
“This club is capable of being a playoff caliber club next year unfortunately we are certainly hindered playing in the division that we’re in and playing in the league that we play in,” Sternberg said, “but having said that I know that there will be teams in the playoff this year, and possibily one that wins the World Series, that I would love to have crack at in a seven-game series, or know that we can play on an even or better basis during the season. …
“I believe that by April 1 next year if we’ve done our job we’ve put our players in a position to contend for a playoff spot. It’s not a likelihood, it’s not obviously going to happen, but as long as we put them in a position to succeed we’ll have done our job and I believe we’ll be there next year.”
- Carlos Pena was voted the Rays 2007 team MVP. [tampabay.com]
- John Romano argues that neither Carlos Pena, nor Carl Crawford are the best player on the team. Rather, he makes a strong case for BJ Upton and it is hard to argue. A year ago, we were hoping that Upton could just be an everyday player. Now he is playing like a 23 year old version of Alfonso Soriano. [tampabay.com]
And while Carl Crawford was making another All-Star team, Pena was setting a franchise record for home runs and Young was battling Dustin Pedroia for rookie of the year, Upton unobtrusively put together a stellar season. His batting average has not been below .300 the entire year, and he is the youngest player among the AL’s top 10 in OPS on-base plus slugging.
Combine the plate discipline, power and speed with a premium position defensively, and Upton looks like a Grady Sizemore-type franchise player.