Today is MLB’s All-Star game and we decided this would be a good time to take a look back at the “12 Days of Raysmas” series we ran this past off-season, in which we outlined 12 wishes for the 2008 season…Let’s see how the Rays are doing so far…
ONE Evan Longoria in the opening day lineup [Day 1]:
OK, we did not get Dirtbag in the opening day lineup, but he was in the lineup for game 11. Of course there was plenty of uproar at the time, but in hindsight, 10 games sure doesn’t seem like much. After all, that is less than a DL stint.
TWO new pitchers in the rotation by the all-star break [Day 2]:
Well, the names are all the same, but can anybody argue that the Rays do have two new pitchers in the rotation? We say ‘Yes’. Andy Sonnanstine and Edwin Jackson have taken gigantic leaps forward in their careers and barely resemble their 2007 incarnations. Both pitchers have lowered their ERAs by more than a run. Sonny is 10-3 after going 6-10 last year and Jackson has already equaled his win total from a year ago.
THREE AL All-Stars [Day 3]:
This wish came true. Scott Kazmir and Dioner Navarro were named initially and Evan Longoria won the fan voting for the final spot on the AL roster.
FOUR winning records against AL East foes [Day 4]:
The Rays are 8-3 versus Baltimore, 5-1 against the Jays, 6-6 against the Sox and 5-7 against the Yankees. Well, the Rays are beating up on the “other two”, something they have to do. And really, “in the neighborhood” of .500 against the Sox and Yankees is pretty darned good.
FIVE players with at least 25 home runs [Day 5]:
The Rays will come nowhere near this mark. In fact, only Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena appear to be good bets to hit 25 and Eric Hinske will be close if he continues to receive regular playing time. BJ Upton has been a huge dissppointment in the power department and Cliff Floyd has spent too much time on the DL.
SIX months with at least 14 wins [Day 6]:
The Rays have 14 wins in April, 19 in May and 16 in June. So far, so good.
SEVEN relatively healthy months of Rocco Baldelli [Day 7]:
EIGHT ejections for Joe Maddon [Day 8]:
We knew this number was high when we wrote it. Our point was just to see a more fiery Joe Maddon in 2008. We think most would agree he has been. As for ejections, the only one we remember is the June 11th contest against the Angels, which was the 8th of Papa Joe’s career and 4th against his former team.
NINE no-hit innings from Scott Kazmir [Day 9]:
Both Matt Garza and James Shields have 1-hitters to their credit this season. In fact, now that we have seen The Garza Complex on a regular basis we actually think he is the most likely of the trio to throw a no-hitter. As for Kazmir, we would be excited if he ever completed a game.
TEN meaningful games in September [Day 10]:
This looks like a lock at this point.
ELEVEN walk-off wins [Day 11]:
The Rays are well on their way to making this wish come true with 7 of their 36 home wins so far in 2008 coming via walk-off.
TWELVE major league pitchers [Day 12]:
Injuries have kept this from happening yet, but as soon as Troy Percival and Al Reyes come back from the DL, a decent major league pitcher is going to have to be Designated For Assignment or traded (Jason Hammel or Gary Glover appear most likely). That is an indication that the Rays finally have 12 major league pitchers on the staff.