THE GOOD: We are back after a much-needed 7-day vacation and an even more needed 4-day mini-vacation for 22 of the players and all of the coaches and staff…The AL won the All-Star game with a little help from a couple of Rays. This is significant as it means if the Rays go to the Wor… *smack*. Sorry. Got a little ahead of ourselves…
THE BAD: A 7-game slide heading into the break and out of first place in the AL East.
THE TELLING: Reports of the Rays death are premature. The Rays are still 1 game up on the Red Sox in the all-important loss column and still lead the Wild Card by 2.5 games over the Twins and 4.5 games over the A’s…It is still unclear if the Rays will shuffle their rotation after Scott Kazmir threw 14 pitches in the all-star game. At this point Joe Maddon will go with James Shields on Friday, to be followed by Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine…The Rays are 1-7 since we got married.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Rays the Stakes recaps Evan Longoria’s performance in the Home Run Derby. [Rays the Stakes]
- Her Rays recaps the All-Star game. [Her Rays]
- Reid Brignac has been optioned back to Durham. Al Reyes is expected off the DL for tomorrow’s game and Jason Bartlett should be available by the beginning of next week. Meanwhile, Troy Percival is expected to throw a simulated game today, but there is still no timetable for his return…As usual, we fully expect Reyes to injure himself in the next 5-6 days, lest the time continuum come to a complete stop if Reyes and Percy are both healthy at the same time. [St. Pete Times]
- Scott Kazmir stepped up and took his teammates behind the woodshed. Kazmir blames the Rays struggles on the team’s inability to focus on the task at hand and being more concerned with what other teams in the East are doing on the scoreboard. [St. Pete Times]
- Rays the Stakes notes that the Rays struggles have coincided with Jason Bartlett’s trip to the DL. [Rays the Stakes]
- Outs Per Swing shows that playoff teams from the past two seasons are not immune to mid-season losing streaks. [Outs Per Swing]
- Bill Chastain gives us his “2008 Midterm Report” on the Rays, calling JP Howell, the team’s MVP. [MLB]
- The Rays were just the 5th team in the last 45 years to have 3 all-stars under the age of 25. [Bradenton Herald]
- Remember that minor after-hours altercation that Al Reyes got into a while back on his birthday in which one of the presents he received was a shot from a taser? Well, he doesn’t. But that is a good thing as all charges have been dropped. [AP]
- Sports Talk. We want to like these guys. They seem knowledgable. But they write a blog like they are a hosting a radio show. Too many fragments. Too many exclamation points! And random halfhazard posts that apear to have been put together on a whim with little thought or substance. [Sports Talk]
- Six more exclamation points in this one, including 2 in the title…Please, stop yelling at us. [Sports Talk]