THE GOOD: The loss of Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria to the DL was relieved a little on Sunday when Rocco Baldelli was activated from the DL and made the start in right field. He played the first 5 innings, before being replaced by Gabe Gross. It was Rocco’s first game since May of ’07 and he drove in a run, going 1-4…The Rays now have a 95.9% chance of making the playoffs. That is a big number folks. At the other end of the spectrum, the Yankees now have a 6.0% chance at a playoff slot. They have dropped 13.7% in the past week. We love a world in which the Rays are in the playoffs and the Yankees are not.
THE BAD: A Monday without “The Hangover”. You can file your complaints at JetBlue.com.
THE TELLING: Willy Aybar will be the starting third baseman tonight and Justin Ruggiano will get the start in left…Sunday’s win, the Rays’ 71st of the season, set the franchise record for wins in a season…The Rays magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 40.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Carl Crawford, placed on the DL this weekend with an injured finger, had his finger examined by a hand-specialist. The Rays are expected to know more today. There are some concerns that he could be lost for the rest of the season. [MLB]
- Evan Longoria was placed on the DL with a broken wrist after being hit bay a pitch last week. Initial x-rays were negative. A second-opinion revealed the break. He is expected to be out 2-3 weeks. [MLB]
- Scott Kazmir made an adjustment to his mechanics that he hopes will help with his delivery tonight. [St. Pete Times]
- The injuries to Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria certainly pose a challenge for the Rays, but trips to the DL are nothing knew for this squad and Andrew Friedman notes that the Rays did not get where they are this season because of any one player. [Bradenton Herald]
- Martin Fennelly has a column about how tough the loss of Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria is going to be on the Rays…Does anybody else have a tough time reading Fennelly when he writes a column with 25 1-sentence paragraphs? We always get flashbacks to 9th grade English and bad poetry. [Tampa Tribune]
- Last month David Ortiz predicted that the Rays lack of experience would catch up to them. This month he is singing a different tune. [Boston Herald]
- Marc Topkin feels that a decision has already been made for David Price to be promoted to the Rays at some point this season. The question now is only whether he will be a starter or a reliever. Topkin notes that if Price is used as a starter (Price’s preference) it could anger players in the clubhouse if Edwin Jackson or Andy Sonnanstine need to be bumped from the rotation. [St. Pete Times]
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times compares the ’08 Rays to several other teams that enjoyed sudden success after years of losing. [Seattle Times]
- Chad Bradford finally arrived to the Rays clubhouse in Seattle on Saturday afternoon after a whirlwind few days of cross-country flights. [Tampa Tribune]
- Joe Maddon speaks about altering his approach this season to how he handles his players both behind the scenes and in the public eye. He notes that this year the team is in a position where he can make a difference with a more critical, disciplined approach. [Tampa Tribune]
- A blogger interviews Cliff Floyd. [Eli’s MLB Rumors]
- Baseball Digest Daily calls the Rays one of “10 Things To Watch for the Remainder of the 2008 MLB Season.” They are the only team on the list. [Baseball Digest Daily]
- Marc Topkin has some notes about the ’09 schedule (opening day, interleague, etc.). [St. Pete Times]
- Mike Francesa of “Mike and the Mad Dog” in New York City, has been dismissive of the Rays all season, saying that he wouldn’t acknowledge the Rays until August. One blogger wonders why Mike is still not talking about the Rays. [Mike and the Mad Blog]
- Brittany Ghiroli tells how Grant Balfour only stumbled upon baseball as a child in Australia and says his fire and emotion come from his homeland and his father. [MLB]