Oakland 2, Tampa Bay Rays 1. (Sorry. The standings/schedule widget called in sick today. Should be back tomorrow)
THE GOOD: Scott Kazmir. We really don’t want to put Kaz here, but we are trying to find something positive from last night. Anything. And Kid K has been so bad, that last night actually seemed pretty good. But SWEET FANCY MOSES! How in the H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS does a “good” starting pitcher last only 5 innings when he only gave up 2 hits and 2 walks? He actually had three 1-2-3 innings, allowing only 5 baserunners, and yet he still needed 97 pitches. That doesn’t even make sense.
THE BAD: That was as pathetic a loss as we have seen all year. Did the Rays play a throwback game without telling anybody? Give those guys some green unis and we’d swear that was the ’02 Devil Rays. The Rays absolutely looked and played like a little league team last night. Exhibit A: Top of the 5th, the Rays have runners on first and second with no outs, down 2-1. Ben Zobrist makes the first out on what we assume was a safety squeeze. It was difficult to tell for sure. If it was a suicide squeeze, he took off too late. If it was a safety squeeze he took off too soon. If it was neither, Akinori Iwamura is an idiot. With Jason Bartlett now on second base, he was picked off for the second out. Mercilessly killing the rally. Exhibit B: Top of the 8th, 1 out, Willy Aybar on first base. Eric Hinske hits a lazy flyball to left field. Not good, but not terrible. Ahhh, but Aybar, who is now apparently so paranoid about not running hard, took off sprinting, rounding second and on his way to third. He was easily doubled-up, forgetting the number of outs. Exhibit C: The Rays were 2-11 with runners in scoring position, with 3 Ks.
THE TELLING: Gary Sheffield and Barry Bonds. Now that Carl Crawford will likely miss the rest of the regular season, we are more luke-warm to the idea of Bonds playing for the Rays, but we still put the chances of actually happening somewhere south of 1%. The other name making the circles now is Sheffield, who was placed on waivers by the Tigers. It would be very unlikely for the Rays to put in a claim on Sheffield, even if they would like to work out a trade. The risk for the Rays is for the Tigers to not pull Sheffield back from waivers. There is a good chance the Tigers would just let the Rays take Sheffield and his ’09 salary of $14MM without asking for anything in return. If we were still in July, the Rays could work a trade in which the Tigers pay a good chunk of that salary….The Red Sox traded for veteran Paul Byrd, adding to an already deep pitching staff…
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Carl Crawford has elected to have surgery on his finger and will be sidelined 6-8 weeks. There are 6.5 weeks remaining in the regular season. Andrew Friedman said if everything went well, he could play again in the regular season…It sounds like there is a good chance CC would be available should the Rays make the playoffs. [Tampa Tribune]
- The Rays are now hoping that Jason Bartlett, one of the weakest hitting DH’s in baseball history, will be able to play SS this Friday. The Rays are also hoping that Evan Longoria, who did not have a broken wrist, but actually did, will be back in the lineup on Sept 1. [MLB]
When asked if Sept. 1 seemed like a reasonable projection for Longoria’s return, Friedman answered: “Yeah, that seems reasonable. We’ll re-X-ray it and go through that process again. I think it’s very reasonable as we’re sitting here today. But as everybody knows, bones heal at different paces, and it’s too hard to say definitively at this point.”
- Joe Maddon plans to use Justin Ruggiano (LF) and Rocco Baldelli (RF) against lefties while Eric Hinske and Gabe Gross will play against righties. Papa Joe also said Willy Aybar will be at 3B most days, but we can also expect to see Ben Zobrist and/or Eric Hinske at the hot corner. [St. Pete Times]
- Cliff Floyd says the biggest concern with all the injuries is the danger of the rest of the players trying to do too much. [Tampa Tribune]
“I just hope we don’t all try to jump on that ship and go, ‘It’s me – let me be the man to take over,'” said Floyd. “No. Let’s just stay within ourselves like we are and just keep it chill on the field…We all know how important those guys were. I mean, hell, you ain’t going to replace them, no matter who you bring up or who you get, unless you go out and get one of the best players of the game. And you’re still not replacing them because those guys are part of this team.”
- Andy Sonnanstine, who grew a beard in support of Rocco Baldelli, is now clean-shaven, as is Rocco, now that Rocco has finally returned to the roster…While Rocco’s “Lumberjack” look will be missed, The Duke’s fuzz will not. [Bradenton Herald]
- Marc Lancaster agrees that Gary Sheffield does not seem like a good fit for the Rays. [Rays Report]