FIRST INNING
A look back…
Every time the Rays lose just a single game to the Red Sox, the so-called experts predict inevitable doom for the Rays. And yet the Rays have now won the season series against the Red Sox (10-8) and have won 4 of the last 5 including the final 2 games last week in Fenway…How many games must the Rays win against the Sox to shut up the naysayers?

At least one more and possibly 4 more in the ALCS, should the Red Sox get that far. Brace yourselves RAYSHEADS, because it is coming. Just last week the Red Sox spoke openly about how important it was to win the division. Now, all we will hear from the Red Sox and those so-called experts is that winning the division does not matter. They will remind us that Wild Cards have won the World Series before. And if the Rays face the Red Sox in the ALCS and the Rays have home field advantage, the Sox will still be a heavy favorite…WHAT IS RESPECT?

SECOND INNING
Headlines
One of the biggest surprises of the past 2 weeks is the emergence of Fernando Perez. Last night he hit his second home run and once again played a stellar center field…Has Perez earned his way onto the post-season roster?

We will address the full post-season roster once the Rays clinch a playoff spot. But in the case of Perez it is a good question. This may depend on how healthy Carl Crawford is for the playoffs. Remember, the Rays can change the roster prior to each series. So there is a good chance that CC is not ready to start in left in the first round. If that is the case, with the second-half struggles of Eric Hinske, it would not surprise us to see Perez starting in left field once Upton returns from his latest injury. And if that happens, it will carry over to the playoffs…YES

THIRD INNING
Headlines
Joe Maddon insists that the Rays will celebrate when they clinch a playoff spot, even though the division will still be up in the air. He even went as far to say that he will “go freaky.”…Should the Rays wait until they win the division before celebrating?

This has been one of the unwanted consequences of the wild card. We don’t mind the celebrating but maybe it should be muted just a tad. We don’t want to take away from a potential division championship celebration. Where we do have a problem is when teams put up banners for being the wild card team. Banners should be saved for when teams actually win something. A wild card team has not won anything…NO

FOURTH INNING
Headlines
Joe Maddon has one. Evan Longoria, BJ Upton, Fernando Perez and Edwin Jackson have one. Many fans were seen in the stands with them…Prof, when are you going to go with the mohawk?

I presented the idea to Mrs. Professor and she looked at me like I had just asked if it was OK to date Salma HayekUMMMM

FIFTH INNING
Headlines
The Rays released their ’09 schedule and for the 4th straight season they will open on the road, this time in Boston…Got a problem with that?

Normally we wouldn’t make much of a stink about schedules. More away games early means more home games late. But the Rays are the biggest story of ’08 and are on their way to their first playoff appearance. For a team that is struggling to show the rest of baseball that St. Pete deserves a baseball team, this would have been a good opportunity for the league to reward the Rays with a true home-opener. A chance to show that the Rays can draw well for 3 straight days early in the season. Not to mention the weather in the northeast, you know, kinda sucks in early April. The Rays play in a dome. Everybody hates it, and yet here is one time when it would certainly come in handy…BIG PROBLEM

SIXTH INNING
A look outside the box
With the Rays facing the Twins…what other series should RAYSHEADS watch closely?

The Rays schedule has been especially tough recently and the Red Sox have enjoyed some easier opponents, most of which have been at Fenway. But now the Red Sox are in Toronto. Unfortunately the Jays may finally be admitting to themselves that they won’t be playing in October. Still, Friday night’s match up has us feeling giddy. Paul Byrd versus the Jays’ ace AJ Burnett who is in search of 20 wins and pitching for an off-season contract. Afterwards, the Sox have a quick turnaround and must face 18-game winner Roy Halladay on Saturday afternoon. One win is likely, and two is not out of the question…RED SOX @ BLUE JAYS

SEVENTH INNING
Oddsmakers
Odds Scott Kazmir is still with the Rays next season:

Earlier this week, for the sake of stirring discussion, Outs Per Swing wondered aloud if the Rays should at least consider trading Scott Kazmir. If somebody came to the Rays and offered a package including 3 top prospects and 2 young major leaguers with all-star potential, then maybe the Rays should listen. But that is not going to happen…100%

Odd the Rays win the AL East:

The Rays’ magic number to win the East is now 9 with a 2 game lead (3 in the loss column) and 12 games to play. With the tie-breaker, it is like a 4-game lead in the loss column. Even if the Rays only win half of their remaining games, the Red Sox would have to go 8-2 in their final 10 which includes 3 in Toronto and 3 at home against the Yankees…100%

Odds the Rays clinch a playoff spot against the Twins:

The magic number to clinch at least a wild card is now 3 over the Twins and the Twins just happen to be in town for 4 games. So the Rays need only split this series to pop the bubbly. So you are basically asking us what are the chances the Rays win 2 games in this series. They say that momentum in baseball is only as good as tomorrow’s starting pitcher. And that pitcher for the Rays is James Shields…100%

EIGHTH INNING
On deck
With the Twins coming to town for their first and only trip of 2008, it marks the return of Delmon Young to the Trop for the first time since he was traded…Rays fans will boo the former top pick, but should they boo?

Boo? Boo?!? The Rays should retire Delmon Young’s number! They should have “Delmon Young Night” and give him a key to the city! If it weren’t for Delmon Young the Rays don’t have Matt Garza and the Rays don’t have Jason Bartlett. Without those two players, the Rays are not on the verge of clinching their first post-season appearance…HE DESERVES A STANDING OVATION

NINTH INNING
Putting out the fire
In last night’s game against the Red Sox a fan was wrestled to the ground and arrested after jumping on the roof of the Rays dugout and apparently trying to get on the field…Were you surprised to learn it was a Red Sox fan?

Is this a serious question?…NO

The Cowbell Kid has supposedly retired…Will you miss him?

We might be in the minority here, but The Cowbell Kid was a recognizable figure as a Rays fan, when many outside of the Bay Area think the Rays do not have any fans. Of course, if we had seats near him, we would probably be throwing a party right now…YES

Drink of choice for the Twins series?

Obviously we can’t go with Coors Light. It is the weekend, with guests coming, so we will definitely cook up some blue and yellow jello shots. For beer, we choose Sunshine Wheat Beer. Both teams play in a dome, but only the Rays have a sunburst. And of course, the champagne will be on ice…BLUE AND YELLOW JELLO SHOTS, SUNSHINE WHEAT BEER AND OF COURSE CHAMPAGNE

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3 Comments

  1. steve-o1285 says:

    Stay away from Selma Hayek, she's mine.

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  2. The Professor says:

    she's not going to be very flattered when she finds out you spelled her first name wrong. Girls get touchy about things like that.

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  3. steve-o1285 says:

    Damn

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