THE GOOD: BJ Upton’s catch in the 2nd inning, maybe the best we have ever seen from a Rays player…With both the White Sox and Twins losing, the Rays still managed to knock one off the magic number to clinch at least a Wild Card spot. The number is now 18*.

THE BAD: The offense managed 12 hits, including 4 doubles and yet could only score 2 runs…Eric Hinske. After a leadoff single by Willy Aybar, Hinske hit a ball off the wall. Aybar stopped at third. Hinske either assumed Aybar would score or he forgot Aybar was on base and never looked at third as he rounded second. Both players ended up on third with Aybar being tagged out. Instead of second and third with no outs, it was man on third with 1 out and the Rays would fail to score…Aki Iwamura and BJ Upton were a combined 2-10 with 6 strikeouts.

THE TELLING: Troy Percival was activated prior to yesterday’s game…

* The White Sox and Twins play each other 3 more times, so the second place team in the Central is guaranteed 2 more losses. So technically the Rays’ magic number is 16. We could choose to knock off those losses now, or we can choose to knock them off when they actually happen. We choose the latter.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • For those of you that think Jonny Gomes never got a real chance to make an impression this season, here is more ammunition…The Durham Herald-Sun recently interviewed Gomes. When asked why he struggled hitting right-handed pitchers: “I don’t think that was the problem. It’s just that they signed [Eric] Hinske and [Cliff] Floyd and [Gabe] Gross, and they wanted them in the lineup. I never even hit [batting practice] off right-handers. I was always hitting off Dave Martinez.“…Kinda hard to hit right-handed pitchers when you never even get a chance to take BP against a right-handed pitcher. (Thanks, Chris) [Durham Herald-Sun]
  • Joe Maddon would not rule out a return for Evan Longoria this weekend in Toronto…The team has said Dirtbag needs 3 days of BP before being activated. He has yet to take BP. [St. Pete Times]
  • This has to be a first…Tom Jones has the story of a Bucs season-ticket holder who is trying to trade tickets to a Bucs game for tickets to a Rays game. [St. Pete Times]
  • In Spring Training last year, we showed you a video of a fan getting Carlos Pena to sign his taco…We missed it, but apparently it happened again this season…Think Pena will be looking for this kid next spring? [Deadspin]
  • Tom Jones gives us 10 reasons “it’s cooler to be a Rays fan than a Bucs fan.” [St. Pete Times]
  • Jason Bartlett batted .389 in August, the second-highest one month mark in franchise history. [MLB]
  • Stories on how strong the attendance was this past weekend? Nope. Rather we have more stories on how bad the attendance is. [Newsday]
  • There is even one in the New York Times. [New York Times]
 
 

2 Comments

  1. Clayton says:

    Spent last night listening to an idiot Yankees fan yell, “26! 26!,” etc. from about the 3rd inning on. I think that Tom Foley absolutely shares the blame on the play where Aybar got run off 3rd. In addition, Foley held two other runners at 3rd who could have scored against the Yankee rag-arms. When he sent BJ home on a play that could have been close, the throw to the plate went 1/3rd of the way up the first base line. I solemnly swear not to complain if we get hosed at the plate on occassion, just please send guys home.

    I also wanted thoughts on three things:

    1. Why go to Hammel? At the stadium, it felt like, with 9 outs left, that we were not out of the game. We were hitting the ball enough to make up 4 runs in 3 innings. Then Salas got up, further signaling that we were giving up. Interestingly, when we put a couple men on in the 8th, Balfour, who had been up earlier, got back up. It was a pretty clear decision to give up or not and we chose to give up. I was a little disappointed, but I don’t hate the fact that all the good relief guys are available for the next two nights, presumably.

    2. Why pinch hit Rocco? Marte was in with his 7 ERA and looked veeeeeery hit-able. Chamberlain was in the ‘pen, so you know if you bat a righty, they are going to bring him in. It occurred to me while I was sitting there that Joe might be trying to put some pitches on Joba’s arm so that he ISN’T available when we have a more favorable matchup. Unfortunately, he didn’t mention that to Rocco, who swung at the first pitch. I was actually cool with that strategy if that was what we were doing. You can taste the next two games and a series win, which would be excellent on so many levels.

    3. Every time I see this Yanks team, especially in person, I am reminded of how good their hitters are. It’s really something. And everyone on that team is batting .300. It’s hilarious to compare batting averages and then compare records. It underscores just how badly they’ve pitched this year, because the offensive numbers look real good.

  2. charihar says:

    Hey guys, great site here.

    To clayton, as a Yankee fan, I think the team has really suffered from a lack of consistent offensive production from the entirety of their lineup. The pitching has been passable (until recently, where it’s gotten a lot worse), however the team is hitting below expectations. For instance, Robinson Cano hasn’t done as well, and then Melky was only replaced recently after being so terrible for a good chunk of the season. Also, the catcher spot has basically been a black hole, and Hideki Matsui only returned 2 weeks ago.

    Throw in A-Rod and Giambi’s struggles with RISP and there you have it, the 2008 Yankees. The Rays haven’t been great with RISP, but they’ve got the great pitching and good defense which has helped them a ton. Plus, they have a ton of confidence now and the talent has always been there for them to succeed.

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