THE GOOD: Something good? Something good? Guess we could say the Rays chances of making the playoffs are now 99.4% according to Baseball Prospectus and 98.4% according to CoolStandings…That’s good, right?
THE BAD: Of course what the hell does it matter if the team makes the playoffs if they are just going to be swept in 3 games when they face the Angels in the first round? Huh? Is that what we want? To go into the playoffs and just prove on the friggin’ national stage that the Rays are still the Devil Rays and shouldn’t be playing with the “Big Boys”. If this doesn’t turn around, this is going to get ugly…We picked a bad week to quit drinking whiskey…BJ Upton left the game in the 5th after straining his left quad while running (hard) to first base…The home run Edwin Jackson gave up in the first inning landed an hour earlier than the time it left the bat…With Jonathan Papalbon called on with 2 men on base and 2 outs in the 8th, Joe Maddon decided not to pinch hit for Rocco Baldelli. It was not like he was calling on Ben Zobrist or John Jaso. He had Cliff Floyd on the bench. We haven’t gone through the at bats, but how many times has Rocco faced a 98-mph heater in the last 2 years? Once? None? And Rocco hadn’t touched a pitch all night, and Papa Joe “felt good” about Rocco in that situation? Floyd would have been better prepared. And he had the match-up advantage being a lefty. $#%@#!!!!
THE TELLING: The Rays haven’t scored a run since the Truman administration.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Juan Salas suffered an epileptic seizure prior to last night’s game and was taken to a Boston hosptal. This is apparently not the first time this has happened to Salas and the Rays say he should be fine. [Rays Report]
- Evan Longoria was available to pinch-hit last night, and we assume that will be the same tonight and tomorrow. [St. Pete Times]
- Marc Lancaster says BJ Upton actually injured his quad while running (hard) after a flyball in the first inning, and won’t be back until the weekend series. Joe Maddon said he will talk to Andrew Friedman about adding a player from Durham, possibly Jonny Gomes or Elliot Johnson…Did we mention that Upton was injured while running hard? It’s true. [Rays Report]
- Cliff Floyd called a players-only team meeting prior to the game yesterday. Marc Lancaster says the meeting was “productive”…How productive could it have been. The Rays scored ZERO RUNS. [Tampa Tribune]
- John Romano is preaching to the choir, but at least somebody isn’t afraid to say it…Translation: the Rays are pissing away the division. [St. Pete Times]
But there is considerable shame in the way the Rays are allowing this to happen…No matter how you frame it, the Rays are giving the division away. For five months, they were the best team in baseball, and they have allowed much of that prestige to unravel in eight September days…Trust me, this is not a question of semantics. It matters whether the Red Sox take the division, or the Rays surrender it. And, as of this morning, the white flag is halfway up the pole.
- Peter Gammons reports that Jeff Niemann has been so impressive recently that he “will definitely fit into the Tampa bullpen this month.” Also, Andrew Friedman makes it sound like the Rays will not promote David Price…This would not surprise us at all. Also, we will reiterate what we have said before: If the Rays can clinch early, Niemann will make at least one start and possibly two, to give the regular starters a chance for a couple of extra days rest. [ESPN]
“We don’t want people getting ahead of themselves, anointing [David Price] a savior and putting undo pressure on a kid in his first full professional season.”–Andrew Friedman
- Matt Wieters was named the “Minor League Player of Year” by Baseball America. This is different from the USA Today player of the year award, for which David Price is a finalist. [Baseball America]