FIRST INNING
A look back…
Troy Percival, who helped solidify the Rays bullpen, will not be on the roster for the ALDS…Who will close games for the Rays?

Four of the six pitchers that will be in the bullpen have postseason experience. In the postseason, when bullpens reign supreme, that will give the Rays a huge advantage. But that may not factor into who gets the ball in the 9th inning. Joe Maddon’s MO all season is that no one game is any more important than any other. That leads us to believe that he will play this game the same as if it were September. Of course the problem with that is, Dan Wheeler got most of the save opportunities when Percy was on the shelf and Wheeler, how do we put this? Wheeler sucked in the 9th inning. But as long as Wheeler is healthy, we feel he will get more chances than the others, but if the situation calls for a lefty, look for Trever Miller…DAN WHEELER

SECOND INNING
Headlines
17 so-called experts at ESPN, and only 1 picked the Rays to win the World Series. It sounds like the Rays have little chance to win it all…Are these 16 “experts” right about the Rays?

Since 2001, 61.2% of series have been won by the team that had the more difficult schedule during the regular season, while teams with a better record actually lost more series than they won. The Rays enter the postseason with not only the 3rd best record in baseball, but they did it against the most difficult schedule in baseball. On top of that the Rays are 9-3 combined against the Angels (6-3) and Cubs (3-0), the only teams with better records than the Rays and they have a winning record against the other 3 AL playoff teams. Oh, and the Rays would have home field advantage in at least 2 rounds, where the Rays posted the best home record since the ’98 Yankees…THE RAYS HAVE A BETTER CHANCE THAN MOST THINK

THIRD INNING
Headlines
After going all season with 7 relievers, Joe Maddon will only have 6 at his disposal in the ALDS…Does this worry you?

We would only be worried if the Rays did not have an off-day after Scott Kazmir’s start. On a night when the Rays will likely use at least 4 relievers, the ‘pen will need the day off. Now the only concern is an extra-inning game 1. If the Rays have to go 12+ innings in game 1, the bullpen will be taxed heading into Kazmir’s start. But if the series goes 5 games, there will be 2 off-days. That should be plenty of rest for a 6-man ‘pen…NO

FOURTH INNING
Headlines
Joe Maddon announced Matt Garza as the game 3 starter. With his tendency to lose his cool and his strong record at home (2.89 ERA), coupled with Scott Kazmir’s history of pitching big games on the road, should Garza have been the game 2 starter?

This was a little scarier when it was still possible for Garza to pitch game 3 in Minnesota. But now we feel better knowing that the off-day will come after Kazmir’s start when there is a good chance he will only work 5 innings…NO

FIFTH INNING
Headlines
[B-Double E-Double R-U-N....Beeerrrr Runnnnnnn]

SIXTH INNING
A look outside the box
With the Rays facing the White Sox…what team should RAYSHEADS be rooting for in the other ALDS?

There is no good answer here. Would the Rays rather play games 1 and 2 on the road against the lesser opponent? Or at home against the Red Sox? Beating the Red Sox sure would be sweet, but we do not like the idea of playing any October games in Fenway…LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM NEAR DISNEYLAND

SEVENTH INNING
Over/Unders
12 stolen bases for the Rays in the ALDS:

The Rays led the majors in steals and AJ Pierzynski threw out only 10.3% of would-be base stealers. The Rays will likely run early and often, putting pressure on the White Sox pitchers. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Rays had 10 in the first 2 games…OVER

7.2 innings in game 1 for James Shields:

Considering the Sox could be suffering from a hangover, if Shields survives the first two innings with fewer than 3 runs allowed, he will go 8 and he could very well go the distance…OVER

5 innings in the game 2 start for Scott Kazmir:

It has gotten so bad that we would consider 6 innings a good night for Kazmir, but he usually goes 5…OVER

6.5 wins for the Rays in the postseason:

7 wins gets the Rays to the World Series. They should get at least 3, but both of the potential second round match ups scare us. And yet, every time we start to doubt this team, they find a way to win…OVER

EIGHTH INNING
On deck
At this point, Andy Sonnanstine is the tentative game 4 starter…Is there any situation under which The Duke does not start game 4?

If the Rays are up 2 games to 1, then Sonnanstine will be the game 4 starter. Where it gets murky is if the Rays are trailing 2-1. Joe Maddon could bring James Shields back on 3-days rest. A secondary benefit would be the availability of Scott Kazmir on normal rest back at the Trop for game 5. Knowing the Rays have to win both, would Papa Joe prefer Sonny/Shields or Shields/Kazmir? It might depend on how many pitches Shields throws this afternoon. And if Shields does start game 4, Maddon will have Sonnanstine and David Price in the bullpen ready to go as soon as Shields gets into any trouble…JAMES SHIELDS IF DOWN 2-1

NINTH INNING
Putting out the fire
Yankees fans are not taking this “no playoffs” thing well at all…Should we feel sorry for them?

Let’s get this straight. A Yankees fan would rather see the Red Sox win the World Series than the Rays?…MY HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN

Kevin Costner and his band recorded a song for the Rays…Fair or foul?

The Cubs get Pearl Jam and we get Modern West?…BABY STEPS

The Rays decided to go with John Higgans to throw out the first pitch in game 1…Got a problem with that?

There were plenty of worse choices they could have made…NO

We all know you will be drinking…What is the drink of choice for the ALDS?

The Miller Brewing Co. is the no. 1 brewer in Chicago. The Bay Area has Busch Gardens and Anheuser-Busch…BUD LIGHT (WE HAVE TO WATCH OUR GIRLISH FIGURE)

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    RE: Second inning. It's interesting to see how many of them, while not picking the Rays to win the series, picked the Rays to at least get to the ALCS.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Who would I rather face between the Angels and the Red Sox? Lets do this like Evan Longoria did, and say that he'd rather have faced the Twins before the White Sox series. The last thing we need to do is having Los Angeles media to get fired up about us rather wanting to face them than the Red Sox.

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