Last winter, after the Rays posted their 10th 90-loss season, while sipping frozen margaritas in St. Lucia (or maybe we were just drinking a beer while watching “Cocktail” in our Manhattan apartment) we outlined 12 wishes for the 2008 season. Let’s see how many of those wishes came true…

ONE Evan Longoria in the opening day lineup [Day 1]:
OK, we did not get
Dirtbag in the opening day lineup, but he was in the lineup for game 11. Of course there was plenty of uproar at the time, but in hindsight, 10 games sure doesn’t seem like much. After all, that is less than a DL stint. And we did get 138 games from the likely AL Rookie of the Year…DENIED, BUT WE ARE OK WITH IT NOW

TWO new pitchers in the rotation by the all-star break [Day 2]:
Well, the names were the same, but can anybody argue that the Rays
did have two new pitchers in the rotation? In 2007 Andy Sonnanstine and Edwin Jackson combined to go 11-25 with a 5.80 ERA. In 2008, the duo improved those numbers to 27-20 with a 4.40 ERA. Their strikeout-to-walk ratio improved from 1.97 to 2.11 and their combined WHIP dropped from 1.58 hits and walks per inning to 1.38 this season…GRANTED WITH AN ASTERISK

THREE AL All-Stars [Day 3]:
This wish came true.
Scott Kazmir and Dioner Navarro were named initially and Evan Longoria won the fan voting for the final spot on the AL roster…GRANTED

FOUR winning records against AL East foes [Day 4]:
In 2007 the Rays went 29-43 against their division rivals. In 2008, the Rays reversed that mark going 43-29. The Rays were 15-3 against the Orioles, 10-8 versus the Red Sox and 11-7 against the Jays. Unfortunately the Rays were only 7-11 against the Yankees…DENIED

FIVE players with at least 25 home runs [Day 5]:
Injuries kept the Rays from coming anywhere near this mark. In the end only Carlos Pena (31) and Evan Longoria (27) reached the 25-home run plateau. A torn labrum sapped
BJ Upton (9) of any power until the postseason. Cliff Floyd (11) only appeared in 80 games, and Eric Hinske (20) might have come closer had he received a few more starts. But the biggest disappointment may have been Carl Crawford (8). Limited to 109 games due to injury, Crawford continues to show a surprising lack of power with only 30 extra-base hits (1 every 14.8 at bats). That number is down considerably from 2007 (1 every 10.2 ABs), 2006 (1 every 11.1 ABs) and 2005 (1 every 10.2 ABs)…DENIED

SIX months with at least 14 wins [Day 6]:
The Rays record by month:

April: 14-12
May: 19-10
June: 16-10
July: 13-12
August: 21-7
September: 13-14

The Rays came short by 1 win in both July and September, but the 21-7 mark in August and 19-10 in May more than made up for those…DENIED, BUT 97 WINS IS 97 WINS

SEVEN relatively healthy months of Rocco Baldelli [Day 7]:
This wish was made well before Rocco Baldelli was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder that left many wondering if Rocco would ever play again. Of course, he did play again, even if it was only in 28 games (16 starts), but his right-handed bat helped a Rays ballclub overcome their struggles against lefties down the stretch and his home run in game 5 of the World Series will long be remembered by all Rays fans…DENIED

EIGHT ejections for Joe Maddon [Day 8]:
We knew this number was high when we wrote it. Our point was just to see a more fiery
Joe Maddon in 2008. We think most would agree that he was. As for ejections, the only three we remember is the home opener against the Mariners (arguing a call at third base in which BJ Upton was called out trying to stretch a double into a triple), June 11th against the Angels (the infamous Derryl Cousins “shoebox” game) and August 19 against the the Angels, of course (the game in which Upton was called out for supposedly making a move towards second after he passed first base). That last ejection was the 10th of Papa Joe’s career and 5th against his former team. For the record, that is 1 ejection every 5.2 games against Maddon’s former team and 1 ejection every 92 games against the other 28 teams…DENIED

NINE no-hit innings from Scott Kazmir [Day 9]:
Both
Matt Garza and James Shields had 1-hitters to their credit this season. In fact, now that we have seen The Garza Complex on a regular basis we actually think he is the most likely of the trio to throw a no-hitter. As for Scott Kazmir, we would throw a party if he ever completed a game…DENIED

TEN meaningful games in September [Day 10]:
Heck. The Rays played 16 meaningful games in October…GRANTED

ELEVEN walk-off wins [Day 11]:
In game 2 of the ALCS, BJ Upton hit a sac fly to shallow right field that scored Fernando Perez from third and evened the ALCS at one game apiece. That win was the 11th walk-off win of the year for the Rays…GRANTED

TWELVE major league pitchers [Day 12]:
The Rays were strong one-through-twelve for most of the season and it could be argued that with the addition of David Price in September the Rays actually had more than 12 major league pitchers…GRANTED

 
 

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