FIRST INNING (A look back)…
18 players were chosen in the first annual Tampa Bay Rays Trade Pool as being candidates to be traded before the end of the season…Which player chosen by at least two bloggers surprises you the most by being included?
We were a little surprised that Dan Wheeler was included. He is a bit expensive but he is a Joe Maddon/Jim Hickey favorite. We were also surprised to see the number of votes for Reid Brignac. Sure he could be trade-deadline bait, but he is a cheap middle-infielder with a good glove and a decent bat. That is exactly the type of player the Rays would trade for, not away. But the biggest surprise was Andy Sonnanstine. Sure he is having a bad season, but he is good pitcher that is very cheap. The Rays like pitching depth. They LOVE cheap pitching depth. If The Duke is pulled from the rotation, they will find a home for him in the bullpen….ANDY SONNANSTINE
SECOND INNING (Headlines)…
Again, 18 players chosen in the trade pool…Can you make an argument for a player not included on the list?
Let’s say the Rays fall off the pace. What is the most sought after commodity at the trade deadline? Veteran pitchers that are pending free agents. They are cheap and they have experience…TROY PERCIVAL
THIRD INNING (Headlines)…
You have previously argued that Wade Davis could be closer to the majors than David Price…Has anything changed your mind?
Quite the opposite. We keep seeing more signs that Davis is more ready. First of all, Price has struggled with his pitch efficiency and home runs. Davis hasn’t been lights-out, but he has been good. And now we hear that the 75-pitch limit for Durham starting pitchers has been lifted for everybody except Price. If the Rays decided this week to move Andy Sonnanstine or Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis would be the replacement…NOPE
FOURTH INNING (Headlines)…
Let’s assume Wade Davis or David Price is called up to the rotation between now and the all-star break…If nobody is on the DL, which starting pitcher will lose their job?
If it happens this week, we would have to say Jeff Niemann loses his job. We know he has pitched much better than Andy Sonnanstine so far this season, but it is only 4 starts and the Rays are more likely to go with what they know and they know what Sonny capable of. However, if we are talking about June, and The Duke still has an ERA north of 6.00, then he is the one headed to the bullpen. Joe Maddon and Jim Hickey have both said in the past that they think Sonny would be a great relief pitcher…JEFF NIEMANN NOW, BUT ANDY SONNANSTINE LATER
FIFTH INNING (Headlines)…
Jason Isringhausen has been moved from double-A to triple-A on his “rehab” tour. It looks like his promotion to the Rays is only 2-3 weeks away…Assuming nobody goes on the DL, who stands to lose their job and hit the DFA line?
We have long thought that would be Lance Cormier. But that guy eats innings like a starving banshee. If not Cormier, we normally would have said Joe Nelson. But then Joe Maddon says that he trusts Nelson against lefties as much as anybody in the league. If that is the case, then why do the Rays have Brian Shouse?…Brian Shouse
SIXTH INNING (A look outside the box)…
The Rays have fallen off the pace early on, but they are still only 6.5 games back…What team should Raysheads watch closely over the next week?
We still don’t believe in the Blue Jays. On the other hand, the Rays are 4 behind the Yankees, and New York has 4 games with the Angels, a team the Yankees always struggle with and then 2 with the Red Sox before a 2-game set with the Rays. The Rays have a good chance to narrow that gap….NEW YORK YANKEES
SEVENTH INNING (Over/Unders)…
Batting Average for Jason Bartlett: .310
Well. An 0-15 streak and all of the sudden Bartlett is hitting .310. .290 is much more likely…UNDER
Home runs for Pat Burrell: 35
With 1 home run, Burrell is on pace for 8. But we have been warned how streaky The Bat can be. so let’s see how long until his first hot streak hits. Either way, he has a lot of catching up to do…UNDER
Home runs for Carlos Pena: 45
We have been preaching a big year for Pena ever since the Rays signed Pat Burrell. The home runs are here to stay…OVER
Wins in Red Sox series: 2.5
Last night was huge. Looking at the remaining pitching matchups: tonight does not look good, tomorrow looks like a push and Sunday should be a win. We need to see more consistency from the offense…UNDER
EIGHTH INNING (On deck)…
So far this season Gabe Gross has started 10 games in right, Ben Zobrist has started 7 and Gabe Kapler has started 6…Who will have the most starts in right field between now and the all-star break?
We can eliminate Kapler, who only starts against lefties, unless you think Gross and Zobrist split the starts against righties. But Zobrists playing time may depend on how the rest of the lineup hits. If the team is scoring runs, Joe Maddon does not need Zorilla’s bat as much and is more likely to go with the better gloved Gross. And eventually this team will start hitting…GABE GROSS
NINTH INNING (Putting out the fire)…
Last season, Matt Garza tossed a one-hitter and a two-hitter. And last night he flirted with a perfect game. The common factor in all of those games, was no Dioner Navarro behind the plate…Will Navi ever catch Garza again?
Ever is a very long time, but 3 is a trend. Navi will catch Garza again, but we would be surprised if it happens more than 10 times the rest of the season….YES, BUT NOT OFTEN
A couple of commenters suggested Michel Hernandez make another start tonight as a reward for last night and a chance for Dioner Navarro to clear his head…Do you agree?
We doubt Joe Maddon will, because he believes in sticking to the plan, but we like this idea. Maybe all Navi needs is a swift kick in the arse and sitting on the bencg two straight nights, might be the shoe…YES
What is the beer of choice for the Red Sox series?
The Rays took their division. So we will continue to take their beer until the Sox take the division back…SAM ADAMS SUMMER