THE GOOD: The Big W. Wade Davis made his first big league win a memorable one, pitching a 4-hit shutout, striking out 10. And he didn’t back into the shutout either, striking out the side in the 9th. After allowing the first 3 batters to reach base (2 walks and a double), Davis settled down and faced just 1 over the minimum the rest of the way…Evan Longoria. 3-4 with a double. It was his 9th game this season with at least 3 hits.
THE BAD: Lots O’ Pitches. Wade Davis threw 124 pitches last night. We have already openly complained about Matt Garza throwing 118+ three times this month. It is not so much the number of pitches as much as the timing. Why now? When the Rays are out of the playoff hunt and these guys are hitting career highs in innings pitched? Davis has now thrown 177.1 innings this season exceeding his previous high (160.2 in ’08) by 10.2%. At a time when other teams are shutting down pitchers or moving to 6-man rotations, the Rays are actually increasing the workload on their starting pitchers…Ring of Fire. Joe Maddon does know that when Johnny Cash sang about a “Ring of Fire,” it was a bad thing, right? In the 8 games prior to dying his hair black, the Rays were 6-2. In the 25 games since, they are 8-17…‘Nando-mania. If we were the manager of an opposing team and saw Fernando Perez at the plate batting left-handed (he is a natural righty) we would put 6 fielders 10 feet from the plate. That is an almost guaranteed bunt attempt.
THE TELLING: The Rays and O’s are so bad they can even screw up a game of leapfrog (above)…The Rays Pythagorean record is 78-69. That suggests that this team has underachieved by 4 games, but that would still leave them 9 games back in the wild card…Speaking of which, the Rays tragic number for elimination is 4. But for you eternal optimists out there, the Rays magic number to clinch a wild card tie is 29 with 15 games remaining.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Wade Davis.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Rays Party writes that Wade Davis “nibbled” his way to his first big league win and has the charts to prove it. [The Rays Party]
- Minor League Ball takes a closer look at Wade Davis and his 2009 season, and compares him to Gil Meche. [Minor League Ball]
- Statistically, few infields can match the 2009 Tampa Bay Rays. [The Hardball Times]
- Aki Iwamura reiterated again that he hopes to return to the Rays next season. Also, Joe Maddon says Grant Balfour and JP Howell will be used sparingly over the final 2 weeks. [St. Pete Times]
- Joe Maddon says some his players “just ran out of gas.” [Tampa Tribune]
- Joey Johnston looks at 12 games from this season that will haunt the Rays. [Tampa Tribune]
- David Chalk still cranking out the top 177 Devil Rays ever. An interesting name falls between Greg Vaughn and Andy Sonnanstine. But to be fair, we believe this list was created prior to the 2009 season. [Bugs and Cranks]