This was a particularly disappointing Rays loss for Joe. This was the type of game the Rays needed to stomp on the Yankmees and say, in so many words, “You have to go through us to win the division.”

Instead, the Yankmees slapped the Rays aside as if to say, “Remember who the big brother around here is.”

Sorry, but whenever you score five runs, you should be in the game. The Rays weren’t.

Sure, it was just one inning in which the Rays let the game get away. Not sure if it was David Price’s inability to target his pitches or if he mentally lost it in the fifth. Joe thought Price’s reaction after Derek Jeter did a nice piece of hitting by fighting off an inside pitch to get the ball through the middle of the infield for an RBI odd. Price jumped up, as if showing a bit of immaturity. He was never the same.

This was sad to Joe. Price has been around the block a few times. He shouldn’t get that rattled.

Damn. The Rays get to stud Yankmees pitcher Andy Pettitte, load the bases just after he leaves with an injury and they couldn’t take advantage. That was the game right there. The Rays just cannot let that many scoring chances go to waste against the Yankmees. Put your foot on their throat!

Oh, well. The game’s history. Time to focus on sweeping the putrid Orioles. This is what the Rays must do: Not just beat the teams they should beat, but sweep these rotten teams. That’s what playoff-bound teams do.

If the Rays cannot win a series from the Yankees, they have to play that much better against the dregs of the American League.

Joe knows this much: David Price is not Randy Johnson. Not yet. But as long as James “No Game” Shields continues to stink the joint up, Price and Jeff Niemann almost have to be perfect in order to pick up Shields’ slack and keep the team nipping at the Yankmees heels.

Shields is 2-7 in his last 10 starts. Every game in that same time period when he has given up a home run he has lost. Though he didn’t pitch that bad Friday night, it’s getting to the point where Joe has to wonder if Andy Sonnanstine can do any worse than Shields? Or perhaps Jeremy Hellickson?

Joe doesn’t think it’s a stretch to suggest the Rays’ division title hopes rest on Shields’ shoulders. It’s too much to ask for Price and Niemann to be perfect down the stretch. Until Shields, or his replacement, turns things around, that’s just what Price and Niemann have to be.

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6 Comments

  1. Don says:

    You can talk about pitching, this play, that play, Maddon's stupid as s moves ect ect ect ...
    But the truth is this group of Rays players, coached by a moron.... can not beat this Yankee team...
    I am the biggest mark in town for the Rays ....but a blind man can see the truth!

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    • Preston says:

      I'm just going to say it, I'm sick of seeing people call Maddon a "moron", an "idiot", ect. If he didn't know what he was doing, at least to a compitent level, 2008 would not have happened.

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      • Alex says:

        Just like when he cut Carlos Pena for Greg Norton in 07 right? He clearly knew that cutting him was the right move and that Carlos would still make the team somehow?

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        • Preston says:

          By that logic, this team doesn't need a manager at all! Leave it all to luck and chance!

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  2. DCat says:

    Shields is struggling but it is a bit dramatic to call for Sonny or Hellboy to replace him. He had a 2 hitter going into the 7th. Clearly he has some mental block going on but pretty confident that he will work it through.

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  3. Don says:

    Dear Preston: I have time for just two examples of a moron manager...otherwise there is not enough space on this site:
    An Idiot manager is one who does not play the best players that are available to him:
    Example: CC on the bench with a minor leaguer playing LF.....
    A kid sitting on the bench that hit 2 home runs the day before
    driving in 5 runs... while another player that hasn't played in a
    week plays!
    You want me to go on I can, but maybe you can get the idea!
    Kaplar, Rodz, Upton, Shop. ect can not beat the Yankees...bet on it!

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