Rays fans about now fall into two categories:

1) Happy as all get out that the team is playing .600 ball and in great shape in mid-August

2) Missing wads of hair because Joe Maddon drives them insane and the inconsistency of the team smells like a playoff collapse in the making.

Joe’s in both camps.

The presence of Dan Johnson in the leadoff spot today was enough to leave Joe assembling barf bags by noon. There were better choices than Johnson, and he didn’t deliver in the 3-2 loss in Detroit.

Do great teams bat Dan Johnson leadoff at this time of year? Joe’s quite sure they don’t. 

And there Johnson was, of course, with the game on the line after leaving five runners on base.

But here the Rays sit, 12-8 in 20 straight games with a day off tomorrow. It’s a stretch in which they’ve enjoyed the absolute highest of highs and the lowest of lows, with the Orioles waiting for them at home on Friday.

Maddon surely is as confident as ever. Why shouldn’t he be?

What Joe and other Rays fans are left with is absolutely nothing to count on, other than a new lineup card, some great pitching, and prayer to get the team hot at the right time. 

It’s addictive, but hardly fun.



  1. Brett says:

    Well said, Joe.

  2. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Same as you Joe, I fall into both camps as well. It's great that the Rays are only one game behind the Yanks right now, and that they are in great position for a playoff push. But they also drive me out of my GORD! Because they should be in 1st place right now! Not 2nd! At the very least, they should be tied! This game was another one they just threw away, like so many others. This time, like other times, it was because Maddon got in front of Maddon! He screws up a productive lineup from the last two nights by putting Thunder Dan in the leadoff spot! If he had just left the lineup the way it was the last two nights, the Rays may have won this game. But no, he thinks he's being some kind of a brilliant mastermind and flips it around, so John Jaso can get two nights off, instead of just one. HUH? So, by doing this, Matt's nice performance gets wasted, and his ass gets stung with a loss. Way to go Joe! Thatta way to lose it! If the Rays are going to make it to the playoffs, Maddon must get out of his own way!


    • For the record, Maddon rarely has a catcher play a day game following a night game. It's in his DNA since he got here... even when that meant starting the "Greatness that is Michel Hernandez."

    • I'm going to lay it out for you now... The best way to enjoy this team is to not worry about how they're playing now, instead worry about how they're going to play in October. Honestly, it doesn't matter if they're in first or WC or who they play come playoff time. If they're hot, they're going to the World Series. If they're not, it's going to be a quick exit.

      Until then, enjoy some good baseball and some of the best pitching in MLB right now.

      • Gatorbuc15 says:

        Trust me man, I understand that the Rays playing well matters more in October than it does now. But every game counts, and the Rays need to continue winning if they are to even make the playoff. Although I'm farely certain they will make it, the Red Sox are still lurking right behind them. It would probably kill me to see the Rays get run down by the sox, and miss the playoffs by one game. So, seeing them lose games they probably should have won, irks me a wee bit.

  3. MJ says:

    One of your better posts.

  4. Gus says:

    Dan Johnson led off the game by getting on base; not his fault that CC and Longo couldn't get him in. Yes he left ducks on the pond later, but his obp is north of .400.

    You could do worse than DJ leading off, like say, BJ Upton . . .

  5. Sublime says:

    If you're comparing today's numbers, BJ did get a hit.

  6. Sarah says:

    You end up with Dan Johnson leading off because we don't have a lot of choices. No one is hitting especially well now -- even Crawford has cooled off. At least Johnson has shown he can draw a few walks. Some of you act as though there were some line up Maddon could put out there now that would produce every night. If there were such a line up I'm sure he'd use it.

  7. Alex says:

    Bartlett, Rodriguez, BJ. Any of those guys would be a better choice. Zobrist needs time off. He is playing like crap right now. Johnson can't get it done at the major league level. Can we all just accept that. He's a 4 a player and nothing more. Stop clamoring for every guy in AAA just because you've been force fed that. Joyce and Johnson have both proven the kind of players they are. Nothing more than platoon guys at best with Joyce having slightly higher upside

    • Alex says:

      What more does bartlett have to do to get in the lead off spot? He's batting .318 in the last 7 days

  8. Dew says:

    I agree. Bartlett should be leading off. He's a good contact hitter who was in a slump but is doing better. Dan belongs in a power position but I do love his eye for bad pitches. And think he will start connecting soon. Hope anyway.

  9. Mike says:

    Geez. At least Don has a positive contribution every once and a while. If you hate this place so much, why do you keep coming back?

    As for your lineup comment. I have read those studies and yes when looking at lineups, there is little impact over the course of a season. But because YOUR PUNY MIND couldn't think critically, you failed to understand that a lineup can have a gigantic impact in one game. And no, it is not all luck. If you put 3 big OBP guys at the top of the order and they all happen to get on base in the first inning, what gives the Rays a better chance to win? Longoria batting 4th or Navarro? But by your theory, it would be just fine to have Longo batting 9th in that situation. Boy am I glad you're not managing.

  10. Steve says:

    HAHAHAHAHA! if somebody thinks you are worse than Don, you should probably rethink your commenting career.

  11. Woody says:

    I got the feeling JOE doesnt get much pleasure watching the Rays in general. This post confirms that. Thankfully for JOE, Bucs training camp has started and JOE can divert some of JOE's pessimism to the boys in pewter.

  12. JoeRaysFan says:

    So ridiculous Joe doesn't know what to say.


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