DM3229FIRST INNING (A look back)…
Everybody has an opinion on Derek Jeter’s fake hit-by-pitch…Why is this such a big story?

It is a little strange considering something very similar happened in a recent Phillies-Braves game. But it is a bigger deal now because it is the Yankees. Because the game was on ESPN. And because it was Derek Jeter. He is the one player in MLB that is both a superstar and above reproach in this era when all athletes are guilty until proven innocent. If this had been Dioner Navarro, nobody would call Navi a cheater, nobody would be calling for instant replay and nobody would be complaining about what a terrible example it is for kids…BECAUSE IT WAS JETER

SECOND INNING (Headlines)…
In your projected playoff roster, you had Kelly Shoppach on the roster without Dioner Navarro…Isn’t Navi the better option at this point?

Are you asking us, or are you asking Joe Maddon? We don’t understand why Maddon is so loyal to Shoppach. Outside of his one 2-HR game this season, Shoppach has done nothing with the bat. He is inferior to Navarro defensively. And he doesn’t know the pitchers as well. But if you look at the last 10 games, Shopp has started four times and Navarro has started two. So Shoppach will be on the postseason roster. What Navi must hope for is that Maddon chooses five or six bats for the bench. If he does, Navarro is probably in as the third catcher….YES, BUT

THIRD INNING (Headlines)…
One could argue that the 8th/9th inning combo of Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano has been

the Rays MVP this season…Can they really let both walk in free agency this winter?

This is tricky. On the one hand, there are those that believe the Rays can just go out and find the next Benoit and Soriano on the scrapheap somewhere. To those people we present Troy Percival and Jason Isringhausen. But as it stands now, the Rays will be in a reload mode next year. Not a full-on rebuilding, but they may not be ready to compete again until 2012. So is it worth dishing out a big (and probably long) contract for a relief pitcher? It is just not the Rays style. But if they can get Benoit on a 2-year deal, he could be back. If neither are re-signed, it is going to long year…THEY MUST RE-SIGN ONE

FOURTH INNING (Headlines)…
David Price matched CC Sabathia pitch-for-pitch last week…How much did this help his Cy Young chances?

Neither have peripheral numbers that match Felix Hernandez or Francisco Liriano. But without a clear favorite, we think this will be a rare situation where voters will consider how these guys have performed in the penant race. That means Sabatia and Price are a toss-up. And with Price-Sabathia II scheduled to occur next week, that game could decide the 2010 AL Cy Young Award…WITHIN REACH

FIFTH INNING (Headlines)…
This is the point in the game where the ESPN announcers spend the entire inning talking about attendance…What should we do?

Noticed the fridge is a little light…BEER RUN

SIXTH INNING (A look outside the box)…
The Red Sox are 6 games behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card…They don’t really have a shot, do they?

The Yankees only have 16 games left and normally a 6-game lead would be insurmountable. But the Yankees have 6 with the Red Sox and 4 with the Rays. Follow us through a hypothetical. Let’s say the Red Sox win 5 of 6 agains the Yankees, and the Rays take 3 of 4. Then let’s say the Yankees split their other 6 games. That would leave the Yankees at 93-69. The Red Sox would only have to go 6-4 in their non-Yankees games to tie. Not impossible. But the key is winning 5 games against the Yankees. Anything less and it doesn’t work…THERE IS A FAINT PULSE

SEVENTH INNING (Oddsmakers)…
Innings for Jeff Niemann on Sunday: 5.2

Niemann needs a big start to make a case for the postseason. He is usually strong on extra rest. But he has struggled against the Angels (2 starts, 10.13 ERA) and during day games (6 starts, 7.44 ERA). That’s not a winning combo…UNDER

Starts for Jeremy Hellickson in the last 17 games: 0.5

If the Rays wanted to start Hellboy, they had an opportunity this weekend, but didn’t take it. But after today, there are no more off-days, so Joe Maddon may need a spot-starter. We just dont think it will be Hellickson…UNDER

Starts for Andy Sonnanstine in the final 17 games: 1.5

Without anymore off-days, and assuming Jeremy Hellickson won’t get a start, Sonny is going to get the ball at least once. And we suspect, he will get it twice…OVER

EIGHTH INNING (On deck)…
The Rays have yet to clinch a playoff spot…Are you worried about jinxing the Rays?

We are flattered that some people think we have that much influence over the outcomes of the Rays games. Thinking the Rays have a shot at blowing their lead now, takes pessimism to a whole new level. Anybody that is worried about looking forward to the playoffs must think that this team is capable of one of the biggest collapses in the history of baseball. And if people think it is possible for the Red Sox to surpass the Rays without any head-to-head games, then they don’t think much of this team in the first place. So they shouldn’t be worried about whether or not the Rays make the playoffs…*FACE-PALM*

NINTH INNING (Putting out the fire)…
It sounds like you are rooting for the Red Sox. Is this true?

No. We root for the Rays and we root for miserable things to happen to the Red Sox, Yankees and their fans. And the Yankees blowing a 6-game lead and failing to make the playoffs is more miserable than the Red Sox just not making the playoffs….ROOTING FOR MISERY

Is Jeter going to get plunked next week when he faces the Rays again?

We doubt it. Joe Maddon wasn’t mad at Jeter. He was upset at the umpires. Jeter probably should be more worried about the umpires no longer giving him the benefit of the doubt on strikes and outs…NO

What is your drink of choice this weekend?

As we said, we are rooting for Yankees misery. So that means bottles of Sam Adams Freedom Lager…SAM ADAMS, GO RED SOX?

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19 Comments

  1. d-money says:

    Cork,

    Maybe I’m a little late to the party or just missing something but In these P.A.L.P. you never explain who it is that is answering the questions.

    I’m guessing I’ll probably feel stupid when you tell me but for all I know it could be your Grandmother answering.

  2. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Great post Cork.
    But next time, try and give the Red Sux a little less hope for their playoff chances man. lol
    P.S.- I know your not rooting for them. :) lol

  3. Gus says:

    Maddon may not order a Jeter plunking, but I suspect that the guys in the bullpen may be thinking differently.

    I’d also note that the Rays have never appeared to retaliate for the 2009 breaking of Pena’s hand that ended all doubt on the 2009 Rays season. Pena has never been the same hitter since he donned the “Hamburger Helper” batting gloves after that injury . . . (not that I’m advocating retaliation, which I think is not appropriate).

    • Sarah says:

      Not true. I remember Price throwing at Texeira a day or two later — and then of course making the usual noises that its wasn’t retaliation.

      • Gus says:

        But he didn’t hit him. No HBPs in that game. I’m not sure if it was called for or not — just bummed that in 2008 and 2009, Pena was hit by the Red Sox and then the Yankees and the Rays never seemed to hit anybody back.

        I’m serious that those ridiculous padded gloves he wears could be an issue.

        • Randy says:

          LOL @ hamburger helper batting gloves !!

        • Sarah says:

          Well, Teixeira managed to jump out of the way. But it was clearly a “purpose pitch” and no doubt aimed at Teixeira because he was challenging Carlos’ home run lead. I don’t disagree with you about the possible impact of that injury to Pena — just saying that his teammates did take some action. I don’t know that your pitchers should literally try to inflict similar damage on the opposing players just to get even.

  4. leningan says:

    we have also never retaliated for Victor Martinez’s many transgressions, which infuriates me to no end…
    Cork’ thanks for the pepper I’ve been missing these posts glad to see they’re making a comeback for the stretch run. It’s gonna be a fantastic two weeks!

  5. Tone says:

    They hit Tex, just not hard. But they did hit Tex. Can someone hit Wheeler?

  6. robert says:

    About Jeter– He was just doing his job which is to get on base anyway that he can. If it were CC we’d be laughing about it. My question is: How much are the Rex Sox paying John Lacky? Now that’s a disgrace.

    • Tone says:

      My question is: What the fuck are you talking about?
      Do you not understand that ONLY Jeter would get away with that shit? If Carl had tried that shit(which he NEVER has) the umps would have rung him up. You are obviously a douche bag Yankees fan, suck it.

      • MJ says:

        My question is: What the fuck are you talking about? Jeter didn’t do anything to get on base, the ump thought he was hit regardless of his shenanigans. How would he wring him up?

  7. Nashville Ray says:

    Really enjoyed the post. I’m relatively new to the site and as a transplanted Tampa resident I love being able to get my Rays news from somewhere other than the four letter network (There’s only so much stadium/attendance bashing that I can take). Anyways to the real reason for my post: the Shoppach/Navi debate.

    I think it is important to take note of Shoppach’s history with Sabathia and therefore how well he has played against him this season (BA – .364/ OBP – .462/ OPS – .825). If the season were to end today we would play the Yankees in the ALDS and could face Sabathia three times if the series were to go the full seven games, which if you look at the way the season series has gone thus far would not be a big surprise. I think it is critical that Shoppach’s bat, however futile against other opponents, is in the lineup against Sabathia when we face him.

    • Sarah says:

      Interesting point about Shoppach, but we wouldn’t play the Yankees in the ALDS no matter what the final standings. You never play within your own division for the ALDS.

      • Nashville Ray says:

        Thanks for the correction. I’m going to claim that it was just an oversight but the fact of the matter is that I would be lying. I guess you learn something new everyday.

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