Hell no. But not because he is struggling in the ‘pen. The mistake is that working 1-2 two innings a pop takes away any possibility of him starting in the postseason. And it boggles our mind that the Rays would enter the postseason with one of their three best starting pitchers working in the bullpen. The move was made because the Rays are worried about putting too many innings on Hellickson’s arm. He only threw 113 innings in 2009, and the Rays prefer to limit their pitchers to a 20% increase (136ip). This season he is already up to 147. But Hellickson did throw 151 innings in 2008, so a big load is not foreign to his arm. If they are that concerned they could delay the start of his 2011 season. Opprotunities to win the World Series don’t come every season. And the Rays are going into October without their best possible rotation…IT’S A MISTAKE
SECOND INNING (Headlines)…
Much has been made of Jeff Niemann’s struggles since returning from the DL…Should Niemann be pulled from the rotation?
Derek Shelton said Niemann had several mechanical issues that are easily fixable. Maybe each individual flaw is easily fixable, but how easy will it be to fix “several” at the same time? The Rays will let him work it out in games. And that’s fine. But when the 4th starter gives up 23 runs and 27 baserunners in his first 10 innings back from the DL, it seems reasonable to be worried. With 23 games left in the regular season, Neimann has 4 starts to figure it out. If he doesn’t, Wade Davis will be the 4th starter in the postseason, and Niemann could very well be off the roster…NOT YET
THIRD INNING (Headlines)…
The Rays attendance has been…*SMACK*
Shut up. Just shut up already. SHUT UP! It is not that big of a deal. The Rays are still competitive. They still have very strong TV ratings. They still have a competitive payroll. And even though the payroll will go down next season, it is not going to be like the Marlins. And the team will still be competetive. And like Rob Neyer recently said, it is not a fanbase problem. It is a stadium problem. Once the stadium issue is fixed, the attendance will be fine. So just SHUT UP!….JUST. SHUT. UP.
FOURTH INNING (Headlines)…
David Price is considered one of the candidates for the Cy Young award…Do you think he should win it?
Based on ESPN’s Cy Young predictor, Price (17-6, 2.87) is second to CC Sabathia (19-6, 3.14). Felix Hernandez will also get votes based on his 2.30 ERA. But no matter what you think of Wins as a stat, there is no way Hernandez is winning the Cy Young at 11-10. And unlike last season when Zack Greinke won the award at 16-8, King Felix’ FIP (2.96) is not leading the AL. Price does have a better FIP (3.50, 11th in AL) than Sabathia (3.63, 16th in AL). With similar statlines, this race will likely come down to who has the bigger starts down the stretch. In the last month (5 starts), Price has a 3.00 ERA, while Sabathia (5 starts) has a 3.15 ERA. And let’s not forget Monday’s matchup in which Price and Sabathia go head-to-head. The winner of that game could get the hardware. And no matter how well Hernandez pitches, it is hard to ignore that he is not doing it against the Red Sox and Yankees while fighting for a playoff spot…IT’S CLOSE
FIFTH INNING (Headlines)…
Rain delay, queue The Steve Harvey Show
SIXTH INNING (A look outside the box)…
Many in Red Sox Nation think their team still has a shot at the Wild Card…Should Raysheads be worried?
We love saying “The Red Sox are Roadkill.” Can’t say it enough. We want to get toilet paper with a Red Sox logo and the word “Roadkill” printed across it. If thinking they are still alive for the Wild Card helps them sleep better when their boys are playing golf next month, that’s fine. We just can’t wait to hear what Red Sox fans have to say when The Trop is outdrawing Fenway in October…..THE RED SOX ARE ROADKILL
SEVENTH INNING (Over/Unders)…
Starts for Andy Sonnanstine in the last 3 weeks: 1.5
Joe Maddon will want extra rest for his starters down the stretch. And after yesterday, the Rays only have one more off-day in the regular season. So look for The Duke to make a start in the final 2 weeks. But probably not 2…UNDER
Regular season wins for the 2010 Rays: 99.5
To get to 100 wins, the Rays would have to go 15-8 down the stretch. Their final 10 are against the Royals, M’s and O’s. But they also have 7 against the Yankees and Maddon will certainly be resting his regulars as much as possible. It will probably take 100 wins to win the division. We think the Wild Card is the destination…UNDER
Stories about the Rays attendance during upcoming Yankees series: 1.6 kazillion pertillion
Just kill us now..OVER
EIGHTH INNING (On deck)…
James “Big Game” Shields was Joe Maddon’s opening day starter…But would he be the game 1 starter in the playoffs?
This could depend on the Rays first-round opponent. If the Rays do face the Twins, he may prefer to lead-off with David Price to neutralize the big left-handed bats. Price also has a 1.80 ERA in 2 starts versus the Twins this season. Meanwhile, Shields gave up 4 runs in 6 innings in his only start versus the Twins. But, game 1 would be in Minnesota, and while Price has been the Rays best pitcher, he is lights-out at home with a 2.16 ERA. Unless Shields pitches better in the last 3 weeks, we think JoeMa will go with Price in game 1. And no matter what you think about Maddon’s loyalty to certain players, he loves matchups more….NO, DAVID PRICE WILL
NINTH INNING (Putting out the fire)…
Can you explain why Pat Burrell went from Pat the Fat with the Rays to Pat the Big Bat with the Giants?
Some think it is the NL pitching. Some say it is his comfort with playing in the outfield. We think Burrell is just finding comfort in the familiar NL road beef.
Now that the Rays have concluded their season series with the Red Sox, is there any reason for Dan Johnson to play again this season?
Of his 5 career home runs with the Rays, 4 have come against the Red Sox. So, now would be a good time for the Rays to thank DJ for his service, tell him his playoff-share will be in the mail and we will see him again next September.
Why were the Bucs practicing at The Trop?
Why do we think this has something to do with Stuart Sternberg trying to prove that teams in Tampa can still be “regional”?
We hear that you pick your beverages each series based on the opponent…What is your poison pick this weekend?
It is time we got in touch with our roots. The Rays have talent. But they do it on the cheap. The Richie Rich’s of the baseball world snub their nose at the Rays. And while the rest of baseball won’t admit it, they are secretly envious. A lot like…PBR