So James “No Game” Shields gives up five runs to start the damned game.

Guess what the Rays lost by tonight folks? Yup, you guessed it.

What exactly has happened to a once proud starting pitching staff? Joe has called out Derek Shelton for his unclutch, walks-are-better-than-hits, strikeouts-aren’t-so-bad approach to the Rays bipolar hitting. Maybe it’s time to put Jim Hickey under the microscope?

Is that unfair to Hickey? Probably, but if Shelton is going to be bruised for his lousy job, who gets a finger pointed at them for the Rays starting pitching suddenly tanking at the same time once college football season began?

Joe can understand an injury, but it seems like three of the Rays starters have suddenly, at the same time, turned into head cases. One pitcher losing his stuff is an accident, two is a trend, three pitchers and there’s something wrong.

Who exactly do you pick as a starter in the postseason between Shields, Niemann and Garza? Yeah, Garza just given his track record but this is frightening to Joe.

Joe would like to know if Hickey has changed his approach in recent weeks as it appeared the Rays were a lock for the playoffs, and as a result screwed with his pitchers’ heads?

Something is not right.



  1. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Et tu, Hickey?

  2. Tone says:

    This team rules when it comes to clutch walks. Walking their way to victory while the Yankees waste time swinging those bat thingys hard. It looks like you could really hurt yourself swinging so hard, glad to see our guys will not have to worry about that happening. Just watch as they win the final game of the World Series on a bases loaded walk or a bases loaded strike out where the catcher misses it and throws the ball past 1st base. Walks and strike outs win Championships. 9=8, 8>9, GTMI, and shit don't stink. Br-Rays'ing their way to glory.

    • Don says:

      You hit a home run...the "sheldon way" has ruined hitters such as Zobrist, Bartlett, Aybar, Longo...waiting for walks..they are not they used to be (2008)...walks do not score runs...hits do...end of story!

  3. D-Rome says:

    Joe, I've been calling out Hickey for the past two years but everyone turns a deaf ear on me when I do! Kazmir fell apart under Jim Hickey's tutelage. Edwin Jackson became an all-star once he got away from Jim Hickey's tutelage. Garza's ERA is up this year from the prior two years. Same goes with James Shields. Then there's Nieman. Are these truly all coincidences? Maybe, but that would really be remarkable.

    Yes indeed it's time to put Hickey under the microscope. I hear peeps on sports radio be critical of Maddon but it's my opinion you have to look deeper into this issue and I have no issue starting with Hickey.

    • Sarah says:

      I have no idea whether Hickey is a good pitching coach, but my guess is that few who are posting here no any better than I do. As for your claims, D-Rome: if Hickey were the reason Kazmir struggled, Scotty should have improved by now, right? Or does the curse of Jim Hickey follow you forever? Edwin Jackson now is pretty much the same pitcher he's always been -- flashes of brilliance surrounded by stretches of awful.

      I don't know what is ailing Garza and Neimann now, but how do you explain the many months they've been good, if their struggles now are all Hickey's fault? And how about the emergence of Price as a Cy Young contender after a shaky first year -- has he been getting different advice than the rest of them?

      As fans we are all deeply frustrated by the collapse of this pitching staff. It would be comforting to think it's all one guy's fault. It's not.

      • D-Rome says:

        Hi Sarah,

        In regards to your question about Kaz let me be upfront and say that I am not a baseball player. However, I participate and am involved in a sport where coaching and technique is important and *if* Hickey tinkered too much with Kaz's technique/mechanics (and I've heard on sports talk and stuff that he did) it can take years to undo. What I'm trying to say is that when your technique or mechanics is changed by a coach it can have lasting effects for years because of muscle memory and it's very difficult to change.

  4. Mike says:

    I am amazed at Garza's statement yesterday in the St. Pete times that he is feeling great mentally and physically, but the lenghth of the season is beginning to show on his pitching. However, when it is time for the playoffs his adrenaline will kick in and he will be fine. Why in heaven's name doesn't his adrenaline kick in in NYC with 13 games to go against the Yankees in a Pennant Race????


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