Rays baseball won the do-or-die Game 5 at the Trop.

The problem is it was the Rangers playing Rays baseball, snatching extra bases and seizing opportunities that didn’t even look possible. And then piling on late runs to bury their opponent.

Somewhere, Dioner Navarro is laughing.

Joe’s sick to his stomach over this finish. Really, Joe’s been in agony.

There’s plenty of people to point fingers at, but really the most deserving finger should go towards Cliff Lee. The high road is deserved after what he turned out. The guy made David Price look like a No. 2 starter.

It was nice knowing you Mr. Crawford.

 
 

45 Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    I am sure some people will call for Maddon’s head. I do find it strange that he messed with what’s working right now to go with his almost OCD like tendency to play certain numbers. Lee did pitch a gem, but he also got hit and we had the potential to win that game.

    Carlos Pena looked like a deer in headlights. He really looked like a rook at the plate. Check swinging at everything and just surprised to see good pitching. I knew Longoria was in trouble when he seemed to expand his strike zone to the entire universe. Goodbye Carl you were awesome and BJ will need someone to motivate him to actually put some effort into catching balls.

  2. We just looked lethargic tonight. Didn’t seem like they even wanted to be there. Kind of similar to game 1. Cliff Lee is a master, but we just didn’t play the game like we normally do.

  3. Edward says:

    The defense sucked, we cannot hit at home, and with over 40,000 people, you lose. BYE BYE SHELTON

  4. JimfromNPR says:

    First off…Thank you CC, it was a great 9 years. Let’s be britally honest here, this series was lost at the end of July. The Yankees/Rangers/White Sox/Red Sox/Philles all improved either at or just past the trade dead line. We get Chad Qualls and Brad Hawpe, you cannot stay status quo and compete on a consistant basis, with teams willing to give a little to get a little. I get very TIRED of hearing the mantra management puts out there. If we are going to cut payroll and rebuild, then do it, but look at the pieces we have here(BJ Upton) and do not judge them on on what they make. I am one who is VERY tired of Joe Maddon’s “gut feelings”( i.e. Kelly Shoppach catching). I have been and will remain a die hard Rays fan, but this series loss is extremely hard for me to swallow, in light of all outside of the white lines that has happened this year. Just my 2 cents…..

    • Andrew says:

      I used to be a Knicks fan so I am somewhat used to watching teams choke (and now the Magic do that for me thanks Orlando). I knew we were in trouble when I saw Pena frozen at the plate like a deer in headlights and Longo swinging at Bugs Bunny pitches.

      Two runs were scored because Price didn’t know to put his attention to home plate after going to first and one was thanks to Shoppach’s poor throw.

      • JimfromNPR says:

        I meant brutally…lol No offense to our British readers

      • raysfan137 says:

        Two were because of Shoppach. I saw it unfold right in front of me from my seats behind the Rays dugout. When Price was covering first on the attempted double play, Shoppach was out of position to cover the play at the plate. He was almost surprised to see Price turn on fire the ball to him. He then had to lunge toward the plate in an attempt to tag out the runner. If he is in position, Price throws out that run with ease. Shoppach was watching, expecting the double play, and had drifted up the first base line and toward the dugout instead of having his head in the game.

  5. DRR says:

    Sigh… the season ends as all others have. A complete failure.

    • John says:

      Complete failure? Hardly.

    • Beth says:

      Seriously? So you think anything short of a World Series victory is “complete failure?” you make no differentiation between finishing dead last vs. winning the division but getting beaten in the playoffs?

      That’s harsh.

      • DRR says:

        Teams play to win championships. Period. Anything less is a failure. As far as I am concerned, there should be a manditory workout today for all players under contract for 2011

  6. sunrisejeff says:

    Even with the loss I’m still proud that a team this young did what they did this year. Hats off to the Rangers they just flat out outplayed us last night. On to next season until then……Go Bucs!!!!

    • Jim says:

      Agreed. They could have easily mailed it in at Texas, but they fought back to make it a series. I think this team could have gone farther and I wish they did, but this season is nothing to be embarrassed about. Go Rays!

  7. robert says:

    Your “high character” guy is gone, bye Carl. This series boiled down to starting Shields. You start Hellickson in his place and maybe this doesn’t come down to watching Cliff Lee twice. That’s on the manager. And maybe Price should stop talking about being the best pitcher in baseball and settle for being the best pitcher in a game. The fans suck and so does the park–and boy do the fans suck. This team needs some gritty at-bats, some 10, 11 pitch make the pitcher earn it at-bats, a new hitting coach, and a new manager. Did I say bye Carl? Do I want to say bye BJ? You bet I do. Make no mistake about it- after this series Evan Longoria is asking himself “Do I really want to play here?” I mean, this team should have won 110 games this year and won the World Series. This ending is worse than pathetic. I’m afraid this is a character issue, which granted is hard to judge from afar, and I’m afar. Fire Joe, as much as I like him personally, and get someone with a little fire in his belly. What a waste of talent, and MY TIME!

    • Tom says:

      The fans suck? Should have won 110 games? 110 games would be the most in a decade , so you are saying the Rays had the most talented roster of the decade?

      • robert says:

        Tom-

        I’m saying just about every Shield’s start was a wasted effort, no? This is a huge defect in a starting rotation and when you add in the fact that we had Hellickson, who is what, 5 times better, a 110 games is not unrealistic. But that’s besides the point. Hellickson should have pitched Game 2 and should have been set up to do so (Given work at the end of the season.) That’s the series…

        • Tom says:

          The team won 96 games, Shields went 13-15. Hellboy would have had to go 27-1 to make them a 110 win team. I think that is unrealistic.

          In Shields game 2 start the team was shutout so I am not sure what Hellickson would have done differently.

          To your larger point, The organization decided they wanted to limit Hellickson’s innings count. I will concede they certainly should have considered throwing caution to the wind regarding the innings limit considering A) How well he pitched B) How much Shields was struggling.

    • Beth says:

      Robert, are you always this much of a sourpuss or did last night’s loss just bring out the worst in you? Seriously, if baseball gives you that little pleasure you are wasting your time.

    • raysfan137 says:

      It’s back on shields now? I hated the Shields start more than anyone. But we didn’t hit the ball when he pitched, so it didn’t matter. The biggest disappointment for me is just the silliness of Maddon not playing our best players and instead going with hunches and bad (yes, bad numbers). He uses small sample sizes and whatever numbers he wants to justify his lineups (e.g. Jaso with less than 50 at bats vs. lefties). You play your best players, especially when the opposing pitcher does not have very different splits.

  8. Tone says:

    It was a fun and sometimes frustrating season. Hopefully the hurting will stop soon. Shields and Shoppach for Thole of the Mets. Please let them keep Bartlett and Garza, I’d trade Upton over either of those two. Resign Pena at a cheap ass rate. Without Shields, and with Garza, this team still has a shot in my book(without Shoppach too).

    • Nick says:

      you really have no idea what you are talking about.

    • Agree with you on Shields/Garza. Hellickson moves into the rotation, McGee into the pen next year. I would probably just let Pena go though. I know he can play good defense but his hitting absolutely sucked.

      I think I would try to move Bartlett via a trade. I think it’s time to give Brignac a shot at being the everyday shortstop and Rodriguez at second. If there is no confidence in our minor league first basemen then let Zobrist play everyday at first and really learn the position.

  9. Don says:

    Irony has it:
    The manager the fans just “love” ends up screwing the players and fans with his decisions…NOW the masses have begun to question his idiotic behavior/decisons…
    THe two PLAYERS who had the bad judgement to call out other people (the fans)…Price/Longoria render themselves USELESS when the heat is on….
    The IRONY of a season and a lot of talent being put out of their misery way too EARLY….
    Way to go Joe…they all “love” you…are DO they?

    • Joe didn’t lose this game. I don’t always agree with his choices, but we lost because we played sloppy defense, didn’t hit, and Cliff Lee pitched his ass off.

    • Beth says:

      I don’t get all this talk of “wasted talent” on the Rays.

      The pitching is pretty good, but who are the proven talents in the line-up who are being wasted?

      • Tone says:

        Upton is projected as a super star, not happening, but he is still projected that way. Pena had 30+ HRs for 3 seasons with the Rays while earning a gold glove and playing that way the other years. Carl, well he is freakin amazing. Longoria, uh, he is proven and considered one of the best. Those are just a few, I could go into pitching if you like.

  10. Cork's Dad says:

    It was a good, not great year. They never seemed to be able to find what was needed to win when it was really important. Consistent, good play got them to the top, but if you are not a “walk away” winner, you have to reach way down inside yourself and your “teammates” (now there’s oxymoron in this world of over-pampered professional athletes!) and find that “need” to win … to be the best.

    Wish it was just “We’ll be back … and better.” But in this current state of professional sports, we will have to wait and see who “we” are. Somehow the love of the pure sport and of the fun and games are waning. How can it be family fun when the cheap seats are $50?

    Thanks, Cork. Your dedication, insight and love for the game help to keep “The Field of Dreams” alive.

  11. Jon says:

    I was very happy on how this season went. I do know that we could have even won more games if Joe Madden would maybe stop listening to everything his computer program says. Thanks CC for all you did for us, you will always be my favorite Ray of all time, but I understand that its a business, and if I could get paid even more money for doing the same job but somewhere else, Id do it to. I agree with what I heard on the radio though and made me feel better that most of the extra money we spent on payroll this year was on players I wont really miss. With the exception of Crawford and Soriano, I dont want Shoppach,Pena(and his .180 avg),Hawpe,Navarro,Shields back anyway,they suck. Hopefully Jennings can do a decent job in CC’s place,Jaso is good at catcher,Aybar,Johnson,or Zobrist at 1st, Rodriguez at 2nd,Bartlett or Brignac at short,Joyce in RF,Hell boy in Shields spot. JP Howell back, and Benoit as closer maybe.

  12. DRR says:

    Teams play to win championships. Period. Anything less is a failure. As far as I am concerned, there should be a manditory workout today for all players under contract for 2011.

    • Beth says:

      You thought this was so profound that you needed to post it twice?

      Curious what you do if your kids bring home a “B” on a report card.

      • DRR says:

        Difference is that my kids aren’t get paid millions of dollars for a living. These players get paid hundreds of times what cops, teachers, firemen, etc. get paid. They should be working hundreds of times as hard, and have standards that match that.

        • Beth says:

          So if it’s all about how much you get paid, then shouldn’t the guys getting paid the minimum be held to a lower standard that those with multi-million dollar contracts? And teams with lower payrolls have a different threshold for “failure” than teams with higher payrolls? Just curious how your method for labeling failure and success gets applied across the board….

          • DRR says:

            If there were actually players out there making minimum wage, then yes, I would hold them to a lower standard. This year, I believe the minimum salary was $400,000. If you think that anyone actually deserves that much money for playing a game for the summer, I think you are the one that needs to reevaluate your views.

            I love baseball and I love watching baseball. However, the only way to come anywhere close to justifying the salaries of players is if they are working at 100%. Any player who took off yesterday (who is under contract with a team) or was satisfied with anything less than their goal is not working at 100%.

  13. Mike says:

    Great season Rays. If anyone from the organization reads this, thank you for all your hard work. Although it didn’t end the way we wanted, this was still one of the best seasons we have ever had and given the resources you had to work with everyone in the organization did a tremendous job to get the team as far as it did.

    We will get them next year.

  14. Gus says:

    In 2008, it was a common phrase from Rays management that the team arrived “a year early”. Management held onto Brignac and didn’t get a RH bat to help them like Bay. But it worked out (to a point) and they made (but didn’t win) the World Series.

    Off-season 2008, the Rays made two critical errors. They didn’t seek to extend the Crawford contract and instead identified and locked up Kazmir long-term as a cornerstone of the franchise, and then signed Burrell for $16m. Two bad judgments. They got the Angels to bail them out of some of the Kazmir K, but Burrell was a cancer in the clubhouse and couldn’t hit as a DH in the AL for whatever reason and that cost them dearly. The can’t afford $16M mistakes.

    For 2010, management finally addressed the bullpen with two awesome signings, but never got the exposure to lefties resolved (Shoppach was a $5.5M attempt to do so that failed miserably). Yes, the Rays had the best record in the league against lefties, but they had the best record period. Even before the series, we were all wondering how could they do it against LHP with that line up. The answer was, they couldn’t.

    Management did nothing at the deadline in the 2010 season that was their best chance to win the world series. Longo getting hurt was incredibly bad fortune, but guys get hurt. This team had no RH depth and it was exposed by Lee and Wilson.

    Maddon didn’t help matters with the Shoppach start (and batting No. 8?), but the fact of the matter was that the Rangers management did more to get their team to the World Series in getting Lee and Molina than the Rays were willing to do.

    I suspect the Rays will be good again next year. The only upside to Carl’s departure is that at least Jennings bats RH. But this was a team that should have gone to the world series. It is an opportunity missed. These opportunities don’ come around that often. Just ask the Rangers.

    As a long-time fan, the loss of Rocco (I’m assuming this is it for him if he’s throwing out the first pitch) and Carl on the same night hurts deeply. When times were darkest, those guys played hard and gave us a reason for hope. Good luck to those guys. If the Rays ever have a ring of fame, Crawford is inductee No. 1 no matter what he does after this. Rocco is our Tony Conigilaro, a bright career cut short. Tough to see this come to an end.

  15. Smithkey says:

    Heartbreaking loss last night but overall a good year. Yes it could have been better but every team in the league is going to be saying the same thing except for whoever wins the World Series. I agree we had the potential to do more this post season but honestly feel we were beaten by a better team.

    I think the Rays are a team that more often then not plays above their capabilities, so much so that we come to expect this as the norm. The bottom line is that we do not have enough talent to beat an excellent picture like Cliff Lee when it counts the most. Hats off to Lee and the Rangers and hopefully they will take care of the Yankees.

    • Beth says:

      I really agree with you, Smithkey, and disagree with those who think good talented is “wasted” on the Rays by bad management. I don’t think Ben Zobrist, for example, is a .290 hitter who is underperforming – I think he’s a .250 hitter who somehow managed to have a great year last year, and finds ways to contribute to the team despite NOT being a superstar. Beyond Longoria and Crawford we have a lineup of largely middle of the road players, and management that’s generally been able to fit the pieces together to win more than they lose.

      • Tone says:

        Then you are saying that the front office screwed up by giving him the big contract. If he is just a .250 hitter he making WAY too much money for a small market team and should have been traded after his monster year. So that is an example of management/front office wasting talent. Do you really think Jaso should sit over Shoppach? I call that move a waste of talent.

  16. jace says:

    Rays fans should feel embarrassed, they had the best record in the AL EAST , pitched well all year long, and pitching fell apart at the end.
    David Price and , Shields, weren’t good in postseason.

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