THE GOOD: Silver Lining. Let’s assume that the Wild Card will ultimately come from the AL East. And let’s assume that the Orioles are not the real deal (yet). Then at least one playoff spot will go to either the Rays or the Red Sox. Well, the Rays are 0-5. But they are still tied with the Red Sox in the standings who also are 0-5 after losing last night. And both teams are only 3 games behind the Yankees. Those numbers are far more important right now than actual win-loss record.
THE BAD: No Manny. One day after being booed, Joe Maddon gave Manny Ramirez the afternoon off after originally penciling him as DH (he did pinch-hit in the 8th, and was cheered). This despite being 19-38 with 3 HR and 6 walks against Dan Haren in his career. Manny will also sit on Thursday to tend to the same “personal matter” that kept him out of the lineup the last spring training game. Maddon also mentioned that he thought Manny was pressing too hard and that he thought he needed a break…Getting Ugly. For the 4th time in 5 nights, the Rays had 1 run on 4 hits. And in doing so, they became just the 4th team in the last 25 years to have 5 consecutive home games with 5 hits or fewer. The other 3 teams: 2001 Orioles (finished 63-98), 1989 Tigers (59-103) and the 2009 Mets (70-92).
THE TELLING: According to CoolStandings.com the Rays still have a 25.1% shot at the postseason, which is actually greater than the Red Sox (14.7%). Although, to be fair, early in the season, some of the CoolStandings calculations are influenced by last season’s results…Mike Ekstrom has cleared waivers and will report to Durham. He was Designated For Assignment to make room for Felipe Lopez on the 40-man roster…JP Howell could be ready to throw live batting practice in the next week or so.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Manny Ramirez did not seem bothered by the boos. [The Heater]
- Rafael Soriano was forced to apologize to the media for avoiding them the night before. [NYDN]
- Geez. Even Maury Brown is cracking jokes about the Rays attendance. Keep in mind this was a weekday game with schools still in session. [Twitter]
- Lots of teams are seeing unusually small crowds the first week of the season. [stltoday.com]
- And Tom Jones takes a look at the Yankees attendance woes. [Tom Jones 2¢]
- If you are interested in catching today’s season opener for the Durham Bulls, here is the info. [WDBB]
Joe Maddon talks about the hitters pressing (via TampaBay.com)