In the face of legions of Rays fans proclaiming the death of the 2011 Rays after Wednesday’s anemic 2-0 loss to the Yankmees, Joe must urinate in the face of such negativity.

It’s way to early. It’s not too early to bang one’s head against the wall repeatedly watching the Rays try to score runs with a slew of Grade D hitting talent, but the pitching is far too good to throw in the towel on the season.

When the Rays walked off the Trop turf tonight with a 2-1 gritty win against the Yankmees, it capped a 10-game stretch of playing against only the Yanks and Red Sox and giving up just 35 runs.

That’s almost unthinkable effectiveness off the mound. And it’s easy to make the case the Rays’ stellar pitching is improving.

Just ignore the spreadsheets and any sort of logical calculations that say the Rays have barely a prayer of making up six games on New York to grab a Wild Card spot. It’ll feel a lot better.

Barring an epic collapse in Kansas City, Oakland and Seattle, and a firesale of historic proportions at the trade deadline, the Rays are far from toast. The pitching will keep the good guys in it whether fans want to believe it or not.

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8 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    It happens to me too Joe. I give up and then they do something that makes me think they can get back in it. This time, though, I won't hold my breath.

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  2. Tone says:

    I waved the white flag after they lost that marathon game vs the Sux. It is over for the 2011 Rays, but if they bring up some more kids it will be more fun to watch. Right now the offense is not just boring, but severely annoying to watch. At least if some of the at-bats were from legit prospects we would be able see some development. I have a feeling they keep Shields for now and try and deal Davis or Nieman. I would imagine Upton and a bullpen arm are likely heading out soon too. Hopefully they can get some real hitters to fill out next year's line-up. Right now the offense for 2012 does not look promising either.

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  3. Joe says:

    It will be so much fun to see this team catch fire, I am telling you right now, if the Rays sneak into the postseason, no one wants to face them. They have a 6 man stud rotation, just gotta pick the best 4, probably would leave Davis and Cobb out but look at all the teams who need pitching, we have SIX guys who can get the job done on a daily basis. The way Neimann has looked lately, Hellickson outside of a couple starts, Cobb besides his debut and a few i dunno what happened from Price, i mean wow. Shields has had 2 bad starts all season, Davis is the question mark, hopefully the DL did for him what it did for Neimann.

    Saying all that, I agree with people who speculated that there is no real 6 man rotation. Davis/Neimann/Cobb will be dealt for some offense and this teams pitching is just too good to count them out.

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  4. Daredevil says:

    Unless Friedman adds a strong bat, especially needed at SS and/or catcher, our offense is too weak for a strong playoff push. Maybe trade Shields to Cincinatti for their primo 1B prospect, the very strong hitting catcher Hernandez (as a rental), and another prospect. With Cobb we would still have 5 starters, our offense is greatly improved for the rest of the year with Hernandez, and we have a long-term solution at 1B, plus another prospect. It was nice to see Brandon Gomes used in a tense spot. He has looked good all year, and will salvage the Bartlett trade. Speaking of the bullpen, Cory Wade must have been sitting in the Yankees bullpen thinking "why did the Rays release me?", after watching the Rays use Alex Torres and Dane de la Rosa this series. When Wade was released, Sonnanstine, Russell, and Ramos were all begging for release/demotion, and indeed, 2 of them have been jettisoned, and Ramos is still lousy. Friedman really made a bad call on that one.

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    • LoLJFH says:

      Wade had an "out" option in his contract he chose to take since he had not been called up. He, in essence, dumped us because we didn't promote him by a certain date.

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      • Daredevil says:

        Wade had proven in those 2 months in Durham that he was back to form that he had shown for the Dodgers in '08. He belonged in the big leagues, and the Rays should have promoted him rather than lose him via his opt-out. The Rays had complete control up until June 15. On the 14th, they could have promoted him, and he would have immediately improved our bullpen via the release or demotion of one of the 3 relievers I mentioned. A player under a minor-league contract who has some leverage, i.e. they've been in the majors before, will put the opt-out in their contract so that if the parent club "has no room for him" by a certain date, he can sign with another team who has a need for him. Well, the Rays surely had a need for him and should have made room for him. Do you really want to suggest that the 3 relievers I mention were performing highly enough to let Wade slip away? Obviously I don't hold it against Wade to pitch for a team that wanted to take advantage of his talents. His ERA of 1.32 for the Yankees proves the Rays bungled his situation. I'm tired of Friedman only getting praise. He screws up plenty.

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  5. LoLJFH says:

    A lot is still yet to be seen whether the flag is up or not. No one ever thought we were done because of pitching (bullpen use or matchups maybe) - these guys are nails. It all goes back to starting 9. Last night was a gem, no complaints anywhere. However, we can't do that on the road trip against these next 3 teams with exception of Hernandez - or we indeed waive the flag. We need to make a trade or two because without it we are screwed for next year and beyond at catcher, 1B and SS in no particular order. Wait and see how Davis performs this weekend to see where his value might be. If anything I think Shields gets unloaded in next day or two after last night as he solidified his considerable value if that is the way the team wants to head.

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  6. I also watched every minute of the Tampa - Boston game, and agree we need some hitting. But all is not lost for Tampa. We can still catch fire, but we need to do it pretty soon!

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