RAYS 5, Twins 3 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: All-around offense. We can point to James Loney’s 7 hits in the series sweep of the Twins if we want to point to one player. But really, this is what the Rays should be with everybody contributing a little bit. Six different players had at least 3 hits in the series and that doesn’t even include Ben Zobrist or Sean Rodriguez who had the 2 big home runs in the series…Starting Pitching. I agree with some that the recent strong play has the danger of being a big tease and causing the Rays to hold on to David Price and Ben Zobrist at a time when it may be smarter for the future of the team to replenish the farm system. But we have seen lesser teams make runs in the playoffs and it is usually behind strong starting pitching. The Rays have 3 starters in Price, Archer, and Cobb who can give better teams a lot of trouble in a short series. And who wouldn’t like the Rays’ chances in a 1-game Wild Card series with Price on the hill?…Sh*t is getting
real interesting. There is still a long ways to go and nobody has tried to be more realistic about things than me. But gosh dangit, this is getting interesting. The Rays still have the most losses in the AL East (53), but they are now just 7.5 behind the O’s (9 in loss column) and just 6 behind the Mariners in the Wild Card (7 in loss column). More importantly, the Rays are just a half-game behind the White Sox. If the Rays can get ahead of Chicago, it will be just KC, Cleveland, Toronto, and the Yankees between the Rays and playoff glory.
THE BAD: Sink or Swim Time. 11 of the next 14 games are against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season started today (Brewers, Angels, A’s) or just a half-game out of a playoff spot (Cards). The other 3 games are against the defending World Series champs (Red Sox). The Rays cannot afford to lose ground in either race. There are just too many teams and too few games remaining. We also have the trade deadline smack dab in the middle of this run. These next 2 weeks will decide the Rays’ season.
THE TELLING: Joel Peralta hasn’t pitched since July 12. He was sick this weekend after contracting an illness he think he got back in the Dominican Republic during the break…Evan Longoria is now the Rays’ all-time doubles leader and one more RBI will break his tie with Carl Crawford…The Rays now have a 6.6% chance of making the playoffs according to BaseballProspectus. That’s not a lot, but that is significant because typically we consider anything below 5% “unrealistic.” So the Rays, who were less than 1.0% at one point, now have a realistic, albeit still small, chance to make the playoffs.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Fernando Rodney ended an Angels rally in the 8th inning and then shot his arrow in the direction of the their dugout. He then blew the save against the Angels (that’s a good thing for the Rays) and Albert Pujols mocked Rodney’s bow-and-arrow routine. [@FlyByKnite]
- Grant Balfour thinks he has been tipping pitches. [TampaBay.com]
- A closer look at the hitters in triple-A and how they are performing so far. [WDBB]
- DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] Jeremy Hellickson started for Charlotte on Sunday since the Rays do not currently need a 5th starter. He gave up 4 runs (2 earned) in 5 innings on 7 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 4…Mike Montgomery got torches for Durham, giving up 8 runs (5 earned) in just 1.1 innings. Mikie Mahtook went 2-4 with a double…In Montgomery, shortstop Taylor Motter hit his 10th and 11th home runs of the season.
On Friday, Curt Casali picked up his first big league hit. Sean Rodriguez then pulled the ol’ switcheroo, pretending to throw the ball into the stands.