Devil Rays 1, Red Sox 0.
Reports that Scott Kazmir’s had relinquished the title of Rays’ Ace were apparently premature.

If you missed last night’s Devil Rays game, you missed one of the best games of the season and more importantly you missed a defining moment in the young career of the Rays young hurler, Scott Kazmir.

Last night, Kazmir had 96 pitches after 6 innings, yet Maddon let Kid K go out to the mound to start the 7th inning, protecting a 1-0 lead. We were surprised by the move considering Maddon had kept a tight leash on Kazmir recently. In five of his previous 10 starts, Joe Maddon pulled Scott Kazmir before he even reached 100 pitches, throwing more than 110 only once. Also, Kaz needed 21 pitches to get through the 6th inning including 9 before he finally got Mike Lowell on strikes to end the frame.

With the elevated pitch count and the close lead against a good ballclub, we assumed that Kazmir would be pulled as soon as he allowed a baserunner. Bobby Kielty led off the 7th with a hard line drive to left field. The ball was hit so hard, that Kielty was held to a single despite hitting the ball off the monster. Still, Maddon let Kazmir stay in the game.

Kazmir then made Kevin Youkilis look bad striking him out on three straight pitches. Jason Varitek followed with an 8-pitch at bat that resulted in a walk, including 3-2 pitch that was a foot outside.

At this point it appeared as though Kaz was starting to labor. He had thrown 111 pitches and Joe Maddon came out to the mound. Usually a visit by the manager means the pitcher is done, but Maddon once again let Kid K stay in the game. With the tying run on second and the go-ahead run on first, Kazmir responded by getting Jacoby Ellsbury out on strikes, for his 10th K of the game. Finally, Kazmir got Alex Cora out on a ground ball to third base to get out of the inning.

118 pitches. After Maddon visited the mound, Kaz threw 7 more pitches. All 7 were fastballs. pitch 117 hit 96 mph.

Yes it was Ellsbury and Cora and not Manny and Big Papi, but Kazmir took the ball with the game on the line and rose to the occasion. And with those 7 pitches we saw Kid K grow up right before our eyes.

That 7th inning was as big an inning we have ever seen by a Devil Rays pitcher. It was as excited as we have been during a game all season long. Waking up neighbors. Kissing Dogs. Shots of tequilla, and calling every Red Sox fan we know. We even called a couple of Mets fans, because with that final groundball to third base, the fateful sound of thousands of Mets fans screaming Dan Duquette’s name in pain, could be heard all the way from Queens.


  • The Devil Rays are now only 1 game behind the Orioles for 4th place in the AL East. They now have the same record as the Chicago White Sox and the Florida Marlins. Even more amazing is that the Rays are now within 4.5 games or fewer of NINE different teams. At one point this season it appeared as though the Rays were well on their way to the #1 pick in the draft again next season. Now they have an outside chance to fall all the way to #10.
  • The Rays are 61-83 with 18 games remaining.
    • They need to finish 2-16 to avoid 100 losses
    • 10-8 would give the Rays the most wins in franchise history
    • 12-6 and the Rays would avoid 90 losses.
  • Yesterday we learned that an equipment bag was included on the Rays charter for Rocco Baldell, although he was not with the team. Today we learn that Rocco could rejoin the team tonight…or tomorrow…or Friday in Seattle…or Saturday…or possibly Sunday. Well, that clears things up. And if he returns, chances are he will not be in the lineup. According to Joe Maddon, Rocco is rejoining the team in his new capacity as a member of the training staff. Well if there was any player that knows his way around the trainer’s room, it’s Rocco. [TBO]

Manager Joe Maddon said Baldelli, who has been out since May 16 with a bad left hamstring, is expected to join the team either the next two days in Boston or in Seattle over the weekend…”I just would like to have him here, even if it’s just taping ankles,” Maddon said. “I just want him here to be part of the group.”

  • If the Devil Rays started playing better, would anyone notice? YES! Nothing get past John Donovan of who moved the Rays up from #30 to #27 in this weeks power rankings, ahead of the White Sox, the Marlins and Orioles. [SI]

An extension for skipper Joe Maddon, 12 wins in their past 16 games, five straight series wins … “Right now, it looks like it’s the start of something,” Carl Crawford told the St. Pete Times.

  • Dioner Navarro was limited to batting right-handed last night due to a sore wrist. [TBO]


  1. Anonymous says:

    He does make me cry. But then I remember that we couldn't have gotten Omar without him, and I understand that sometimes sacrifices are needed to achieve better ends. Kid K had to go to prove to the Wilpons that the clubhouse was cancerous and the management was inept. So if it weren't for trading Kazmir, we wouldn't have the team that we currently have, and we wouldn't have (soon to be) two straight division titles for the first time in team history

  2. Tallyray says:

    You know... That's the first positive spin I've seen on the Kazmir trade that I'll actually buy. I don't know if the Kazmir trade really mattered in the decision but it's certainly plausible.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Totally true. Adam Rubin, a local writer for the Daily News, wrote an entire book on the shift from the old regime to the current one, particularly outlining the circumstances involving the acquisition of Omar, Pedro, and Carlos Beltran.

  4. The Professor says:

    just because B comes after A does not automatically mean that B is a result of A.

    that front office was AWFUL. they would have been run out one way or another. and Omar Manaya was going to be the next GM whether it happened that season or the next.

    the point is the Mets traded a legitimate ace for a veteran pitcher that was not very good and the METS WERE NOT EVEN IN PLAYOFF CONTENTION THAT SEASON.

    the mets could have traded ANY of their pitching prospects for Zambrano or any other beaten up veteran and it still would have been a bad trade but it wasnt ANY PROSPECT. IT WAS SCOTT KAZMIR.

    How good would the mets rotation look right nowwith Kid K in the middle? there would be no question that they were going to the world series and they would probably be favored to win it all.

  5. Robert Rittner says:

    I have heard that kind of rationalization before and it remains idiotic. It was a straight up trade of a less than mediocre starter for an elite prospect and has turned into exactly what was anticipated at the time. To link a series of other events to it is nonsense as there is no logical connection except rank speculation.

    I don't care if Mets' fans cry about it or not. It was a dumb trade for them and has no upside of any sort.

  6. Anonymous says:

    To The Professor:

    It is ridiculous that you and others are trying to ridicule this as rationalization because it seems convenient. It's reminiscent of JFK Conspiracy Theorists insisting that the most logical explanation couldn't be right because there are so many other factors.

    Part of the reason why it seems so convenient is because it's true. The Wilpons were so pissed over this (among other ridiculous moves, but as the straw that broke the camels back) that they secretly arranged to meet Omar Minaya in an airport the day after the season ended to beg him to come back. All the comments about how i don't get logic (, despite the fact that my job requires me to deal heavily in it) in the world won't change the fact that this is not just a justification. And, I am fully aware how good the Mets rotation would look with Kazmir in the middle of it. But we wouldn't have gotten Pedro, Maine, Perez or Beltran, and we'd probably still have Cameron and Trachsel. So it would look something like this: Glavine, Kazmir, Trachsel, Benson (no wait, he got hurt), and Zambrano.

    And lastly, I don't see how claiming to know something that you have no actual idea about, nor have you done any research with respect to in order to talk up one of your stars, who will likely be bought by the Yankees in a few years anyway, is in any way "logical." Just because you have a soapbox (B), it doesn't mean you know what you're talking about (A)...thats that B following from A thing that you were talking about before.

    The last thing I wanted to do was try to be aggressive and pick a fight here, but I thought I'd point out the way a lot of Mets fans see this situation. It's a perspective thing, and you don't have to be so damn rude about it. If you don't want people reading this crap who aren't die hard devil ray's fans, I'll find another way to keep up on Longoria (one of my minor league contracts in the keeper league)

  7. The Professor says:

    the point is. the Mets were in 4th place at the time and that front office was skating on ice that was already cracking.

    Scott Kazmir is may have been the "straw that broke the camels back", but it very easily could have been another player. what if the Mets had traded Milledge or Brian Bannister for Zambrano? Chuck LaMar would have never accepted it, but IF he had, and Zambrano still sucked and the Mets still missed the playoffs, the end-result would have been the same, only NOW the Mets would have Kazmir in their rotation.

    As for Minaya. He was the next GM of the Mets no matter what. Fred and Jeff Wilpon were not about to let Minaya go to another team. There were too many fans pissed off in 2002 when they let him go to the Expos in the first place and trust me Minaya wanted to be with the Mets. If another team came calling (knowing he was not going to be in Montreal for long) he would have called the Wilpons to inform them and give them an opportunity to bring him in.

    Steve Phillips is an idiot and Duquette wasnt much better. whether the Kazmir deal was the final nail or not is irrelevant. Most of the nails were in place and it was only a matter of time before something drove them out and Minaya back in.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ahhh, the random facts and "trust me" defense. I should have known better. Come back when you're doing more than stringing together a bunch of information of which you are aware.
    PS - Bannister meant nothing at the time. In fact, until this season no one really thought much of him except that he was a back of the rotation starter. Oops, our bad.

  9. Robert Rittner says:

    If it pleases Mets' fans to see the bright side of an idiotic deal, fine. The notion that you can trace a train of events that might have been-or might not have been-from one that was as if there was only one possible series of causes and effects among the limitless possibilities makes no sense, but if it assuages the pain, go for it. Of course, had the Mets not traded Kazmir, they also might have lost an angry Peterson and thus not had an outstanding coach to develop their pitchers and Glavine might have decided not to come to NYand so on. So there are more arguments that it was a good idea (just trying to help Mets' fans rationalize further). Of course, it would not take too much (similar) imagination to dream up an opposite scenario.

    There is a series at the Hardball Times that does similar speculating about what might have happened had teams not made certain trades. The difference is they know it is an exercise for fun and to indicate the vagaries of the game; they do not suggest it has any value as a description of reality.

  10. Big Mike says:

    sounds like ANON unwittingly proved your point. makes me giggle.


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