At least the Rays can rest easily knowing they didn’t give their best yet still pushed the Yankees to walk-off heroics.

Sean Rodriguez was home with a wet-vac (one of the most pathetic absences in baseball history). Rafael Soriano never took his jacket off with the game tied and on the line. Carlos Pena was allowed to flail at cleanup against C.C. Sabathia. B.J. Upton was asked to be a smart baserunner at a critical time. And James Shields did what average pitchers like him do — pay dearly for big mistakes against good teams.

Hey, a 5-4 loss isn’t so bad. These Rays are just toying with the Yanks. They’ll crush’em when they really put their best out there.

Sarcasm aside, this was a brutally painful loss. The Rays caught Sabathia on a rare off night and couldn’t cash in.

Why Carlos Pena, owned by Sabathia, wasn’t laying down a bunt with the bases loaded and the game tied with nobody out in the seventh is beyond Joe.

There was no right-handed bat on the bench to turn to, and Pena had about as much chance of making legitimate contact swinging away as Joe does scoring with Kate Hudson.

Before the game, Joe Maddon said he was “happy with the body of work” turned out by Shields before the All-Star break. Must the skipper pour the syrup on so freaking thick? Doesn’t he understand those pre-game radio chats are for living, breathing diehard fans trying to digest their dinners?

As for keeping a rested Soriano on the bench, one could argue that both ways. But bringing him in was a chance for the Rays to put their foot on the throat of the Yankees to set the tone for the second half. Maddon passed.

That might prove wise today, but nothing says “just fine with a Wild Card” like Lance Cormier a conservative approach.



  1. Don says:

    News flash just out: The Rays will NEVER beat the Yankees in this division UNTIL Maddon learns that Upton and Pena are killing this team!
    Upton will not be a good player (hitter & base runner) because he is STUPID.....Get It Maddon...If you do play him DO NOT HIT HIM LEADOFF.....PLEASE!
    Pena is NOT a good hitter...I don't care how many home runs
    he hits...HE IS NOT A #4 HITTER....Get it Maddon....he kills every rally the top of the order can get going!
    SORRY SPORTS FANS until these two things change the Rays will NOT beat the Yankees for the division....get use to it!

    • Myrna says:

      I am a big fan of Pena, but I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!!!!! Where the hell was Rodriguez???? He leaves his team to dry vac his home?? Give me a break!!! Why does Mariano come up with the game tied and Soriano stays put when we are on the line? I simply don't get any of this.

      • Joe Rays Fan says:

        Myrna - Big fan of Pena, too. But his days as a cleanup hitter have passed, and certainly against Sabathia. Somebody needs to rip Rodriguez a new one. Clubs have staff that can handle that kind of thing for a player. Just had over your house key and get to the damn game.

  2. robert says:

    This team throws away too, too many games. Last night could have set the tone for the second half. Now today the pressure is on and I'm not confident. Lets call it The Game of The Weak....

  3. Don says:

    I forgot the Rodz. "incident"!
    I have worked for many large Co's....If I would have told them I was going to miss an important meeting or sales presentation.... I had to stay home because of some water on the floor.... I would have been looking for a new job and they would get someone who could do the JOB!
    And the BEST...Maddon said he didn't even know about it?
    WHAT??? Do they all take seperate flights? Does anyone ask where is Rodz.?? IS this another Maddon joke?
    Its getting old!

  4. I was fine with leaving Soriano on the bench in the 9th. As much as I love MFIKY, less than 2 outs w/ the winning run on 2nd is pretty tough. MFIKY isn't a strikeout pitcher, so chances (and the odds) are the Yankees would've gotten that hit anyway.

    As easy as it is to rip on Pena & Upton (did everyone else but Bossman see that pickoff from a mile away)... the biggest problem w/ Rays v Yankees is that the Rays have nobody in the bullpen that can get Swisher out. Wheeler wasn't going to do it. Benoit couldn't do it. Cormier couldn't do it. Outside of MFIKY, JP Howell is the only guy that can get Yankees out from both sides of the plate. The Rays just don't have the left-handed arm in the BP to play matchups against the Yankees in the 7th or 8th. Just be glad that Shields was able to pitch the 6th because if the Yankees run a Rays starter early, it's lights out!

    • Stephanie says:

      I agree with you about the bullpen, but Maddon can only use what he has. The bullpen has been solid overall and it really isn't anyone's fault that they weren't up to the task of handling the Yankees. It's frustrating to watch them give up two runs in 2.2 innings, but there wasn't much Maddon, or anyone else, could have done about it.

      I'm more frustrated with the decision to bat Pena behind the Rays two best hitters, especially against Sabathia, because the team has other options.

  5. Alex says:

    Everyone would of put Benoit in so I have no problem with that, but why is it that when Wheeler strikes out Jeter, albeit with some scary foul offs, he is taken out for Cormier. Its not like Comier is dominate. In fact he's been far from it this year.


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