Friday, April 17, 2009

2008 vs 2009: 10 Game Report

The 2009 season has opened for the Rays with big expectations.  The goal is to surpass last year's surprise run to the World Series.  Through the first 10 games of the season, I find myself looking for similar patterns from last year to this year. Since 2008 is the only base reference we have for a successful Rays season, it becomes a good barometer to see where the team is at from week to week.

Road Warriors
Both years, the Rays started with six games on the road. In both 2008 and 2009, the Rays returned home with a 3-3 record. However, in 2008, the Rays split the 2 road series with the Yankees and Orioles. This year, they won the Red Sox series, but lost the Orioles series.  By beating the Red Sox early at Fenway, I think the 2009 club made a statement that the 2008 didn't on the first road trip.  Edge: 2009 Rays

At the Trop
Toward the end of last night's game, Matty from St. Pete sent me a text asking if the Rays had lost three at home all of last year.  I looked quickly through the 2008 campaign and found that they did not have a 3 game losing streak at home all of last year.  This year, they've lost 3 of their first 4 including the last 3 in a row. This is really disturbing.  For the Rays to win the AL East, they're going to have to be monsters at home.  This team is built for the Trop. They have to own the building. While the 2008 team went the whole season without losing three in a row at home, they did drop some early series. They lost 3 of their 1st 4 home series. That included series losses to both the Yankees and the White Sox.  But, like I said, they never lost 3 in a row at the trop.
Edge: 2008 Rays

One Run Games
We all know the success the Rays enjoyed in one run games last year (29-18).  The Rays success in those games were a big part of the reason they won the AL East.  In 2008, the only one run game they played in the first 10 was a loss to Seattle at home. That game featured an early meltdown from Matt Garza. Interesting to note, Maddon deployed Wheeler, Reyes, and Percival to keep the game at 1 run in the 7th, 8th, and 9th. They came through, the bats did not.

As for the 2009 Rays, they're 1-3 in one run games including 2 straight 1 run losses.  In both, the 1 run was scored late off the bullpen.  But, going past the 1st 10 games of the season the 2008 Rays were 0-4 in their first 4 one run games.  While it's encouraging that the Rays were able to take a 1 run game in Boston this year, it's also disappointing that they would drop two at home.
Edge: Push (too early to tell)

Should we panic?
I still say it's too early to tell. You would expect the 2009 Rays to be a more mature ballclub and avoid some of the mistakes the 2008 club made early in the year. That's part of the team growing process.  However, from a straight year to year comparison, they're not that far removed from each other after 10 games.  The 2008 Rays didn't really turn until the Orlando series against Toronto. That was the 20th game.  If the 2009 club want to keep up with the 2008 club, they're going to have 10 games to pull it together.

However, the 2009 schedule has something the 2008 schedule didn't... a monster west coast road trip in April. By the time the 2009 Rays get to game 20, they'll be in Minnesota opening a series following a pair of 3 game sets in Seattle and in Oakland.  The 2008 Rays only played 2 road games (both in Minnesota) during in games 10 to 20. 

Panic Button: Let's wait to see how the White Sox series pans out. If the Rays win the next two, they're looking much better for the road trip.


Bud Weber said...

The Rays need to work on coming from behind. Last year they did a lot of that. This year so far, not too successful.

Anonymous said...

The Rays seem to be a team built on speed trying to be a power team as well. You cannot serve two masters, and the 0-11 with RISP last night proves it. Small ball can beat these overpriced AL East rivals, but there needs to be a commitment to it! - Matt

Mike/ Rays Rev said...

All hail to the Small Ball king! I suspect Bossman and CC's struggles are contributing to the lack of small ball from the Rays.

Post a Comment

Rays Revolutionary treated by Truly Nolen © Layout By Hugo Meira.