Sunday, April 19, 2009

White Sox to Rays: This isn't 2008!

The Chicago White Sox today put the Rays out of their misery with a 12-2 thumping, taking 3 out of 4 from the team that ran them from the playoffs last year.  If there were any doubts among the Rays or Rays fans that this is a different year, than the White Sox did what they could to remove them. It was obvious throughout this series that Ozzie Guillen had spent a lot of mental energy on how the Rays defeated the Sox in the ALDS. That energy translated to his team. And the White Sox sent the Rays to a place that haven't seen in a real long time: the AL East Cellar!

Today's game was never really in doubt. From the moment AJ Pierzynski hit his 2 run homer in the 2nd, it was pretty much over. The Rays were without BJ Upton, who had to be pulled because of a Quad injury (expected back on Tuesday).  Evan Longoria played DH because of a tweeked foot. Bartlett and Navi were given the day off.

After the game, Maddon didn't seem happy.  He says it almost looks like the team is trying too hard at the plate right now.  He says the team has to start scoring some runs and stopping walking batters.   

Here are some things I noticed:

  • The Rays role players aren't getting it done right now.  Willy Aybar played a big role last year in the run to the World Series. Right now, he's just not hitting the ball.  The 2 Gabes are struggling so much, that some fans are starting web pages devoted to sending them packing.
  • I'm going to keep harping on this, but there are times when you have to leave your position players in position and quit with the shift.  Thome hit a grounder that would've been an inning ending double play, except there was nobody covering 2nd.  I really think these shifts are hurting the defense.  Don't over think it, Joe!
  • Garza loss today marks the first time this year that the Rays didn't get 2 of 3 wins from the big 3.  If the Rays are going to be successful through the entire season, they're going to need those 3 to keep winning.  I want to see 2 out of 3 wins each time through the pitching rotation.
  • In the post game, Kevin Kennedy addressed the Gabe Kaplar/Ben Zobrist right field debate.  He says as a manager, you can't over react thirteen games into the season. You have to get the guys at bats.  Interesting to note, Maddon did start Zorilla today at shortstop. 
Is it panic time, yet? I don't think so.  I'd like to see the Rays go over .500 in the upcoming road trip, win at least one series, and put together at least one 3 game winning streak.  The Seattle Mariners are hot right now and the Rays could really get some confidence by beating them on the road.  

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