Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rays rolling, need to keep it going!

The Tampa Bay Rays did something last night they were unable to do since last season: win 4 in a row.  This is the kind of streak they need to keep pace in the AL East.  The Toronto Blue Jays will face off against the Boston Red Sox as they finally dip their toes into their AL East schedule.  It's important for the Rays to keep winning while the teams ahead of them play each other.  .500 doesn't seem like much of a milestone, but the Rays can quickly start adding games and find themselves over that mark.

Here are some things I noticed:

Jason Bartlett is playing like a man possessed. 3 for 3 with 5 RBI's is just insane for the Rays shortstop.  There should be no excuse why he isn't the starting shortstop for the American League this year (except for the popularity of that guy from NY)

Jeff Niemann did his part.  I wrote earlier that the Rays starters need to step up.  Given a nice cushion, Niemann went out and pitched eight good innings, giving up only 3 earned runs.  Now, we get to the big 3 in the rotation.  Shields and Kazmir need to get it done.

Carlos Pena is seeing a lot of balls. For those of you complaining about Pat Burrell's lack of production this year, look no further than Pena's home run total during Pat the Bat's absence. Many fans may not notice, but I'm sure Pena misses him.

Team building.  I like the blurb about Carlos Pena's birthday bash and postgame BBQ on Sunday. After their big win against Cleveland, most of the team showed up to with the 1st baseman a happy 31st birthday.  Yesterday, Pena put a note in the clubhouse saying, "it was the best birthday of my life." That's the kind of unity I like to see.

Keep it going.  This Oakland team in not very good and the Rays have to keep the pedal to the medal.  The Blue Jays have won 4 in a row and the Yankees have won 6 in a row.  The Rays are in a dogfight and cannot let games against week opponents slip away.

Quick note:  
I'm connecting with a lot of Rays fans over on Twitter. If you'd like to follow me and get in on the discussion, go to www.twitter.com/m_weber  If you're looking for other Rays fans to follow look on my list and start following people.  There's good in-game commentary and plenty of post-game analysis... all in 140 characters or less.

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