Saturday, June 13, 2009

Washington Nationals: Ghost of Devil Rays past

I'm not sure how many Washington National fans are out there.  But, last night I kind of felt a kinship with them.  Watching Nick Johnson drop that fly ball and then watching a .177 hitter arm swing the winning run over the left field fence reminded me of years gone by.  Some may say its the Rays good luck that lead to that win.  As a fan of the team formerly known as the Devil Rays, I know better.  That's what happens to bad teams.  The Rays may be having a disappointing season in compared to last year, but they're light years ahead of a team like the Washington Nationals.

Here are some of the things I noticed:

  • Gabe Kaplar's place on the team.  I heard plenty of chatter yesterday about the decision to send down Matt Joyce instead of getting rid of Kaplar.  Last night he came through. But, that's not why I'm good with the decision.  Let me explain: The Rays have NO  margin for error when it comes to their roster.  They can't go get guys they need in the middle of the season (like Boston and New York).  They made the decision in the off-season to bring in Kaplar to face lefties. That's a decision they're going to have to live with through the entire season. If the Rays were to have cut him yesterday.  He would be exposed to waivers and someone could pick him up.  Then, your without an option in the outfield.  Say Carl Crawford or BJ Upton gets hurt.  Then, you're stuck without an outfielder, especially since Ben Zobrist is playing 2nd.  I know it hurts to watch Edwin Jackson pitch well while Joyce plays yo-yo with Durham.  But, I think in the long run, the Rays have a long term solution in right field.  He'll be out there longer than Jackson will find success with the Tigers.
  • One run game.  The Rays took a 1-run game.  Joe Maddon seems to think that's the key to turning around the season.  I agree.  The more of those they win, the quicker they move up the standings.
  • Starters slump. The Rays starters seem prone this year to starts and hot streaks as a group. For whatever reason, it seems as though when Shields and Price/Kazmir struggle, Garza struggles. They also pitch well as a group. You can even through Niemann and Sonnanstine in that mix. Maybe that's why every time the Rays get a win streak, it's followed by a losing streak.  At least on this little "starters slump" the Rays are winning.
  • Interleague Drama.  The St. Pete Times reported this morning that the Rays forced the Clearwater Threshers to abandon their bobblehead promotion featuring the Philadelphia Phillies World Series starters.  That's great. I love the "not in my backyard" approach.  There's no reason we should be seeing Phillie giveaways in Clearwater.  

Post your comments

Post a Comment

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