Saturday, July 4, 2009

Curse of the red hats strikes again

No more red hats! That's my rally call this morning. For the second time this year, the Rays have looked horrible both figuratively and literally wearing red hats.  Last night, the Rays wasted a good performance from Scott Kazmir and went completely quiet at the plate.  Maybe they were confused on which team they were playing for, I'm not sure.  All I can say is that the red hats are awful on a team with absolutely no red in their color scheme. Last years special cap with the red, white, and blue in the "TB" logo was fine.  But, I guess each year the MLB marketing department has to come up with something new to sell.  Two more days!

Oh yeah, happy Independence Day!

Here are some things I noticed in the Rays 3-1 loss to the Texas Rangers:

  • Scott Kazmir looking real good. The Rays are really going to need a strong and healthy Kazmir to truly make a run again this year. He's the difference maker in the starting rotation. Last night, he had only one big mistake- hanging a slider to Hank Blalock.  His 2 run homer was the difference.  But, if the Rays get that kind of performance out of Kaz the rest of the year, they'll win more than they'll lose.
  • Bullpen strength.  Another sign of things to come is the way the bullpen has been playing.  4 innings - no runs.  They're playing like a group possessed. I can't pinpoint the exact point this squad turned the corner, but for whatever reason these guys are on fire.  Another example of a performance that the Rays will win more often than not.
  • 2 errors = 2 runs.  The biggest difference between the Rays and the Rangers last night were two errors from the middle infield.  Jason Bartlett threw one past Carlos Pena that gave the Rangers a base runner for Blalock to knock in.  The other error came later in the game when Ben Zobrist over threw 1st on a double play ball. That turned into the Rangers 3rd insurance run.  Never underestimate the power of defense.
  • Rangers defense.  Carl Crawford had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs in the 5th inning.  He ripped a liner that Ian Kinsler robbed on a diving catch.  That ball gets through.. it's a whole other ball game.

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