Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Rays offense watches in silence as Buehrle pitches the perfect game

First off, congratulations to Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle for pitching a perfect game.  It's a rare and honorable feat to retire 27 major league batters in a row... without a mistake. Good job.

As for the Rays, the offense has finally frozen up. They seemed to be a bit on the chilly side for the first 7 games since the All-Star break. On the 8th day, Beuhrle froze them. One by one they came to the plate... and one by one they went back into the the dugout.  Sure there were a couple of chances. The most noticeable being DeWayne Wise's robbery of a Gabe Kaplar home run in the bottom of the ninth. But, all in all, the offense didn't bother to show up.

That seemed to be the story of the entire series.  The Chicago White Sox and Ozzie Guillen have seemingly avenged themselves for the Rays bouncing them from the playoffs last year.  The Rays need to take a lesson from this series and realized nothing's going to be easy for them for the rest of the yar.

Here's a list of things I noticed in the White Sox 5-0 victory over the Rays:

  • Scott Kazmir still finding ways to give up runs.  A grand slam, Scotty? Really? I know in the big picture it didn't matter. Beuhrle was dealing. But, I've said over and over that the Rays need Scott Kazmir to make a serious run. I didn't get a good feeling after today's game. Apparently, the feeling extended to Kazmir's arm... which he still says is feeling tight.
  • Trade Rumors. All kinds of rumors are flying around involving the Rays and the trade deadline. But, I still think the Rays are going to stand pat like they did last year. They may get a middle reliever, but I don't expect a "blockbuster" deal. 
  • Get the bats going. Honestly, the Rays are going to have to figure out how to score more than 4 runs over the next couple of days.  Four or less isn't going to cut it against the Yankees next week.


Matty said...

Back-to-back no hitters are a real possibility. Apparently there could be a big, emotional crowd in Toronto to watch what could be Roy Halladay's last start as a Blue Jay. Rays are going to get trounced -- again. Season is over. Trade assets and rebuild for a run next year -- and yes, that includes unloading CC and especially, that gutless head case, Kazmir.

Matty said...

From Baseball Prospectus: It's been a dreadful season for Kazmir, and it's tough to imagine the Rays could get anywhere near the value that they could have had they decided to trade him this past winter. His performance has completely cratered: a strikeout rate down by 39 percent from last year, a walk rate up 18 percent, an already-high homer rate up 7 percent. He's made just two quality starts out of his past 12, and of the 144 pitchers with at least 10 starts this year, only 11 of them have lower Support-Neutral Winning Percentages than his .411. Other than all that, he's like the second coming of Johan Santana. - Jay Jaffe

Matty said...

From ESPN's Keith Law: "Where a few years ago, Kazmir looked like an ace in the making, he's been going backwards for two solid years now in every facet of his game. His velocity has dropped two to three mph, his slider is getting flatter, and his control continues to deteriorate. In addition to all of those problems -- perhaps behind them all -- he's had elbow trouble on and off during those same two seasons. His contract is due to pay him like a mid-rotation starter, but he's shown no evidence this year that he's going to pitch at that level."

Matty said...

Keith Law doesn't even think he could become a mid-rotation starter again -- mid-rotation! Cut your losses and try to dump his salary.

Rays won't make the playoffs because of starting pitching: The bust that is Scott Kazmir, the fraud that was Andy Sonnanstine, and trading Edwin Jackson.

Oh, and the Jackson trade was officially bad. Jackson is helping the Tigers win NOW. Matt Joyce has not helped the Rays in 2009. Tigers win that trade, hands down.

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