Thursday, July 2, 2009

Series win fine by me

Wednesday didn't turn out quite the way the Rays hoped for.  First, Blue Jays lefty Ricky Romero stifled the bats in a masterful 8 innings of shutout work.  Then the Baltimore Orioles returned the favor to the Boston Red Sox, blowing a 4 run lead before falling 6-5.  And finally, the New York Yankees extended their winning streak to 7 and increased their wild card lead over the Rays to 2 1/2 games. Taken together, not a great day for the Rays. However, I don't think it's cause for panic.

The important thing this week was that the Rays took 2 of 3 from the Jays in Rogers Centre.  Not only did they show the Jays that they could beat them in Toronto, they also had to beat their ace Roy Halladay in the process.  Coming out of the series, the Rays are 2 games ahead of the Jays... as the Jays head to New York to face the Yankees.  Someone will have to lose in that series. And it means as long as the Rays handle their business in Arlington, they'll either gain ground on the Yankees or put more ground between them and the Jays.  A win-win all the way around.  The real bright spot is that the Rays won a series against a good team on the road.  If they can keep that going, it's going to be a real good 2nd half.

Here are some things I noticed in the Rays 5-0 loss to the Jays:

  • Wicked Ricky Romero.  The Blue Jays pitcher made the Rays look real bad yesterday. Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, and Pat Burrell combined for 7 K's yesterday.  The Rays are probably going to see Romero again.  However,  I think that the Rays hitters will have something for him the next time they see him.
  • James Shields run support.  Much was made of Shields lack of run support yesterday. He got none.  However, I tend to think run support is more a "lucky" stat than anything else. There really isn't an adjustment Joe Maddon can make to get Shields more run support.  I also don't think the Rays offense decides to shut it down because "Big game" is on the mound.
  • Pat the Bat. Fail. Still waiting for Pat the Bat's streak to start.  Once again, I saw a pitcher walk Ben Zobrist to get to Pat.  That set Pat up with the bases loaded and a chance to do some damage to Romero. Instead, he grounds into a double play. I would've rather seen him strike out. I really want Pat to succeed, but he's making it real difficult.  Of course, this could all be a moot point if he gets it going late in the season.
  • Still 4 games back from last year.  I prefer to measure the Rays season as compared to last year instead of what the Red Sox are doing.  Right now, they're still 4 games back on last year's pace. The 2009 Rays can pick up some of those games in the coming weeks.  The 2008 squad had a Cleveland losing streak going into the All-Star break.

1 Comment:

JMS said...

Well said, MADDON has been great lately, and yesterday the Rays flat out just got dominated by Romero. He pitched great and got out of jams, but the Rays still won 2 out of 3, and are 7-1 the past 8 games. This team is gelling, lets hope they can keep clicking. Getting Sonanstine out of the rotation literally gives the Rays a good chance to win every night now with the starters. GO RAYS!

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