Thursday, July 30, 2009

Still holding out hope, the season is not over

This guy's still holding out hope for a Rays turnaround!

I'm holding out hope.  I'm holding out hope that these Rays will somehow find what they're missing. I'm holding out hope that this team can get hot. I'm holding out hope that the starting pitching becomes dominant again. I'm holding out hope that Pat Burrell and Carlos Pena didn't forget how to swing the bat. I'm holding out hope that Dioner Navarro can get clutch hits. I'm holding out hope that the Rays will be a playoff team.

Last night's loss to the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field has a very demoralizing feel to it. Many are saying today that the Rays are done. Columns declaring their death were published and Yankee fan thinks the Rays were just a fluke. But, I say ... there's still hope. Somewhere, buried deep, is the Rays we know and love. We saw them Tuesday night. We've seen them in flashes during other parts of the season. Where are they now?

This team, as it stands, is capable of going on a run.  The Yankees did it. The Red Sox did it. Now, it's the Rays turn. And maybe, just maybe, if the Rays get hot at the right time... they can ride it all the way to the promised land. I know many of you may think I'm overly optimist. But, this is baseball, not football. One game or two doesn't get you eliminated. Baseball is 162 game marathon. It's a marathon that miracles can happen. The Rays have plenty of games against the teams in front of them. It's up to them to seize the opportunity.

Here are some things I noticed in the Rays 6-2 loss to the Yankees:

  • Get some offense going, please! I'll say this for the Rays lineup, they really know how to stink up the joint. I've got to give some credit to Joba Chamberlain for his excellent performance, but the Rays gave him a lot of help.  For some reason, this team isn't making adjustments as they go through the order.  The Rays need to change their approach on the 2nd and 3rd trips up against a pitcher. The Yankees did it last night. Why couldn't the Rays?
  • PtB Hate.  Pat Burrell has become the new Troy Percival to Rays fans. He got booed at the Trop last night as he continues to look absolutely lost at the plate. He went 0-4 with K's.  PtB even got his own "hate" column from St. Pete Times writer John Romano this morning.  He's an easy target. He wasn't part of last year's run. He's making a lot of money. And he's not doing what he was paid to do. I'm not sure there's any use of hating on PtB, because he's here to stay. It may be easier just to root for him to get on one of those "streaks."
  • Carlos Pena's falling stock. Pena's starting to get some bad vibes coming his way from Rays' fans. It's a little harder to hate on Pena because he's such a nice guy and he represents so much about the Rays turnaround. However, if he keeps looking bad at the plate or something happens to PtB... Pena could be in for his boo birds at the Trop.  I've even heard some talk from fans that the Rays should trade Carlos Pena.  That's a subject I don't think I've ever heard until this week.
  • Matt Garza and Derek Jeter.  If you want to point to one big mistake Garza made last night, it was giving up the triple to Jeter to begin the game. For some reason, that run loomed large all game. It seemed to give Joba some extra energy as he took the mound in the bottom of the 1st. For the most part, Garza was solid... just not solid enough.
  • Good defense. One common thread among these games is the defense.  On Monday and Wednesday, the Yankees made some great plays and won. On Tuesday, they didn't look as good and lost. It's like Joe Maddon keeps saying: Pitching and defense will win games.
  • Royals Relief.  This week would be a good time to start a win streak.  The Rays are 6-0 versus the Royals this year. Tomorrow night starts a 4 game set.
  • 5 games back. The 2009 Rays are now 5 games back on the 2008 Rays.  But, the 2008 Rays would be 3 games back from the 2009 Yankees. 


Matty said...

Instead of saying, maybe they can get hot, or maybe they can get on a run, why don't you breakdown the differences between 2008 and 2009? How about the Rays have the worst DH in baseball and are now financially screwed for 2 years because of him. Or the 2008 offseason was terrific, while the 2009 offseason was a complete disaster. Or the big swing in ERA for the starting pitchers.

These are real trends that will not change. And neither will the Rays chances at making the playoffs. Sell now and prepare for next year. The only way to compete in this division is with pitching depth.

Michael Weber said...

It's amazing how bad you say this team is, yet they're only 5 games behind last year's pace. And that's after having a complete disaster of an off-season (your words, not mine). Subtract April and this team is on the same pace as last year.

Bud Light said... have your sports confused...pace is for racing: horses, cars or runners...
Baseball success goes to those players who perform the best.....If you can't see the difference in the performance of 2008 vs 2009 Rays players than well ...maybe your pace thing will work out??

Michael Weber said...

You're wrong, Bud. Pace is very important in baseball. The Rays know going into a season that they have to win around 95 games to make the playoffs. Right now, the Rays have 55 wins. At that pace they'll have to win around 2 out of every 3 games left to get to 95. Will it be tough? Absolutely. Can they do it? Absolutely.

And you're right. Baseball success goes to those players who peform the best over the entire season... not just the first 100 games. It's getting late, but the Rays can still do it.

Bud Light said...

There you go with that "pace thing" again....Maybe they didn't want to win early so they can set their "pace"...? Does that make sense???

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