Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I guess the Rays won last night?

That's what the computer, newspaper, and TV reports told me last night. Of course, I couldn't see it myself because the game wasn't broadcast on Sun/FSN. It's amazing how the change in fortunes of a team can change a fan's temperament. Just two years ago, I had no problem if a game wasn't on TV... especially a game in August. Usually by this time, the Rays had already had their "fire" sale and were playing a bunch of call-up Triple-A'ers.  Last night, I found myself especially bothered that the game wasn't on TV.  It reminded me of those Saturday night concert games last year that were blacked out because of their starting time. On the bright side, I'll now get to watch Sunday's game against the Detroit Tigers.

Here are some things I would've noticed had I been able to watch the game:

  • Carlos Pena... on fire! Yesterday, I described him as "toasty." Today, he gets the "on fire" designation for his 2 homer night.  He now has 37 homers on the year, 200 in his career, and 117 in a Rays uniform. Not bad for a guy who barely made the squad in 2007.  Over the last couple of weeks, Pena has really stepped it up not only at the plate but as a leader as well. This is what leaders do. Hopefully, Pena can do this all the way to the playoffs.
  • James Shields and some run support. I'm glad the Pena and Burrell show gave some runs to Shieldsy. I was getting tired of the "run support" garbage defending Shields.  "Big game" needs to find some more moxy like he had last night to keep this team going.  The Rays have to be able to pencil him in for a win every fifth day to catch the Red Sox and Rangers.
  • Carl Crawford's back. I love CC, but it really irks me when I start hearing his complaints about too many games in a row on turf. I understand your back hurts, just take a couple days off and we'll see you in Detroit.
  • Playoff watch.  The Rays didn't gain any ground last night because the Rangers and Red Sox both won. Get used to that. It's hard to pick up ground on teams when you're not playing them unless you go on a 10 game or so win streak.  September 1st to September 13th will probably decide this team's playoff chances.
  • Some comparisons to last year. At 125 games this year, the Rays are at 69-56.  The 2008 Rays were at 77-48, eight games ahead of this year's pace.  The 2009 Yankees are 1 game ahead of the 2008 Rays pace.
  • The 95 game mark.  I still say the Rays need to win 95 games to make the playoffs. Right now, that means they need 26 wins in the next 37 games. It can be done.
  • Programming note. Friend of the blog "Sam from Tampa" will be guest hosting on 1040 AM Espn radio this afternoon.  Even though he's a U of M guy, he knows his Rays and will be giving plenty of air time to the Rays.  Take a listen, starting at 3. Here's the link: 1040 ESPN.

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