Flo Rida peformed after the game. The Rays are 12-1 in concert series games. Apple-bottom jeans, indeed.
For the 2nd year in a row, Rays fans expecting some "big move" from the front office were left disappointed at the end of the trade deadline. No last minute deals. No Victor Martinez. No Roy Halladay. While a couple dozen players changed uniforms, the Rays stood pat.
Andrew Friedman said the Rays wanted to focus on "run prevention." He says he believes the team has the in-house options on offense. They may have just needed to shore up some pitching and catching.
It's not that they didn't try. Friedman said they had some things going, but couldn't find the right fit. I'm fine with that. The Rays aren't the Yankees or Red Sox. They can't supplement their team mid-season. Don't forget, the the Red Sox held back on some moves in the off-season just to prepare for the deadline.
While on the surface it looks like the rich got richer and the Rays couldn't keep up, just remember that the season isn't decided on the last day in July. Both the Red Sox and the Angels made moves last year that didn't help them get to the World Series. There's still plenty of baseball left to play and the current roster has to show the front office that their faith in them is justified.
We may have seen some of that last night. The biggest public enemies right now among Rays fandom seems to be: Pat Burrell, Dioner Navarro, and Carlos Pena. All three came up big last night showing that they've still got some worth to the team and can help lead this team past the Red Sox and Yankees.
Here are some things I noticed in the Rays 8-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals:
- Staking an early lead. One thing that's really bothered me about this team since the All-Star break is their lack of runs early. It seems like they're always playing from behind. Last night B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford got hit... and Carlos Pena knocked them in for a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 1st. The Rays never looked back.
- PtB: Public Enemy Number 1. I guess now that Troy Percival is out of the picture, some Rays fans need someone to hat. Well, Pat Burrell has become the man. PtB is now getting booed at Tropicana Field. Many complained that the Rays need to dump him or at the least bench him. While I'm not pleased with his production, dumping him or benching him does nothing at this point. The Rays need him to get hot. The only way that's going to happen is if he gets at-bats. Maybe in a few weeks we'll look at his triple last night and say that it was where the "streak" began.
- Dionar Navarro, dead to the fandom. Outside of Scott Kazmir, the catcher position has been the biggest source of rumors when it comes to the trade deadline. The Rays were linked with Victor Martinez, almost from the start. I, for one, am glad he went to the Red Sox... so I can resume my dislike for him. As for Navarro, I don't think Martinez would've been an upgrade defensively. While his bat would've helped, I don't think he was worth the price. As for Mr. Navarro, he knocked one out of the park. Maybe the rumors shook him up, just enough.
- Looking good, Mr. Price. He was throwing a ton of strikeouts, but he did keep the game in control and went 7 innings. Those are the kinds of performances we need to see from the Rays starting pitchers every night if the Rays are going to climb back into the race. Now, if we can just see 3 or 4 of those in a row from the starters.
- Bye-bye, Mr. Spock. I'm not sure why, but it appears Joe Nelson and his Vulcan change-up are headed to Durham. The Times said Spock learned about it after the game. The Rays said they would make a corresponding move today.
- I know the Rays are playing the Royals. But, this series could go a long way toward building some momentum.
- 39 wins to go. The Boston Red Sox needed 95 wins to get the Wild Card berth last year. I'm using that as a benchmark for this year. After last night's win, they need 39 more to get to 95.