Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rays on life support.

Matty from St. Petersburg sent me a simple text after last night's game: Time to write an obituary for this team.  I'm not sure I agree, but this team is definitely on life support now.  Showing the same sort of passiveness that permeated the west coast trip, the Rays came out and laid another egg at home.  Granted, they were facing Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay.  But, the ol' Doc didn't have anything to do with the 5 runs given up in 3 innings. That was all on "Big Game" James Shields.

At least some of the Rays understand what's at stake.  Carlos Pena called a team meeting before the game to discuss the need to "pause" and not overreact to recent result.  Carl Crawford showed his leadership on the field, going 4 for 4 with only a homer away from the cycle.  BJ Upton went 2 for 3 and had a couple of nice defensive plays. And catcher Gregg Zaun introduced himself to fans at the Trop with a homer.

But in the end, it wasn't enough. This game started at 7:38. It was over by 7:45. Spotting Doc Halladay a 2 run lead won't win you too many games against the Blue Jays. Starting pitching like that brings us back to the Devil Ray days, when guys who shouldn't be starting for the Durham Bulls used to grace the roster.

The Rays are really running out of time. Last August, the Rays lost 7 games all month. Last night, they tied that... and there's still half of the month left. Let's hope the Rays can finally create that mythical "run" we've been looking for all year.

Here are some things I noticed in last night's 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays:

  • Middle of the lineup goose eggs. The 4 through 7 hitters didn't have too good of a night. They only accounted for 1 hit- and that was from Willy Aybar who didn't even start.  With that kind of production out of the middle of the order, it's no wonder Carl Crawford can go 4 for 4 and only score once.
  • Ben Zobrist's bat. I know it's vogue to criticize Pat the Bat and BJ Upton for their miscues at the plate, but Zorilla hasn't made an appearance in awhile.  He's only got 4 hits in his last 10 games. His average has dropped from .294 to .282.
  • PtB's stiff neck.  That's not a good sign. Honestly, I was hoping this guy wouldn't turn out to be a bust. But if he goes on the DL with another stiff neck, I'm going to have to give him the "bust" label for the 2009 season. Maybe he can turn it around next season.
  • Zaun learning the pitchers or the pitchers learning Zaun. I'm just going to throw this out there: The Rays starters haven't looked too comfortable since Zaun took over primary catching duties. Don't get me wrong, I like the guy. He brings a spark to this team. But, I'm just wondering if changing catchers mid-stream is causing just a little bit of problems for the starters.
  • The Angry pitcher takes his act to Durham.  It didn't take long for the Angry Pitcher's act to get tired here.  The Rays optioned Jeff Bennett to Durham last night.  Looks like Reid Brignac is going to make a Tropicana Field appearance. You know the season's getting rough when I'm actually looking forward to Brignac bringing a little energy to the team.   
I would also like to thank Southernmojo and djberg on Twitter for volunteering to help me with the Twittering the #Rays fan page on facebook.  I would like to bring a little diversity to that page for a little extra value instead of rehashing all of my thoughts.  If you haven't become a fan, go click on it and get a quick "facebook" dose of the Rays.

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