Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So, where is that "pitching depth" you were talking about Mr. Friedman?

No pitching depth here!. Photo courtesy of RaysRenegade via twitter.

I'm still  looking for that pitching depth Andrew Friedman said allowed the Rays to make a move during a playoff run. It was nowhere to be found. Instead, I saw a starter who is nothing more than a generic righty and a team that looks like it's playing without a hope.

How else would you expect the players to respond?  Across the field in the other dugout is a team that goes and gets what they need. They have a new catcher.  They have a new shortstop. They have a new middle-reliever.  The Rays? They replaced one of their most consistent starters with a guy who had trouble getting AAA guys out.

Of course, management will point to the stands and say that's why they had to move Scott Kazmir. But, isn't that putting the cart before the horse? This is only the Rays second winning season. It's only the second time games in September have actually meant something. You expect us to believe that Rome was built overnight? Last night's attendance was a referendum on the Scott Kazmir trade. If the Rays management doesn't think the Rays are making the playoffs, why should the fans? We know that the walk-ups are your bread and butter. Who's going to walk-up to watch a team playing the rival with one hand tied behind their back?

In the end, all of the Red Sox fans and all the Yankee fans were right. The Rays are nothing more than a farm team for the big boys.  For one magical year and a half, I was able to suspend that disbelief and think that this team may be something different. But I guess in the world of major league baseball, there will always be haves and have-nots. The Rays will always be the Yankees and Red Sox pesky little brother. The boy that every once in awhile gets one over on the big guy, but later learns his lesson.

Here are some of the things I noticed in last night's 8-4 loss to the Red Sox:

  • Errors, errors, errors. I'm not sure who gave the Rays the dropsies, but they sure looked bad out there. If you want to contrast the difference between the Rays and the Red Sox this year and last, look no further than the defense.  Jacoby Ellsbury made to big stops in center field to prevent runs, while the Rays spent all evening giving the Red Sox extra outs. Last year, that wouldn't have happened.
  • Robo-Los. I've got to tip my hat to Carlos Pena. He's single handedly trying to carry this team. I fear, however, it may be to little, too late. 
  • Andy Sonnanstine. I'd really prefer never to see him pitch a game in a Rays uniform again. It looks like the league has figured him out.  But, I guess management thought he had enough left to trade last night's scheduled starter.
  • Pitching depth, part 2. I misspoke early when I said I couldn't find any pitching depth. I found it in the bullpen.  Joe Maddon seemed to have a pitcher for every batter in the Red Sox lineup. We got to see all of them.
  • Sean Rodriguez from the Angels. People tell me that's a good pick-up. I guess I would be more impressed if he played for the Rays last night.
  • Attendance Woes. This will be talked and talked about today.  Fans will be called out. Management will use it to justify the Kazmir trade.  Don't worry, I'm sure the Rays will draw well on Saturday for the Beach Boys concert.
  • Red Sox fans. I really dislike many Red Sox fans. At least Yankees fans were humbled a little by last year. Not so for Red Sox fan, who seems to think this one win justifies all their theories on how the best team did *not* go to the World Series last year.  Keep telling yourself that, Red Sox fan. I hope it makes you sleep better at night. In case you're wondering, you're no different than the Yankees. The only difference is that the Yankees signed their big guns before the season. You picked yours up during the season.


Bud Light said...

I refuse to go to or watch another game Sonnanstine ever pitches UNLESS its for another team...If thats the best they have to offer...
For a pitching staff that was too good for Edwin Jackson...What if Niemann had not stepped up as a rookie and Price turned out ok...Where would our pitching be at????

Tim Daloisio said...

As a Red Sox fan (and speaking for myself, not all Sox fans), I think it's pretty clear the Rays were the better team last year. I also think many Red Sox fans were terrified of and expecting a battle from the Rays this series (and that the Rays were in fact the larger WC threat than the Rangers). Your blanket statements re: Red Sox fans' points of view are more representative of insecurity and spite than anything else.

I'll absolutely give you the fact that resources aren't equitable and that gives the Red Sox an advantage just as it does the Yankees. At the same time, how can that be held against either team. I've long ago accepted that the Yankees (who can outspend the Red Sox nearly as much as the Red Sox can outspend any other team) have every right to exert their economic supremacy within the rules/parameters guiding the league.

But that's neither here nor there...

Last night was Lester vs. Sonnanstine...what outcome did you expect? Sox win that match up 8 out of 10 times. We'll see what comes to pass with more equitable pitching match ups over the next two games.

Michael Weber said...

Thanks. You're absolutely right, we couldn't expect much more from Lester vs Sonnanstine.

Anonymous said...

"The only difference is that the Yankees signed their big guns before the season. You picked yours up during the season"

Your damn right they got their big guns. You know why? Because the Yankee and Red Sox organizations have the money to spend because the fans come out to watch their teams. Cry all you want but if more fans came out to watch the Rays, they would have more money to spend on players. Its embarrassing to see a team that made it to the World Series last year struggle to pull 15,000 people into the park on a night they are fighting for a playoff spot in early September.

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