2015 Rays Schedule released

We disect the 2015 Rays schedule.

Some thoughts on the first series of 2014

The Rays have played their first series, I have some concerns about the team.

2014 predictions

How will the AL East look at the end of 2014? Here are my predictions.

Don't trade David Price

It's been widely accepted that the Rays will trade David Price. I don't think they should. Here's why.

Rays acquire Ryan Hanigan and Heath Bell

Rays acquire two big names in a three team trade involving the Reds and D-Backs, but what did they give up in return?

Aug 31, 2011

GAME REVIEW: James is hot in hot Arlington

by Aaron Giddens



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RHE
TB
02
1
0
0
0
1
0
0

4
6
1

TEX
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1

1
7
0

Click here for expanded Box Score.


Very nice game, I wish it could have gone a little better, but no real bad complaints. Here's more detailed thoughts.

In the second inning, the Rays loaded the bases and Jaso drove in one on a RBI single and Jennings walked forcing in the Rays second run. The good hitting continued in the third as the Rays would get the first two runners on on two singles and Matt Joyce would drive one of them in. Longo and Kotchman had a combo defensive gem in the 5th. In the 7th inning Damon homered to right for the first hit off the Rangers bullpen. James Shields, he reached 1,000 career K's in the bottom of the 7th and pitched 8 IP, not a CG but very solid and I think he would have gotten the CG if it hadn't been for the first inning. Poor Brian Anderson got owned by the production truck repeatedly over a couple of innings by posting candid pictures of him, here's one such picture.

Candid BA


I was able to take me a refreshing nap between Tateyama's pitches who came in after 2.2 IP by the Rangers' starter. I felt refreshed. In the bottom of the 8th Jaso dropped the would-be 2nd out, he took a well deserved error, Shields picked him out and struck out the batter on the next pitch. Kyle just wasn't himself in the 9th as he gave up a couple of hits and a run and on the last batter he found himself. Too close for comfort and Shields' shutout was lost.

Like I said, well played game, wish Shields could have gotten the CG but the first inning killed him and wins are very important to keep the very little hope we have of a playoff spot alive. I don't blame Joe. So, all-in-all, shaky ninth but great game nonetheless.

Aug 24, 2011

Dwindling hope

by Aaron Giddens

Here we are gang, the final 5 weeks of the season and the Rays sit 81/2 back of a playoff spot and we're chasing two of the biggest money bags in baseball. The Rays have work to do, but them doing their job won't be all that's needed for the Rays to have their miracle playoff spot. They also need the Yankees or Red Sox to have a collapse, and I think we all know how likely that is. Not very.

The good news is that the Rays are by large playing their best baseball possible. Evan Longoria has emerged from his 2 year slump. He's red hot and is back to being the third baseman we fell in love with in the 2008 ride to the World Series. The player that won the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year award. Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman have been godsends. When Pena was lost to free agency this past offseason I was sure that our replacement would never live up to the glove that Carlos took to the north side of Chicago. I was wrong. I'm happy I was wrong. Our defense has benefited from the gold glove caliber emergence of Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez and Sam Fuld.

Other good news include the recent permanent call up of Desmond Jennings has been spectacular to witness. Is his short time up he's batted .330 and belted 5 home runs. He's also stolen 13 bases. And man this boy has speed.

On the other hand, we have to beat the Yankees or the Red Sox to have a playoff spot. We all know a collapse by one of these two, while not impossible, is not likely. Still don't count us out. These Rays know no quit. And until the Yankees or Red Sox both secure playoff spots the Rays will fight. But my hope for a playoff spot is dwindling and it doesn't help that we got beat by the Tigers last night with a two run 7th.

All in all, hope is dwindling but it's not gone yet. The Rays still have a shot at the play offs. We just need to pray and let the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees take care of the rest. CHARGE!!!

GAME REVIEW: GTMI Fail

by Aaron Giddens




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RHE
DET
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0

2
7
0

TB
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0

1
11
0

Click here for expanded Box Score.


So here we are again another game review and tonight we debut our new score box above, tell us what you think in the comment section below. As for the game, a cold offense against a horrible opposing pitcher was the story again. Here's the details.

In the Bottom of the 3rd Zobrist hit his 42nd double to drive in the Rays first run. Reid Brignac got a hit to lead off the Bottom of the 3rd and did it again in the 5th, celebrate the smaller victories. Reid in the Top of the 6th started a Double Play with a glove toss that you can, in the words of Dwayne Staats, stamp it with a star. With runners on the corners for the Tigers and no outs in the 7th, Martinez hit a hard ball to third and Longo proceeded to pick it up and throw the tying run out at the plate to preserve the Rays lead for the time being, stamp that play with a star too.

Rays had the leadoff man on in 4 of the first 5 innings and were only able to score the man in one of those. Thus missed opportunities. And it would continue again in the 7th when they would strand the bases loaded. Rays left 12 on base. Once again the Rays made a bad pitcher look really good, in 6.1 innings of work, Brad Penny only gave up a run. In the same 7th inning of Longo's heads up play, Price gave up 2 runs and 3 hits to ruin an otherwise wonderful start.

Is there some sort of curse I don't know about, the Rays can't beat the Tigers to save their season. It's pathetic. And it wasn't anyone's fault but the Rays. Shape up or just go home. We can't keep leaving people on base if you expect to cash in on the dwindling hope for a playoff spot. Do or die. Your choice, guys.

Aug 21, 2011

Looking to hire writers on volunteer basis

by Aaron Giddens

Great news!! I, as owner/creator of this opinion blog, have decided to hire VOLUNTEERS (meaning no pay) to write weekly opinion editorials on the Rays. For more information DM our Twitter account or email me. I'm only hiring two at most so get in touch fast.

Aug 20, 2011

GAME REVIEW: The 6th straight home win

by Aaron Giddens



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RHE
SEA
000
0
0
0
0
0
0

07
0
TB
20
3
0
0
0
0
3
x

8
13
0

Click here for expanded Box Score.

This was a good game, nice to see the offense breaking out.

In the first inning at bat for the Rays Johnny Damon tripled to right-center, Longo then homered to left 4 pitches later to put the Rays up 2-0. Zobrist had a another double in the 3rd inning extending his lead to 41 doubles this year. The bases got loaded in the 3rd and managed to cash in then then reloaded the bases and left them loaded. Hellboy got the job DONE tonight not counting the 8th inning. Shame he couldn't finish it.

After Furbush was relieved the Rays bats went cold. We just couldn't get to the Seattle Bullpen. BJ Upton was probably the one dark spot in tonight's lineup. Again. Seagers 9th inning AB for the final out got on my nerves. 11 pitches at least. That's about it for bad.

This was a good game. Hard fought win. Happy to see Helly get the W. Good work all around.

Aug 18, 2011

Chirinos gets ticket back to Durham

by Aaron Giddens

So per this tweet by Marc Topkin of the St. Pete Times, it appears Robinson Chirinos is heading back to Durham and John Jaso will return Friday from the 15-day Disabled List, to which I say...

NOOOOOOOOO!!!

This is crap, I mean I've grown a liking to Jaso in the time he's been here, but Chirinos is hot right now, need to stick with him. But alas, he needs for training to be a catcher. He is a converted infielder after all. So maybe this is for the best for now. In the meantime, I hope Lobaton is healthy soon because we need a REAL catcher behind the plate in this crucial time.

Aug 17, 2011

GAME REVIEW: Nice offense, Boston. NOT!

by Aaron Giddens



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RHE
TB
100110100
470
BOS
000000000
031

Click here for expanded Box Score.

One of the more boring games in my opinion, but it did have fun moments. Here are my thoughts.

Johnny Damon had two doubles (though officially one was later changed to a single and an error). Stay hot Damon. In the fourth inning, Upton launched one over the Monstah. He was followed in the fifth with Longo sending one over the Monstah. Zorilla had a double in the fifth but was stranded and had an RBI double in the 7th. On the good side from a funny standpoint, Shoppach sent another bat in to the stands and this doozy of a tweet hit Twitter. David Price went 8 3-hit innings. Masterful job, and if it hadn't been for pitch count we might have not seen the bullpen this series. Turns out the only bullpen member we would see is Farnsworth. He would pitch a perfect 9th inning.

The official scoring in this series was ridiculous I lost count of how many hits were taken from the Rays and were changed to errors on the Red Sux. The strike zone again makes an appearance. In the top of the third, Kotch was called out on a pitch 10 inches outside the zone. I place the sole blame for the lack of Price's Complete Game on Dustin Pedroia, to many long AB's.

A good pitchers duel is good, but so is a slugfest, this game was in between so it was a bit boring. But the Rays got what they needed in a win. Taking two of three from the Red Sux is what we needed at the very least. Rays will head home and wait for the Mariners. Good job, Boys.

Aug 16, 2011

GAME REVIEWS: The Bahston doubleheader

by Aaron Giddens


GAME 1: The Losing Complete Game effort



Click image for expanded Box Score.


Well, not exactly the start to the double header the Rays needed. Not much more to say to start here.

On the positive side. James Shields was excellent only one bad pitch, and though it was ultimately what killed the Rays today I don't want to shame him for it. Word on twitter is that this will count as his 9th complete game of the year. Shields is working this year. Too bad this couldn't have happened last year, maybe we might have gotten further in the playoffs. We saw small ball scoring in the first inning...

...after that the bats went cold. Lester was screwy in the first leading to the Rays only run and two of their only three hits. After that Lester found himself and well...see ya at 7pm. Jacoby Ellsbury burned the only bad pitch from Shields and sent it over the right field wall and that would be all they got but it was all they needed. S-Rod was plucked in the knee by Lester at one point and was on the ground not able to stand for a good 2 minutes, he eventually finished the game.

So, not a bad game but it was not the result that was needed. Game 2 better turn out better...

GAME 2: What bullpen?



Click image for expanded Box Score.


Well played second game, just what the Rays needed. Here we go...

On the good side in tonight's nightcap is again Jennings. The kid has not disappoint, tonight it was a solo shot OVER the Monster and in to the parking lot. The Rays found the bats they were missing earlier today and combined for 7 hits. Neimann, who can stop this guy? This makes him 7-0 since coming off the DL. He does it going the distance for the complete game victory. In the top of the 8th, they had Upton picked off and got him in a rundown, Upton worked it and Zorilla broke for home and scored on the bad throw by Pedroia. The next pitch was smoked by Kotch to left-center scoring Upton. Might be the most creative two runs scored this year in all of the MLB. Damon had a double later to pass The Babe on the all-time doubles list. HOFer? In this double header the Red Sox were limited to 5 runs and 6 hits.

On the other hand. The Rays hit in to their second ever Triple Play. Ouch. Ellsbury again hurt the Rays with the long ball....nearly the same spot as the early afternoon shot, but this time it brought the score to 3-2. Varitek went deep in 3rd. Oh, and Bob Davidson, enough said.

All-in-all this game gets my seal of approval. Can't beat the Red Sox any more soundly.

Today was a good day we split the double header, would have been nice to sweep it but I'll take the split any day. Two complete games by the starters. Way to save the bullpen. Good work, Boys, rest so you can beat the Red Sox tomorrow.

Aug 13, 2011

GAME REVIEW: Umpires 2,765,874 , Rays 0

by Aaron Giddens


Click image for expanded Box Score.


What the heck was that?! The Rays were owned, not by the Yankees but the umpires. I'm mad as heck right now. Time to vent...

On the good side tonight we find Desmond Jennings again. A home run. And a triple by Johnny Biceps. That's about all that was good today. We were screwed way too much today.

Jorge Posada had an amazing day....if you're a Yankees fan. He went three for five with a Grand Slam that was ultimately the death of the Rays today. He drove in six runs. Hellboy's command had to be lost in the baggage claim at JFK, he was all over the place. In 4 and a third he gave up 4 runs (all earned) on 8 hits. He gave 2 walks and only managed four strike outs. Not exactly domination, but not horrible either. The bullpen, oh bullpen, what happened. They combined to give up five earned runs. The Rays bats were MIA and the balls that were hit hard were caught/robbed by Teixiera, Cano or Swisher. But our star of stupidity today is home plate umpire Tom Hallion. The only way it would have been more obvious he was helping the Yankees is if he had a huge Yankees tattoo on his forehead. What was with this guy, every guy that got a full count today on the Rays side was called out checking their swing when 9 times out of 10 they had checked in time, no appeal, Hallion just rung 'em up. His strike zone was astonishingly inconsistent today too. When the Rays were pitching it felt like his strike zone was the size of a pocket calendar but when the Yankees were pitching it was like the strike zone was the size of my parents 56" HDTV on it side. Un-freaking-believable. A minor star of stupidity goes out to the Fox announcers, if I had $10 for every mistake about the Rays and the Bay Area I heard today, I would be able to buy the new special edition Star Wars Xbox 360 with the 320GB Hard Drive. Jeez man.

In short, the Rays were royally screwed today. By themselves, the Yankees, but mostly cause of the home plate ump. I will now go bang my head against my desk...



*headdesk*

Aug 11, 2011

There is still some hope...

by Aaron Giddens

The Rays are on a hot streak, 7-3 in their last 10 games, including a recently completed sweep of the Royals. Can they keep this up?

I think they can if they can keep playing the brand of baseball they are. Small ball. Don't try to hit homeruns, if it happens, wonderful. But if not just get the dang man in.

The Rays are in New York to begin a three game set with the Bronx Bombers. The Evil Empire. We need this series if we are to revive our playoff hopes. Anything less than a sweep is disappointing, but it's not gonna be easy. They get to face Sabathia, Hughes and Garcia while in NYC.

The Rays aces are reeling. As pointed out by Cork Gaines of Rays Index, this should have been expected. Last year Price put a lot of stress on that young arm. Here's hoping he can rebound.

James Shields has been jaw-dropping awesome all year yet lately he's been struggling if ever so slightly. He got a complete game shutout a few nights ago. Maybe he's rebounding.

The bottom line is the Rays need to keep play good baseball if they are to have a miracle's hope of a playoff spot. They are 9.5 games back. For comparison sake, the leader in the American League Central has two less wins than the Rays. This is the price of playing in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox. There still is a small hope for a playoff spot, but the Rays need to keep playing well and hope for significant losses by the Yankees and BoSox to have a shot.

Aug 3, 2011

GAME REVIEW: Get your hot bats here

by Aaron Giddens


Click image for expanded Box Score.


Talk about polar opposite games. Last night the Rays are Antarctica cold, tonight they're Mojave Desert hot. Wow. I guess the bats showed up from Seattle at some point last night. Here we go.

Well unlike last night we had our offense loud and strong. First career home run from Chirinos is a three run bomb, also bombs from Zobrist and Kotchman. We also played entertaining small ball tonight, we did try to do much with it and started a merry go round. Pitching was good as well the Jays only got one run and that was off of James Shields in the 3rd inning on Arencebia's homer. Jays would only get 4 other hits. James line was 7.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (earned), 3 walks and 6 strike outs. The bullpen was solid again with the two relievers combining for 1.2 innings of 2-hit baseball.

I can't think of one bad thing to highlight in this game, the Rays capitalized early and didn't make mistakes. About the only bad thing was the 3rd inning HR by Arencibia but that was a blip on the scope tonight.

I loved this game, games like this are why I'm a baseball fan. Hopefully the Rays keep the hot bats, if they do the miracle of a postseason berth becomes more likely. Seal of approval given. Weeeeeeee.

Aug 2, 2011

GAME REVIEW: Get your cold bats here

by Aaron Giddens


Click image for expanded Box Score.


Well this was a fun game. No hit again for 5 innings. I'm usually an optimist but this is pathetic. Here's what I think of the game itself.

I'm struggling to find any good in this game. About the only thing I can think of was Jennings 6th inning home run that broke up Romero's no-hitter and cut the lead in half, that would be as close as they would get to the lead. The only other good thing was the Bullpen which was fantastic, don't know what happened to them on this last road trip, specifically in Kansas City and Oakland.

So much bad. So little time. I guess the Rays left their offensive ways in Seattle because it was MIA again tonight. 1 hit again for the second time in 3 days by the opposing starting pitcher. Our only two other hits came with 2 outs in the 9th. It's hard to have any confidence in this team right now. They act AAAA. Price went 6.2 IP. He gave up 3 runs and 6 hits. He did manage 6 strike outs but he also gave up 2 solo shots. The Rays gave false hope in the 9th with 2 outs as two singles would bring the tying run to the plate only to have Joyce fly out to end the game. The umps made their mark again. In the seventh inning the Jays had Snider on first with 2 outs. Snider tried to steal second and was called safe but the replay again showed the call was blown. Well it's not a Rays game if they aren't screwed at least once.

In short, this game was poorly played by the Rays. I'm sadly starting to have doubts we'll at least finish the season with winning record. I'm depressed. Enough said.