Joe Maddon to Manage Cubs in 2015

The latest info that sends Joe Maddon to the north side of Chicago for 2015.

Andrew Friedman leaves for the Dodgers

It's the end of an era in Tampa Bay. What does the future hold?

2015 Rays Schedule released

We disect the 2015 Rays schedule.

Sep 30, 2011

GAME REVIEW: Moore life injected as Rays get off to strong start

by Aaron Giddens




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ALDS Game 1 — Rays lead series 1-0

Click here for expanded Box Score.


Good afternoon, Rays fans. Postseason time! Today is game 1 of the ALDS. Matt Moore takes the mound for the Rays. C.J. Wilson is on the mound for the Rangers. After the miracles of Wednesday night, can the Rays pull off another. Let's find out, it's time to rumble.

Johnny Damon got the Rays offense started in the second with a two run bomb for the Rays first hit. Few batters later, Joyce drove in Shoppach from second with a slow roller to right field. Next inning, Shoppach hits a three run bomb. In the fifth, Shoppach did it again, this time a two run bomb. Matt Moore went 7 innings giving up 2 hits, 0 runs and just 2 walks while striking out 6. In the 9th, Damon grounded out scoring Upton.

Bad? I can't think of anything.

This is just what the Rays needed, to get off to a strong start. They also got a solid start from Matt Moore. Now don't read too much in to this as it's just game 1. Also remember last year that the road team won every game, which this year is in our favor. Overall, good game. Let's get game two.

Players of the game: Matt Moore (defensively), Kelly Shoppach (offensively)

Sep 29, 2011

Some Boston media reaction

by Aaron Giddens

Here's just some of the reaction to the Red Sox season ending.

Red Sox lose to Orioles 4-3: MyFoxBOSTON.com





more coming as it's found, keep checking back...

RAYS WIN!! PLAYOFF BOUND!!

by Aaron Giddens

It's time to celebrate in Tampa Bay! The Rays are the 2011 American League Wild Card Champions!

Sep 22, 2011

GAME REVIEW: Yankees screw Boston

by Aaron Giddens



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Click here for expanded Box Score.


Good evening, Rays fans. Things are tight in the American League wild card race. The Rays sit 2.5 games back from the Sox entering tonight, but so are the Angels. This series so far has been disappointing to say the least. This is the beginning of October baseball for the Rays. Do or die. Which will they do tonight? Let's find out.

Rays came out strong scoring three in the first inning, two of those coming on a bases loaded, no outs single by Matty Joyce. Bottom half, Matt More struck out two and went 1-2-3, nice start to this kid's career. Rays offense would continue in the second as Bossman would drive in Jennings on a RBI Triple, Longo on the next pitch would drive in Upton on a RBI Double. In the third. Zorilla hits a two run bomb to right. In the fourth, Upton hit a two run bomb of his own. Couple of batters later, Damon hit a two run shot of his own. Reid, yes Briggy, drove in another run in the fourth. Zorilla drove in Upton on a Sac Fly in the fifth. If you couldn't keep count, they scored in each of the first five innings. Matt Moore was impressive, five innings, 11 strikes outs on four hits and one walk. Hat tip to the Yankees for screwing the Sox. The Rays did not get set down in order tonight, having baserunners every inning.

On the bad side tonight, Jaso still sucks behind the plate as a defensive catcher. This bullpen is in shambles right now, they gave up 8 runs on 10 hits in 4 innings work.

This game was nice to see. While it got hairy in the second half of the game it was still a nice game to have. Most importantly it was a win and gets us back to two behind Boston with the Sox heading in to NYC. Hopefully the Yankees don't blow it like thye did against us tonight. Matt Moore was impressive in his starting debut. Here's hoping we get more of the same in the future. So, well played game. Let's sweep the Jays and I will feel better.

It should be noted that the Angels lost and they fall to three behind the Red Sox and one behind the Rays.

I want what Stuart Sternberg paid for!!

by Aaron Giddens

Today has been a hell of a day on a personal level, the details of which I'd rather keep private. But now we add to it that there are reports that Manny Ramirez wants reinstatement and will serve the 100-game suspension.

I don't think I'm alone in saying "Bleep YOU, MANNY!" This guy, a little over four and a half months ago retired to avoid the suspension and now when the Rays could really be using his bat he wants reinstatement.

If he had just served the suspension we'd probably be beating Boston by now and they'd be chasing us. Who knows? All I know is as a Rays fan, his timing is horrible and is only surpassed by his selfishness.

What do you think, chime in below.

Sep 21, 2011

Thoughts following today's double header.

by Aaron Giddens

Well that was disappointing. The Rays dropped two games today they both had won in the 8th inning. The good news is that they only lost a half game. Bad news is, one, we're now closer to the end of the season, seven games left to be exact. And two, the Angels have caught the Rays.

For the remainder of the season it pretty much win or go home.

A scenario that can now play out is if the Rays win tomorrow we can get the deficit back to two. And then we need to sweep the Jays and the Yankees need to sweep the Red Sox. If that happens we can end the weekend with the lead. However, now that the Yankees have the AL East title they will probably rest regulars in preparation for the postseason.

So the Wild Card spot is still any three of ours, but the Rays need to find their bats and their pitching if they're to overcome the Sox. Time is running out. Each mutual loss just shortens the time you have to overcome the Sox. And now with the Angels well within the sights Rays need to play perfect ball.

This is all common sense stuff. But it's also fact. Hop to guys. Tick tock, tick tock.

Sep 15, 2011

GAME REVIEW: One stormy night in Boston, the Rays own...

by Aaron Giddens



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Click here for expanded Box Score.


Welcome to another game review at BRaysball Talk. The Rays hit Fenway for the first of a crucial four game series against the Red Sox. They must take at least three of four to stay alive. preferably a sweep though. How did it go tonight? Let's jump in.

For the good side, BJ drove in the first run on a broken bat single where the bat screwed with the shortstop Scutaro. One batter later, Longo drove in 3 more on a 3-run shot in to the Red Sox bullpen. In the sixth, Kotch tee'd off and hit it in the Red Sox bullpen scoring him and Damon. Hellboy went 5.2 strong innings, giving up one run on 3 hits. Next inning, Bossman tee'd off with a two run shot of his own. This one went over the monster. Kotch would drive in another run a few batters later on a single to center.

Bad, let see. Oh, "Balkin' Bob" Davidson was calling balls and strikes. That's an automatic bad. In the fifth the Rays tried to pull off the Suicide Squeeze they're known for. Problem is, Red Sox had it scouted and it failed. In the sixth inning, Zobrist was picked off and Damon was HBP. Jaso blew 3 blocks behind the plate tonight. Jaso's overall defense was crappy tonight. A lot of broken bats tonight. Be careful.

With this win tonight, the Rays are 3 games back of the Sux for the Wild Card. Good game. Let's do it again tomorrow. Let's beat up Beckett.

Sep 14, 2011

GAME REVIEW: Lost chance

by Aaron Giddens



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Click here for expanded Box Score.


Here we are again. We enter the night 3.5 GB of the Red Sox. With the Red Sox loss we have a chance to gain a game. Let's go.

Lets see, what good do we have? With two outs in the fourth Joyce doubled to the wall in right center to score Upton and Zobrist. That's it.

Wade Davis went back to his horrible self. He gave up 4 runs, 7 hits and two HRs in 6.1 IP. This team I swear can't stand to keep their good bats for longer than 5 games, they were silenced tonight.

A note: Matt More made his MLB debut tonight. His first pitch was a 96 MPH fastball that was just so smooth on delivery. Welcome to the bigs, Matt.

We failed to capitalize on the Red Sox loss today. As a result, we remain 4 games back. A sweep is again required of Boston, or game over. 14 games left. What can you do?

Sep 12, 2011

Rays of Hope, ESPN Chimes in

by Aaron Giddens

If you follow me on twitter you know how much I despise ESPN for their Yankees and Red Sox bias and anti-Rays stance when they talk baseball. I'm always on the look out on TV and their website. In fact I'm the one who found the anti-Rays fans article about attendance where they used a photo out of context and took screen shots that were eventually used by Cork Gains of Rays Index in an article. The point of this is that I can't stand ESPN's biased baseball coverage. But in the interest of fairness, I must point out when they actually talk good about the Rays.

So as they do every Sunday they posted the latest "Sweet Spot" article, and this one focused on the Rays surging comeback. Look at the screen cap:

Rays-ing Hope


Oh but wait it gets better on the right side they show the latest headline and 9 times out of 10, good things for the Rays are towards the bottom if they're there at all, especially when they happen at the Yankees or Red Sox expense. So I look this time and was amazed to find the Rays sweep of the Red Sox the second story in the headlines. Look:

ESPN MLB headlines as of 3am on 9.12.11


Good grief I'm gonna faint. The ESPN are ignoring their pocketbook and acknowledging the Rays. At this point I'm floating on air and decided to write this and tell you about it. But I first had to read the article that went with it so I could tell you what they said and break it down the best I could. And that's where the party ended. This is where ESPN showed it's colors. Saying in the intro that...

... with just over two weeks left in the season, and the Rays -- remarkably, defiantly -- have clawed to 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox for the AL wild card. Tampa swept Boston at home over the weekend, kicking the Red Sox around like an annoying little brother. The Red Sox, the team with the MVP candidates and megabucks superstars and fervent fan base, had a chance to put away the Rays but folded like a bunch of nervous eighth-graders being called to the principal’s office. The Rays, the team with second-lowest payroll in baseball and a stadium that is only rarely half-full, played like the team on a mission.


Well I don't think that any of us expected them to avoid it completely. But as a whole the article is a good, fair minded, non-biased piece about the Rays sudden "Rays of Hope". So lets break the article down now.

To go with the good stuff above, this guy has called it. He believes the Rays will overcome the Red Sox for the American League Wild Card spot. Which, if you were reading this site last week when we lost to the Orioles, you know I would have last to him last week as I declared the Rays season dead. Well now I say I was premature, I no longer think so. I think the Rays have given themselves a golden opportunity to get a playoff spot when everyone, including Matt Sinn and Michael Weber of WTSP and RaysRev.com, had written them off. There may be October baseball in the Tampa Bay area after all. And here's why the ESPN writer thinks so.

His first reason is Starting Pitching. In more detail he said...

James Shields just missed his 12th complete game of the season on Sunday, pitching into the ninth inning. He has allowed three runs his past four starts. Rookie Jeremy Hellickson remains solid and has allowed more than runs in a game just once all year. David Price has a 2.44 ERA over his past eight starts. Davis is coming off his best start of 2011 and Jeff Niemann has been solid.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, are a mess. Josh Beckett will throw off a Monday to test his sprained ankle and could return for the series against Tampa. Lester’s outing Sunday was maybe an aberration, but he’s also had trouble pitching deep into games lately as he’s run into some high pitch counts. Besides Sunday’s 111-pitch disaster, he also threw 114 pitches in just five innings against the Yankees on Sept. 1. While Tampa’s aces are pitching complete games, Lester has gone into the eighth inning just once since June 18. John Lackey’s 12-12 record masks his terrible season. He leads the league in earned runs and hit batters and his 6.30 ranks last among major league pitchers with at least 100 innings. The only reason he’s still in the rotation is that three other spots are currently held down by Tim Wakefield, Andrew Miller and rookie Kyle Weiland. Obviously, $160 million doesn’t buy what it used to.


To which I agree. The Rays starting pitching has the been the corner stone of the team all year, while the Red Sox starting pitching has been mediocre at best if you discount Lester and Beckett. Heck, it's been mediocre if you include those two. Bottom line is that Red Sox starting pitching has been less than stellar overall, way less.

His second point was we have Longo, saying that he's heating up just when the Rays needed him most. I agree, the Rays line-up is built to win with very little and to bolster Longo. Nice to see he's busting out of his season long slump.

His third point was Red Sox bullpen troubles that the Rays don't have. This is the one point I have a hard time agreeing with I mean, I admit I haven't payed much attention to the Red Sox bullpen outside when we're there but it can't be that bad can it? It's the moneybag Red Sox after all. Also, has this guy been paying attention the past couple of weeks? Where the Rays bullpen has struggled? Especially the back of the 'pen. Although I will give it to him that overall the Rays bullpen has gotten the job done although they haven't been dominate.

His fourth and final point is the pressure on Boston may be too much to handle. I can see this. I mean, like he said, the team is expected to win the pennant and nothing less with the money spent on talent this past off season. That's a lot of pressure and everyone, including professionals, have breaking points. The Rays on the other hand were expected to suck this year so the fact we're still fighting at this point in the season is surprising everyone all over again like it 2008. We're the underdogs beating the heavily picked team. It happens.

The ESPN writer made a point to point out at the end that this is not set in stone and is just a prediction. The Rays have a tough road ahead. And again I very much agree. The Rays need to keep the pedal to the metal. They can do it, they're gonna need help but it's possible and with every game shaved off that deficit, it becomes more likely. Can they do it? I think they can if they keep the momentum of the past weekend going. They can not let the deficit grow again. They don't have to go 17-0 for the remainder of the season, but they can't let the deficit grow.

So ready or not, here come the Rays. Red Sox fans slammin' the panic button is cool, but the Rays need to keep the momentum going if they have a hope of overcoming the Sox. Play ball!

Sep 9, 2011

GAME REVIEW: Chip, chip, chip away

by Aaron Giddens



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Good evening, Rays fans. Welcome to the Friday night game review. Tonight we review the Rays vs. Red Sox game. Rays need a sweep and nothing less to stay in the wild card hunt. Let's get to it.

In the top of the second the Rays pulled off a "strike 'em out, throw 'em out" of Big Papi and Pedroia respectively. In the bottom half of the same inning, Jaso went long giving the Rays a, at the time, 3 run lead. In the bottom of the third, Damon hit a roller up the first base line and Johnny beat it out scoring Longo from second, they added another run one batter later with Joyce's single to center. In the process making short 3 inning work of a Lackey. In the bottom of the sixth, Jaso hit a two bagger on the first pitch of the inning, the very next pitch was scorched to center by Brignac, yes Briggy, for a RBI double. A couple of batter later, Longo hit a ground rule double to get the two runs lost in the top half of the inning. Davis had one bad inning tonight, more on that in the section below, but all in all Davis was what we needed: Dominate. He went the distance for the Complete Game. That makes five against the Red Sox.

The home plate ump makes another appearance. His strike zone was crappy again, horribly inconsistent for both teams. So as a plus it wasn't like he was biased. In the top of the six, Davis lost himself a little bit, giving up two runs to the Red Sox. He would bounce back in the 7th.

A little note, with two outs in the bottom 8th and a 2-1 count to BJ Upton, the home plate ump, Paul Nauert, took a foul ball to the family jewels, OUCHIE! Hope he doesn't feel that in the morning.

These are the types of games I love, great pitching, great offense from the Rays and silence from the opposing team. Doesn't hurt that this opposing team was the Red Sox. This is what the Rays need to stay in the hunt. One down, two to get to complete the sweep. Great job, boys. Do it again tomorrow.

Sep 6, 2011

GAME REVIEW: Put them out of their misery

by Aaron Giddens



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Click here for expanded Box Score.


Well that was excruciating, let's get to it.

Good? What good?

Jeff Neiman struggled again against the Rangers tonight. He went 5.2 IP giving up 7 runs on 9 hits. Not what we needed. Once again the Rays left too many on base when C.J. Wilson gave them runners. The bad in this game comes to this, bad pitching and silent bats equals huge loss.

This game felt like it took forever. It was long, boring and painful to watch the Rays offense failed again. Take the day off tomorrow, boys. In fact take the fall and winter too.

Sep 5, 2011

You're not representing yourself very well, St. Pete!

by Aaron Giddens

St. Pete Pier
Courtesy: Flickr
I still see St. Pete residents not wanting to pay the money to build the Rays a new stadium. This is understandable but what does this solve? Nothing. This still leaves the region in danger of losing a regional asset. Which, on accident or not, Mayor Foster referred to the Rays as a couple of weeks ago.

The most common thing I see from Rays fans in St. Pete are that they, the team and front office, make enough money that they should be able to pay for a stadium their selves. Which, in this economy, is not a bad thing, but it's not necessarily a good thing either and here's why:

A lot of people have referred to the team as what I did earlier, a regional asset. This regional asset, when working right, brings out of town visitors, business for the small businesses, business for the larger area businesses, in short it brings revenue from the visiting fans. How can you expect to recieve this additional revenue and not want to give back to the team? They bring you business but when they need you, the response is essentially "PAY FOR IT YOUR OWN DANG SELF!!"

I've also heard that major leaguers are nothing but spoiled rich kids. Most are, you're right, but how can you call yourself a fan then immediately turn on them when they ask for something from you.

Quite frankly it's nauseating the way St. Pete treats the Rays. Holding them hostage without providing options. This leads to teams leaving for greener grass elsewhere. In my opinion, St. Pete residents come off as the spoiled brats, more than the Rays. You guys are the home to one of the best teams in baseball but the Stadium sits two thirds empty on most nights and you tell them to pay for their own stadium. Is this how you repay the team that brought you an American League Championship and almost a World Championship just a few years ago?

What kind of message does this send about your area? "We'd love to have you 'til you ask for something in return then we'd rather you pay for it yourself or just go away."

I very much get the situation the area is in when it comes to money. In fact, I myself am feeling the harsh effects of this economy. But this is your team, you fought for them, you're fighting to keep them, you cheer them on a nightly basis. But yet you are not willing to take a cent of raised taxes to help them. Again I know they're rich and could probably pay for it themselves and just because you take a rise in taxes doesn't mean you should pay for it all. I very well think the team and the community should team up to pay for this new stadium, where ever it is built. You cannot expect to reap the benefits of this team without putting money in to it can you? CAN YOU?!

Look my point is simple, if you expect to reap the benefits of having a major league franchise, you best be willing to put money in to it. I defend the Rays being here day in and day out, but crap like this makes it hard to justify it. So again, the solution is simple.

If you want to keep the team you fought so hard to get and reap the benefits of it, you best be willing to put money INTO the team. And I don't just mean ticket sales. Though that would be a very good start.

Premilinary 2011 playoff predictions

by Aaron Giddens

With the Rays all but officially eliminated from play off contention this year. I would like to present my preliminary predictions to this years playoffs. Below the image I will explain them.

  Table of Contents  
AL | ALDS | ALCS | NL | NLDS | NLCS | WS


Click for a larger version.


American League


The American League teams I have making the playoffs are the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers. Here's what I predict for each round.

American League Division Series


For the ALDS round, I think the BoSox will be pitted against the Rangers and the Yankees will face the Tigers. Boston has a potent lineup, but so does the Rangers so I think this match-up will come down to pitching, and as such I predict that Boston will take the series 3 games to 2. As for the Yankees/Tigers match up. Yankees are getting old but are still quite good, the Tigers are younger but not as good. The Central division has been limping this year. So I think the potent Yankees will sweep their opening round.

American League Championship Series


For the ALCS, I have the Red Sox verses the Yankees. Baseball's most well known rivalry, I wouldn't call it heated anymore. Anyway, as I said the Red Sox have a potent line up and so do the Yankees. Both teams have good bullpens, but as for starting pitching, this is where Boston has the edge. Yankees starting pitching has been spotty all year. I have no reason to think this will change in the postseason. With pitchers like A.J. Burnett struggling, I predict the Red Sox to will the 2011 American League Championship in 5 games.

National League


The National League teams I have making the postseason are the D-Backs, Braves, Brewers and Phillies. Here's my breakdown of this leagues playoffs.

National League Division Series


For the first NLDS game, I have the Phillies facing the Brewers. The Brew Crew have been potent at home but the fighting Phills have been downright dominate all year. As such I think the Phillies will take this one is 4 games. On the other hand, I have the Braves and D-Backs. With powerful lineups on both sides and pretty good pitching on both sides as well this one is hard for me to predict. But I will take the Braves in 5.

National League Championship Series


For the NLCS, I have the Phillies and Braves. As you now see I think the postseason will again be eastern division dominated in both leagues. As for this match up, as I said the Phills are D-O-M-I-N-A-T-E. But make no mistake the Braves have been able to hang in there, this is sure to be a money series. Entertaining and breath taking. I will take the Phillies in 6 but not without a fight from the Braves.

World Series


Finally, we have the World Series predictions. As you now know, I think it will be the AL Champion Red Sox versus the NL Champion Phillies. This is the match-up that was predicted during Spring Training in April, and it seems to be falling in to place. The Red Sox had a rough start while the Phillies sprinted out of the gates and haven't looked back. Both teams have incredible pitching (save for Lackey). Both teams also have line-ups that can get the job D-O-N-E. The more I think about, the more entertaining I think this match-up can be. Again, the north east dominates though and it's getting old, but nonetheless, I think this particular year has a chance to be fun to watch. I will take the Phillies in 6. Say hello the World Champion Phillies. Just please give us a fresh World Series match-up next year.

In short, I think the playoffs this year will be entertaining and fun to watch. I wish I was able to cheer the Rays on but July and that bipolar offense killed them. Remember these are preliminary predictions. If anything changes I will post a new one at the end of the season, but I don't think it will. I think the postseason is all but set it stone. Thanks for reading. Now what do you think? Do you agree? Tell me below.

Sep 3, 2011

State of BRaysball Talk for 9/3/11

by Aaron Giddens

So as I said in "R.I.P. 2011 Tampa Bay Rays", I will be up-grading the blog/site to make it more interactive. This process has started.

I have changed out the comment system provided by Blogger for Intense Debate which should make things more interactive. You will now be able to use smilies, share your pics related to the Rays and the post, post related youtube videos and more. You can also reply directly to commenters. You will also be able to make comments anonymously, sign your name one time or make comments with your facebook, twitter, wordpress or intense debates account. Hopefully this will up the commenting on this website.

I'm also looking to get a custom domain for this website, hopefully I can afford shortly to register BRaysballTalk.com but we'll see.

I've also added a poll on the right side of the page. This will be updated every week.

A few cosmetic changes. In case you haven't noticed, or are Blind (wink, wink @ Raynaadi), I've changed the background image of the site from the BRayser pattern to a background I made in Photoshop. I've also added another ESPN widget containing the AL East standings to the right side.

Hopefully this is the first of many additions to make the site more opinion orientated, and not just my own. Stay tuned cause I will post updates every two weeks to let you know what's happening with the site's upgrades. Take care.

Sep 2, 2011

R.I.P. 2011 Tampa Bay Rays

by Aaron Giddens

That's it, I'm calling it. Time of Death 9:46pm ET. The 2011 season is dead, the rest of this is just for fun. The Rays lost tonight to the lowly Orioles after blowing a lead. Playoff teams don't blow leads.

So what does the mean? Well, like I said this essentially means we'll play the remaining schedule without a hope for a playoff spot in my opinion. Starting pitching is falling apart here in the last week and the bullpen is just not good enough to make a good run in or for October. The offense hasn't helped. They have their hot exciting games then the very next day it's like "Ooh, a glacier."

So next year, God willing, we will hit our playoff stride once again, with another chance to outdo our 2008 season in outcome. But as for now we must just play spoiler as I would LOVE to spoil the Yankees play off hopes.

So, now I will go prep myself for a LONG off season. We need to keep a few guys that are upcoming free agents. I will outline those in a forthcoming post here on BRaysball Talk. A season recap post is due within a week of the Rays last game. BRaysball Talk will remain active during the offseason still giving opinions on Rays happenings, and I'm hoping to debut Game Reviews 2.0 in April. Have details to work out on the formula and we will try to expand to be a little more interactive over this fall and winter. So see you Tuesday for a Game review (would do one tomorrow but no TV means I can't see it) and see you in April for another run at October. GO RAYS!!