Jun 22, 2012

Thank God that nightmare is over! Hopefully...

by Aaron Giddens

Pine-Tar-Gate
Pine-Tar-Gate — Courtesy: Getty Images via SI.com
The fun stop in DC is over. Thank God. First I got to give credit where credit is due. The offense in the first game while a little spotty was exactly what I was looking for. We put up enough runs to hit that magical five run mark. The starting pitching was also good through the series, save for the first inning of game two of the series but as far as I'm concerned, that inning is irrelevant. The bullpen was also pretty good in the first two games. But that's where that flattery ends.

This was a awfully played series and a nightmare. Defensive errors nearly hand away the first game and they do hand away the latter two games. The offensive slump returned with a vengeance. Timely hitting, what's that? Yes, the two hot hitters remained hot and Pena emerged a little more but three hitters alone will not win you games.

And the actual happenings in the game wasn't even the whole nightmare. There were even things that bled from the mound to the mound. It's being called "Pine-Tar-Gate". I'll spare the extended details because you've probably already heard them. But in case you haven't see our friends at Rays Index here for the details. Then the exchange of words between Joe and Nats' manager Davey Johnson. One calling the other team's manager a "coward" and what they did a, quote, "pussy move". The other calling the aforementioned manager a "weird wuss". It's just ugly for both side and a major part of the nightmare to boot.

And the nightmare didn't just happen in DC this week, Evan suffered a set back earlier this week in his rehab to return from a torn hamstring. But hey, on the positive side, Jeff Keppinger is nearing his return. But again on the negative side we could be losing Joyce to the DL shortly with back tightness.

The 2012 Rays can't seem to catch a break. I'm really thankful we're only 3.5 games behind the first place Yankees. It could be a lot worse with the way this team has performed lately (4-6 in their last 10 games) and it's a miracle it's not.

There are many problems with this team right now. Including, but not limited to, Peralta's forthcoming suspension, Longo's setback, and Joyce's likely being DL bound.

This team right now, as much as it pains me to say it, doesn't deserve the postseason til we get healthy and start producing as a team. And we gotta cut down on these dang errors. They're giving games we should be winning away.

So that nightmare is likely over. However we now head to location of what is, in my opinion, our greatest defeat. We're heading to Citizen's Bank Park in Philly to see the Phillies While they don't look anything like the 100-game winning Phillies of the past two seasons. I don't think they would like anything less then to keep our tails tucked between our legs and sweep us. And with our old nemesis Cliff Lee there. You can bet they have a good chance at it.

I'm not saying it's a foregone conclusion a sweep will happen to either side. But with the problems I mentioned it doesn't bode well for us. We are the underdog. But like every other team I seem to support, they thrive in that position and I hope that rings true once again.

We need this series to be a pick-me-up. Start some momentum in this last series of 2012 interleague play. We need it. Badly.

It's nearly the All-Star Break. It won't get any easier. And while I understand the optimism of some Rays fans I know, there's only so many times you can say "Well, we'll get 'em tomorrow" before you make a comeback impossible. Yeah I know you can't win them all but just win. That is how you're gonna get a title. Not saying "Meh, we'll get 'em tomorrow."

So to sum it up: I'm glad we're out of DC. It's time to pull a rabbit out of a hat and sweep some series and get some momentum rolling. It's really our only hope.

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