When following the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers as a 6-year-old, I came across a book I found fascinating consisting of the season's box scores accompanied by Sparky Anderson's "season diary". It's been an incredible season and I told myself that if won the AL East or the World Series, I would journey back and see the season through the eyes of our own Sparky, SternFan1. The rules of the game are simple: go back through each game recap and take all of SternFan's game related comments and put them together into paragraph form. Below is the first home-stand. The title of the game represents the title of the thread with comments.
Soriano makes $7.25 mil. You're right on about Maddon and allowing the SP to start an inning when he's clearly done. Rays showed how defense can step up and win a game. BJ's catch in the 1st inning albeit early, may have been a game changer. I love the flexibility of this team. While Maddon still has a problem with leaving the SP in for one too many batters, he pulled a rabbit out of his hat with the Shoppach PH move. Kapler blows and besides Joe was looking for the long ball and he missed by inches. I'm wondering if AL hitters are on to Shield's change up In his '08 season. I recall many more swinging strikes than i see today. Look at last year and his HR/9 numbers.
4/8: Matt Garza Shines In Rays 4-3 Victory Over Orioles (2-0)
We're all excited the Rays are 2-0 but i'm sure this isn't what Andrew or Joe had in mind when they brought Soriano in. Garza was still hitting 95 mph in the 8th. What was so curious about leaving him in? A PC should not be the same for every pitcher Garza has gone above 110 a number of times. While i subscribe to IP as something to be monitored, PC should not be a concern unless the pitcher begins to lose command. This umpiring crew is awful. MLB should do something at once. Soriano needs to know 4 ST appearences may work in the NL but not the ALE.
4/9 Rays Lose Jeff Niemann Early, Lose 5-4 to Orioles later (2-1)
Balfour is not the guy to go to with the bases loaded. His numbers with and w/o men on base are pretty glaring. If you're giving Balfour a free pass for clearing the bases, I guess you think OJ is innocent too. CC is perceived nationally as the face of the team, and while i like him, his helter skelter approach drives me crazy. I'm not blaming the pen for the loss. I think lack of early offense and inability to knock Matusz out of the game is the reason. However i take exception to those making excuses for Balfour's performance as if it were acceptable.I wonder if Wheeler would have had the same results if we'd be reading the same. Process or not, if Balfour gets the same results in that situation, he's not long for MLB. Matusz should have been knocked out in the 3rd inning. CC, Zo and Longo had some really bad ABs that inning
4/9: David Price Delivers Strong Performance In Rays 9-3 Victory Over Yankees (3-1)
What a luxury if Price is your #4 SP. There's no substitute for a power arm.
4/10 Rays Narrowly Avoid No-Hitter in 10-0 Loss to Yankees (3-2)
4/11: Rays Lose Series, Fall To Yankees 7-3 (3-3)
It's so easy to blame the manager when things don't go well. Joe Torre was considered a horrible manager in STL, NYM, and ATL, but look what happened when he got to the Yankees. Players make plays-Choate Cormier, Eckstrom are not very good. What do you want Maddon to do when your ace can't get anyone out in the 6th? Shields hasn't got out of the 6th inning in either start and he's not nearly the pitcher he was in '08. He didn't do his job knowing that our middle relief is awful he needs to go innings. It's only six games, but in TB when you talk about how important fast starts are and where flash crowds are normal, this was a terrible series-all the hype now has to be recharged.