Monday Morning Rays Wrap Up: Rugged First Half Ends On High Note

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 8: Luke Scott #30 celebrates with closing pitcher George Hendrick #25 of the Tampa Bay Rays after the Rays defeated the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 8, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rays defeated the Indians 7-6. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Rays end the first half with a record of 45-41 and are in 3rd place in the AL East and trail the New York Yankees by 7.5 games but only trail the Baltimore Orioles for the final playoff spot by a half game. The first half was a struggle to keep their head above water. What we have witnessed with the injuries, poor hitting, and incredibly poor defense is nothing we thought we'd see. As the first half comes to an end the story isn't that the team is only 45-41 the story is that the team is 45-41. There is still a lot of baseball to play in 2012 and in the next two weeks Andrew Friedman will have an opportunity to shine as a GM as he will attempt to fill an obvious hole in the Rays and that is a middle of the order bat.

Upcoming Schedule:

The Rays open the second half of the season with a 10 game homestand against the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Seattle Mariners.

AL East Upcoming Schedules:

The New York Yankees open the second half at home with a weekend series against the LA Angels.

The Baltimore Orioles open the second half at home with a weekend series against the Detroit Tigers.

The Boston Red Sox open the second half by visiting the Rays in St.Petersburg.

The Toronto Blue Jays open the second half at home with a weekend series against the Cleveland Indians.

Transactions: None, hard to believe but true.

Injury Updates:

Sam Fuld has started a planned 20-day rehab assignment and is playing in Port Charlotte.

Evan Longoria has no timetable set for his return. The new story is that he was bumped by an unnamed Bulls player while stretching in the dugout and that is the source of the re-injury that wasn't a re-injury.

Matt Joyce began his rehab assignment in Durham but was removed after 3 plate appearances due to stiffness in the back.

Hideki Matsui's hamstring is still sore but should be available to resume playing the field after the all-star break.

What Does Sternfan1 Have To Say:

G'morning Rays fans

Hey look at this a winning week. It took an exciting, miracle comeback against the Indians but nonetheless our Rays live for another day. It was nice to see Luke Scott show off why the Rays signed him and hopefully he, Pena, Upton, Zobrist and Jennings have big second half's, and we can become the team most of thought we'd have at the start of the season.

My biggest concern today is the bullpen, specifically the 8th inning where Peralta and McGee have really faltered of late. Those long balls in the late innings of close games really need to end.

Let's have a nice ASB everybody and come back Friday and sweep the Red Sox

As always Go Rays!!

Monday, July 2nd: Rays 4 Yankees 3

Rays capitalize on a rare Mark Teixeira error and score twice in bottom of the 7th to make Matt Moore a winner defeating the Yankees 5-4.

Mat Moore on how he handles the tough inning against him:

"I think once the situation is done ... I'm walking off the mound, and there's not a whole lot you can complain about," Moore said. "I mean, it's over with no matter what I say, no matter what I think, no matter how bad I think that inning could have got. It's irrelevant. I think I was just trying to move on."

Tuesday, July 3rd: Rays 7 Yankees 4

The Rays fell behind 3-0 only to come back and tie the game with 3 in the bottom of the third. New York immediately jumped back on top 4-3 in the top of the 4th but the Rays took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the 4th and never looked back on their way to a 7-4 victory.

The play of the game was made by the Rays defense in the 6th inning when Robinson Cano was gunned down at the plate trying to score on a double by Raul Ibanez:

Sean Rodriguez on the execution of the play:

"[Zobrist] obviously got over there quickly, got rid of it, got it to me quickly," Rodriguez said. "I just turned around and threw it to Josey. You're not really thinking about where the runner is at at that point. You're just basically trying to get it to home so that if he does ... try to score, the throw hopefully beats him there." -

Wednesday, July 4th: Yankees 4 Rays 3

The Yankees pushed across 3 runs in the top of the 8th aided in large part by 4 walks issued by Kyle Farnsworth to defeat the Rays 4-3 and avoid the 3 game sweep.

Joe Maddon on Kyle Farnsworth:

"Kyle Farnsworth is a big part of our present and our future for us to get to the promised land," Maddon said. "He's got to perform, and he shall. I've never seen him do that personally, the four walks. He just needs a little bit more work." -

Video Recap (HERE)

Thursday, July 5th: Indians 3 Rays 1

Jeremy Hellickson was effective but the Rays offense was shut down by crafty right hander Josh Tomlin in falling to the Indians 3-1.

Joe Maddon on the Rays struggles versus the AL Central:

"It must be," the Rays manager replied. "We're all messed up. ... We've had a hard time with [the Central]. ... [The division has] good pitching. We've seen good pitching with the White Sox, tonight with these guys. Detroit has pitched well against us. Kansas City pitched well against us. We've been pitched at well. That's part of the gig with us. We're not going to just bludgeon you. We've got to score some runs, and this division has pretty much kept us in check offensively." -

Video Recap (HERE)

Friday, July 6th: Rays 10 Indians 3

The Rays hitters battered Indians starter Justin Masterson and this included Luke Scott ending his 0-41 stretch with a home run.

Joe Maddon on playing in Cleveland:

"It was great to score the runs, but still, Cleveland in Cleveland is never comfortable," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's not a comfortable place. You've seen us blow leads here in the past. As a member of the Angels, I've seen it done also. There's something about the joint that really promotes late-inning rallies on their part, so I was not comfortable until the last out was made, quite frankly." -

Saturday, July 7th: Indians 7 Rays 3

Ubaldo Jimenez held the Rays to 2 runs over 6 innings of work and Matt Moore lost command of the strike zone as the Indians defeated the Rays 7-3.

Matt Moore on pitching from behind in the count:

"Biggest thing is, I'm either going to be putting the pressure on them or they are going to be putting the pressure on me," Moore said. "And I couldn't find an adjustment to make it the opposite. And tonight they put the pressure on me. Every time I came into the zone, it was 2-0, 1-0, so I was pitching behind a lot, which I'm not good at, ever."

Video Recap (Here)

Sunday, July 8th: Rays 7 Indians 6

The Rays fell behind 5-0 and 6-4 but came back to score 3 runs off Indians closer Chris Perez to end the first half with a victory.

Ben Zobrist on the win:

"It feels like a big relief right now," Ben Zobrist said. "Going into the break, we were reeling a little bit -- and getting that kind of win to finish off the first half, it's just a much better feeling as a team getting ready for Friday." -

Joe Maddon on the contributions by his guys:

"Carlos has probably hit two balls to that spot all season," Maddon said. "Rhymes has not hit a home run since 1837, and Carlos has not hit a ball to that spot since he was 10. And we won the game. That's how it works sometimes." -

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