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Rays News & Notes for Saturday, May 13th

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Toronto 8, RAYS 1

3 Up
RF Jonny Gomes: 1-3, solo HR (13), RBI (31)
DH Greg Norton: 2-3
CF Joey Gathright: 0-1, BB, SB (8)

3 Down
SP Mark Hendrickson, L (2-3): 7 IP, 5 H, 5 R (ER), 3 BB, 5 K, HR
RP Chad Harville: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (ER), 2 BB
RP Shawn Camp: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (ER), HR

-Ugh, so few to choose from in the former, while the latter features too many choices.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It

Pink Stuff, Waechter's Rotation Turn to be Changed, and a TV Schedule Amendment
Times Article on Joe Maddon's Hometown
Ex-Ray Jeremi Gonzalez the Latest New York Met

Down on the Farm

AAA Durham-L, 0-6:
SS B.J. Upton: 1-4, SB (18), 2 K
CF Elijah Dukes: 0-3
SP Jason Hammel, L (3-3): 6+ IP, 5 H, 5 R (ER), 2 BB, 4 K, HB

AA Montgomery-L, 0-3

A+ Visalia-W, 4-3:
SS Reid Brignac: 1-4, K, E (14)
SP Chris Mason: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R (ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, HB

A- Southwest Michigan-L, 0-4

-Over the last two days, Rays minor league teams have lost seven of eight games, and today's losing affiliates were shut out by a combined 13-0.

Toronto 8, RAYS 1
In St. Petersburg, Fla., Roy Halladay pitched a three-hitter to help Toronto down Tampa Bay.
Halladay (5-1) improved to 4-0 in five starts since missing time due to a right forearm strain in mid-April. Halladay fanned three and walked one.

Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells homered and Alex Rios had two RBIs for Toronto, which won for the third time in its last eight road games.

Tampa Bay got a fourth-inning solo homer from Jonny Gomes. Rios had a two-run single during a four-run second that put Toronto ahead 4-0. Bengie Molina had an RBI single and Reed Johnson drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch with two outs before Rios' hit. Johnson has been hit by eight pitches this season.

Tampa Bay's Mark Hendrickson (2-3) gave up five runs and five hits in seven innings.


[Houston Chronicle]

-This truly was a disgusting loss. Although not as painful as the Boston loss a few weeks back, this one certainly registered as an annoyance on my part. The wheels came off of Mark Hendrickson quickly, the ineptly hacktastic offense pounded out all of three hits, and the team just gave up by the seventh inning. That pissed me off most about this one. Sure, the Rays swinging at one of the first two pitches in every at bat was pull-your-hair-out frustrating, as was the pitching falling apart, but of all the things I have criticized them for, effort was never one of them. And that makes me pissed. I felt like I got six innings, at the most, of effort for my money's worth (ignoring the fact that I had free tickets). The fact that this team stopped caring and wanted to make their 10 o'clock dinner reservations at Bern's is no excuse for this horrible show of apathy. I criticize this area's fans for that feeling towards their home team, but what can I tell them when the team itself shows apathy towards whether or not the game is contested. That's a disgrace more than any other thing. Sure, this team was down, but only by 5-1 at that point. Four runs is not Mt. Everest. And then the apathy set in. This team quit caring. If it wasn't evident on your TV, it sure as hell was at the ballpark, and that makes me sad, more than anything else.

However counting the time they actually did put forth effort, the machine wasn't exactly well-oiled. Mark Hendrickson struggled mightily in the second after being hit with a line drive off of his left shoulder, hitting a batter and walking three on the day. For all I can say about Mark Hendrickson, I can't include 'control issues' under that heading. I am firmly convinced that his pitching was affected by this line drive, and with Doug Waechter skipping his next start, the Rays should not have chanced it with a guy who just a few weeks ago came off of the DL. Waechter needed to relieve Hendrickson as soon as that second inning made it clear that he had issues.

And the offense, saving the worst for last. What the hell has gotten into this team? Over the last 21-22 games, this team is hitting .201, and that was going into the game. Now, it is probably below the Mendoza line. So the solution? Bring back Lee Elia as a guest speaker for the lecture 'Swinging at Crappy Pitches 101'. Well, the Rays aced the final on Saturday, swinging and making contact with Halladay deliveries on the first or second pitch many-a-time. And did they adjust? Nope. They just kept swinging. Halladay wasn't particularly impressive. He struck out just three, but completed a nine inning stint in just 89 pitches, less than 10 per inning. How does that happen? With all of the various delays in that game, it is truly a testament to the Rays' early swinging that the time was just 2:12. Some may say 'well, with Halladay, you've gotta get ahead in the count'. I say no. You don't HAVE to get ahead in the count. It would be nice, but the answer is not to screw the whole thing and swing at the second pitch. The bottom line is, a pitcher, I don't care who, should not be able to complete a game in 89 pitches. That is ridiculous. It was a combo of the fact that the Rays need to be Delmon Young'd upside the head with the plate discipline fairy, and that they probably did have dinner reservations. Whatever it was failed horribly. If you want to go with that whole 'be aggressive' mantra to start out with, fine. It brought you success before. But when it becomes overly clear that that isn't working, as it was in the second or third inning, you must change your approach. You can't continue with a failing battle plan. What have you got to lose? You can swing at bad pitches, make contact, and hope for a hit, or you can work the count, realize the crap for what it is, foul off pitches, and make Halladay work his pitch count in hopes of getting to a non-B.J. Ryan reliever in the Blue Birds' bullpen later on, as well as getting a chance at getting a hit. It was worth a shot, but then again, why think things through when you don't care anyways?

3 Up
RF Jonny Gomes: 1-3, solo HR (13), RBI (31)
DH Greg Norton: 2-3
CF Joey Gathright: 0-1, BB, SB (8)

3 Down
SP Mark Hendrickson, L (2-3): 7 IP, 5 H, 5 R (ER), 3 BB, 5 K, HR
RP Chad Harville: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (ER), 2 BB
RP Shawn Camp: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (ER), HR

-Ugh, so few to choose from in the former, while the latter features too many choices.

Rays Reads

-In the catch-all DevilRays.com notes article (which actually has some decent stuff in it today thanks to Bill Chastain's absence) we find several interesting tidbits. First, Doug Waechter will not be starting Tuesday's game against Chicago; that duty will go instead to Scott Kazmir, who should be well-rested anyways because of two off days since his previous start. Good move by Maddon. Kazmir doesn't get any added work stress, and he gets to skip a Doug Waechter turn in the rotation, while putting him in the bullpen. Perhaps he will pick up his first win since last August out of the 'pen. Anyways, I'll say it once, and I'll be saying it again and again and again, Waechter belongs in the bullpen, he is not a good starting pitcher, but is only there because of the lack of alternatives. He could be a very good long reliever for three or four inning stints, he is just not cut out for the rotation.

The article also mentioned that Nick Green was not claimed off of waivers by any team, and was optioned to Triple A Durham. Geez, where did the market for .277 OPS guys go? Hopefully Green can turn it around in Durham, because if he can't hit in DBAP, his future is grim.

Also, five Rays players will step up to the plate with fierce-looking pink bats tomorrow, and all on-field staff will be adorned with pink wristbands and ribbons. Further, the lineup card will be pink, the corner of the bases will have a pink logo. Oh, and did I mention that the giveaway was a pink visor? Also, Joe Maddon will be wearing a pink dress. Well, I was just kidding about that last one, but seriously. I like pink fairly well, I think it is a nice color, but perhaps we are overdoing it. I understand that MLB want to support Moms and Breast Cancer treatment, but instead of creating crap to auction off for the Breast Cancer Association, couldn't they just write a fat check? Oh wait, that would come out of their pockets, not the fans who buy the pink stuff. Silly me. But honestly, I am a staunch traditionalist, and decorated bases, out of the ordinary uniform accessories, and pink bats not my idea of a good 'ole fashioned baseball game. Take that stuff out of the game, and find other ways to support Breast Cancer Awareness.

Maddon said that Dan Miceli's MRI showed "pretty much a fragmented shoulder", and did not say when he would be allowed to leave Vince Naimoli bathroom, where he is "rehabbing". Also on the injury front, Seth McClung had a large bruise on the inside of his right leg after being hit with a line drive Friday, and did not run yesterday, however no ill effects are expected to last, and he will start on Wednesday against Chicago. Good news from the Jorge Cantu camp, as his point-tenderness in his broken foot disappeared like Jimmy Hoffa, and Maddon said they would try to work him into an extended spring game by the end of this week.

Lastly, a TV footnote, as Thursday's game against the White Sox, previously to be one of 20 untelevised Rays games this year, was picked up for broadcast at the expense of the June 22nd contest against Arizona. Also televising Thursday's game will be ESPN2. Gee, televising a weekday night game against the defending World Series champions over a 12:15 weekday game against an expansion team on the other side of the country, what a novel idea.

Short Hops-The Times has a nice article on Joe Maddon's hometown in today's paper. Worth nothing from a between the chalk standpoint, but still a good read...The New York Mets have called up ex-Ray Jeremi Gonzalez to replace Heath Bell, who was demoted yesterday. Gonzalez pitched parts of two seasons with the Rays, doing well in helping to stabilize a weak 2003 rotation, but doing horribly in the few starts he made in 2004. He spent last season between the Boston Red Sox and their AAA Pawtucket affiliate, and had been in AAA Norfolk since the start of the season.

Down on the Farm

AAA Durham-L, 0-6:
SS B.J. Upton: 1-4, SB (18), 2 K
2B Brent Butler: 1-4, 3B (1), 2 K
RF Darnell McDonald: 2-4, PO, CS (5), 2 K, E (2, throw)
CF Elijah Dukes: 0-3
C Shawn Riggans: 0-1, BB, K, Ejected in 5th
3B Sean Burroughs: 0-3, E (1, fielding)
SP Jason Hammel, L (3-3): 6+ IP, 5 H, 5 R (ER), 2 BB, 4 K, HB
RP Jon Switzer: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 0 K

Bulls Up Next-at Indianapolis, 3:00 (Stokes)

AA Montgomery-L, 0-3:
2B Elliot Johnson: 0-4, K, E (6, fielding)
CF Jason Pridie: 0-3, BB, 2 K
1B Gaby Martinez: 0-2, BB, 2 K
C Charion Isenia: 1-3, 2B (3)
LF Francisco Leandro: 1-3
3B Aneudi Cuevas: 0-3, 2 K
SP Tony Peguero, L (4-3): 6 IP, 8 H, 2 R (ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR
RP Juan Salas: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
RP Jeff Ridgway: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K

Biscuits Up Next-vs West Tenn, 3:05 (Magrane)

A+ Visalia-W, 4-3:
CF Fernando Perez: 2-4, RS, 3B (2), RBI (8)
SS Reid Brignac: 1-4, K, E (14)
1B Chris Nowak: 1-4, K
RF Patrick Breen: 2-4, 2 RS, 2B (9), 2 K
SP Chris Mason: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R (ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, HB

Oaks Up Next-vs Lancaster, 4:35 (Feldkamp)

A- Southwest Michigan-L, 0-4:
CF John Matulia: 1-4
RF Garrett Groce: 2-4, 2B (10), SB (13)
C Matt Spring: 0-4, 3 K, E (3, throw)
LF Chris Cunningham: 0-3, BB
SP Jeff Kamrath, L (0-1): 3 IP, 6 H, 4 R (ER), 2 BB, 2 K, WP

M-Rays Up Next-at Ft. Wayne, 3:00 (Wlodarczyk)

-Over the last two days, Rays minor league teams have lost seven of eight games, and today's losing affiliates were shut out by a combined 13-0.