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Monday Morning Rays Recap: Frustration Boils Over

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Even with all the craziness surrounding the Rays during the Vince Namoli era, this week in Tampa Bay Rays history has to go down as one of the craziest and most disappointing weeks wrapped into one.  The Rays were 0-3 as the week began and had a two game series with the Anaheim Angels at Tropicana Field.  The restless offense had its hand full with Angel starters Dan Haren and Jared Weaver.  The Rays lost both games to drop to 0-5 and headed to Chicago to open a 4-game series with the White Sox.  The White Sox sent Edwin Jackson up against the Rays to open the series and he struck out 13 Rays in 8 innings en route to a 5-1 White Sox victory.  

Friday was a crazy day to say the least as it was announced that Manny Ramirez had failed yet another drug test and rather than take the 100 game suspension had decided to retire.  The story only added to the grief that the fanbase had already had to endure while watching a season of hope begin to fade.  The Rays fell behind early on Friday and trailed entering the 9th inning 7-2 before some spotty fielding by the White Sox opened the door for Dan Johnson to drive a ball out of the park to give the Rays their first lead of the season at 9-7 and Kyle Farnsworth closed the door making a winner out of Adam Russell.   The momentum of the Friday night comeback was short lived as both Philip Humber and Gavin Floyd handcuffed the Rays lineup on Saturday and Sunday dropping the Rays to 1-8 on the season as the first full week of baseball comes to an end.  The highlight of the Sunday game had to be Joe Maddon getting thrown out for disputing a call at first base and before leaving the field, he pointed at each umpire and ejected them.  

It doesn't take much analysis to realize that the Rays are under performing in nearly every aspect of the game.  Their starters aren't pitching well, the relievers aren't getting key outs, their baserunning has left much to be desired, the fielding has been iffy at best, and the bats have been non-existent.   The only comfort for the Rays fan base is that the dreaded Red Sox have had an equally poor start.  

There will be many discussions on DRB over the course of the next week about the Manny effect, the woes of the offense, and where to go from here.  Feel free to use the comments here to sound off about how you feel and most importantly what moves you would like the Rays to make over the next several weeks.   
As mentioned last week, the baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint.  Unlike in running, where a roadside assistance vehicle can pick you up if you pull a hamstring or have some other injury that stops you dead in your tracks, in baseball the team must hobble along.  At the very least, the Rays week will include at least three very important games this week.  The Rays leave Chicago and head to Boston to take on the Red Sox at Fenway Park.   The Red Sox are currently one game ahead of the last place Rays and it is not absurd to suggest that this 3 game series will go a long way into shaping one teams immediate future.  One team can exit Wednesday evening feeling like they've taken a step in the right direction and one team can leave wondering what else could go wrong.  After leaving Boston the Rays will return home to Tropicana Field to face the Minnesota Twins.

Pitching Matchups in Fenway Park:  The Rays will send Jeremy Hellickson up against Daisuke Matsuzaka on Monday night, David Price versus Jon Lester on Tuesday night, and James Shield versus John Lackey on Wednesday night.

Pitching Matchups against Minnesota Twins: Wade Davis vs Carl Pavano (Thursday), Jeff Niemann vs Nick Blackburn (Friday), Scott Baker vs Jeremy Hellickson (Saturday afternoon), and David Price vs Brian Duensing (Sunday).

Don't forget that Sunday's game is the DRaysBay - Process Report - Extra 2% Event.  Click the link to reserve your ticket and details as follows:

On Sunday, Jonah Keri, Jason Collette, Erik Hahmann, and many of us bloggers will be in the back patio area of Ferg's from 12-1, and we'll have copies of The Extra 2% and The Process Report 2011 for sale. This part of the event won't cost anything extra for you to attend - just whatever you'd like to spend on adult sodas, books, and such. Anyone can feel free to drop by, and we're hoping to turn it into a really fun gathering. At 1, we'll gather up and head over to Tropicana Field to our perch in the TBT Party Deck which is slated to have David Price on the mound.

After the gathering in Ferg's, we'll be heading over to the Trop early. Jonah Keri will be coming to the game, as well as noted members of the Rays blogosphere from The Process Report and DRaysBay. For people that arrive at the game early, we'll have a little pregame chat with Jonah and the rest of us, and I have no doubt that there will be much nerdy baseball chatter. The price of the ticket is lower than what you'd normally pay for seats in the Party Deck, so you'd be essentially getting to go to a great baseball game at a discount price, while also meeting some pretty cool (and by cool, I mean exceptionally geeky) people.

We're almost sold out of tickets for the game, so if you're interested, enter your name below and I'll get you the necessary information. If we have enough extra demand above the 50 slots we have reserved, we can always expand our reservation.

This is a very important week fo Rays fans.  A few wins in Boston including watching the offense break out may lead to some recovered spirits as the Rays return home.  Losing the series to Boston, or worse yet a sweep, and the Rays fan base can do nothing else but adjust their expectations even lower than they were after leaving Chicago.  

Finally, in order to capture the debates surrounding the team amongst all of us in GDTs and in Twitter, I've allowed Sternfan1 to submit a "SF1 Blast Off" for inclusion.  Follow Sternfan1 on Twitter @sternfan10.

SF1 BLASTS OFF

Did anyone think it could get worse than last week's recap, the sweep at home by BAL? Well, as we know it did. First off, what Manny Ramirez did to this organization was cruel, thoughtless, and unforgivable. On the other hand, I'm going to point a finger in the direction of the once Teflon-like Andrew Friedman. This is his team. He sold us into believing John Jaso, Reid Brignac, Dan Johnson, Matt Joyce and even Ben Zobrist were capable and beyond every day MLB players. Well, guess what? They're not...and for this he must be held accountable.

Also, as for the bullpen, Jake McGee and Cesar Ramos are making me long for the days of Jeff Ridgeway.

The sad part is there is no quick fix, no player in Triple-A who is going to help right away. The long road back begins today.