The Rays took on the Cleveland Indians and the Seattle Mariners in 7 games this week and lost 4 out of 7 to end the week with an overall mark of 49-47 and in 3rd place a full 8.5 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East and 2.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the final wild card spot. For many fans the just finished 10 game home stand marks the beginning of the end for the Rays. The general feeling is that it is time to face the music and take any player without a contract for 2013 and get something of value in return for him, even if that value is just financial relief. There is a groundswell that the team should, after about 12 not so James Shields like starts, trade him to fill holes on the offense and free up even more money.
Other including myself, believe that a team that has one glaring weakness and Andrew Friedman should focus on strengthening rather than dealing away players in exchange for a marginal gain. Many teams have so many areas that need help that one or two peripheral deals won't necessarily achieve much. In the Rays case the ability to score more runs is the one giant weight holding the team back and to cash in your chips before attempting to remedy this would be a travesty for fans who continue to buy tickets, go to the Trop, or invest their time watching and listening to Rays games.
Either way Friedman goes should generate excitement around the Rays community. A sell off will generate short term interest and after that it will be all NCAA football and NFL football. Adding on will at least give the fan base a reason to keep tuned in and argue about whether or not it was worth it.
There is also the thought that a front office can reallocate resources and fill holes while remaining competitive now. That is a possible scenario but one that is harder to achieve. Sure, getting a player back with at least 2013 already under contract for a player who doesn't have a contract for 2013 would be a great strategy but are those deals out there?
It's your move Andrew.
The Rays will be off today and then head out on a 9 game road trip starting with 3 against the Orioles, 3 against he Angles, and 3 against the Athletics.
AL East Upcoming Schedules:
The New York Yankees will finsh up a west coast trip with 3 games agains the Mariners and have a day off Thursday before welcoming the Boston Red Sox for a weekend series.
The Baltimore Orioles will finish a wrap around series with the Cleveland Indians before welcoming the Rays in town for a 3 game series and the Athletics for a weekend series.
The Boston Red Sox will travel to Texas to take on the Rangers and have a day off prior to travelling to New York to take on the Yankees.
July 17th: Activate Matt Joyce from 15-day disabled list and optioned Will Rhymes to AAA Durham.
July 21st: Placed Luke Scott on 15-day disabled list and recalled Cesar Ramos from AAA Durham.
July 22nd: Sent Cesar Ramos to AAA Durham and recalled Brandon Gomes from AAA Durham.
Sam Fuld has been progressing well and could be activated for the Rays as early as Tuesday in Baltimore.
Jeff Niemann completed his first bullpen over the weekend and threw 25 pitches without any setback. No announcement on his rehab schedule or anticipated date of return has been announced.
Evan Longoria has resumed taking batting practices and is working on more lateral movement drills at 3b. No announcement on his rehab schedule or anticipated date of return has been announced.
What Does Sternfan1 Have To Say:
G'morning Rays fans There's no sense recapping the week. MrNegative1 does that better than I could even imagine. This is a commentary. It's an attack on Andrew Friedman, and here is why. This team has been hit with injuries, yes we all acknowledge that, but to sit tight and wait for Evan Longoria's return, Luke Scott's year long battle injuring nearly every moving part of his body and all the assorted other DL stints, he has brought us nothing in the way of a bat to help this pitiful offense.
That is of course if you consider Rich Thompson, Stephen Vogt, Chris Giminez, Brooks Conrad, Drew Sutton, Hideki Matsui and Will Rhymes legitimate MLB hitters. I do not. Going into Sunday's game we were only one game out of the 2nd WC and only three or four out of the 1st WC.
Think of where we might be if we'd done a little better than 3 runs or less in 47 of our GP. To lose a series at home versus the Mariners without facing King Felix is a disgrace. The lack of fans have figured it out, this team is boring even when it does win the rare 3-2 contest. Seriously outside of David Price what player would you pay to watch play? At this point I'm standing pat on dealing parts that might bring a return and that has but few untouchables.
As always Go Rays
Monday, July 16th: Indians 3 Rays 2
Zach McCallister last faced the Rays the Sunday prior to the All Star break and watchd the Rays erase a victory with a ninth inning rally. Monday the Indians gave him a 3-0 lead and the bullpen held on for a 3-2 victory. Alex Cobb danced in and out of trouble early but was only able to give the Rays 3.1 innings allowing 5 hits and 3R/2ER with 5 walks and only 3 strike outs.
Alex Cobb on his rough outing:
"Usually when those games are happening, I'm able to make an adjustment, whatever it is mechanically I'm doing wrong," Cobb said. "I just wasn't able to do that. I was able to do it pitch to pitch, but not consistently get my mechanics together and throw consecutive strikes." - mlb.com
Tuesday, July 17th: Rays 4 Indians 2
The Rays jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and never relinquished the lead as Matt Moore shut the Indians down for 5 innings allowing 2R/2ER on 3 hits while striking out 3 and walking 5. The Rays used a quartet of relievers (Davis, Peralta, Badenhop, Rodney) held the Indians to 1 run over the final 4 innings.
BJ Upton still expecting that big streak to come:
"We've kinda done it, put it together here and there," Upton said about responding after losing the last two games. "We just haven't really had our big streak yet, and it's gonna happen. If we keep doing the little things like we have been lately, we'll be playing some close ballgames." -mlb.com
Wednesday, July 18th: Indians 10 Rays 6
The Indians scored 8 runs with 2-out and 5 of those runs came after a missed third strike call which resulted in Joe Maddon being ejected for the first time in 2012. Jeremy Hellickson worked the first 6 innings allowing 3R/3ER on 5 hits while striking out 2 and walking 1. The Rays self destructed in the 7th inning after Kyle Farnsworth had retired the first two he induced a hard hit grounder that got under the glove of Carlos Pena which was ruled a hit. The floodgates opened after that. The missed third strike call was followed by a Jason Kipnis RBI single and the big blow came off the bat of Carlos Santana who delivered a 3 run homer.
Joe Maddon on the Rays shoot themselves in the foot style of play:
"We just have to do better, it's upon us, we have to do better, we can't make the mistakes that are causing us to lose games, but I will defend our effort, I will defend our work and how much our guys care," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "At the end of the day that matters to me most." - mlb.com
Joe Maddon on blown call and Pena's non-error
Jake McGee on Dan Iassogna's blown call:
"I thought it was a strike," McGee said. "It was one of those pitches when you throw it, the majority of the time they call it a strike and you almost want to walk off the mound. And he didn't call it. And I was kind of shocked a little bit. But I didn't want to say anything to the umpire -- make him mad and I wouldn't get other pitches -- so I just tried to make better pitches of the at-bat."- mlb.com
Thursday, July 19th: Rays 6 Indians 0
David Price was outstanding as he held the Indians to 2 hits over 7 innings and Wade Davis finished off the shutout with 2 scoreless innings of relief. The Rays jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a Luke Scott homer in the 3rd and broke the game open with a 2-out rally that included a bases clearing double by BJ Upton and a RBI single by Carlos Pena.
BJ Upton wore his high stirrups during the game reminding Maddon of Frank Robinson:
"B.J., before he went up there, I said, 'Frank Robby right there,'" Rays manager Joe Maddon said, noting how nice the sixth-inning rally was, since it came with two outs. "... Finally a two-out moment came back to us. Two-out, nobody on, that really was a big part of the game." - mlb.com
Friday, July 20th: Rays 4 Mariners 3
James Shields was shaky in the first but got out of a bases loaded jam only giving up 1 run. He then let his nemesis Carlos Peguero hit a 2-run homer in the top of the 7th. The Rays offense came back to tie the game at 3-3 int the bottom of the 7th and eventually won the game in the 14th inning on a Ben Zobrist double to score a hustling Carlos Pena all the way from first.
Carlos Pena on scoring the winning run:
"That ball down the line, I never saw it," Pena said. "I just took off. When you take off my only eyes [belong to] our third-base coach. ... I looked at the third-base coach, he was waving, and I heard the crowd, too. I knew the ball was through. And all I'm thinking is I'm scoring.
"Of course, when I hit third, my gas tank got on empty. And I'm like I need the legs to go the next 70 feet here. ... It might not have been the most graceful run from third to home, but it was effective." - mlb.com
Saturday, July 21st: Mariners 2 Rays 1
Jason Vargas locked the Rays lineup down for 6 innings and the Mariners bullpen worked the final 3 scoreless innings to defeat the Rays 2-1. The Rays bullpen had to worked 7 scoreless innings in place Alex Cobb who left the game after taking a line drive off the lower leg to end the 2nd inning.
Joe Maddon on Cesar Ramos impressive 4 scoreless innings:
"We brought Cesar up specifically for an event like today," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He was great. That was as good as I've ever seen him pitch. ... He had a really good poise about himself tonight, too. ... Cesar permitted us to have a chance to win that game tonight." -mlb.com
Sunday, July 22nd: Mariners 2 Rays 1
Despite a dominant performance by Matt Moore and despite Moore and Farnsworth retiring the last 20 Mariners in a row, the Rays offense failed to push across more than 1 run in dropping the game 2-1 and the series to the Seattle Mariners.