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Thoughts on the Rays' Opening Day loss

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

O, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.

"Going up to Jerusalem", Twenty Sermons (1886) by Rev. Phillip Brooks

As far as Opening Days go, this was less a matter of the Rays losing and more a matter of not inspiring confidence in our team. Let's walk through the key moments below:

- John Jaso was aggressive on the base paths and injured his wrist accordingly. This season feels just like that moment thus far.

- Steven Souza was caught by an Oriole for turning left instead of right down the right field line, and was unable to escape the following run down. "I didn't want to stand there and be a dead duck," he said after the game.

When's the last time that happened? "Back in little league."

- Logan Forsythe and James Loney were absolutely everywhere on the field, sometimes needlessly. Then there were near disasters, Archer through a ball over Loney's head, Souza avoided a collision with Kiermaier.

- James Loney was called out and the play upheld after review for obstruction of home plate. Ryan Flaherty was not called for obstruction at second base when he dropped a full leg down in front of second before fielding the ball.

- Rene Rivera received the ball ahead of Steve Pearce at home plate by possibly ten steps, and ready for the out chose not to play a game of obstruction in accordance with the rules. Pearce walked up slowly, then dove under the tag in a bit of trickery. He was called out, but the play was reviewed and the O's were awarded the team's sixth run.

What is the point of obstruction rules when they're enforced but not honored in routine plays? What is the impedance of the rule? Should the catcher have aggressively pursued Pearce?

"Yeah, you know... Awkward play," Kevin Cash said after the game.

"I think there's a rule in place to keep everybody from getting injured, and it makes it awkward for the base runner, and it makes it awkward for the catcher. I don't know what the right thing is on that."

"I understand the guy was safe," Cash continued "but it seemed like everybody slowed up," as if to say that the players had a gentleman's agreement that Pearce was out. In that moment, the player decided a slide was worth it after all, and went for home plate.

On the result of the play, Cash was nonchalant: "You know, we don't want that to happen, but you also don't want Rene to drop down and get trucked by blocking the plate."

It's hard to disagree, given the circumstances the last thing the Rays need is another injury, and Rivera made the right call to not block Pearce's path. He might have been able to do more, perhaps walking toward the player may have eliminated the opportunity, but it's called trickery for a reason.

Each player did what they felt was right, everything else is nuance. "We'll work through it," Cash said, "I'm sure there will be some questions that arise over it."

- One of those questions will also be whether Buck Showalter waited too long to challenge the play. The rule book uses the word "immediately" for managers leaving the dugout to challenge an inning ending play, but the Orioles manager took a call from the bench before entering the field, relying on the boys up stairs to tell him to challenge the umpire's ruling.

- We want more offense moving forward, that much is true, but perhaps keeping men from getting out on the bases would have salved some wounds from Opening Day. For that, we just need to play a full season and let these one-off mishaps go their own way.

- As for how Archer performed, he wasn't pleased with his Opening Day effort, but he was working his change up and executed the majority of his pitches. He had nine whiffs, three on the change. Pearce found a dinger off Archer, but it wasn't a poor pitch. I'm quite pleased with Archer's showing, even if the results weren't ideal.

This was just one game of 162. No one interviewed after the game seemed to be panicking, and neither should you. Not over one wild game , even if it was a disappointing loss.

- My last thought here is on Chris Tillman. While the O's are not the most intimidating team in the division, they are still a formidable foe and their ace is a very good pitcher. Something like a right handed Drew Smyly. He might not lead the Rays' healthy rotation, if he played for Tampa Bay, but that takes nothing away from his talent. Tillman beat everyone but Longoria yesterday, and that deserves a tip of the cap.

Zimmer Honored

Prior to the game, the Rays honored long time team adviser Don Zimmer by retiring his No. 66, worn the year he passed away. Fittingly, the ceremony on the field was conducted by Evan Longoria, who was close to the Zimmer family, and saw Don as a personal mentor.

Links

- John Jaso should be sidelined for a little while, but hopefully returns within a week. He reports there were no breaks or structural issues after an x-ray and an MRI, it's simply "really sore."

There's no real timetable for now: "Show up tomorrow, see where it's at." Rays Radio called it, "not a DL scenario."

- Prior to the game, original Rays owner Vince Naimoli threw out the first pitch to Rocco Baldelli. It was a fitting tribute to the man who was awarded this franchise twenty years ago this year.

- Steve Kinsella provides Evan Longoria's breakdown of Opening Day:

- Per Marc Topkin:

Announced attendance for Monday's sellout was 31,042, the same as last year after renovations and the tarping of more seats. The 1998 inaugural game in the same building drew 45,369. It was the 10th straight home opener the Rays have sold out.

- Dave Cameron on the Rays' chances this year:

There is a chance for this team to put it together and make a run this year, even while the Rays mostly look towards the future. But that would require the team to turn a lot of lemons into lemonade. And as a wise man once said, if you don't also have sugar, your lemonade is going to suck.

- The Hardball Timeson Scott Boras and previewing Play Indecies for the season.

- The Padres were not interested in Papaelbon.

- The Reds chose Kevin Gregg over Aroldis Chapman on Opening Day in a high leverage situation. Baseball.

- And finally, the Marlins have no idea what they're doing... in regards to weather.

Dome sweet Dome.