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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Rays return home after series loss

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Tampa Bay Rays v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

No one thought the Rays were going to continue to score eight runs a game, of course, but nonetheless the series loss in Minnesota, where we saw some poor starting pitching and the team too often seem to be sleepwalking at the plate, is quite disappointing.

Rays News

Fangraph’s Ben Clemens takes out a magnifying glass to see what has changed for reliever Matt Wisler.

Funny that Andrew Kittredge, who almost never shows emotion on the mound, says he learned his approach from Sergio Romo, who is much more expressive. You can read Marc Topkins’ profile of Kittredge and his (knock on wood) successful non-surgical rehab from a UCL injury here ($).

More on that Kiermaier inside-the-park homer on Friday night:

Last week, ESPN person Tony Kornheiser dissed both the Tampa area and our baseball team. My general response to this kind of nonsense is 1. this is someone trying to gain clicks through outrage, let’s ignore him, and 2. national sports media who complain that the Rays are “boring” are usually trying to cover up for their failure to do even a five second google to learn about the team. But Marc Topkin addresses the comments, noting that the Rays have even made t-shirts bragging about the area’s lack of charisma.

There are days when I say that I will simply not write about or link to articles that talk about Rays attendance issues. I don’t want to be part of a narrative pushing attendance when we are in the midst of a pandemic. But it is really striking to me that Rays attendance has been particularly awful this year, even when cases here were much lower. This is about as exciting a Rays team as I’ve seen. So what gives? Anyway, John Romano has no idea what the issue is, but he’s written a column about it ($).

And speaking of stadiums in St. Pete, per St. Pete Catalyst, after some back and forth the city and county are finalizing an agreement with a consultant who will help them carry out negotiations with the Rays as they consider whether a stadium will be part of the Tropicana Field redevelopment plan.

Around the League

How could the next Collective Bargaining Agreement be structured to ensure that teams have an incentive to be competitive? ESPN asks some current players and executives for their thoughts.

2021 continues to be the “year of the no hitter.” The ban on “sticky stuff” was supposed shift the balance of power away from pitchers, but this weekend the Diamondbacks Tyler Gilbert threw a no-hit shutout to add to the list. And if you like your narratives heart-warming this is a good one: the 26 year old had struggled to make it to the majors; his no-hitter was his first major league start. The New York Times adds some more analysis about the no-hitter trends of 2021.

New accusations have surfaced against currently suspended Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer per Washington Post ($).

The Giants have inked an extension with Brandon Crawford ($).

When free agent signings pay off: Springer’s injury notwithstanding, per Fangraphs the Blue Jays have benefited from their offseason free agent signings.

Minor league teams often have great marketing and promotions. Here’s one that offers a great example of inclusion:

More reactions to Thursday night’s “Field of Dreams” game:

From Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated

From Tyler Kepner, New York Times — a mix of the old and the new (e.g. a Tim Anderson walkoff)($)