Category Archives: Tampa Bay Devil Rays

More Confirmation that Joe Maddon is a Fruitcake

We’ve talked about it before, but Rays manager Joe Maddon is an odd duck.

Yesterday, he built a lineup (presumably) based on the Tommy Tutone song, 867-5309 (Jenny).

It was in futility, because the Rays then went out and got thrashed by the Tigers 8-1.

While you were sleeping, Mike Trout heroics played out

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You know that guy named Mike Trout that has been ‘slumping’ oh so badly? Well, last night he somehow managed to do a good thing. He plucked one directly from the loss column and put it in the Angels’ win column by doing this:

Yes, no sooner did the announcer finish saying that ‘the one thing Mike Trout has never done in his illustrious career is a walk off home run’ when Mr. Simon Says arrives on cue to do just that.

Angels win 6-5, drive home safely folks.

And because he’s Mike Trout and because we are all spoiled by his play each night – he also had a terrific diving catch in this game.

I have got to stop going to sleep before the final out is recorded in a Mike Trout game. The lesson here is that if there is still time left on the clock, there is still time for a Mike Trout moment. Do not go to sleep on him you lazy asses!

New Favorite Pitcher

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Yeah so; Yordano Ventura was as-advertised. I cannot state how much fun it is to watch this guy mix 101 MPH aspirin tablets with devastating offspeed stuff to middle of the order hitters like Wil Myers and Evan Longoria.

The Royals were futile enough that they couldn’t even get the kid a run so he could win his first big league start like he deserved, but that didn’t blemish the fact that we’ll always remember the first time we got to see Yordano take the pill and shut down the opposition for six strong.

David Price is an Ass Wipe

I have a good friend who heard David Price speak at a National College Coaching convention a few years back. Following the speech he heard at the Chicago convention something stuck in my mind about David Price.

This guy (a fellow former lefty pitcher) had major disdain for Price based upon what Price had to say. One thing that stuck out in his mind was that Price was asked ‘what is your goal for your career’. Price’s answer had nothing to do with a team accomplishment; namely winning a world title. Price went on to answer that he would like to pile up Cy Young Awards and eventually be named to the Hall of Fame.

And now, David Price going on a twitter rant and listing his many personal accomplishments like a thin-skinned athlete makes a lot more sense to me.

I was neutral on David Price. Now I don’t like David Price either. And I bet he did have nightmares about David Ortiz last night.

The Cleveland Indians have a Playoff Game Tonight

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For the first time since the 2007 ALCS have the Cleveland Indians been involved in a postseason game. It was October 21st, 2007 and they lost game seven to the Boston Red Sox – who ironically awaits them if they get by the fully loaded Tampa Rays tonight.

My buddy Justin is in Cleveland for the game. He’s excited. And it’s hard to blame him. We had so many great nights watching the Tribe do battle in the playoffs in the mid to late 90′s. Maybe this is the team who brings Cleveland it’s first title in I don’t know how long. Maybe it comes in a completely unexpected form. There’s something a little bit exciting about the possibility of that for my home state.

It’s a great night for baseball. I think the Rays are good enough to go to the World Series. This is going to be another night of high drama. Full report of the Tribe/Justin later.

Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Player of the Week

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Why is it the HHMWMPOTW always has to be on my opponents team in my one weekly fantasy league?

The Long Beach Dirtbag went batshit crazy in the batter’s box last week, hitting five home runs and driving in seven runs. His slugging percentage was 1.000 on the nose and he went 11 for 28 for a .393 batting average. You had to figure at some point he would grab this meaningless hardware and add his names to the greats who have taken home the weekly trophy.

He’s got seven home runs in August, many of came against me last week and did their job in dismantling my fantasy team. He’s OPS’ing at a 1.022 clip for the month.

Times are good for Longoria and the Rays, who are now just 1.5 games out of the AL East lead behind the Red Sox. Don’t lose track of them – they’re going to be spoken for when things shake out and the World Series is being played for in about a month.

Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial Player of the Week

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Everyone has Wil Myers pegged as the next big thing. I don’t know, I’m lukewarm on the guy. He’s going to be a serviceable big league player who has a long and productive career. But I’m not sure he’s ticketed to be a star.

However, there was nothing lukewarm about his past week in the game.

Playing in games 29 through 33 in his big league career, Myers amassed a .455/.952/1.407 batting line which included three home runs, eight RBI, five runs, and a stolen base. It was a short week in that it only included five games for Myers, but he lit up Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium like a ten year veteran.

Myers is a major reason that the Rays should be taken seriously right now as a contender for the whole damn thing. They’re quietly dominating and atop many a power ranking around baseball.

Wil Myers, your Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Player of the Week. No batting gloves included.

Francisco Liriano IcyHot Award: David Price

Before we get started on Price, let me announce I’m back after a long journey the opposite side of the globe.  I was able to keep up on some baseball even though I took some bad losses in my fantasy league.  Baseball isn’t extremely popular over in India, but they have figured out that swinging a piece of wood at a ball can be fun.  I saw lots of this being played in the local Indian “sandlot”.

I was actually near this field. This enthusiastic young man wasn’t playing at the time though.

It was a great trip, but I was ready to get and just in time for the mid-summer classic.  I’m hoping to come back better than ever, just like our award winner this week.  David Price spent close to 2 months on the DL with a triceps injury, but came back with a bang this week.  In his first 2 starts back he went 2-0 , pitched 16 innings and only gave up 1 run while striking out 16.  Any worry than Price wouldn’t be quite right was quickly put to rest.  The Rays’ playoffs hopes are definitely given a huge boost by Rpice’s presence anchoring the rotation and probably eases the pressure a bit on youngster Matt Moore.

FL 7.8

 

Honorable Mentions:

Icy: Matt Cain, Jerome Williams

Hot:  Clayton Kershaw, Matt Moore

 

 

Rank Relief: The Rays finally score some runs and can’t hang on.

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Fernando Rodney gets a long look at JP Arencibia blast the game winner.

The Rays score 7 runs in the 3rd inning against the struggling Blue Jays and seemingly would have the game in hand if they could manage the next 6 innings.  Well beginning the very next inning, the Blue Jays begin to slowly claw their way back despite being a bad team despite acquiring many former All-Stars this off-season.  It got to 9th inning with the Rays clinging to a 1 run lead.  The usually recently reliable Fernando Rodney was in to close the game.  He emphatically did not.  See below:

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He almost made it through the inning, but the free swinging JP Arencibia ran into a fastball and deposited it somewhere in the outfield where presumably nobody was sitting in the Trop.  Rodney was always an adventure closing until last year.  We’ll see if this signals a move back to the median.

Rank relief: Alliteration edition…Wieters walksoff

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The Rays haven’t been off to a hot start and they couldn’t right the ship vs. the Orioles tonight.  Jamey Wright worked a clean 9th inning and trotted out to hopefully do the same in the 10th.  But this time he had to face the top of the Orioles lineup.  After he gave up a single to the light hitting Nick Markakis, he was relieved by Brandon Gomes.  Manny Machado attempted to bunt Markakis over to second, and accidentally ended up on first base.  Adam Jones then seemingly hit a game winning doubel but Nick Markakis had a little base running trouble and couldn’t get home.  So bases loaded, Gomes hung a slider and Matt Wieters deposited it in the bleachers.  Details below:

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A grand slam walk off is a fun affair for all involved (except Brandon Gomes) and its fun to watch grown men jumping around home plate (unless you’re Kendrys Morales).  Funny thing is Jamey Wright actually got the lost since he gave up the single to Markakis, who was technically the winning run.

2013 Tampa Bay Rays Team Preview

It’s really hard to not like the Rays if you are just a fan of baseball.  They do more with less than pretty much any team in the league.  They have the worst ball park in the majors, they play in front of sparse crowds most nights (19k on average – lowest in the league), and still manage to compete in usually the toughest division in baseball year   in and year out.  They haven’t finished lower than 3rd in the AL East since 2007.  Their highest paid player is David Price who signed for a one year arbitration deal of $10M.  There only long term contracts are Evan Longoria and Matt Moore who both are likely under market value.  They aren’t afraid to trade away great players or even just simply let them go in FA (see Carl Crawford and BJ Upton).  They have managed to keep the farm system stocked for years.  They are what every smaller market team wishes their team could be like. (given financial constraints)  This past offseason they parted with two major contributors in James Shields and BJ Upton, both of whom were in line for market priced pay days the Rays couldn’t afford.

What did they do to replace that production?

Major Off-Season Moves:

  • Acquired OF prospect Wil Myers from Royals
  • Signed 2B Kelly Johnson
  • Acquired SS Yunel Escobar
  • Acquired 1B James Loney

This looks about like what the Rays would do.  Traded for one blue chip prospect in Wil Myers.  He’ll likely be a superstar for the Rays while they control him and he’ll either sign him to a team friendly extension or trade him for more prospects.  The rest of the signings look like mildly liked veterans that the Rays could get for discounted prices and hope to hit on a few of them.  Kelly Johnson is a solid player and will allow Ben Zobrist to play full time in the OF.  Yunel Escobar didn’t endear himself in Toronto after an unfortunate makeup incident.  He’s talented, but comes with some baggage.  I’m not so sure the talent will come to fruition in Tampa.  James Loney will play first, but will likely platoon a decent amount while Ryan Roberts slides over to fill in.

Let’s get tot he rest of that lineup. Continue reading

Davey Johnson’s comments confirm he is indeed; a red-assed individual

Not sure if you heard about the whole hullabaloo last night during the Rays-Nationals game in Washington. We had the game on live, and Joel Peralta had just strolled out to pitch the 8th inning in a game the Rays were up 5-4.

That’s when things got hairy. Davey Johnson had prior knowledge of Peralta doctoring his gloves with a foreign substance and had the home-plate umpire go out and shakedown Peralta. Peralta was found to be guilty and promptly ejected. And the poker game continued on into today with Johnson’s quotes, namely his thoughts on Rays manager Joe Maddon.

“I don’t know him that well, but I thought he was a weird wuss anyways.”

Listen to this guy. Calling people ‘weird’. Calling his fellow managers wussies. I love it.

You know what’s even better? We had someone sneak a hidden camera into the Nationals clubhouse a few weeks back. Here’s what we found:

I don’t know Davey Johnson all that well either, but I feel like we had him pegged spot-on a few weeks back when we called him a red ass and said that was the exact reason that we loved the guy.

I also imagine that there are a lot of normal people out there that Davey fails to find the color in and deems them as ‘weird’. He has the temperament of a grandpa that has missed his nap.

R.A. Dickey is so much fun right now

Look at this man. Does he look like he belongs amongst this pantheon of gladiators of the game’s greatest? No. He looks like he would be taking out your trash at the end of the week from underneath your office desk.

But Robert Alan Dickey is on some kind of run right now.

I’ve been along for the ride; every fluttering, sputtering step of this journey. That’s because in the midst of the most unsuccessful period of fantasy baseball team ownership in 13 years, Dickey has been my guiding light.

Even if the unlikely run comes to an abrupt halt here soon, I’ll still never forget what R.A. Dickey contributed to try and keep my lowly, under-performing squad out of the cellar. Because I’ve never finished in the cellar. And in this year where Felix Hernandez and C.C. Sabathia look to torture me with mediocrity; Dickey must know that I was owed something.

The date was May 26th, and I was in New Jersey at my in-laws. Before heading out to dinner I was trolling the waiver wire looking for a pitcher to stream. I saw that Dickey had the Padres the next day and had struck out 11 hitters against the Pirates his last start. I was desperate.

Since that date, Dickey has unleashed one of the most magical runs I can remember over the course of my lifetime. Last night he fired a one-hitter in Tampa in a 9-1 Mets win. Since I’ve added Dickey to my roster, he’s gone 32.2 innings with a 4-0 record, 39 strikeouts, not a single earned run on the ledger, a 0.55 WHIP, 13 strikeouts to every walk allowed. He’s striking out a cool 10.74 batters per nine.

Dickey now owns the New York Mets all-time scoreless inning streak. His Cinderella run might find him starting on the mound in the All-Star Game in a month. If the ride ends tomorrow, and it’s likely to come to a screeching halt sometime soon; we’ve already been given way more than we could have ever asked for from this unlikely hero.

In a game filled with blazing fastballs and physical specimens, there’s Dickey. He’s built slightly better than your average middle-aged office working paladin. And hitters are completely helpless against what he’s got right now.

R.A. Dickey is awesome, and that word doesn’t even give him his full due.

Chris Sale, Matt Moore Match-up for Strikeout Showdown on Memorial Day

Around the time you were throwing your burgers and beer soaked brats on the grill to officially kick-off the summer, Chris Sale started summer for all of us by striking out 15 Tampa Bay Rays. Matt Moore countered with 10 of his own.

The reason this was special was it figures to be the first of several match-ups between two American League power pitchers that goes into the next decade. Both of these guys are young, and there will be more showdowns like this. Also, if you look at Sale closely; does he not resemble a young Randy Johnson? Just a little bit?

It also matched a season-high equaled by Max Scherzer (15 strikeouts of his own a few weeks back). When someone gets 15 K’s as a starting pitcher, it’s big news. It’s headline grabbing. You get ESPN alert texts about it.

The White Sox also won the game 2-1, which is good for all South Side fans.