Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon was tossed in the 5th inning after a ridiculous call on a check swing by Michael Young, but umpires were only another irritant in this afternoon’s loss to the Texas Rangers. The Tampa Bay Rays have not played well as a team, period. On Wednesday, Tampa was 1-10 with RISP. Today, Tampa left the bases loaded in the 7th inning. If you were a realist, you had to see this coming. Well, maybe not the David Price meltdown in game 1, but Tampa was not coming into the playoffs with red hot bats. This is a team which essentially backed into the playoffs with a .247 team batting average. Yes, I know, they beat Kansas City twice at the end of the season and they didn’t “back into” the playoffs, but let’s be real. The Tampa Bay Rays scored 16 runs in their last 8 games of the season against some of the worst teams in baseball, do you really think that this team would suddenly become an offensive juggernaut?
James Shields wasn’t the problem today, but he wasn’t exactly the solution either, I would like to have seen Matt Garza on the mound this afternoon. Shields had a meltdown in the third inning after hitting the first batter, C Matt Treanor who eventually came home to score the first run because of a throwing error by Shields. Shields became so obsessed with SS Elvis Andrus on first base that he committed a throwing error allowing the first run. Then with Andrus on second base, Shields literally fell off the mound pitching to Michael Young and delivered the pitch behind Young at the plate.
Now to address the umpires call of the Michael Young non check swing which caused Joe Maddon to get ejected. This is yet another in a string of horrible calls this season which has gone against the Tampa Bay Rays this season. Yes, it was a horrible call, and it did turn the tide but at the end of the game, Tampa Bay only managed to get 2 hits. 2 Freaking hits! Tampa now has 8 hits in 2 games, 1 run and 3 errors. You can’t blame that on bad calls. Take that 5th inning out of the game, and the Texas Rangers still win the game on the back of a great game pitched by CJ Wilson who pitched a solid game, 6.1 IP, 7 K’s and no earned runs.
The Tampa bay Rays appear stunned. They are lackluster on the field and in the dugout. Their back is against the wall as the series now moves to Texas and I don’t think the Tampa Bay Rays are going to recover. They could be starting Roy Halladay on Friday and the way the Rays are hitting, or not hitting right now, is the factor.
I hope those fans who got a chance to attend the game today gave LF Carl Crawford a nice sendoff this afternoon because it is most likely the last time that you will be seeing Crawford in a Rays uniform. We will be seeing a vastly different team in 2011 as the Rays ownership has already said that they wanted to reduce the payroll heading into next season. this was the season that this team was going to make the final push and it looks as if now with the Rays return to the post-season will be very short-lived.
What a waste of 7 months for the Rays and the talent. When does Spring Training open?