Monday, July 23, 2007

Notes From Yankees Series

The series against the Yankees started out great for the Rays with a 14-4 victory on Friday. Edwin Jackson looked outstanding giving up no runs in 6 innings and the offense exploded led by BJ Upton who hit two home runs, and Dioner Navarro who hit a grand slam. It looked to be the start of a great series, but the Rays found a way to make it a horrible one.

The Rays didn't score 14 runs in the next three games of the series combined. Meanwhile the Rays managed to give up 45 runs in those three games. The Rays were embarrassed, and even Joe Maddon couldn't find much to be positive about.

Other than Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel, Al Reyes, and Gary Glover, the pitchers were absolute garbage. Brian Stokes, Sean Camp, and Casey Fossum combined for 6.1 innings, 16 ER, 21 hits, 4 walks, and 5 home runs given up. Scott Dohmann who was called up to help the bullpen showed that his numbers in Durham are not a reflection of how he will pitch in the majors as he gave up 4 earned runs in 3 innings, including two home runs. Even the Rays "ace" James Shields was blown up in his start.

The turning point in the series may have come when Jae Kuk Ryu gave up five runs in the 6th inning on Saturday. The big question was why he was even in the game to being with. Jason Hammel had pitched four solid innings and had only thrown 68 pitches. For some reason Joe Maddon felt the need to pull Hammel after the 4th with the Rays up and go to the bullpen, which has been horrible. The Rays had the momentum from the night before and were keeping it going, but Maddon went to the ultimate momentum killer, the bullpen. One has to wonder why Maddon went to the bullpen. Hammel has been a starter all year in Durham and made a 7 inning relief appearance just about a month ago for Edwin Jackson. This was just another example of the poor management that Maddon has showed Rays fans all year and the reason that most fans want Maddon gone.

The Rays did have some bright spots during the series. BJ Upton continued his torrid hitting pace since coming off of the disabled list, with two home runs and a .421 avg for the season. Josh Wilson also came through with some big hits and good defense. Wilson is pushing for more playing time, much like Brendan Harris did earlier this season. If Wilson can keep it up than Wigginton will be expendable and the Rays can make a move for relief pitching. Wigginton does not need to be traded for Scott Proctor, but he could be traded to the Twins for anyone of their bullpen members who have been solid all year long.

Injuries and Notes

The Rays took a big hit on Saturday when Carl Crawford went down with a ankle injury and could not play the rest of the series. Crawford said that his ankle is still sore, but he expects to be ready to go on Tuesday against the Orioles. The Rays trainers believe he will be ready as does Crawford, so that's good news.

It looks as if Jay Witasik had a reason for being garbage on Saturday. Witasik said that he felt a something pop in his arm during the inning, but wanted to stay in the game and gut out the inning. On Sunday Witasik's arm had golf ball size swelling in his arm and he flew back to Tampa to have an MRI on his arm. It looks like Witasik will be out for a while and maybe done for the rest of the season.

The Rays were going to send Hammel down to Durham to become a starter again, but with the Witasik injury it looks like Hammel is going to stay with the team and may become the 5th starter, with JP Howell going to the bullpen.

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