Wednesday, July 22, 2009

RaysSpeak: 7/22 at White Sox Recap

How about Jeff Niemann? Having your #5 starter pitching like a #3 starter is fantastic, but only when your #3 and #4 starters aren't struggling...either way, the fastball was working, the curveball was working, and I don't see any reason why Niemann can't continue pitching this way for the rest of this year into next. But the question remains: When will Wade Davis get his shot? And what happens with Sonnanstine or Talbot? Having this pitching depth is fantastic - I just don't want to lose players on account of their being out of options like we lost Jason Hammel (his return, Aneury Rodriguez, has been pretty dreadful in AA.)

For the fifth straight game, the Rays trailed entering the 8th inning. Somehow, they've won 4 of those games. This isn't a trend that can continue, though. The offense needs to pick it up, and quickly. When will Pat Burrell really start to turn it on? When will BJ Upton stop fouling off every fastball he sees? Will Dioner Navarro ever hit another line drive, ever?

With the Red Sox loss and the Yankees win, the Rays are 4.5 games behind the Bombers, 3.5 behind the Sox. I don't foresee the Yankees holding that lead for much longer - when the Red Sox return to Fenway and the Yankees go on the road, they'll be flip-flopping again. I asked the Rays for a 6-4 roadtrip, and they are currently 4-1. Winning 2 of the next 5 games shouldn't be much of a problem, I hope. Gotta keep pace.

[Photo courtesy of the Associated Press via]

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