Tuesday, September 8, 2009

RaysSpeak: Beating a Dead Horse

Let's recap a few things here...

The Rays chances of making the playoffs are pretty much done. They're not mathematically eliminated, but it would basically take close to a 20-3 run or so in the final 23 to make it with Boston playing ~.500 ball. It's just not going to happen.

So the question is - was this the general thought going into the doubleheader at Yankee Stadium? Even after Pena's broken finger, Longoria and Pena still spoke of how this team can grind it out and go on a run to get back into the race. But let's look at some interesting points:

- First and foremost: You may see a bullpen implosion and Sonnanstine being Sonnanstine, but I see 2 runs scored in 2 games. These are the facts, and they are undisputed.

- Andy Sonnanstine's start. Yes, he has major league experience...but an ERA over 8 on the road against the best offense in the majors? I know we've been plucking from Durham constantly lately, but could Talbot, Carlos Hernandez, or anyone else possibly start to give the Rays the best chance at success?

- Did the Rays decide to give up after the first game? Why bench Carl Crawford for Game 2? If you wanted to bench him for a game, why not let him sit in Game 1 against the lefty Sabathia, and have him start against the struggling righty Burnett?

Having lost 6 straight with the next 5 games coming against NYY and BOS both on the road, it's time to look ahead to the future. A rotation of Shields, Garza, Price, Niemann, and Davis sounds fairly strong for 2010. Sonnanstine seems cut out for long relief, and the bullpen needs an entire makeover, but that's a story for another day.

It's time to focus on the positives - the second winning season in franchise history is upon us, and the window of opportunity is not as grim as some make it out to be. Not as long as we have the top 2 prospects in the minor leagues in Hellickson and Jennings waiting in the wings. Relax and enjoy the rest of September.

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