Rays Diary 7/16/12


Tonight’s game, under normal circumstances, would have been one of the worst managed games in the annals of baseball except for two factors.  (1) I have watched so many equally badly managed games by the Rays “consortium,” and (2) It really isn’t baseball that I watched.  It was B.S. ball.  The game was lost in the first four innings, given away by a “philosophy” and a strategy foreign to the game.

In the first inning after a walk by Rymes, the ill conceived choice for number two in Maddon’s incompetent lineup, Carlos Pena, is supposed to bunt.  Not only will this advance the runner (“Baseball for Dummies” 101), but with the inappropriate shift on, only a fool would not tell Mr. Pena to bunt.  In fact, with the exaggerated shift on, chances are at least fifty/fifty that he will get a base hit!  Of course B.S. ball dictates striking out which the accommodating Pena easily does.

In real baseball, after the runner has been advanced to second on the bunt, Zobrist’s shot down the first base line is a double, not a putout by the excellent first baseman who was conveniently holding the runner, who should have been at second, not on first.  Instead, a needles second out is recorded, and when Scott shoots a long ground out into the shift, another run is lost because of the needless extra out by Zobrist causing Scott to be the inning’s third out instead of the second.  As usual, at least two runs are lost.  It’s the pattern of a whining management would rather “pray” for runs rather than “earn” them!

If the first inning was pitiful, the fourth was an out and out travesty.  After Upton and Scott single, Keppinger knocks in a run.  With no outs and men on first and second “Baseball for Dummies” 101 dictates a bunt, but instead, Jennings is encouraged to hit into the perfunctory double play.  Instead of runners on second and third with one out, the Rays are reduced to their usual two outs with a man on third.  Now, Molina’s long ground out results in the third out of the inning instead of the second and at least one more run is foolishly squandered in usual Rays fashion!

The same pattern is repeated in the sixth inning.  After Upton’s one out walk, Scott does not bunt, but strikes out.  No attempt is made to advance the runner.  Keppinger then fouls out.  There is no attempt to advance a runner, no attempt at a hit and run, no attempt to scratch out a run as all this is replaced by praying for the double or the two hits now needed to score a runner from first base!

Meanwhile, the seventh inning ends with the usually calm and collected Zobrist trying to pull two knee high pitches on the outside corner for a homerun.  Of course he looks like an incompetent oaf, bailing out on both pitches which could easily have been stroked to the opposite field.  He does the same on a third strike while his esoteric “batting coach” is busy picking his nose in the dugout.

The rest of the game is, of course, anti-climactic, because the real question remains:  Is Mr. Maddon, clearly the best clubhouse manager in all of baseball, really the worst field manager in the game or are his bosses, stepping out of their proper roles, forcing him to do all these incompetent moves?  Will they continue to whine about all their bad luck, but refuse to try to scratch out the extra run?  Will they continue to pray for timely hits as if God really gives a hang about a group of grown children playing a game for money?  I think it’s time to change the offense to what it really is- speed and daring and the exchange of outs for appropriate bases.  It’s the only way that poor hitting teams with decent pitching can win!  It may be too late to recover the ten or twelve losses that the Rays’ bizarre strategy has so far cost them, but it is not too late to “steal” another six or eight extra victories or even more as some of their better hitters return. Anyone that can’t recognize this really needs to seriously consider changing his medication. 

Al Finkelstein, Dedicated Rays Fan  7/16/12