Rays Diary  8/5/14

     This is the Rays baseball we had come to know before poor Zim’s passing.  Tonight, disdaining the clearly “appropriate” bunt in the 4th inning, Rays opted for the “inappropriate” baserunning blunder instead.  In the bottom of the inning, Oakland opted to employ the same “appropriate,” lowly bunt and scored the lead run.  Rays fielding then imploded with Kiermeier trying way too hard and Escobar forgetting which planet he was on.  Yesterday, with bases loaded in the tenth inning and looking for a double play, Rays again asked the computer the wrong question, that is “where does this batter usually hit the ball?” instead of the more “appropriate” “where does almost everyone hit the ball off of this pitcher?”  Ironically, the answer to the “appropriate” question, as so often is the case, is “up the middle.”  Ask Fernando Rodney and David Price, so often victimized by the mismanaged shift, with nobody up the middle, if you don’t believe me.  In fact, ask the Oakland hitter if you don’t believe Price and Rodney.  Just don’t ask Joe.  It’s never his fault anyway.  “it’s the computer’s fault.”  It’s the umpteenth time it has happened.  Maybe the Rays need a new computer.

     The day before yesterday, despite Brian Anderson’s reminder that the “appropriate” approach to making up a five run first inning deficit is to “chip away” at it, Rays disdained “gimmee” runs in the first third and seventh innings, instead opting for “the big inning,” falling short by, you guessed it, two runs.  Admittedly, Rays did play a little “small ball,” but don’t seem to have the heart to commit to it, the only way to win consistently the last few years.  “Small ball,” since Zim’s passing,with some decent pitching, is what brought the Rays back from the brink of oblivion and almost into pennant contention.  Stubborn refusal to play “small ball,” even in the face of reality is, of course what led them to a record 18 games below .500 in the first place wth scores of clearly “inappropriate” double plays in “appropriate” bunting situations.  Do the math or get a new computer, because it’s the same formula that has plagued the Rays for the past few seasons.

     If Rays management is so intent on winning with power and praying to the Lord for timely hitting, since they don’t apparently believe in professional batting coaches, perhaps they ought to hire a professional psychologist instead to delicately explain to Evan and Will that despite their swelled heads that (1) neither of them has the slightest idea how to hit an outside breaking ball and (2) It’s much easier to hit the ball if one takes the bat in some sort of direct path to it instead of detouring through New Jersey, Vermont, California and Kansas on the way there!

Al Finkelstein (O’finky)  8/5/14