Rays Diary 



Wake UP Corporate Rays

     Tonight, as I struggle to watch the Rays continue to self destruct, I think about all of the injuries to both position players and pitchers.  I haven’t let myself criticize Rays upper management and coaching in quite a while.  I mean, if not for injuries and bad luck, this team could be at .500, only a half dozen games out of second or third place in their division.  Without so many injuries, we wouldn’t have to totally destroy the bullpen for the second year in a row.  It seems that last year, starting pitchers were removed early in games, no matter how well they were pitching, a fad, I suspect, initiated by some devious Boston or New York fan and emailed to the unsuspecting Rays corporate office.  This was supposed to involve too much undue stress on starting pitchers in favor of more stress on relievers.  As a result, of course, by the All Star break the bullpen had gone from the best to the worst in baseball and almost everyone was on the DL.

     This year corporate Rays, in an effort to keep up with their favorite fads, have fallen in love and married the “elevated fastball,” a pitch they use instead of the low fastball and the once dependable slider.  Unfortunately, the pitch is hard to locate and if it is a few inches too low, it is a homerun, a few inches too high, a ball.  Thrown as often as the Rays use the pitch, it leads to enormous numbers of walks and homeruns.  In fact it is probably the reason that Archer and other heretofore solid pitchers have been overthrowing so badly and have ERA’s far above their norms.

     The old saying “watch what you wish for, you might get it,” has certainly come to haunt corporate Rays.  The pitching staff was mortgaged for a bunch of homerun hitters who can not field, hit and run, bunt, or run the bases properly.  They are not coached properly for obviously they are on their own. They watch well coached teams like Kansas City, San Francisco, Cleveland and others taught to try to advance runners, hit the ball in the hole, and hit it where it’s pitched from the get-go, but Rays players don’t seem to be taught much at all.  Why did it take Evan seven years to move up in the box, shorten his stride and finally start exercising his hitting talent.  He learned more from an amateur’s advice than from all of the pseudo offensive coaches on the team!

     When will Cash and his coaches awaken from their stupor, anyway?  Have they noticed (as Dave Wills, Andy Fried, Dewayne Staats and Brian Anderson have repeated over and over) guys like Forsythe, Miller, Morrison, Guyer and yes, Longoria have been able to bolster their averages by going with the pitch instead of constantly overswinging for needless homeruns.  Basehits end up putting more pressure on pitchers than solo homers!  Just about every pitcher the Rays face “lives” on the outside corner and Rays players, especially Jennings and Casali try to desperately pull outside pitches, usually leading to strikeouts and double plays.  Casali can probably hit a homerun holding the bat with one hand.  Why the heck does he have to swing so damn hard?  And, where the hell are his coaches?  While the Rays are looking idiotic, swinging at sliders a foot off the plate or in the dirt, better coached teams teach their players to move up in the box, especially with two strikes to hit the ball earlier, before the “late” break.  Rocket science it’s not!  If the guy throws a fastball instead, you’re a major league player- you’re paid to hit fastballs aren’t you?

     I’m still excited that so many Rays are about to come off of the DL, but even at full strength, the team is so far behind in fundamentals and defense that without a change in “corporate” philosophy, we’ll be even worse in the years to come.






A win is a win is a win," but nothing’s really changed, has it?

Al Finkelstein, Rays Fanatic