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Thursday, October 03, 2019

Rays Sternberg arranged for Montreal group leader to attend wild-card game

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg arranged for the leader of the effort to bring baseball back to Montreal to attend Wednesday’s AL wild-card game.

And he didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.

Sternberg said that Montreal businessman Stephen Bronfman asked for tickets for himself and some colleagues, and the Rays, who are working on a plan to split future seasons in Montreal, were happy to help their potential future partners.

“When they asked us for tickets, they said they had been at Fenway last year (for the playoffs) and the same group had been at other ballgames in other years. So we said sure. I’m thrilled they want to be here,’’ Sternberg said before the game.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 03, 2019 at 08:40 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Rays Out-Moneyball Billy Beane and the Athletics in the AL Wild-Card Game

It’s fitting in some ways and a shame in others that the AL wild-card game was a matchup of the A’s and Rays, the baseball equivalent of the two Spider-Men pointing at each other meme. On one side: a plucky, small-market team running a low payroll, rolling out a roster of no-names, playing in a crappy stadium and stuck in a division with an insanely talented juggernaut that nonetheless perseveres to 96 wins and a playoff spot. On the other side: a plucky, small-market team running a low payroll, rolling out a roster of no-names, playing in a crappy stadium and stuck in a division with an insanely talented juggernaut that nonetheless perseveres to 97 wins and a playoff spot. And yet only one of Oakland or Tampa could survive.

That it’s the Rays moving on feels like a particular affront to the A’s, who pioneered the strategy of building a team with the pieces no one else wanted, dumpster diving to turn trash into pearls. They’re not the only ones running that particular game, but few franchises have perfected it quite like the Billy Beane Athletics, who’ve spent the last 16 years held up as the model of winning efficiently instead of extravagantly. This is their corner, and on Wednesday, they could only protest feebly as Tampa showed up and muscled them off it with little effort.

The Rays did so almost literally, given the presence of Yandy Diaz, who is built like an NFL defensive end and whose two homers—one leadoff to open the scoring, the other in the fourth to widen the gap, both opposite-field rockets—helped make this win happen. Diaz is the kind of piece they’ve unearthed seemingly annually over the last decade: another team’s trash becomes their treasure. Boasting biceps that wouldn’t be out of place in a 1980s action movie, the Cuban infielder was a Statcast darling as a member of the Indians for how routinely balls would leave his bat at the speed of sound. Yet Diaz pounded many of those missiles straight into the dirt, and his defense was a mess, and with a locked-in left side of the infield, Cleveland had no space for him.

Tampa did, because Tampa always does, because Tampa’s goal is to have a roster with six different options at every single position. Diaz came to Florida in a three-way deal (another Rays staple) in the offseason, earned a role as a regular corner infielder, and promptly whacked 14 homers in 79 games. An injury knocked him out for most of the second half, but there he was on Wednesday, hitting leadoff against southpaw Sean Manaea—the three plate appearances he’d collected since the end of July outweighed by the .976 OPS he posted this season against lefties. That proved to be the right call, because of course it was.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, what do we make of this line of analysis?

 

QLE Posted: October 03, 2019 at 12:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: al wild card, athletics, moneyball, rays

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Postseason OMNICHATTER - 10/2/2019 - Rays vs. A’s

Technically it’s a UNICHATTER given there’s only one game. Whatever.


Saturday, September 28, 2019

A’s, Rays clinch playoff berths, will meet in AL Wild Card Game

On Friday night, the Indians fell to the Nationals (WAS 8, CLE 2), and around the same time the Rays topped the Blue Jays (TB 6, TOR 2). The Cleveland loss punched the Athletics’ ticket to the postseason, and the Rays’ win means they’ll play Oakland in the AL Wild Card Game.

That AL Wild Card Game will be played on Wednesday, Oct. 2, with the winner advancing to the ALDS, likely to oppose the Astros. Where that Wild Card Game will be played is still uncertain. At this writing, the Rays trail the A’s by just a half-game in the race to determine home-field advantage for that one-and-done affair. If both teams finish with the same record, then Oakland would host by virtue of their winning the season series over the Rays.

For the A’s, it’s their second straight trip to the Wild Card Game. They fell to the Yankees last season. The A’s also played in the Wild Card Game in 2014, when they lost to the Royals. Oakland hasn’t advanced beyond the LDS round in the postseason since 2006. Manager Bob Melvin has now led the A’s to the playoffs five times.

And, with that, the playoff hunt is over, and all spots to claim have been claimed.

 

QLE Posted: September 28, 2019 at 12:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: al wild card, athletics, rays

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Rays fans, what a shame that you aren’t supporting this team

Announced attendance was 8,779, but looking around, it felt like I could count the fans. And yell loud enough from the outfield for someone behind home plate to hear me. I’m guessing maybe half that many people were on hand for the thrilling, come-from-behind 7-4 victory.

This lifelong baseball fan has rooted for the Rays since the beginning, regularly coming to games with my daughters, friends and family. I’m not there all the time, but this week it counts.

So there I was watching Rays right fielder Avisail Garcia between pitches, pausing to take off his hat, look back at the outfield stands, and then look at the field. I imagined him thinking, “Do our fans even care?”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2019 at 04:37 PM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Sunday, September 08, 2019

LEADING OFF: Braves streaking, Harper hurting, Arizona rolls

HOME OF THE BRAVES

Josh Donaldson and the Atlanta Braves have won nine in a row, their best string since 2014. The NL East leaders also have taken 13 straight at SunTrust Park.

Donaldson hit his 36th home run in a 5-4 win over Washington on Saturday night. He has 28 homers since June 11. The Nationals have lost four in a row and lead the NL wild-card race by two games over the Cubs.

Nationals ace Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.60 ERA) tries to end Atlanta’s streaks. He makes his fourth straight start since returning from back trouble — the three-time Cy Young Award winner has no decisions and a 4.66 ERA in his last four outings.

Well, here’s as good a place as any to discuss the current shape of the playoff hunt- how do we expect it will shake out?

QLE Posted: September 08, 2019 at 12:32 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, bryce harper, diamondbacks, gerrit cole, rays, streaks, yadier molina

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Rays offering free Sunday tickets to Floridians displaced by hurricane

The Rays are offering free tickets to Sunday’s game to Floridians who fled the east coast in advance of Hurricane Dorian.

Distribution of the tickets will start at 11:40 on Sunday, which is 90 minutes before scheduled first pitch, at the Tropicana Field box office. Fans will be asked to show their Florida driver’s license to verify east coast residency.

 

QLE Posted: September 01, 2019 at 03:35 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: hurricane, rays

Friday, August 30, 2019

LEADING OFF: Wild-card hopefuls set for key weekend series

STILL FIGHTING

The Rays got themselves off the ropes by rallying late to beat Houston on Thursday night, ending a four-game skid. Now the AL wild-card hopefuls open a pivotal three-game home series against Cleveland. The Indians are 2 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay for the top wild-card spot, with Oakland one game ahead for the Rays for the second. All-Star Game MVP Shane Bieber (12-6, 3.23) is set to pitch or Cleveland against RHP Austin Pruitt (2-0, 5.57).

PULLING AWAY?

The Cubs host the Brewers hoping to bury another NL wild-card competitor after sweeping the Mets over three games this week. Chicago pulled five games ahead of New York for the second wild card and is four games ahead of Milwaukee. LHP Jose Quintana (11-8, 4.05) will start for the Cubs in the matinee against RHP Chase Anderson (6-3, 4.34).

This competition is not just in the majors- in Triple-A baseball, many playoff spots are still in contention with only a few games left in the season.

QLE Posted: August 30, 2019 at 05:23 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: aristides aquino, athletics, brewers, cubs, indians, rays, yankees

LEADING OFF: Wild-card hopefuls set for key weekend series

STILL FIGHTING

The Rays got themselves off the ropes by rallying late to beat Houston on Thursday night, ending a four-game skid. Now the AL wild-card hopefuls open a pivotal three-game home series against Cleveland. The Indians are 2 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay for the top wild-card spot, with Oakland one game ahead for the Rays for the second. All-Star Game MVP Shane Bieber (12-6, 3.23) is set to pitch or Cleveland against RHP Austin Pruitt (2-0, 5.57).

PULLING AWAY?

The Cubs host the Brewers hoping to bury another NL wild-card competitor after sweeping the Mets over three games this week. Chicago pulled five games ahead of New York for the second wild card and is four games ahead of Milwaukee. LHP Jose Quintana (11-8, 4.05) will start for the Cubs in the matinee against RHP Chase Anderson (6-3, 4.34).

Similarly, Triple-A is starting its last homestands of the season, and there’s still competition in both the PCL and the International League to enter their playoffs.

QLE Posted: August 30, 2019 at 05:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: aristides aquino, athletics, brewers, cubs, indians, rays, yankees

Hurricane Dorian ends Gulf Coast League season early

Hurricane Dorian is poised to make landfall in Florida on Monday morning but it’s already having an impact in the world of baseball:  the rookie-level Gulf Coast League has announced that it is cancelling the final two games of its season and its postseason in its entirety. The season will end today as a result of the impending storm.

It could have some impact on Major League Baseball too. After this evening’s game against the Reds the Marlins will be on the road through next Thursday, but the Rays will start a ten-game homestand tomorrow. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the club is in contact with Major League Baseball to discus possible contingencies in the event the storm hits the bay area hard, though he says no decisions are expected today.

 

QLE Posted: August 30, 2019 at 04:52 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: florida state league, gulf coast league, hurricanes, rays

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Report: Wife, child of Rays pitching prospect Blake Bivens murdered in Virginia

The wife and child of Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Blake Bivens were killed in a triple homicide in Pittsylvania County, Virginia on Tuesday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports.

Bivens’s wife’s 18-year-old brother Matthew Thomas Bernard of Keeling, Virginia has been charged in all three murders, according to the report. The identity of the third victim was not noted in the report.

The third victim was Bivens’s mother-in-law. Bernard also reportedly killed the family dog.

Just a senseless tragedy.


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Original Rays franchise owner Vince Naimoli dies at age 81

Vince Naimoli, the Tampa-based businessman who led the effort that finally brought a Major League Baseball franchise to the bay area, died Sunday night after a long illness. He was 81.

Naimoli emerged unexpectedly from the private sector in 1992 as the new leader of Tampa Bay’s 20-year pursuit of a team. After a deal to buy and relocate the San Francisco Giants was scuttled by MLB, he turned the focus to pursuing an expansion franchise, which was awarded in 1995 and began play in 1998 as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Naimoli operated with an aggressive and relentless but often confrontational style, leading many to suggest he was the right person to lead the fight for a team but the wrong person to run it.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 27, 2019 at 06:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Marlins apologize for Steve Irwin death tweet: ‘This was definitely a miss’

The Miami Marlins got in a back-and-forth Twitter conversation with the Tampa Bay Rays following their series Sunday, and it eventually led to the Marlins’ social team going all-out.

The tweet gained plenty of attention (mostly praise), but on Monday, the Marlins apologized.

“This was a regrettable exchange by our otherwise creative social media team. Unfortunately, in this medium, sometimes we swing and miss, and this was definitely a miss,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson added: “The matter has been addressed internally.”

How low can Derek Jeter go?

 

QLE Posted: August 07, 2019 at 03:47 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: marlins, rays, twitter

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Boston Red Sox protest loss to Tampa Bay Rays due to lineup card questions

One of those rare instances when a pitcher is forced to enter an American League team’s batting order led to on-field confusion, a 20-minute delay and, ultimately, the Boston Red Sox playing Wednesday game under protest.

The issue centered on the Tampa Bay Rays’ substitutions, starting in the seventh inning when Ji-Man Choi pinch-hit for catcher Mike Zunino. Everything was fine as Choi remained in the game to play first base and Travis d’Arnaud moved from first to catcher.

But when Rays manager Kevin Cash shifted pitcher Adam Kolarek to first base after he retired the first batter in the top of the eighth and brought in reliever Chaz Roe, he didn’t specify which pitcher would replace designated hitter Austin Meadows in the batting order.

That brought bewildered Red Sox manager Alex Cora out of the dugout to argue with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez—with two separate discussions delaying the game by at least 20 minutes.

For those of you keeping score at home, there have been two successful protests since the Pine Tar Game, both relating to rain delays.

QLE Posted: July 25, 2019 at 04:23 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: lineups, protests, rays, red sox

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Rays, St. Petersburg leaders stay mum about meeting | Tampa Bay Times

The two sides could hardly have been further apart when the meeting commenced. Kriseman, when he first heard the Rays were pushing the proposal, dismissed it as “a bit silly” and decried it as a negotiating ploy to extract more public money from city and county officials for a new full-time ballpark in St. Petersburg. He initially said he would not let the team out of its Tropicana Field contract, which includes a powerful exclusivity clause that prohibits the team from playing — or even negotiating to play — home games anywhere else through the 2027 season. Plus, he and county leaders said there is little appetite to commit public dollars to a part-time stadium.

The mayor later softened his stance, saying he would be willing to listen if the team wants to privately fund a new stadium in St. Petersburg for half a season’s worth of games. He warned, though, that permission would come at a cost to the team. Kriseman has maintained his belief that the Trop property, a ripe development opportunity on the edge of a growing downtown, is still the best long-term location for the team.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 24, 2019 at 10:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, stadium financing

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

While Rays pull Rays things, fans left to wallow in embarrassment

Trevor, a University of Florida student who was born and raised in Tampa, said it’s just hard to be a Rays fan, even when they’re winning.

“There was a period from 2008-2010 when everyone was diehard Rays fans,” he said, “but then they got rid of the manager and fired all the players.” Even if that’s not quite right — baseball teams rarely fire their players — it’s indicative of the perception in Tampa Bay that the Rays’ desire to win while sticking to their self-imposed budget trumps their desire to field a team of exciting talent. It’s why they were one of the teams that Players Association filed a grievance against last year for failing to spend sufficiently.

This last point is key. Some people have argued that the Rays’ ability to win games the past two seasons undermines the grievance, but that presumes winning supersedes your fans’ ability to remain invested in the team. The opener works — unless the metric is whether anyone in the city can name your starting rotation.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 02, 2019 at 03:41 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Passan—How Wander Franco became MLB’s next can’t-miss kid

The next big thing.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 30, 2019 at 07:35 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, wander franco

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Sources: Rays to explore playing in Montreal

The Tampa Bay Rays received permission from Major League Baseball’s executive council to explore a plan in which they would play early-season home games in the Tampa Bay area and the remainder of the year in Montreal, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

While the plan is in its nascent stages, the Rays have embraced the two-city solution as the most feasible to saving baseball in the Tampa Bay area after years of failed attempts to build a new stadium in the region, according to sources.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Rays Tales: Could this be their best team ever?

Rays news.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 16, 2019 at 10:50 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Rays offering $5 tickets for next 5 home games; flash sale starts Tuesday morning at 10

The Rays are taking away one of the excuses for people not showing up to support their team, offering $5 tickets to each of the next five home games.

The $5 tickets will be available via a Summer Special flash sale from 10 a.m. Tuesday until 11:59 p.m. Thursday only at raysbaseball.com/specials, with 5,000 available for each game: June 10, 11, 12 vs. the A’s; June 13, 14 vs. the Angels.

There are still ticketing fees, through the Rays arranged for a reduction, to $1 per ticket and $1.50 per order, so two tickets would cost $13.50 total.

Sales are limited to eight tickets per game per person. Seating will vary between the 100, 200 and party deck levels, with assignments made the day before the game via the MLB Ballpark app. (Tickets bought together will be seated together.)

Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2019 at 10:13 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Dallas Keuchel rumors: Two AL East teams reportedly expected to get in bidding war for lefty

Both the Rays and Yankees are keeping an eye on Dallas Keuchel.

Tampa Bay and New York could get in a bidding war for the 2015 American League Cy Young winner at midnight on June 2, according to The Athletic.

The odd timing is due to Keuchel getting a qualifying offer by the Astros, meaning if a team signs him they would have to give up their first selection in the MLB Draft this season. The draft pick compensation comes off of Keuchel on June 2 and then any team can pick him up without giving up a selection, or the slot money that comes with it.

The Yankees would lose the 38th pick and $1.952 million of slot money if they were to sign Keuchel before June 2 while the Rays would have to give up the No. 40 selection and $1.857 million.

So, management will fool around for months over picks that low and amounts of money that are pocket change by the standards of the game?

 

QLE Posted: May 26, 2019 at 10:09 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cold stove, dallas keuchel, rays, yankees

Monday, May 20, 2019

Rays’ Yandy Diaz says Yankees hit him intentionally; Daniel Robertson relieved he wasn’t hurt

“At first I thought I might have broken my wrist,’’ he said. “Of course it’s frustrating. There isn’t anything you can do about it. It happened.

Diaz said he “hopefully” will get the chance for revenge.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 20, 2019 at 09:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, yandy diaz, yankees

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Column: Penny-pinching Rays manage to keep up with big boys

They play in an architectural nightmare of a ballpark.

They are treated like pariahs in their own community.

They have to get by with one of baseball’s stingiest payrolls.

Yet, somehow, the Tampa Bay Rays make it work.

Point of order! In an environment where half the teams at any given time seem no longer to be trying to win, “penny-pinching” is no longer meaningful as a description!

 

QLE Posted: May 18, 2019 at 08:02 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Thursday, May 16, 2019

MLB roundup: 7 Rays pitchers shut out Marlins 1-0

Anthony Bemboom, a 29-year-old rookie catcher, recorded his first major league hit and RBI on the same play, leading the Tampa Bay Rays to a 1-0 win over the host Miami Marlins on Wednesday night.

Bemboom drove a run-scoring double to right field in the second inning, and the Rays used seven pitchers to keep the Marlins off the scoreboard. Reliever Jalen Beeks (3-0) earned the win, pitching three innings. Diego Castillo worked the ninth for his fifth save.

The Rays swept the two-game series against their in-state rival. Miami has lost seven games in a row and scored just eight runs during that stretch. The Marlins have not scored since the third inning Saturday — a drought of 24 innings.

Jose Urena (1-6) took the hard-luck loss despite making a quality start for the fifth time in his past six outings. He allowed six hits, one walk and one run in six innings. He has lasted at least six innings in six straight starts.

Wait- it takes seven pitchers to shut out the Marlins? It doesn’t seem like it should be that hard….

 


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Rays Journal: Prospect Brent Honeywell set back again with nerve issue

Brent Honeywell’s comeback from spring 2018 Tommy John surgery is stalled again.

A Monday visit to Dr. James Andrews confirmed a nerve irritation in his upper arm, and he will remain shut down from throwing for another week and then re-evaluated.

Honeywell, 24, was initially sidelined in mid-April due to right elbow discomfort, checked out and allowed to resume playing catch, but then developed the latest issue.

The Rays do not appear overly concerned, and note the issue is not structural or connected to the elbow ligament surgery, though could be related.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 15, 2019 at 08:26 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

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