Found May 26, 2013 on
Fox Sports Florida:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. A slight grin spread across left fielder Sean Rodriguezs face as he discussed the topic, one that stands as a welcomed break from talk of bullpen blunders and the future of Fernando Rodneys role. For the moment, after an efficient victory on a (mostly) drama-free Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays offense allowed for a more pleasant postgame vibe.
The previous five days, after all, were unkind to the Rays. They included four losses to American League East foes two against the divisions best (New York Yankees) and two against its worst (Toronto Blue Jays).
The unforgiving window, which offered another crushing blow Saturday in the Yankees come-from-behind victory in 11 innings, featured two more blown saves by Rodney (he has five), two more reasons for the closers critics to call for a change, two more examples of a bullpen that appears shaky at best and staggering at worst.
But Tampa Bays 8-3 victory over New York on Sunday at Tropicana Field once again highlighted the Rays emerging power. The development has surprised in a season that began with pitching as their presumed strength, before stalwarts such as Rodney and left-hander David Price began to falter. The latest showcase occurred when Tampa Bay knocked left-hander CC Sabathia for seven runs and seven hits in seven innings, which proved more than enough behind an 8-13-inning outing by right-hander Alex Cobb.
Its nice to see that a lot of guys are being more consistent, said Rodriguez, who went 1 for 2 with a 346-foot home run in the third. Thats baseball. Its real difficult to find that consistency. Its real difficult. When you find it, its a nice little roller-coaster ride.
A roller-coaster ride seems like a proper way to label the Rays recent existence. Since beginning the series against Toronto last Monday, they have scored no fewer than three runs each game. Before Sunday, since April 17, the Rays ranked second in the majors behind the Cleveland Indians in runs produced with 190 (5.4 per game).
Tampa Bays efficient bats Sunday were the latest example of a turnaround, which is often overshadowed by its bullpens theatrics. In the Rays first 13 games, through April 16, they ranked last in the AL in runs (39), batting average (.204), on-base percentage (.284) and slugging percentage (.305).
It makes pitching a whole lot easier when you go out there and you dont have to nitpick every pitch, said Cobb, who improved to 6-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 10 appearances. You just go after guys and have them put the ball in play and let your defense do the job. When you have a four-run lead, then you just go out there and you try to make them put the ball in play. It makes pitching so much easier.
For the Rays, unpredictability has become the predictable through 49 games. This has been a season of bizarre umpire rulings against them (the episodes in Texas and Baltimore, among others). This has been a season when their reigning AL Cy Young Award winner has appeared frazzled and their flame-throwing closer, who converted 48 of 50 save chances last year, has looked flustered.
This has been a season when anything has seemed possible, from the odd to the curious, from the forgettable to the fantastic. Nothing appears off-limits.
Through it all, the Rays hitting has become an intriguing development, led by James Loney (.342 with 24 RBI) and Evan Longoria (.328 with 29 RBI). It seems unreasonable to expect the pace to continue this is, of course, a game of cycles but Sunday showed Tampa Bays ability to extend its power display. If the bullpen continues its struggles, streaky hitting will become all the more valuable.
Weve been doing the same thing weve been doing, said center fielder Desmond Jennings, who went 1 for 5 with one RBI. Were just hitting well. I dont feel like theres anything were doing differently. Its a long season. You have stints where the whole teams hitting and the whole teams on a slump. You just never know.
In this Rays season, you never do. After a week when their bullpen stumbled, their bats continued to strike.
You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BEST OF MAXIM
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. For almost eight minutes, Kelly Johnson tried to explain the flurry of production, the reasons behind his breakout May, the answer to why he has become so dangerous at the plate in his new home. He is grounded, soft-spoken and somewhat reserved, so it was little surprise the Tampa Bay Rays Mr. Versatile turned the topic into a self-warning for the future.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. The curious case of Fernando Rodney includes another chapter, another blown save, another night when the questions continued. This has quickly become the identity of his current season, only 48 games old, and yet he remains the Tampa Bay Rays' answer in the ninth inning.
But how long will he stay so?
The question is legitimate, and an outcome remains to...
Since his Tampa Bay Rays introduction, Roberto Hernandez has been something of an experiment. Manager Joe Maddon and executive vice president Andrew Friedman, though hopeful, could not entirely know what they would receive from the right-hander formerly known as Fausto Carmona.
Hernandez had a notable seven-year career with the Cleveland Indians, though he posted winning seasons...
Tampa Bay Rays left-handed starting pitcher David Price is
eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Friday, but he isn’t close
to rejoining the team. Price updated his rehab from a triceps injury, telling
reporters – including Roger Mooney of The Tampa Bay Tribune – that he won’t
begin throwing until sometime this week.
"I honestly have no idea,"...
After posting disappointing numbers for Cleveland in 2012, 0-3 record with a 7.53 ERA in just 3 starts, Roberto Hernandez was released and was a free agent.Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Freidman stepped in and made a decision to sign Herandez to a 1-year $3.25M contract that included another $1.85M in performance bonuses for innings pitched and relief appearances.Clearly it was a risk...
Injured AL Cy Young Award winner David Price says he is making progress but is not ready to start a minor league rehab assignment.
The Tampa Bay Rays left-hander went on the disabled list for the first time in his career May 16 with a strained left triceps.
Price threw 54 pitches in his first simulated game Thursday, and there was some consideration of having him pitch in a minor...
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. For 50 minutes Monday afternoon, Tropicana Field belonged to baseballs better half.
Wives and girlfriends of Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays players and coaches held the third annual Citrus Classic before the Memorial Day matchup between Sunshine State teams. Rays Wives won 13-12 in a dramatic finish, when Sarah Fuld, wife of outfielder Sam Fuld, scored from...
Earlier this year we asked Why Has There Been No Interest in Kelly Johnson? We are almost certain that Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman didn’t need any help from us when he signed Johnson to a one-year deal, but he has to be happy with the results.Johnson became the first player in Tampa Bay history to hit two three-run homers in the same game, and as it...
credit: getty images
Fernando Rodney blew his second save in as many games on Saturday yet manager Joe Maddon still has confidence in his closer according to Tampa Tribune. Rodney blew just two saves all of last season but has already racked up five blown saves this season.
With a 6.05 ERA and 1.76 WHIP Rodney has hardly earned the confidence of anyone other then Maddon.
credit: getty images
David Price has not began throwing after suffering a triceps strain. The Rays hurler last appeared in a game on May 15.
“I feel great, I really do,” Price told the Tampa Bay Times. “That’s probably the toughest thing for me right now: My arm feels the way it does, my body feels the way it does and I’m not able to do anything yet because we have to give...
While it does not seem like David Price will be returning to the Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff anytime soon, he is at least making progress. The ace right-hander has started playing catch for the first time since the Rays shut him down with a strained triceps muscle in his pitching arm. Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times had the details yesterday:
Fist bump at the end of...
Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Alex Cobb took a shutout into the ninth inning and the Rays settled for a 8-3 win over the New York Yankees and bounced back from a devastating defeat on Saturday when the Rays lost a two run lead with two outs in the ninth inning.Cobb was moved up in the rotation after Thursday’s off day to pitch against the Yankees and CC Sabathia. As it turns...
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Alex Cobb took a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning and CC Sabathia's winless streak reached five starts Sunday in the Tampa Bay Rays' 8-3 win over the New York Yankees.
Cobb (6-2) lost his shutout bid when Brett Gardner homered leading off the ninth and he wound up allowing two runs and five hits in 8 1-3 innings with eight strikeouts.
Kelly Johnson hit a pair of three-run homers Monday and the Tampa Bay Rays handed the Miami Marlins their sixth straight loss, 10-6.
Johnson also doubled, singled and stole a base. He matched his career highs for RBIs and hits during his eighth multihomer game, and first since May 30, 2011, against the Marlins while with Arizona.
Johnson, who 24 RBIs in 21 games this month, homered...