Game #139 Lineups and Outlook
Your Tampa Bay Rays pulled one out yesterday that I struggle to call entertaining. The game featured no pace, saw a small army of pitchers, and would have been close to four hours if not for a bit of cruise control in the later innings. Dylan Bundy showed off some decent stuff, but he struggled to command his pitches other than what looked like a very nice change up. I think he’s got a bright future in this game, which is stunning considering how close he seemed to being out of it up until this year.
Before moving on to today’s preview I want to voice my frustration with the Rays signing of Alexei Ramirez. He hasn’t been a good player in ages. The team has multiple guys that could be getting a look at shortstop in an effort to fill the position that has mostly been a mess since Jason Bartlett was traded. Instead, the team will presumably run an old dog out there who’s as likely to shit on the rug as he is to bring the ball back. I have no idea what the front office is thinking with this move, which seems to come on top of several other efforts to shake up the club.
I can understand moving on from Derek Shelton. He had a long run here in a capacity that sees a lot of turnover around the league. That makes sense. Unfortunately, I have zero understanding why the team would not call Tim Beckham up, if anything, to save his option for next year so that he can be demoted then. This team is in no position to give away a talented player regardless of the egos in the room. He has served his punishment, and when guys do that you welcome them back into the club so that they can become a potential contributor. What they’re doing makes little sense.
This is the least confidence that I have had in the Rays front office since they shook off the Devil. It appears that the moves being made are completely reactionary rather than part of a plan. It’s ok to react when time is short to make a decision, but the team is literally playing for nothing at this point. I’m baffled, perplexed, befuddled and stymied as to what is going on here. The days when these guys could do no wrong seem like a lifetime away.
I see the Rays as moderate favorites today, which is almost the exact opposite of what the gamblers think. Personally, I’m doubling down on the Rays today, but I can understand why the line is the way it is. Alex Cobb is a complete wild card. He broke off some of the rust in his debut performance, while being able to settle in from the third through fifth innings. He looked pretty good, and was able to throw all three of his pitches mostly where he wanted. The split-change had a little less drop than usual, but that just meant that it was riding in the bottom of the zone rather than falling out of it. Perhaps he gets ripped around today in a park that heavily favors lefty flyball hitters, but I’m going to bet on Cobb tonight.
The other side of the coin shows the Rays with a couple of incredibly strong matchups at the top of their order, though the model is no fan of the left-on-left matchups. The Yankees are exceptionally hot right now and playing for their figurative lives as they’re currently on the outside of the playoff picture. This is a big series for them so I’d expect Mr. Girardi et. al. to do everything within their power to take this series.