Time for the Rays to Start Winning

    VS   

It’s enough already. 

I can’t take it.

It’s time to get a winning streak going.  To start becoming relevant in this playoff chase.

The Rays are welcoming the Toronto Blue Jays to the Trop this weekend.  They do so with arms wide open because the Jays just might be what the doctor ordered.  They are a team that is disjointed and unfocused, and they are coming to our house.

———————————————-

Pitching Matchup

       

The Jays will throw THE MAN Roy Halladay (12-5, 2.78) against the Rays Friday night.

No problem.

The Rays have only beaten the Blue Jays in all three of the games in which Hallday has pitched, most recently in the extra inning Rays win in which both Halladay and Matt Garza threw complete games and dominated the other.

The Rays were just a little better. 

Let’s hope they’re a little better tomorrow too.

James Shields (7-8, 3.79) will look to improve on his recent bout of inconsistency by toeing the mound against a team he has faced twice this year.  In one start he lost 5-0, but pitched 7 innings.  In the other start he pitched 7 innings as well, but the Rays lost 3-1.

For some reason Shields has entered the grey area between ace and unreliable starter.  The Rays seem to have alot of those right now (see Scott Kazmir and David Price). 

A solid pitching performance tomorrow night will go a long way towards giving this squad a little more confidence as they come off a West Coast trip that was anything but fun.

They need Shields to come up big Friday night.  He is a great Tropicana Field pitcher, so we should be able to count on him.

——————————————-

Three Keys to Friday’s Game

1–Rays’ hitters must be aggressive, or be passive, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!!!

It can be confusing.  There is no good way to beat Halladay.  How the Rays have done it 3 times this season is beyond me.  With a pitcher like him, you choose a strategy……..and then throw it out the window.

2–Shields must get strike 1.  I have noticed that Shields tends to miss with strike 1 too often.  For a guy who relies on his changeup, missing with strike 1, and thus removing the change from the at bat for the next few pitches, is grounds for danger.

3–More hits, less homers.  Halladay won’t be beaten by the long ball.  The Rays have relied on this too much the last two weeks (more on this in a future post).  Let’s string together some singles and doubles and see what happens.

———————————————-

Win, Baby, Win

(This might be the new go-to pic for Rays wins!)

The next six games will serve as a great opportunity for the Rays to climb out of this funk and get back into the playoff hunt.  They face the Blue Jays for 3 and the Baltimore Orioles for 3 after that.

The Blue Jays come in having lost 2 in a row and splitting their last 10 games down the middle (5-5).  They were beat up by the surging Yankees pretty good too.

Add to the mix the fact that they are reeling a little bit from various factors.  They were unable to move Doc Halladay, the fans have begun to turn on them, and the clubhouse is a place where hope goes to die.

Players in the Jays dugout have been questioning management about the lack of movement on Halladay’s part and the loss of 2-time All Star Alex Rios to the White Sox for nothing.  (He was claimed off waivers a few days ago)  Lyle Overbay voiced his displeasure at losing such a talented young man for nothing in the papers recently. 

This is a team that has lost its way.

An equally lost team is the Orioles.  They have lost 7 of their last 10 and seem to have passed all of their players through waivers, most notably Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora, and Danys Baez.  Nobody feels safe in that clubhouse.

Perfect time to lower the boom.

Let’s burn ’em up, Rays!

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16 comments

  1. diamondgirl55

    Ooooh, best of luck to you guys this weekend! Actually, I need all the luck I can get since we have the Yankees in town for 4 days…yikes! It’s ok, I can share some luck with you too, I’ll send some over :] I’m sad I couldn’t go watch the M’s when the Rays were in town. I was down south and missed it. I might have missed my chance at informing Longo of his future plans of marrying me. HEE HEE. Joke. Anyway, nice entry and GOOD LUCK!!!! xoxo http://diamondgirl55.mlblogs.com

  2. matttan7

    I think the Rays have the upper advantage in this series. Roy Halladay is coming off a so-so loss against the Yankees so I think the Rays have the opposing pitcher where they want him. James Shields should have no problem pitching against those Blue Jays now that Scott Rolen and Alex Rios aren’t hitting and fielding for them. I think the Rays will win at least 2 out of 3 here.

    Matthew Tang
    http://matt7.mlblogs.com/

  3. thepitchersduel

    I know exactly what your talking about with James Shields being in that ace/unreliable grey area. Kazmir, yes, Shields, yes, Garza, yes, Price, I would lean more towards unreliable, Niemann, I would lean more towards ace. Really, Kazmir, Shields, and Garza should all be aces. What a quandry! Shields/Halladay should be phenominal though, as long as Crawford is playing, you guys can take Halladay, again.

    http://thepitchersduel.mlblogs.com/

  4. devilabrit

    Okay the new goto pic is definately a keeper… so the Yankees won again last night but the BoSox lost… someone needs to slow those Yankees down some, cause the chances of them choking like the Mets did a couple years back is kind of slim… it may have to be a wild card spot for the Rays..win damn it!!
    ~peter
    Outside the Phillies Looking In
    http://devilabrit.mlblogs.com

  5. azinneck

    I would love to see the Rays make a run at the playoffs. It sounds like maybe they have Halliday’s number (this season at least), and hopefully can play that to their advantage tonight for a win. I didn’t realize the Blue Jays’ clubhouse was starting to collapse due to recent moves/non-moves, but I think that chalks up another advantage to the Rays as well…good luck to the team this weekend!
    ~AZ
    http://azinneck.mlblogs.com

  6. contractyear

    Thank you for posting a recent comment on my blog. You mentioned that you didn’t hear Rickey’s speech. There was a link in my blog post that took you to video of the speech. If you get a chance, check it out. Bee

  7. tomatalk

    Halladay’s an absolute beast. Tough loss for y’all, but the truth of the matter is almost no one goes out like Halladay anymore. He’s more special than he’s ever been given credit for, and that loss is no disrespect to the Rays. I’ve never looked at it, but I’d be curious to see what Halladay’s record is when he’s given an early lead like he was tonight. My guess is that it’s absolutely amazing. The good news for the Rays: 1) Y’all didn’t get Soriano as he gave up a pivotal homer tonight for my Braves, and 2) I like the Rays for the rest of the weekend. Yeah, when you have my endorsement, that’s a positive. 😉

    Thanks for the continued patronage to my blog as well, and keep up the good work.
    http://tomatalk.mlblogs.com/

  8. thatbaseballguy

    With the Rays and Sox closer in the standings of the East, the Rays have a better chance at getting that Wild Card spot. If the Red Sox don’t win and the Rays win, then it looks like they will be headed to the playoffs. But then again, there is the Rangers…
    -Dillon
    http://dillonm.mlblogs.com

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