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Tampa 2009 - can they get back in it?


Frobby

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Tampa hasn't been awful, but they just aren't having the same good fortune they had last year. Kazmir and Sonnanstine have been awful, and the bullpen has lost its magic touch. My view is they are going to be a non-factor in the AL East this year. Thoughts?

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Tampa hasn't been awful, but they just aren't having the same good fortune they had last year. Kazmir and Sonnanstine have been awful, and the bullpen has lost its magic touch. My view is they are going to be a non-factor in the AL East this year. Thoughts?

They'll end up getting 90-95 wins... Probably won't be enough though.

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Sounds like Price is coming up to replace Kazmir.

I don't think they'll be a non factor though. They'll end up challenging the Red Sox. I don't think they'll make the playoffs though, I have the wild card coming out of the Central.

My money fantasy league likes that move. Now if only the O's can bring up Wieters. My best pitcher and hitter aren't even in the majors yet.

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One of the reasons why everyone liked the Rays for years to come (and conversely did NOT like the Rockies a few years ago) was that most of the Rays were actually producing career lows, not career highs. Crawford stunk, BJ Upton was nowhere close to where he was the year before and neither was Iwamura. Experts predicted that once everyone got going, this team would be unstoppable for years to come.

What most experts glossed over though, was that the pitching - both the staff and the bullpen - far exceeded everyone's expectations last year. James Shields is a solid pitcher, but shouldn't be expected to Ace a team. Kazmir is dazzling one moment and pathetic the next. Garza is a young pitcher still struggling for consistency and Sonnenstine has no track record. The staff is full of #2's and #3's that played VERY well last year to help win the division. If the Rays really want to command the AL East, they need a Halladay or a Sabathia to anchor their staff.

But the bullpen is the biggest difference. Guys like JP Howell and Grant Balfour had unusual career years and helped paint the illusion that their bullpen matched there hitters in "a young crop ready for many years of excellence". Their bullpen right now is full of old has beens (Percival, Wheeler, Isringhausen) and, based on career stats, bad pitchers (Howell, Balfour, Cormier).

The Rays have a solid core, but they are not built solid throughout for total division dominance. They still have a lot of work to do.

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The Rays just suffered a loss tonight that topped even the Orioles' "Mother's Day Massacre" from '07.

The Rays had a 10-0 lead over the Indians at one point. They still led 10-4 going to the bottom of the 9th.

They proceeded to allow SEVEN RUNS in the bottom of the ninth inning. They committed a run-scoring error, gave up a 3-run homer, then walked the bases loaded, walked in a run, and gave up a two-run, two-out, walkoff single to Victor Martinez.

Absolutely devastating loss. Perhaps it'll come to be known as the Memorial Day Meltdown.

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Price has incredible stuff (he touched 99 MPH with his fastball tonight and was consistently 92-98), but he's still got a lot to work on. He'll get there eventually, but he's far from a finished product, which is why he started the season in the minors.

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