Results tagged ‘ Mike DeFelice ’

September Call Ups Part 1

 

I know a few names might be missing off the suspected roster call ups on September 1st, but you got to remember that two of our farm teams have playoff aspirations and might not have their players brought up until mid September of this year.

With the success of the Triple-A Durham Bulls, and the playoff push by the Montgomery Biscuits, the two teams will have to haorde a few players until their playoff aspirations are completed, or they win the whole thing.  With that in mind, the Rays did a great bit of foresight by protecting at least two spots on the post season roster for players still involved in the farm system playoff races.

With the Rays bringing up injured reliever Jae Kuk Ryu to the major league disabled list, it makes him and injured reliever Chad Orvella the two guys who could be dropped off the roster due to injury, and two other guys inserted into their spots. Most people have opinions on whose those two players should be, and who should  see the playoffs from the stands.

I can tell you this, the addition of Fernando Perez to the roster is a great additon based on speed and ability to play any outfield position. If he can get us a few extra runs down the stretch as a pinch-runner, all the better. But if he can give us more depth and give the guys in the outfield a few days off, it will help refresh a few of these guys and get their minds sharp for the post season.

Now I have already heard a few grumbles about David Price or Wade Davis not being here right now, but think about it, they are getting valuable experience playing in the Triple-A playoffs right now. That is the kind of education you can not buy or substitute. It will give them a taste of what will be October right now. So iof either of them are put on the Post Season Roster, they will be mentally prepared for the excitement and the adrenaline rush that comes with the call up.

I am a bit upset not to see two of the Rays’ veterans not get a shot up here this September. I am a huge fan of thinking that Mike DiFelice has done everything asked of him this year, and did not get rewarded with even a call up. I know he is entering the twi-light of his career, but name another player who has sweated and been there for the Rays since 1998.

Even though he was not with the franchsie for a few years, you know he watched and wanted those guys to have the excitement and the dream of a playoff berth. And now he is not even invited to be up here just for the September run.  Pity, he deserves better from the Rays.

And, this might not a popular pick, but I feel Jonny Gomes needs to be here as soon as the Durham playoffs are over. People have been knocking him all year, but as soon as he got some extra at bats in Durham, he exploded and is hitting with more power and even placing the ball into the oppositie fields.

I am not asking that Gomes be put on the post season roster unless he shows his bat is alive and deserving of a shot, but that he is the heart and soul of more than the players here in Tampa Bay. I think the crowd will aslo feed off Jonny’s vibe and get into this playoff push with more vigor and enegry. He has been the poster boy for a few years of the confidience and the energy of this team. It would be a shame if he can not even come up and help them get to October 1st without even picking up a bat.

 

I understand the bringing up of John Jaso is a call up to get him some familiarity with the major leagues. Jaso is our future catcher, and might even be a back-up in 2009 for the Rays. He has improved alot at Triple-A, and with a teacher like DeFelice, you can go wrong. His increased awareness behind and at the plate will work in his favor when he is up here with the Rays. He can also get a few spot starts and get the feel for the type of abilities he will have to display and improve on to be here next year.

 

We have a young team in many areas, and it will just get better with a maturation process in the next few years. Players will be added and subtracted to make this team stronger and more flexible in the near future. I know a few familiar faces might not even be here next season for the Rays, and that might just be a true sign of the level of competition we have finally reached on this team.

 

This team is about to hit a stretch run from hell, but with the pitching starting to click on all 8 cylinders, and the hitting supporting itself, we might just see a push for 100 wins this year. I am not counting on that total, but it might be a fun sight to see the drive for it this year. I am still stuck on my number of 95 wins will be needed to secure a playoff spot.

The great bit about the playoffs is that we can beat every team that is fighting for the positons. The Angels, White Sox and Red Sox all know we can beat them.

The Twins have not been around us enough yet, but you know they do believe they will have to make a statement in the next homestand against us here at the Trop.  That series might be one of the best played series in the Trop. this year, with a playoff spot as the reward for both teams.

Hopefully we can pop the champagne before they leave for Baltimore or Detroit, but that will take alot of help from other team for that to happen at the Trop before that 8-game roadtrip to end the season.

And do not forget, besides the Detroit 4 games, we have a makeup contest from the first week of the season against the Orioles. That game will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on  September 23rd, with game 1 presently being telecasted on FSN at 5:05 P.M.

Jackson Gets Bombed by White Sox

 

White Sox 6, Rays 0

 

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Trivia Fact of the Day:

Chuck Finley of the Indians and Angels is the only pitcher to record 4 strikeouts in an inning more than once. He has done it three times from 1999-2000.

 

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 27 x 40 Canvas Print - Style B - FramedThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 27 x 40 Canvas Print - Style B - FramedThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 27 x 40 Canvas Print - Style B - FramedThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 27 x 40 Canvas Print - Style B - FramedThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 27 x 40 Canvas Print - Style B - Framed

 

                                        The Good,The Bad,and the Ugly

 

the Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports Photo
 

 
 
                                               The Good
 
 
We are going to Disney World!!!!!!!!!
Yes, it is that time of year again when devoted Rays fans get to travel to the happiest place on earth for three days of baseball and cartoon characters. Not lost in the translation, is the fact that the Rays enjoy a great record at the Champion complex at Disney.
Last season, the Rays swept the Texas Ranger in Orlando,Florida, and that fact could translate into some happy endings for our players and fans.
 
 
Rays pitcher James Shields and slugger Carlos Pena will be parade Grand Marshalls’  in Monday’s daily Disney parade down Main Street U.S.A. This “home,and away from home”, series in the middle of a rough homestand could be the thing to renew some team spirit and get into a winning formula for the rest of the year.
 
 
 
I do not have much “Good” to report about this game, other than the first 4 guys in our lineup are the only Rays’ to get a hit today. Aki Iwamura, Carl Crawford, B J Upton, and Carlos Pena were the Rays offense today.
 
                                                  Edwin Jackson towels off after being pulled in the fifth. Jackson has labored in two starts since opening 2-0.
                      
 
                                                       The Bad
 
 
 I do not see Rays starter Edwin Jackson throwing his pitches any different in this game than in any of his previous starts this year. It is starting to concern the Rays management and coaching staff on the rollercoaster progress and regression of this pitcher.
 
 
“You saw a little bit of everything over his first four starts of where E.J. is in regard to his development,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You have a young, potentially spectacular pitcher on one hand and on the other hand he’s still growing to get to that point.”
 

“He was throwing the ball well, and it just gets away,” Maddon said. “The ability to really stem the tide when it’s going in the wrong direction, where you’re able to gather your thoughts, slow things down and get out of a jam, sometimes he’s been able to do that, and tonight was not one of those nights. I think that is a mark of youth, or a lack of experience.”

 

                              

 

Jackson’s ERA has gone from a impressive .064 ERA two games ago, to his present  4.63, which tends to point to control issues or trying to force the ball into bad decisions to batters. Jackson is your typical Power pitcher, who is trying to refine his craft to be a percision and location pitcher with the added bonus of a great fastball. It is just that the fastball did him in today instead of helping him to win the game.

 

Jime Thome used Jackson and the Rays staff as his personal batting practice today to go 4-4, including his 512th Homerun to tie Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 19th on the All-time Homerun list. Also not lost in this loss is that the Rays have now been 8-11 at this point in the season for the 4th consecutive season.

 

                                             

               Dioner Navarro                          Mike DeFelice

                                          

                                             The Ugly

 

The worst job for a manager at the professional level is to informa veteran or a rookie  get reassigned or released from your club. The Rays today sent pitcher Jeff Niemann back to the Durham Bulls to make room for incoming first baseman/DH Dan Johnson. This is not the only move that the Rays will make in the next few days. On Tuesday, the Rays will have catcher Dioner Navarro back in the fold after recovering from his freak accident in New York.

 

With Navarro coming back, the Rays will probably designate for assignment, the current back-up catcher, and Rays original member, Mike DeFelice. Mike has had a incredible Spring Training, and a very productive call up for the Rays.

 

In order for Mike to be able to report to Durham, he will have to clear waivers. With several teams looking for a talented and great motivator for their young staffs, DeFelice would be a perfect fit. So do not be surprised if a team takes a chance on Mike and selects him on Tuesday. DeFelice has only been instrumental in the development of several young pitchers in our fold, and has hit a very competitive .300 for the team.

 

Former Rays Player of the Night:

                              

Florida Marlins third baseman Jorge Cantu is my player of the night.Cantu went 2-4 today, with both hits being doubles. Cantu also scored a run for the fish. He is curently batting .308 for the team.

 

 

Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays will be the first meeting of the year for the clubs. On the mound will be former Rays’ batboy, Jesse Litsch. The Rays will counter with ace, James Sheilds.

                               

*** quotes collected by Marc Topkins of the St. Petersburg Times.

 

 

 

 

 

Twin Bill Split Down the Middle

 

Rays 7, Twins 3

 

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

In 1999, Fernando Tatis, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, became the only player to hit two grand slams in the same inning.

 

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                                      The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly

 

                                               The Good

 

I have been harping on him for three days about his play .and the fact  that I think he is a sub-par defender. Well, for at least this day, I will eat crow and tell you Jason Bartlett played one helluva game tonight.

He made great defensive plays at short, and he also went 2-4 at the plate to raise his average  to .218 for the young season.

 

The only bad thing I can say about him tonight is that he got caught stealing second in the Top of the 8th inning. But, that is okay since he seemed to be stroking the ball well tonight and had his lazer arm tuned  for a change.

 

Honorable Mention “Good” guys:

                                                                             

*** J P Howell came in and pitched 3 innings to record his first  career save. Howell, a former  Rays starter, had not been in a “save” position before tonight and responded superbly. Howell faced only 9 batters in those  3 innings.

 

** Rays Starter Jason Hammel had his breaking balls moving and dipping with precision tonight. I was watching him battle  the Twins’ Carlos Gomez at one at bat, and Hammel pitched two straight breaking balls that broke nicely for strikes on the black of the plate.

 

When his breaking pitches are on, he is a totally different pitcher on the mound. Oh, and he got the win tonight for his fantastic efforts. 

 

* The Rays  B J Upton And Aki Iwamura both scored two runs tonight  and Carl Crawford went 2-5 to raise his average to .250. BJ Upton has 15 RBI’s so far this year, good enough for a huge tie for second going into tonight’s late game action.

 

 The Rays currently  are third in the majors with 22 Home Runs.

 

                                            The Bad

 

                     Rays' Carlos Pena, here hitting one of his team-high six homers earlier this year, is listed as day to day for now.

 

The “Bad” is hopefully good news, not bad news senario tonight. Carlos Pena was running out a grounder to third and began to pull up as he was about to cross the bag. He did not show any signs of discomfort on his face on the field, but was replaced by Eric Hinske in the bottom of the inning.

 

Early prognosis is a hamstring tightening. Hopefully, it is just a hot tub and a series of ice packs for Carlos and we can see him facing the  Chicago White Sox tomorrow night.  Keep your fingers crossed fans.

 

                                          The Ugly

 

Only two Rays did not get a hit tonight, Carlos Pena and catcher Mike DeFelice. Carlos is now hitting at a low of 179 for the year. DeFelice might not have gotten a hit, but he called a great game behind the plate for the Rays.

 

The pick off of Carl Crawford at first in the Top of the 6th inning was not a rally killer. Carl had already been leaning toward second and just got caught  starting to make his move toward second base. That is the price you pay for being a  great basestealer.  Thank goodness we were already leading 7-3 at the time.

 

Former Rays’s Player of the Night:

Since there were no great batting ex-players, I am going to list a few of our former reliever who saw action tonight.

* Jesus Colome, who is pitching for the Washington Nationals, went 2 inning tonight and gave up only 1 hit.

                                                            

* Seth McClung, who is with the Milwaukee Brewers, went 3 innings and gave up 2 hits. Seth also recordrd two strikeouts for the night.

                                                                       

* Jorge Sosa, who is with the New York Mets, was pitching in the Top of the 14th inning and has gone 2.2 innings with two hits and two strikeouts.

Disney bobbleheads for the fans in the Orlando series against the Blue Jays

 

The Rays are flying back home as we speak, and we will begin another homestand of sorts tomorrow night. The Rays’ will play three against the Chicago White Sox, then go to Disney World for a three game series against our divisional rivals, the Toronto Blue Jays.

See you at the Trop.

If you have any questions, or want to know anything about the Rays, feel free to comment or contact me and I will be sure to get that information to you as soon as possible.

 

The Empire Strikes Back…..Again

 

Yankees 5, Rays 3

 

                                Click Image to Enlarge



I give credit where credit is due.  The Evil Empire came in and played two great game against us. Now back to the blog.

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Trivia Fact of the Night:

The Brooklyn Dodgers were the first team to purchase their own airplane in January 1957.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 11 x 17 Masterprint Poster - Foreign - Style C           The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 11 x 17 Masterprint Poster - Foreign - Style C         The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 11 x 17 Masterprint Poster - Foreign - Style C      The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 11 x 17 Masterprint Poster - Foreign - Style C

                                  

                                         The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly.

 

                                           The Ageless Good  

 

I have to admit, when the Rays
announced earlier in the Spring that they signed Mike DeFelice to a
minor league contract, I thought it might be as a coach. As many of you
know, Mike was one of the original  catchers with the 1997 team.
DeFelice has been around the block a few times and has had his shares
of ups and downs.


But, this season when Dioner
Navarro went down with his freak accident in New York, it was a godsend
that Mike was there to fill the spot. Since he has come on, De Felice
has hit .429 in his short time up with the Rays this season. In that time, Mike has collected 4
RBI’s in his 10 at bats. That is right, Mike has only batted 14 times
this season and has driven in 4 runs as a backup to Shawn Riggans.
DeFelice is also carrying a .929 OPS with him this time up with the
Rays.

Mike is a superb game caller and
is an instant coach for these young pitchers. He has the insight and
the ability to see the trouble brewing and try and squash it before it
festers and get nasty.


For that reason, Mike is my main “Good” guy of the night. I do have a few other who needs some press as Honorable Mentions:


***       Rays First baseman Carlos Pena
saved a few runs with his great glove work at first tonight. First he
stopped a rocket off the bat of  the Yankees’  Robinson Cano.  Pena
snuffed the play diving to his left just shy of the line and stepped on
the bag to squash the Yankees efforts in the Top of the 6th Inning.


**       Designated Hitter Jonny Gomes
continues to be on a RBI tear as he had another tonight and went 2-4 to
raise his average to .296.


*       The first star goes to the team
for their display of spirit and team unity by all wearing Jackie
Robinson’s number “42” this season. Last year only Carl Crawford wore
the retired number of the first African-American to play in the MLB.


Robinson played his first Major League game at Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947, as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers.



“It’s an honor the way certain clubs are wearing 42 — the whole
team, like our team,” Zimmer said. “I just look back and just think of
how lucky I am to play on the same team with him.

“I wasn’t there in the early days, when he really had to go
through hell, as they say; it had lessened by the time I got there, but
it was still tough. He had to be a very strong man, to go through the
whole ordeal that he went through, no doubt.”

                                         

                                                        The Bad


Tonight’s game showed a few spots
in the Rays armor that need to improve if this team is to tackle the
upward climb in the American League East. The Rays knocked out 10 hits
tonight, but left 9 men stranded on the base paths.


In order for this team to win “the
close ones”, like the last two games, they will need to figure out that
formula that is missing when the pressure is on for runs.  I am not
demeaning the coaching staff or the players here, I just see a glaring
issue that might just be a simple adjustment in mindset or thinking on
the field at times.



I have all the confidence in the world that this problem will be solved soon, and with great results.

                                    The Ugly

 


I never saw our team lay down and
quit tonight, or even show signs of let down, but the faces on the
Bullpen bench were speaking volumes from my sight line. It was a face
like, “Here we go again.” That mental clog can fester into a
bad attitude and confidence for our relievers. I know they are not the
kind of guys to quit, or even not make the ultimate performance for
their squad.


I just know from playing on
borderline losing teams in High School and College, that the mindset
can destroy even the best of intentions. I know who;s faces had that
look, and one was inserted in the game tonight.


This team is so much better than
our record. And we better start believing that, or we will be looking
up at four teams the rest of the season. I believe in this team. I have 100
percent confidence in their abilities and skills. And I want to be here
to celebrate the highs with them in September or beyond. 

                            


Let’s Go Rays  (Banging my cowbell)

 


Former Rays Player of the Night:

 

Julio Lugo of the Boston Red Sox is my former Rays
player of the night for going 3-4 tonight in the Sox’s 5-3 victory over
the Cleveland Indians. Lugo is currently batting .280 for the season and has 14 hits already for the year.

 

The Rays are leaving town tonight for the cool confines of the Metro dome for two games against the Minnesota Twins. This is the first regular season series for the teams,
and the first time these teams have played since their big trade this
past off season that sent Brendan Harris and Delmon Young to the North
country.


Both games will be on television, so check your local lisitngs or MLB TV.


See you at the Trop. on Friday to welcome Ozzie Guillen
and his Chicago White Sox into town for a weekend series. This weekend,
former Ray Toby Hall should see action behind the plate.



Rays Beat Back Birds 6-2

Orioles 2, Rays 6

You know, earlier in the year going .500 so early in the season
would be a upsetting situation. But with nine (9) current Rays players
on the disabled list, and a few hurting but gutting their way through
the games, it is totally satisfying at this moment. If we can go .500
without the big guns, what could happen when the firepower is back to
normal and the trigger is set……………..think about that for a
moment here.

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Trivia fact for the day


Tony Cloninger is the only pitcher to hit two grand slams in the same game. He did it for the Atlanta Braves on July 3,1966.

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                                       The Good,the Bad,and the Ugly

                             

B J Upton is starting to come into his own
at the plate.  Today he hit a monumental 3-run homer in the bottom of
the 5th inning. Upton also raised his average to .302 today, its
highest point in over a week. B J’s home run came in the 5th inning
where the Rays ignited and scored all of their 6 runs of the game.

 

Honorable mentions for “Good” today: 



                                                      



*          Jeff Niemann tossed  93 pitches today, in which the Orioles only scored  a lone run and scattered 6 hits against him.


This help Niemann collect his first MLB win.  At 6’9″, Niemann  got the ball down
consistantly during the game, and never got himself into a bad jam. The
lone run he gave up was to Baltimores’ Nick Markakis, who homered to
left field in the top of the 6th inning.

**        Rays outfielder Carl Crawford collected
two RBI’s today also in the 5th when he singled to center field and
Justin Ruggiano and Mike DeFelice scored to make it 3-0 before B J
Upton’s at bat. B J also currently has 11 RBI’s for the year and is in
the top 10 in the American League in that category.


***        Third baseman Evan Longoria (E-Love)
also collected another
hit today and walked and eventually scored a run
in the Rays big 5th innning today.

                                             The Bad

I know I have written about this
before, and I was chatting with a Rays broadcast guy and I have come
upon the conclusion that B J Upton has a “green light” when he is on the
bases. For those not knowing the phrase, a player having a “green
light” can make decisions for himself about base running and advancing
on plays after a ball is hit.  That is becoming more and more apparent
with each of his base running blunders.


Today it was a stagger step that cost him an extra base.  He was not caught stealing today, so I will be kind to him.



Another “Bad” that is starting to
rear its ugly head is the fact that Dan Wheeler is in a weird funk. I
saw a ball kinda float today and it did not get hit a ton, but it was a
great contact out, and could have been trouble for us.  I am not saying
there is a mechanics situation here, I am not a pitching coach. But,
with that said, I know it was a ball that could have been crushed if
the player got good wood on it. Last night a change-up that stayed in
the zone was crushed for the winning run.

                                              The Ugly

Not a lot of Ugly here except in
the starting shortstops batting average, and his wild throws at times.
Jason Bartlett should count his stars that he has a world class first
baseman like Carlos Pena. Pena had dug out a few balls that past first
baseman would have watched  the ball skirt to the wall or beyond.

That combined with his .158
average at this moment is cause for early worry. This is the guy we
were counting on for solid play and a good bat in the field.

 Ben Zobrist is still out for a
period of time after they inserted a pin in his broken finger to help
it heal better and faster. Until that time, we are limited to Bartlett
and Johnson at short, with neither player showing offensive numbers at
this time.


Former Rays Player of the Day:


I know it is early in the afternoon, but I am going to pick my former Rays player of the game for today.

It has to be Josh Hamilton of the Texas
Rangers. All of us Rays fans remember Josh as the hier apparent to
Right field before Delmon Young entered the picture.  Josh has been
hitting good this year and he is showing the talent we all knew he had
in prior Spring Training and minor league games.

During this afternoons’ game against the
Toronto Blue Jays, Hamilton has two RBI’s and hit a homer run to right
in the bottom of the 4th inning. He also singled and drove in Ian
Kinsler in the bottom of the first.

Hamilton is currently tied with the Rays Carlos Pena for first with 13 RBIs    

 



The forecast for tomorrow game is:

Ugly with a change for a smashing good time.  With that said, come
on out to the Trop. and watch your .500 Rays take on the “Evil Empire”
from the Bronx in a 7:10 PM Monday night game.


 

 


You know the Cowbell kid will be there to send kisses and wishes to his pal Joe Giardi and Shelly Duncan.



Post Script:

I want to thank Edwin Jackson, JP
Howell, Scott Dohmann and Andy Sonnastine for taking the all that time
today to sign for the 12 Little Leagues and their  players that were at
the ballgame.


Each of these Rays players stayed
out there a long time and signed everything put in front of them. I
even got a few autographs I was missing for my Rays collection. I even
saw Evan Longoria out there after stretching on the wall signing and
jawing with the Rays hopefuls.



So, as a Season Ticket holder and
a great Rays follower, Thank you gentleman for showing class and
community love by taking your time to show the kids of all ages
in Tampa Bay you are there for them……….

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