Looking at what’s left of the season, the Rays need to win three games to finish with the second winning record in club history (also 97-65 in 2008).
In addition, they need to win four games to become the eighth team all-time to win 180 games over two seasons after losing 180 games the previous two seasons.
Chances of the Rays accomplishing the above mentioned are good given the fact the Rays have played .240 percentage points better at home (47-27) than on the road (32-49), which represents the greatest home-road differential in the Major Leagues.
If David Price wins for the Rays today he will move to 10-7 on the season to give the Rays two rookies with 10 plus wins and winning records.
Since 1980, just three sets of American League rookie teammates have finished above .500 with 10-plus wins. That group includes Freddy Garcia (17-9) and John Halama (11-10) for Seattle in 1999; Mike Timlin (11-6) and Juan Guzman (10-3) for Toronto in 1991; and Britt Burns (15-13) and Rich Dotson (12-10) for Chicago in 1980.
Rays manager Joe Maddon just announced that J.P. Howell will not pitch any more this season.
Howell, who has been the team’s closer all season, will end the season at 7-5 with a 2.84 ERA and 17 saves.
The left-hander is not injured, but Maddon said shutting him down is “the right thing to do” based on the fact Howell had a long season in 2008, a short off season, he pitched in the World Baseball Classic, and became the closer, which added to the intensity of his appearances.
Ben Zobrist’s RBI double in the first gave him 74 for the season, pulling him into a tie with Mark DeRosa (Texas 2006) for the most in one season since 1954 by a player who started at six positions.
Flashback two years and it’s really hard to think this is the same player. But Zobrist has done an amazing job of becoming an offensive force for the Rays.
Reid Brignac has put his game on display tonight with Jason Bartlett filling the DH role.
Not only is Brignac 4-for-4 with two doubles and his first career home run, he also made a stellar play in the field to rob Melvin Mora of a base hit.
Though Brignac has primarily been a shortstop, don’t be surprised to see him come to camp in the spring with a shot to become the everyday second baseman. He also has a good chance to become the Rays’ utility infielder since he can play shortstop and it appears Zobrist could be the everyday right-fielder in 2010.
Though it’s not raining right now, word is to expect more of the wet stuff for tonight’s Rays-Red Sox game at Fenway Park.
If there’s much of a delay the situation could get ridiculous given the fact the two teams play a Sunday double-header that begins at noon.
There are only so many hours in a day. Should be interesting.
Reid Brignac was recalled from Triple-A Durham Thursday and Joe Nelson accepted his assignment to Durham, so he will remain in the Rays’ organization.
Brignac can play shortstop and second base and should be in the competition for the starting second base job in 2010 assuming that the Rays do not exercise the $4.5 million option on Akinori Iwamura.
Nelson, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday to clear a spot on the roster for Sean Rodriguez. Keeping the veteran will lend some depth to the organization’s bullpen.
The Rays have announced that top pitching prospect Wade Davis will join the team Thursday and will make his first Major League start Sunday against the Tigers.
Davis, who is 10-8 with a 3.40 in 28 starts for Triple-A Durham, will be taking the slot in the rotation that had been Scott Kazmir’s.
It’s likely that Andy Sonnanstine, who started for the Rays Tuesday, will be moved ahead to start one of the games in the Rays double-header against the Yankees on Monday.