Category: Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Ray’s Fastballs

Over the last decade, Tampa Bay Rays have recorded more strikeouts than any other pitching staff participating in the American League. Jim Hickey has been their pitching coach for all that time. The coach has an experience of two decades as a coach and pitcher in the minors.

Hickey got to experience how the hitter’s view of a rising fastball in 2004 after joining Houston Astros. He stood against Roger Clemens in the batter’s box, at Clemens’ request. From his position, Hickey could see his challenger zoom through the finish line. According to him, Clemens would turn burn and boom! It was his first time, and he thought that the trajectory would be a ball low.

Fastballs do not rise. However, some of them defy gravity for a longer time than others, making them look like they are rising. Such fastballs usually are not the ones thrown with maximum effort, but the ones that spin the most. According to Jake Odorizzi, Rays’ right-hander, this kind of fastball is usually referred to as the ‘invisiball’. Even though you might be seeing it, it is often challenging to hit it.

Odorizzi and most of his teammates can perform the move. Last season, none of the hardest throwers pitched for Tampa Bay, yet a study by Fangraphs in March indicated that the Rays threw over 60 percent of their fastballs (four-seam) up in the zone. According to Rays’ starter Chris Archer, the players will have to pitch to their level best as it continues to be the team’s edge. Watching the Rays pull the ‘invisiball’ move remains to be the most enjoyable part of the game.

Tampa Bay Rays acquire reliever for the stretch run

The Tampa Bay Rays find themselves in the somewhat unfamiliar position of being buyers at the trade deadline. The franchise, which was moribund when it first came into the league, then a contender under Joe Maddon had been going back to being mostly an also ran until this season. The Rays are currently second in the AL East and just two games out of first place. The team sits at 50-44 entering Tuesday’s play. The Rays are also in first place when it comes to the AL Wildcard race.

Because they are indeed poised for the post season, the team has made a trade for a reliever in order to help them with the stretch run. Tampa acquired Char Roe from the Atlanta Braves and the Rays didn’t even have to give up much of anything to get him. In exchange for Roe, the team sent back cash considerations.

Before he does help the team in the stretch run, he’ll have to believe he belongs in the major leagues. Roe was not on the Braves major league roster before the trade and Tampa has said he will be added to their AAA Durham Bulls roster. While he might be having to fight his way back to the major league roster this year, when he’s been able to get people out, he’s really been able to get people out.

In 2016, over a very small sample size of just 60 right handed batters, he mowed through them as though he were a hot knife through butter. The Rays have said this isn’t likely the kind of move that is going to put them over the top, but it might be one that adds some depth. If Roe could find the thing that made him so successful in 2016, he could be a sleeper.

Rays Beat Blue Jays With Homers

The Tampa Bay Rays did what they have done so often this season in the opening game of their series with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays hit home runs to eventually seal an 8-1 victory. The team is quickly becoming known as one of the most powerful teams in baseball with a lineup that pitchers should be very cautious of. Taylor Featherston got the fireworks started right away by blasting a home run to start the third inning. Logan Morrison continued his transformation into one of the most feared hitters in the game by hitting homer number 18 on the year.

 

One of the most pleasant surprises for the Rays this year was the starting performance they got from Jacob Faria. He shut down the Blue Jays bats in only the second start of his career. He gave up just a single run while pitching six innings. Rays manager Kevin Cash could not have been happier with this young starter. Cash praised Faria’s composure because he did not show any nervousness.

 

Marco Estrada did not have as good a time on the mound for the opposing team. He continued to struggle as he has all season. His ERA is around 4.50 and he has failed to keep the Jays in many of his starts. Estrada failed to get out of the 4th inning against the Rays. This is his shortest start of the year so far. Despite his very poor outing, Estrada was not dejected when he was interviewed after the game. He said that he is confident that things will turn around for him this year.

 

Rays manager Kevin Cash said it is always a good thing to get a win in the first game of a series when you are playing a good team on the road. He has been pleased by the way his team has been playing as of late. He expects his team to have a dynamite second half of the season.

 

The Rays Swing Back Into Action Tonight

The Tampa Bay Rays are now starting a 2-game series up in Toronto to take on the Jays during which they hope to gain ground on the two leading American League East division teams, New York and Boston. Despite a somewhat sluggish start through April and May, they’ve started to gain ground on New York and Boston as they’re now 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees, and only 2 1/2 behind the Red Sox having won 5 of their last 6. Yet there are injury concerns that the Rays face heading into the thick of the season.

 

Starting with pitcher Matt Andriese who will be sidelined for some time, the Rays are going to be paying close attention to their bullpen and the young rookies who could be filling in for him. Taking the mound tonight for them will be Jake Faria, the rookie out of Cerritos, CA who has one win to his name so far and an era of 1.42. He will be facing Marco Estrada who is 4-4 on the season so far with an ERA of 4.04.

 

The Rays will also be making some changes in their lineup at shortstop with Tim Beckham being unable to participate due to a nagging knee injury, so taking his place tonight will be Daniel Robertson. The Rays will try to maximize on their opportunities tonight and tomorrow before taking on Detroit in a 4-game series starting Thursday. Their next off day will be on Thursday June 22 after wrapping up a series in Cincinnati and heading off to Baltimore. The Rays have outscored opponents 38-30 in their last 6 games and so far have a +13 run score differential in the season overall.

 

Rays Once Again Competing for Division

For the past two decades, the most competitive division in Major League Baseball has been the AL East. In this time, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have won eight World Series titles, which has helped to make that rivalry the top in the sport. While the Red Sox and Yankees have been the top teams in the division, other teams in the AL East have also had some success. One of the most successful teams in this time period have been the quiet Tampa Bay Rays.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been well known for developing young talent and being able to compete with the top teams in the league, even though they tend to have a much lower payroll budget. This year, the Rays once again look like they could compete with anyone in the league (http://www.foxsports.com/florida/story/tampa-bay-rays-vs-oakland-athletics-game-preview-june-09-060917-2-060917). While the season is just a couple months young, the Rays have already shown that they can consistently stay above .500.

Through June 10, the Rays had 34 wins and 32 losses, which comes after they swept the Chicago White Sox. This currently makes them the fourth best team in the division and 5 games behind the Yankees. However, the Rays could also compete for both of the Wild Card spots, which they are just three games behind at this point.

The Rays have shown that they have one of the most talented teams in baseball. They also reportedly have one of the top farm systems in baseball, which could help them be good for the next decade. On the offensive side of the field, Logan Morrison and Corey Dickerson have been leading the team. Morrison is among the league leaders in home runs while Dickerson is looking like one of the most talented players in the game. The Rays also have a talented starting pitching rotation, which is led by Matt Anderson and Austin Pruitt, each of which have five wins and just one loss.

Longoria Reaches Milestone for Home Runs:

Evan Longoria has been bombing the ball for Tampa Bay since he first made the roster back in 2008. Now all those home runs have added up for the face of the franchise.

 

On June 10th, Longoria belted career home run number 250 in a 7-2 loss to Oakland. That broke a ten game homer drought by the third baseman. It also capped off a very good night at the plate for him as he drove in the game-winning run for the Rays in the first game of the team’s doubleheader with the A’s.

 

Longoria’s manager, Kevin Cash, said not many players can claim 250 home runs in their career, adding, “Evan is not anywhere close to stopping, so he’s going to continue knocking them out.”

 

A first round draft pick (third overall) in 2006, Longoria made the Tampa Bay roster two years later. His first home run came on April 18th, 2008 off the Yankees Brian Bruney. He ended the regular season with a .272 average, 27 home runs and 85 RBIs. Not only was he named the American League Rookie of the Year, he also helped the Rays make their first World Series appearance, with six home runs and 13 RBIs during the post season.

 

Since his MLB debut, Longoria has been a model of consistency. He has hit double-digit home runs in every single season, including 17 in his injury plagued 2012 season. He has never hit below .250 in any season and has had under 70 RBIs in a season just once, 2012 with 55. Your text to link…

 

Last year, Longoria had 36 homers and 98 RBIs. As of June 10th, he has garnered 9 homers and 34 RBIs, so it appears he is on pace for a season just as productive as 2016.

 

Rays Center Fielder Kiermaier out for Two Months

For the most part, the Tampa Bay Rays have been able to avoid any serious injuries during the 2017 season. However, that streak of luck came to an end in a big way. Kevin Kiermaier is generally regarded as the best defensive center fielder in baseball. This season he has taken his game to a new level as he has started to hit for the first time in his career. Unfortunately, he will not be able to continue his progress for the next two months. He will be sidelined because of a right hip fracture.

 

For his part, Kiermaier has tried to remain as upbeat about his injury as possible given the unfortunate set of circumstances. He has said that injuries are just a part of the game and you have to deal with them when they happen to you. Rays manager Kevin Cash actually seemed more disappointed about the injury than Kiermaier did. Cash said that he feels bad whenever a young player gets an injury that puts him out for an extended period of time. This is because young players who are just coming into their own are at such an important point in their career. A serious injury could have a devastating impact on their ability to play and their earning potential.

 

The Rays have officially added Kiermaier to the disabled list. They then called up outfielder Mallex Smith to replace him on the roster. Kiermaier is known for his hustle. This has made him a very respected player among his peers. Unfortunately, it was his hustle that led to his injury. He made the mistake of sliding into first base instead of running through it in a game against the Chicago White Sox.

 

Kiermaier has not had very good luck where injuries are concerned. He broke his left hand last year. That caused him to be out of the lineup for a total of 48 games. The Rays are optimistic he will make a complete recovery.

Rays Destroy A’s in First Game of Series

The Tampa Bay Rays got off to a great start in the first game of their weekend set against the Oakland A’s at Tropicana Field. The Rays continued to do what they have done all season. They hit a lot of home runs. Their power helped the team to eventually build up a 13-0 lead that allowed them to coast to a very easy victory. Rays manager Kevin Cash was happy to see a game like this because so many of the Rays games this year have been very close and filled with pressure.

 

The fireworks started early for the Rays when Steven Souza jacked a three-run homer into the seats in the first inning. Andrew Triggs was the Oakland pitcher who surrendered the home run. However, the Rays were just getting started with their pyrotechnics for the evening. Recently called up Mallex Smith did not take very long to make his presence felt at the Major League level. He blasted a homer in the fourth inning. This homer was also off Triggs. The Rays extended the lead to 8-0 when Logan Morrison continued his excellent season by hitting his 17th home run of the year.

 

Triggs was yanked from the game before he was able to finish the 4th inning for the A’s. He said that he felt normal and he had no physical problems. The final two home runs of the game for the Rays were hit by Corey Dickerson and Tim Beckham. They both came in the fifth inning when the Rays tallied five runs to put the game out of reach for good. Alex Cobb had a great start. It was a bit of redemption for Cobb because he had a terrible start in his previous game against the Mariners.

 

Cobb said that he wants to build from this game. He feels stronger than he has in a long time. He believes that he can have a great final four months of the season if he is able to stay healthy.

 

Rays Hold on for Win Against White Sox

The Tampa Bay Rays won the third and decisive game of their series with the Chicago White Sox at Tropicana Field. The win for the Rays continued a stretch that has seen them play very well. Manager Kevin Cash has been very pleased with what he has seen so far in the 2017 season. The Rays record is now 31-31. This is certainly a quantum leap from the 2016 campaign which saw them buried in last place of the American League’s eastern division.

 

The most recent win against the White Sox did not come without some adversity. The Rays jumped out to a 6-0 nothing lead. The team then lost their aggressiveness and failed to keep adding on to their lead. The White Sox mounted a spirited comeback that was almost successful. The White Sox roared back and made it 6-5. However, Colby Rasmus blasted a homer in the bottom of the eighth inning for an insurance run the Rays were happy to get. Alex Colome pitched the ninth inning to nail down the 7-5 victory. Kevin Cash said that this game should serve as a cautionary tale moving forward. He added that you can never let your foot off the gas pedal at this level. You need to keep tacking on runs no matter how big of a lead you get.

 

Cash has been especially pleased with the way his closer has pitched. Colome has quickly developed into one of the best stoppers in the game. Rays catcher Derek Norris also had a big game against the White Sox. He hit a couple of homers off Derek Holland. Peter Bourjos added a solo homer of his own. This continued the trend this season of the Rays hitting homers in bunches. It was a triumphant return for Bourjos. He had been on the disabled list because of a problem with his elbow. This was his first game back. The Rays remain convinced they will be a factor in the playoff race.

Buccaneers Wrap Up Training Sessions

During the 2016 NFL season several different teams in the NFL took the next step forward and looked like they could soon compete for a Super Bowl. Of all of the most improving teams in the league, the most exciting seemed to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During the 2016 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended up finishing with 9 wins and 7 losses, which was good for second place in their division.

 

After a successful 2016 season, the Buccaneers are now going through a tough offseason campaign that is coming to a conclusion (http://www.buccaneers.com/news/article-smith/Mini-Camp-Math-How-Will-It-Add-Up/114a490e-e07a-466f-ac44-02ef84a1eabf). The offseason will be ending with a mandatory three-day training camp, which will be the last team activity before the summer workouts and preseason start in late July.

 

While the Buccaneers had a very good 2016 season, they have also made a lot of moves that will help to make them even better next year. One of the biggest moves they made was in the draft. The Buccaneers were considered one of the big winners in the draft by getting OJ Howard in the middle of the first round. OJ Howard last year was a top tight end playing for the University of Alabama. He was considered one of the best players in the draft, but took a very surprising fall to number 19 in the draft. Having Howard should help to open up the offense, which will help Jameis Winston continue to improve and evolve as a player.

 

Beyond Howard, the Buccaneers have had a lot of questions answered during the last few months. While many of the training camp sessions are voluntary, most players on the Buccaneers chose to attend the sessions. This could be a very encouraging sign for a team that is looking to come together and compete with the rest of the division. The Buccaneers will have their hands full in their division, which includes the last two Super Bowl representatives from the NFC conference.