Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Home Opener for the team formerly known as the Devil Rays

For the first time in their young history the Tampa Bay Rays have sold out their home opener before the day of the game. Tonight they will face the Seattle Mariners in what is a new beginning of sorts.

If you don't follow the Rays yet, you still have time to jump on the newly formed bandwagon. They are young, have new unis, and are exciting to watch. For the last couple of years the Rays have been able to hit, but their pitching has always fallen off. This year, I think they are a bit deeper.

Let's take a more in depth look at their staff:

  1. Scott Kazmir - For the last couple of years Kazmir has developed into one of the premier pitchers in the game. He throws hard and has great breaking stuff as well. Last year he led the league is strikeouts and is only 24! The question has and always will be, can he stay healthy?
  2. James Shields - This guy may be the best pitcher you have never heard of. This righty is only 26 years old and is only playing in his second full year in the majors. He is nasty on the mound and is currently anchoring the staff. If you get a chance this year watch him play because he is going to be around for a while.
  3. Matt Garza - The Rays acquired him in the trade for Delmon Young in the offseason and this was a very good move. He has a great late moving sinker, a nice tight slider, and overall has four above average pitches. Like the rest of the staff he is only 24 years old.
  4. Andy Sonnanstine/Edwin Jackson/Josh Hammel - The rest of the staff is occupied by these young arms. Sonnanstine is only 25, Jackson is 24, and Hammel is 25. Jackson is the biggest name of these three, as there has been much hype around him for a while. He has great stuff when he is on, but the guy is as erratic as it gets. If he could ever get his act together and be consistent this staff would be good for a long time.


ASponge said...

I've just had a great feeling about Sonnanstine this year (or I'm a fool for putting him on my fantasy team). Excellent points about the pitching, though.

I'd love to see Edwin Jackson emerge from his struggles and become the dominant pitcher he should be.

I'm also curious to watch the development of David Price.

DPorty said...

I was going to touch on David Price, but I thought I would focus on him a bit later...he is certainly an intriguing prospect and is definitely the future of the Rays rotation.

ASponge said...

My favorite thing about David Price was his enthusiasm for joining the Rays. When many would have scoffed at the organization, he showed tremendous pride in the team on Draft Day, exhibiting the kind of classiness that could take the Rays far.

I'm curious to see whether he makes it to the majors this year. I've heard probably not, but that could change quickly with a pennant run and some good results. This sounds like good material for a future post.

Thanks for the great commentary.

Bring Back McClung said...

Very disappointing to see the Rays drop 3 in a row after being in first. Tough loss last night. Maybe they can turn it around tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I was at said Rays opener (being a die-hard Mariners fan). I was incredulous to hear on my way to the game that it was sold out. Great sign for the Rays and their hopes at a new stadium. The game itself was great. Lead changes, home runs, an ejection, and a Mariners win! Matt Garza had a rough go and was taken out with an apparent arm injury (placed on the DL after the game). Erik Bedard so far has been somewhat disappointing for the M's, even though he got the win last night thanks to a previously inept Mariners offense. (btw, mariners all over the rays in game 2, 7-1) Lots of potential on the Tampa squad, but I'm not sure that the young pitching staff will be able to keep them in it, especially without Kaz at 100%.

-Karl from Otown

Karl said...

update on my last comment... a return to normalcy in tampa; 12,000 showed up for tonights game.