With the Rays in Boston on Monday, the bombing following the Boston Marathon hit a little more close to home for the Rays and their fans, especially for Sam Fuld, whose parents were only yards away from the explosions. We can’t begin to comprehend going through something like that, and all we can do is say that our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
Something like that makes baseball feel so meaningless. But that’s what you came here to hear about, so let’s get down to it. Evan Longoria had a nice game on Monday, slamming his first home run of the season to tie the game at 1, but later in the game he was extremely ticked off after being called out on a groundball that he apparently beat at first base, costing the Rays a run that would have tied the game in the process. He proceeded to throw his helmet to the dirt and was probably lucky not to be ejected from the game. Longoria expressed frustration for what happened but at the same time regretted acting the way he did.
“I’m a little disappointed in myself at the way I reacted. It was just kind of in the heat of the moment,” Longoria said. “You guys (reporters) can make the determination on what the outcome of the play was. We’re playing our (rear ends) off, and we’re not getting any breaks. And it’s unfortunate.”
It has been a tough stretch for the Rays as their record has slipped to 4-8 on the year, but there’s one thing we do know: they’re a much more talented team than this, and if they continue putting in the effort, their season will turn around before long. Longoria’s homer was his first extra-base hit of the year, and Longoria getting his power stroke going could be exactly the spark that the Rays offense needs to come alive.
Yesterday’s game was also Jackie Robinson Day, the 66th anniversary of Robinson’s big league debut, and the Rays were honored to have the opportunity to wear his number 42 on their backs. Mathew Joyce may have been the Ray who put it best.
“He’s someone who really stood out and really changed the game and the way society thought about everything,” Joyce said. “To go against society and what people are saying all the time, being able to take that kind of punishment and mental pounding. It’s astounding what he had to go through. I can’t even imagine.
“I know what we deal with on a daily basis on away games. But he had to deal with it at home. Just everywhere he went. It was on a different level. For him to do what he did and to have the kind of pressure and the kind of things people would say around him, it’s nothing short of astounding.”
The Rays will have the opportunity to wear number 42 one more time, tonight in Baltimore, and while it may not be quite as unique the second time around, the Rays will certainly appreciate wearing it once again.
With the Rays offense struggling and Wil Myers playing well at Triple-A, are the Rays costing themselves by keeping him in the minor leagues? Rob Neyer of SB Nation talked about exactly that in a recent article.
If we assume that Myers is worth three wins above replacement — fairly generous actually, for such a young hitter with some holes in his game — and that his fill-ins are actually slightly worse than that, then keeping Myers in the minors for three weeks would cost the Rays one-half of one win.
Neyer raises a few good points. First off, that three weeks don’t mean too much in the scheme of things, and that if keeping Myers in the minors just a little longer keeps him under team control for an additional year and saves the Rays money, it’s certainly worthwhile. Beyond that, Myers does still have flaws in his game that need addressing, and calling him up now and expecting him to immediately become a middle-of-the-order bat may be getting ahead of ourselves. At a certain point, the Rays will call Myers up- but they’re certainly not going to rush to do that given that the reward for keeping him in the minors is so significant and the benefit of calling him up earlier is much less than we might think.