Rays Notes: Road Trip, Pitching, Sean Rodriguez, Justin O’Conner, Chuck LaMar
The Rays are coming off a road trip to remember, and Marc Topkin had some interesting notes.
- The Rays’ 8 wins on their road trip matched the most in Rays history behind only a 9-1 road trip in 2010 and- get this- an 8-2 road trip from 2004. What? The Devi Rays had an 8-2 road trip in 2004! Well, actually, the 2004 D-Rays went 20-6 in June of 2004 and put together a 12-game winning streak and were a halfway-decent 42-45 in the first half before collapsing in the second half, even suffering a 12-game losing streak.
- The 4-game sweep of the Angels on the road was the Rays’ first 4-game sweep on the road since 2010 at Fenway Park. It was the Rays’ second 4-game sweep overall on the season.
One more note comes from Barry LeBrock of Sun Sports.
With Matt Moore now in the rotation, David Price dealing, James Shields striking out more batters than ever before, and the bullpen featuring as many electric arms as we have ever seen in Tampa Bay, Rays pitching is racking up the K’s and it will be exciting to see if they can demolish the current record like they’re on pass to do.
Topkin also wrote about Sean Rodriguez and the fact that he faces being sent down to the minor leagues when Luke Scott comes back from the DL after his struggles this season. Rodriguez has managed just a .214/.276/.327 line this season. When asked by Topkin to describe his season so far, Rodriguez had this to say.
"“I can do it in one word: poor. It would be easy to sit here and give excuses, but that’s not what I want to do. So I’ll go with poor. Very poor, actually.”"
Rodriguez has the right mindset and he will be back on September 1st to get a chance to turn his season around. Rodriguez’s demotion will come one year after a similar situation with Reid Brignac, something that will have to be discussed in a later article.
William Montgomery of RecordOnline.com wrote an interesting article about Rays prospect Justin O’Conner, now playing at Short Season-A Hudson Valley. Montgomery discusses O’Conner’s struggles thus far in his pro career, including something we didn’t no so much about: that O’Conner has not caught this season because he suffered a hip injury in spring training. Montgomery’s article is definitely worth the read.
The great folks at HighHeatStats.com tweeted something yesterday that deserves some discussion.
LaMar was the Rays’ first general manager and thus far, their last- Andrew Friedman is an Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and acts as GM in that role but is not actually their GM on paper. LaMar made the mistakes of compromising the future to acquire over-priced veterans thinking that the team would contend quickly, which we know did not happen. However, the draft picks that LaMar made towards the end of his tenure, like Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Delmon Young (traded for Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett), Jeff Niemann, and Wade Davis helped shape the Rays into a contender after Friedman assumed the Rays. Was LaMar a great GM? Absolutely not. But his shift towards the future in the later years did help the Rays in the long-term. Rays fans have to at least respect him for that.