Rays Notes: Hudson Valley Renegades, 2013 Schedule, Desmond Jennings

By Robbie Knopf

Starting off on a positive note, the Rays’ last minor league affiliate still playing, the Short Season-A Hudson Valley Renegades, had arguably their game of the season on Wednesday and could not have picked a better time, entering the game down 1-0 in the best of 3 New York-Penn League Championship Series. The Renegades went down 2-0 and getting perfect gamed through 5 innings, but they tied the game at 2 in the 6th on a Thomas Coyle 2-run single before the Rays’ first round pick in 2012, third baseman Richie Shaffer, gave Hudson Valley the lead with an 8th inning 3-run homer as the Renegades won 5-2. More on the game in our minor league recap for today. Congrats to the Renegades on an unbelievable game, and good luck to them tonight as they hope to win the New York-Penn League championship.

The Rays’ 2013 schedule was released, and there were some interesting developments. The Rays will play each other team in the AL East 19 times each and will play 20 Interleague games which will happen over a wider period of the season since the Astros’ shift from the NL Central to the AL West will necessitate Interleague play for two MLB teams basically every day of the season. The number of Interleague games the Rays will play only increased by 2. The cool thing is that for the first time, the Rays will visit Dodger Stadium for a 3-game set from August 9th to 11th. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg complained to Danny Knobler not about the Interleague but the fact that the Rays play the members of the AL East just so often.

"Sternberg understands that some form of unbalanced schedule is inevitable, and he doesn’t even mind it.“It’s the degree of the imbalance,” he said. “Playing them 14-15 times a year, or 12-15 times, would be fine.“This is so out of kilter.”"

The Rays have always been in the tough spot playing in the AL East, and they hoped that the MLB realignment would give them a little bit of a reprieve from playing their AL East rivals so often. Instead, the Rays’ schedule will be among the most difficult in baseball again, and if they can make the postseason, they will have definitely earned it. First, though, let’s worry about 2012.

Desmond Jennings hoped to play Tuesday but was unavailable thanks to lingering pain in his lower back. The Rays hope he’ll finally be ready to make his first start since September 7th on Thursday in the season finale versus the Orioles. The Rays desperately need a spark in their lineup, and they hope Jennings can be just that.

We’ll close with some tweets from Tim Kurkjian to lighten up the mood a little bit.