Rays Notes: Victory, Frustration, Genius, Ryan Roberts

By Robbie Knopf

The Rays had a debilitating day on Thursday. Luckily one of their minor league affiliates gave them some reason to lighten up. On Thursday, the Short Season-A Hudson Valley Renegades defeated the Tri-City ValleyCats 8-3 to win the New York-Penn League championship. The Renegades seized their opportunities, going 5 for 12 with runners in scoring position as they scored 8 runs on just 7 hits, and their bullpen allowed just 1 run in 6.2 innings. Shortstop Leonardo Reginatto went 2 for 3 with an RBI to finish the Renegades’ 6-game postseason run batting .389. The Renegades clinched their first championship since 1999 and had arguably their greatest season in franchise history, and congrats to everyone involved.

On the opposite edge of the emotional spectrum, Danny Knobler wrote about the Rays’ frustration after their nightmarish series in Baltimore. But there were these two great quotes, the first from Matthew Joyce and the second from Joe Maddon.

"“I don’t expect anything less from this team than to keep fighting.”“We learned the lesson last year. No matter how dire it may seem, just keep playing. They’re all must-wins. Then you get to 162, and all of a sudden you’re back in the playoffs again.”"

Speaking of Maddon, Knobler’s CBS Sports colleague Jon Heyman tweeted this about Maddon’s strategy to have five men on the infield in the 13th inning of yesterday’s game.

And Knobler also tweeted some good news about Rays second baseman Ryan Roberts, who left the game yesterday after fouling a ball hard off his leg..

AftE. Roberts was injured, he still had an 0-2 count on him, so the Rays were going to have to send someone up to the plate to finish the at-bat. They bizarrely chose pitcher Chris Archer– although they did that so they could do a double-switch with Archer replacing Burke Badenhop and Elliot Johnson subbing in for Roberts in order to minimize the damage of having the pitcher bat. They had lost the DH after pinch-running for Carlos Pena in the 9th, necessitating Evan Longoria to move from DH to third base. In terms of Archer batting there, the Rays could have gone with say Stephen Vogt and then just take him out of the game, but considering how crazy the game was and that you never knew when it would end, Maddon played it safe with his 4th catcher (he wound up using 3 in the game).