St. Petersburg Times
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Schedule
The Trop
The Trop
Getting to the Trop
Best routes
Parking
Interactive
Rays forum
The art of pitching
Links
Devil Rays' official home site
Talk baseball in our Devil Rays forum



printer version

'About as bad as you can get'

A fifth straight loss, 11-2 to Texas, drops Tampa Bay to lowest point in club history with only call-ups of Triple-A stars to give hope.

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 8, 2002


ST. PETERSBURG -- Are you ready for some football?

The Rays appear to be.

As eager as Tampa Bay's football team is to open its season today, Tampa Bay's baseball players seem eager to end theirs.

The Rays dropped their fifth straight with another uninspired performance Saturday, losing to Texas 11-2 before an announced paid crowd of 12,528, their largest since July 28.

"It's been miserable," outfielder Ben Grieve said. "About as bad as you can get. The worst team, the worst record, getting our you-know-whats kicked. It's almost like it's embarrassing to come to the field every day."

The Rays have been playing like it, staging a nightly clinic in impatient at-bats, careless defense and timid and ineffective pitching.

Halfway through a 10-game homestand, the Rays have been outscored 44-10, batted .229 and posted an 8.40 ERA.

"We've had a bad stretch of games," manager Hal McRae said. "Somehow we've got to get this turned around. We're not pitching well and we're not hitting. That's a deadly combination."

The Rays dropped to 47-94, which put them 47 games below .500 for the first time in franchise history.

It also put them on pace -- though the way they're playing lately, it may be a challenge to maintain even that sorry pace -- to finish the season at 54-108, which would make them the eighth team in American League history, and fourth in more than 60 years, to lose that many.

In addition to becoming the first team since the 1978-79 Blue Jays to lose 100 games in back-to-back seasons, they have this to look forward to:

Outfielder Rocco Baldelli and pitcher Dewon Brazelton are expected to be called up as soon as Triple-A Durham completes play in the Governors' Cup championship, which could be as soon as Thursday and no later than Saturday.

That means at the latest, the prized prospects should be in uniform when the Rays open a homestand against the Yankees on Sept. 17.

Baldelli is likely to play semi-regularly in center and rightfield. Brazelton probably will get two or three starts, perhaps in place of Jorge Sosa.

"I'd like to see them play, but I know not to get excited about what I see," McRae said. "What I'm looking for is potential, rather than if they can play here next year. I don't think that will be a concern of mine. My opinion will be more guarded this time around."

Maybe they can do something to spark the Rays. Unlike last year, when the Rays salvaged a miserable season with a strong finish because of solid performances from several young players, this group is going the other way.

"Last year we got guys who came up from the minor leagues with a lot of energy and they played well and that was the difference in the club," McRae said.

"This year it hasn't been the same infusion; the players haven't had the same impact. ... It was like we caught lightning in a bottle with those guys. We were impressed with everybody that came up."

Last September, there weren't nearly as many nights like Saturday, when the only highlight was a seventh-inning home run by Aubrey Huff, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games, including homers in three straight. Huff, who has a team-high 21 homers, has driven in or scored six of the 10 Tampa Bay runs on the homestand.

"The only guy swinging the bat really well is Huff, and he can't do it by himself," McRae said.

The Rangers don't have any problem swinging the bat. With ex-Ray Herbert Perry's third-inning blast, the Rangers tied a major-league record by homering in their 25th consecutive game, joining the 1941 Yankees, 1994 Tigers and 1998 Braves.

Perry, whom the Rays lost on waivers in April 2000 to make room to activate Vinny Castilla, homered again in the seventh, giving him 21 on the season.

McRae's primary concern is the pitching staff, which has allowed 60 hits and 22 walks in the five games while throwing 785 pitches, an average of 157.

"The bases on balls, the number of pitches the batters see, it's been devastating of late," McRae said. "We're throwing too many pitches."


Back to the Rays
Today's lineup

Rays
  • Johnson grateful to be back
  • 'About as bad as you can get'
  • Rays tales
  • Deal's impact a year or two off

  • Bucs
  • He's still the one
  • OL trades papers for pigskins
  • Sapp's goals, Gruden's thoughts? You pick 'em
  • Bucs side line
  • Chucky's Chalk Talk vs. the Saints
  • High Profile: Michael Pittman
  • It's a woman's world for McCardell
  • Anticipation is brewing for unpredictable Bucs

  • Letters
  • Letters: Don't kick a Buc when he's jobless

  • Lightning
  • 10 Lightning questions entering camp
  • Lightning camp
  • A simple plan: score more

  • Other sports

    College football
  • Unrivaled
  • Late power steers Bulls to win
  • College football notebook
  • Rubin hopes to sustain start
  • NIU's top tailback Hammock sits out
  • C-USA: Nix fights way back in win for S. Miss
  • ACC: Gamecock turnovers lift Cavs
  • Big 12: Colorado scores win without QB
  • Pac-10: FSU transfer Darling has 3 TDs for Wash. St.
  • Around the state
  • Big Ten: Coach wakes Spartans in time
  • Big East: Texas A&M converts on Pitt's PAT woes
  • Irish win despite offense
  • SEC: Bama's bid bobbled: Sooners avoid upset
  • Miami AD would like to play UF regularly
  • Miami quotebook
  • Florida quotebook
  • UM runner seems here to stay
  • At right time, DBs emerge for Miami

  • Tennis
  • Serena wins 3rd straight in sister slam
  • Men's final a flashback for two 'old-timers'
  • Davenport surprising even herself

  • Baseball
  • Wells loses two teeth in attack at diner
  • AL: Mulder stops A's skid at one
  • NL: Giants win on final swing again
  • A-Rod: Let's begin promoting the good

  • Sports Etc.
  • Highs and lows
  • Spurrier's struggles should be short-lived
  • A Heisman primary yields no early leader
  • Winners over U.S. compete for gold
  • Junior still dominant force in Busch series
  • Stewart denies assaulting woman after Bristol race
  • Kenseth survives Richmond
  • Mustangs boys, girlsmake strong showings
  • CCC girls, Largo boys run strong
  • Wharton crashes the party
  • Patriots gain little respect
  • NFL previews
  • Activated receiver Smith will start for Jaguars

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Letters
  • Sampras: role model for fans and Roddick
  • Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
     


     Devil Rays Forums
    From The Wire
  • Players, teams start rush to settle in arbitration
  • AP source: Yankees sign free agent RHP Kuroda
  • AP source: Pineda, Montero in Yanks-Mariners swap
  • Resop, Pirates agree to a one-year deal
  • Zambrano says he's happy with trade to Marlins
  • Report: UK police officer loses Olympics documents
  • Jayhawks send Baylor to first loss of season
  • No. 1 Syracuse at 20-0 after 71-63 win over Pitt
  • Fisher's late 3 pushes Lakers past Mavericks 73-70
  • Westbrook's 3s lead Thunder past Celtics 97-88
  • Djokovic, Williams into Australian Open 2nd round
  • Tebow has earned starting status in 2012
  • Filly Havre de Grace wins Horse of the Year
  • Crosby to meet with specialist as symptoms linger
  • AP Top 25: Syracuse stays on top for 6th week