Results tagged ‘ 2011 ALDS ’
For the second straight year, the Rays have lost the ALDS to the Texas Rangers in front of their home crowd. This time it ended in Game 4, with another frustrating loss last night at the same close score of 4-3. So close yet so far, as they say. The Rays just lacked the timely hitting that would of put them in the ALCS both this year and last year. Very bothering to see one player (Adrian Beltre) hit three crucial solo homers in the game and the Rays again coming back late and just falling short.
It’s amazing how drastically the mood of Rays Republic changed in just a matter of a week. Evan Longoria hits the biggest homerun in franchise history, and a week later the Rays are knocked out of the playoffs. I was very surprised in the outcome of the series. Not only that the red-hot Rays lost in four games, but also the games they won and lost in the series. The Rays struck first, destroying Texas’ ace in Arlington and getting boosts from unexpected sources. Game 2-4 featured the Rays core 3 starters, including two games at the Trop. I don’t think anyone would have guessed they would drop all three. Overall, there has been more disappointing days in the franchise’s past. In a matter of fact, last year’s ALDS was more upsetting considering the regular season the Rays had. With a bad beginning and bad ending, 2011 wasn’t such a bad result at all. It will be remembered throughout baseball for many years, just like the magical 2008 run. It was a season of miracles and shock. They may have not went as far as they wanted, but they definitely did something that they should be proud of. And that’s knocking out Boston and stunning Red Sox nation. With their $39 million payroll, the Rays did something great dismantling their pompous rivals and miraculously making the playoffs. For how they did this with such passion, I must say it was a great season.
Maybe the Rays just weren’t ready to go all the way this year, and the third time wasn’t the charm. But with the incredibly bright future they have, nobody can be surprised to see the Rays playing in October next year. The potential pitching staff they have is unmatchable; with Moore, Price, Archer, Hellickson, and hopefully Shields. Today is not a day for Rays fans to hang their heads in disappointment, but rather to remember all the great moments of 2011.
It’s been a fustrating past few days for Rays Republic. Two close losses, and one that for sure could have been won. Let’s start with yesterday’s pivotal Game 3 at the Trop. Firstly, Price was called to start that game over Jeremy Hellicson. To me that makes no sense. Why would Maddon start David (who has struggled this month) for Game 3 instead of Hellickson, who has more rest and is pitching great recently. Although I have great confidence and respect for Price, I just thought that Jeremy would be a better choice for the game. Despite all this, Price didn’t have such a bad outing yesterday. But that leads to another thing that irked me in yesterday’s heart-breaker. I haven’t discussed much about J.P. Howell on this blog this year, but he is definitely a subject of matter in this ALDS. For some reason, Maddon has a lot of trust in Howell.
Although I think Howell has been a big part of the Rays in the past and have a lot of respect for him, he frankly hasn’t been the same since recovering from his disastrous injury. It’s really too bad it had to happen to such a good guy, but that’s the reality of baseball. Unfortunately, Maddon is not totally aware that J.P. is hurting his team late in games (like last night). With Juan Cruz, Wade Davis, and Niemann in the bullpen; I don’t see the logic in putting him in in that situations. There’s plenty of other scenarios that would fit Howell, like a lead of at least 3 or a large deficit. Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann have done plenty this year to prove that they are deserving of this responsibility. The next frustrating ALDS decision I want to discuss, is the Game 5 starter. Optimistically assuming that the Rays win today, I don’t understand at all why James Shields is starting Game 5. Let me get this straight; James† Shields is the best pitcher by far on the Rays.
On the other hand, rookie Matt Moore has a day more rest than Shields and the Rangers have absolutely no answer hitting him. I’m aware that this means Matt Moore will be the ALCS Game 1 starter, but you got to get there first. At the end of the day, I still like the Rays chances in this series. This is virtually nothing compared to how much the Rays have been through. They came back from 9 games behind in September, I think they can win two games in a row. That’s truly how I think of the Rays being of the verge of elimination; win two games. I’m very confident the Rays can do this after the unforgetable miracles I’ve witnessed this year.
A better script couldn’t be written than the story of the 2011 Tampa Bay Rays. In 2008, it was a story with new “chapters” added as the magical season progressed. The sequel to that story is not 2009 or 2010, it’s this year. This year is the second year that the Rays have shocked the baseball nation. What makes this season so amazing is how the Rays earned a spot in the playoffs after this long and winding road of the regular season. An unforgettable season that will go down in baseball history because of the epic collapse of the Boston Red Sox. A team that was often a preseason favorite to win it all, after their enormous off-season. Just like in 2008, everyone wrote off the Rays in the beginning of the season. It seemed as if many criticts would prove to be right when the Rays were trailing the Wild Card by 9 games in September. The hustling and worry-free Rays then started to slowly climb back into the picture, as the pressured Red Sox were totally collapsing. It would come down to the wire, game 162, to decide who would play in October or if there would be a tiebreaker. The Rays were trailing 7-0 in the 8th, and Boston was up in the 9th with two outs and nobody on. It couldn’t more perfect than what happened on that historic night. The Rays would comeback and be saved by Dan Johnson, just like in 2008, and would walk-off by none other than Tampa Bay’s sports icon Evan Longoria. But it gets even better though. Meanwhile in Baltimore, Paplebon is trying to close out a sure win. With a 3-2 Boston lead, the O’s were down to their last out of the season with the bases empty. There would be no Irish Jig for Paplebon that night, as the Birds would smack three hits in a row for a comeback victory.
The last hit was a catchable line-drive to left field, and guess who dropped the baseball to end their depressing season? Oh yes, it was Carl Crawford. It was just a perfect day of baseball. That night really defined the miraculous season for the Rays into a nutshell. Being down 7-0 in the 8th with their rivals an out a way from winning, the Rays once again showed the world that anything is possible in the game of baseball. Nobody would of ever thought it would all play it like this; but that’s not what the Rays needed to win. The incredible season isn’t over, as they still have another big mission in 2011. The Rays want and can bring a title to Tampa. Doing that would silence the countless critics and fans that have been putting down the Rays’ fans and stadium all year. Winning it all would surely quiet the many saying that relocation is the only option for the franchise. Last night was a step in the right direction, as the Rays stunned the Rangers with a brutal 9-0 Game 1 win in Arlington.
Phenom Matt Moore was called to start the game against the huge Texas bats in just his second major league start. Just called up a few weeks ago, Moore didn’t let anyone down with a stellar outing. Seven scoreless innings in a postseason game at Arlington is absolutely remarkable. With all the momentum, it will be exciting to see what the Rays can do in the postseason. But just like in the regular season, we’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.