Friday, March 7, 2014
Did not get a chance to get to Joe Maddon's post-game press conference, but Maddon is big on twitter. He sent the following after Wednesday's 4-0 win over the Red Sox:
"3 3-hitters in a row. That's outrageous. The possibility of a really good run is there with pitching like that. We're not going to give up."
It will be quite a comeback for the Rays to reach the playoffs. They are currently eight games behind Boston in the Wild Card race. There are 40 games to go.
What is impressive about Tampa Bay is that the Rays cut payroll this year, from $73-million to $42-million.
But the Rays have a track record of drafting well and picking up players in a timely way.
Some of the Tampa Bay standouts in this series were outfielders Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton, third baseman Evan Longoria, and pitchers James Shields, Jeff Niemann and Davis Price. All were drafted by the Rays.
Second baseman Ben Zobrist was obtained as a minor leaguer. Casey Kotchman was a minor league free agent. And Johnny Damon is one of their few free agents (and the highest-paid Rays player this year at $5.25-million).
No doubt, the Rays and their (few) followers enjoy the underdog status, and they must be smiling at the production of Carl Crawford (.249 avg, .285 on-base percentage), who left the Rays for a 7-year, $142-million contract with Boston.
Now it's on to Kansas City, to face the Royals and their $38-million payroll.
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
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