Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Eyeing the Rays’ rotation
Posted Sep 23, 2008 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Sep 23, 2008 at 01:16 PM
BALTIMORE—The pitching matchups for the Tigers series provide an idea of how the Rays’ Division Series rotation might work.
Scott Kazmir gets the ball in Thursday’s opener, followed by Andy Sonnanstine, Matt Garza and James Shields.
That puts Kazmir in an odd spot when it comes to the playoff rotation. The Rays’ first playoff game will be either Oct. 1 or 2. If it’s the 1st, he could start the opener on five days’ rest, followed by Garza on five days’ rest for Game 2 on Oct. 3 and Shields on six days’ rest in Game 3.
If the Rays’ opening game comes on Oct. 2, however, it probably would make more sense to slot Kazmir into the third spot in the rotation. That way the Rays could have Garza pitch Game 1 on regular rest and Shields do the same in Game 2. Kazmir would have to throw a simulated game sometime midweek, as he would be going on nine days’ rest in Game 3, but that might be the way to go if the Angels end up with the best record and opt for the Oct. 1 start for their series.
Of course, it’s all just conjecture until we know who’s playing who and which team will have the best record and choice of the start date, but at this point it appears very likely that the Rays will win the East and the Angels will take top marks.
* Elsewhere, Paul White of USA Today has a nice piece on Joe Maddon in today’s editions.
* This week’s edition of Phil Rogers’ power rankings in the Chicago Tribune illustrates the knowledge gap that remains when it comes to the Rays and the national media that hasn’t paid much attention to them until the latter stages of the season.
The line “Matt Garza and Edwin Jackson are most likely to be left out of the playoff rotation” says it all. Garza is not going to the bullpen, and I think Andy Sonnanstine if far better suited to relief work than Jackson—remember, Sonnanstine spent much of spring training working in relief.
* And finally, the good folks over at Fire Joe Morgan had some, uh, qualms with the local chapter of the BBWAA’s selection of Jason Bartlett as the Rays’ MVP.