You have to like Rocco Baldelli's take on the lackluster effort Saturday night. His words were evidence of a team focus on accountability. Who knows what that debacle was about; perhaps after two draining games, one a crushing loss and the other a thrilling victory, the young team simply lost focus. For three other games, though, the Rays played the Twins with intensity, never looking as overmatched as they have in the Metrodome recently. Today's scrappy ninth inning against Joe Nathan showed impressive spirit.
The bullpen was to the Rays this past week as Don Imus was to the rest of the country: a irritating, complex topic that would not go away. Mark Lancaster provided a nice summary in today's Tribune. I agree with his take on Lidge versus Hermanson: if you're going to gamble on a fading closer, you may as well go with the one who can be bought, rather than traded for. Of course, Lidge is a far superior pitcher to Hermanson right now, but not worth the sacrifice when Al Reyes is getting outs. Hermanson would be Moneyball- style low-risk acquisition, like Reyes. Why not?
I enjoyed Patrick Kennedy's take on the same topic at D-Rays Bay.
Kennedy also mentions, by way of Marc Topkin, the Devil Rays' improved television ratings so far this season. We haven't yet discussed Sternberg and Matt Silverman's marketing efforts, focused as we've been on the roster. The ratings increase is evidence that some of the new ideas are taking hold. Between expanding to the Orlando market and making the Trop a more pleasant place to watch games, the team's PR face lift is another interesting topic. When Silverman and Friedman went door-to-door two winters ago, you knew they were not only committed, but different. Plans to make the Rays more economically feasible in Florida will only help them field a competitive team.