Rays couldn't repeat 2008, especially in the bullpen
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun
By Eric Young, ESPNPitching, defense and timely hitting were the keys that got the Tampa Bay Rays to the 2008 World Series. All three have faltered this year.
BASEBALL TONIGHT LINEUP CHANGE
"Baseball Tonight" shifts its spot in the batting order this Sunday, moving up an hour for a 6 p.m. ET start on ESPN.
TOUCH 'EM ALLWho went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page. For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.
|Home Run Tracker|
|Albert Pujols, STL||47||Narveson||Top 7: 1-1, 2 Outs. None on.|
|Albert Pujols, STL||46||Suppan||Top 5: 2-0, 1 Out. 1 on.|
|Adrian Gonzalez, SD||37||Zito||Top 3: 1-2, 1 Out. 1 on.|
|Cody Ross, FLA||21||Misch||Top 1: 1-1, 2 Outs. 2 on.|
|Marlon Byrd, TEX||17||Carmona||Top 1: 2-1, 1 Out. 2 on.|
|Jason Bartlett, TB||14||Chamberlain||Top 1: 2-1, 0 Outs. None on.|
ON DECK: THURSDAY'S BEST MATCHUPSMarlins at Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET The Marlins are trying to hold on to their slim hopes of slipping into the postseason. Sean West is 3-1 in his past five starts, although he was roughed up in a three-inning outing against the Nationals in his most recent start. Bobby Parnell, on the other hand, is 1-4 in his past six appearances. Braves at Astros, 7:10 p.m. ET Much like the Marlins, the Braves are trying to remain relevant in the NL wild-card race. Derek Lowe has beaten the Astros once this season, tossing 6 2/3 innings in a 7-2 win on May 1. A day later, on May 2, Roy Oswalt pitched only one inning because of a long rain delay in his only start of the year against the Braves. Mariners at Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET John Lackey has strung together a pair of strong starts, tossing a complete game against the Royals for a 2-1 win in his most recent start and eight innings in a 9-1 win against the A's in the outing before that. For the rest of Thursday's schedule, click here.
BBTN ON THE AIR: THURSDAY
|12:30 a.m. ET
|Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: Steve Phillips, Eric Young
BBTN MINUTE: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE RAYS?
ESPN researcher Mark Simon digs deep, looking for the night's best baseball numbers.Tonight, he takes a look at Jorge Posada, whose eighth-inning three-run homer against the Rays lifted the Yankees to a 4-2 win on Wednesday:
|Yanks' record this season when Jorge Posada|
|Hits a homer||14-6|
|Has an RBI||30-9|
|Has a hit||47-18|
WEDNESDAY'S BEST AND WORST
|• Albert Pujols continued his destruction of National League pitching. Pujols, who leads the NL in homers, blasted two more in the Cardinals' 5-1 win over the Brewers. Pujols went 3-for-5, with a two-run shot in the fifth and a solo homer in the seventh.||WORST|
|• Fausto Carmona did not get out of the first inning in the Indians' 10-0 loss to the Rangers. Carmona recorded only two outs, but gave up six hits and five runs. Later, Rafael Perez entered and got one out, and gave up six hits and five runs.|
NUMBERS TO KNOWIf the Rangers are going to ride into the playoffs, a large part of the reason will be the recent pitching of Scott Feldman. Feldman, whose ERA has hovered around 4.00 all season, has made four straight starts away from home. He doesn't seem to mind. Feldman shut out the Indians over seven innings of Thursday's 10-0 win, and his numbers of late have looked more like those of a Cy Young pitcher than a middle-of-the-road starter. Lately, even batters who are ahead in the count have struggled against Feldman; they're getting hits less than half as often as before.
|Feldman (Past nine starts)|
|Past 4||Previous 5|
|BA against vs. fastballs||.179||.351|
|BA against vs. righties||.200||.396|
|BA against when behind||.214||.458|
FANTASY: PREVIEW OF THURSDAY'S GAMES
AJ Mass examines the seven games on Thursday's slate.Mass ranks the pitchers scheduled to take the mound and supplies loads of other information that could help shape your roster for Thursday. Daily Notes
HUNT FOR OCTOBERHere's the latest in the wild-card races:
|AL WILD CARD|
|NL WILD CARD|