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Rays Molina was historically bad at plate

There were several Rays who had down years offensively, from 3b Evan Longoria to OF Wil Myers.

And then there was C Jose Molina, who had arguably the least productive season of any player in at least the past 100 years.

Seriously. As if the .178 average weren't low enough, no player who went to the plate that often - 225 at-bats - did so little.

His two - TWO - extra-base hits matched the fewest by any player in history. (Molina even had more steals, three.) His four - FOUR - runs scored were the fewest. And his .187 slugging percentage was the lowest in more than 100 years.

 

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Plenty of ex-Rays in playoffs

The Rays didn't make the playoffs this year, but there will be ex-Rays scattered throughout the postseason, which starts Tuesday night:

ROYALS

RHP Wade Davis
INF Jayson Nix+
RHP James Shields
Pitching coach Dave Eiland

A'S
RHP Jesse Chavez+
OF Sam Fuld
OF Jonny Gomes
RHP Jason Hammel
C/DH John Jaso*
LHP Scott Kazmir
1B/C Stephen Vogt
Coach Ariel Prieto

ANGELS

OF Josh Hamilton+
INF Shawn O'Malley
Interim hitting coach Paul Sorrento
Pitching coach Mike Butcher#

ORIOLES

INF Kelly Johnson
RHP Evan Meek+
OF Delmon Young

TIGERS

LHP Kyle Lobstein+
LHP David Price

PIRATES

Pitching coach Ray Searage#

GIANTS

None

CARDINALS
LHP Randy Choate

DODGERS
OF Carl Crawford
RHP Roberto Hernandez
LHP J.P. Howell
RHP Jamey Wright

NATIONALS
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Rafael Soriano

+ Was in Rays system, didn't play in majors
* Injured
# coached with Rays

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Photos: Rays clean out their lockers

Matt Moore with his goldendoogle, Griffin.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Matt Moore with his goldendoogle, Griffin.

ST. PETERSBURG - The Rays packed up their clubhouse today following a disappointing 2014 season.

"It was a tough year for the team," OF Wil Myers said before leaving Tropicana Field. "Just one of those years that a lot of weird things happened. I think everybody’s exited for it to be over but looking forward to next year."

Here are some photos from Times photojournalist Dirk Shadd.

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For starters, Rays at Indians to end it

Alex Cobb will be on the mound, pitching primarily just to log innings since he missed six weeks on the DL.

AP photo

Alex Cobb will be on the mound, pitching primarily just to log innings since he missed six weeks on the DL.

DEVELOPING: Rays manager Joe Maddon retiterated that he hopes to stay with the Rays and said, even though he turns 61 in February, he thinks he could manage another 10 years, until he is in his 70s and plans to step up a workout plan this off-season.

Maddon also said there was nothing to read into starting veteran C Jose Molina in today's farewell. Though Molina is signed for next season at $2.75-million, his poor production this season has led to speculation he may be done as a Ray. Maddon said it was simply a matter of splitting the workload with Ryan Hanigan, who has been playing with a sore toe.

Here is the Indians lineup:
Shuck LF,
Ramirez SS,
Chisenhall 3B,
Santana DH,
Murphy RF,
Aguilar 1B,
Walters 2B,
Perez C,
Holt CF
House p

 

DEVELOPING:  The Rays are set to wrap up their disappointing season this afternoon against the Indians.

RHP Alex Cobb will be on the mound, pitching primarily just to log innings since he missed six weeks on the DL. After 1 2/3, he will have the 162 necessary to qualify for the final AL ERA leaderboard; his 2.75 would rank sixth. …

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For starters, Rays at Indians, in the penultimate game

UPDATE, 5:22: Rays manager Joe Maddon said he does not expect any changes in the coaching staff for next season and praised the work of hitting coach Derek Shelton, who is oft criticized by fans. ... The Indians switched pitchers for Sunday, with LHP TJ House now starting instead of RHP Danny Salazar.  ... Rays C Curt Casali said he feels much better since sustaining a concussion on Tuesday but won't play tonight or Sunday.

Indians lineup:

Bourn cf
Ramirez ss
Brantley lf
Santana 1b
Gomes c
Murphy rf
Giambi dh
Chisenhall 3b
Aviles 2b
Carrasco p

 

DEVELOPING: The Rays play the second-to-last game of their disappointing season tonight at 6 against the Indians. Nick Franklin gets another start at shortstop, with Ben Zobrist in centerfield. And Evan Longoria plays in his 161st game of the season.

Here is the Rays lineup for tonight's game against the Indians:
Zobrist cf
DeJesus dh
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Myers rf
Franklin ss
Joyce lf
Hanigan c
Forsythe 2b
Colome p

 

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For starters, Rays at Indians, with something to play for

UPDATE, 6:12: Maddon said they want to see Franklin at SS, maybe for a couple times this weekend, to get a better sense of his range and arm there, as it gives them more depth and options. ... RHP  Nathan Karns will be in the bullpen this weekend. ..  Though stopping short of saying he is shutdown, Maddon sounded like he would be unlikely to use RHP Brad Boxberger.

Indiians lineup:
Bourn cf
Ramirez ss
Brantley lf
Santana 1b
Kipnis dh
Gomes c
Murphy rf
Chisenhall 3b
Aviles 2b
Kluber p

UPDATE, 3:50: The Rays will take a look at Nick Franklin at SS tonight.

Rays lineup:

Zobrist 2b,
DeJesus DH,
Longoria 3b,
Loney 1b,
Franklin SS,
Joyce rf,
Guyer lf,
Kiermaier cf,
Hanigan c,
Archer p

DEVELOPING: The Rays are in Cleveland tonight, taking the field in a game that actually matters - for the Indians.

Albeit quite slim, the Indians playoff hopes remain alive, though a loss to the Rays tonight - or at anytime this weekend - would end their chances. As would any win by the A's, or two wins by the Mariners. …

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For starters, Rays at Red Sox, dodging rain in Fenway farewell

The Rays have RHP Jeremy Hellickson on the mound in what could be his final performance before a potential off-season trade.

AP photo

The Rays have RHP Jeremy Hellickson on the mound in what could be his final performance before a potential off-season trade.

 

UPDATE, 6:17: The weather forecast has improved to where there now may be no rain.

UPDATE, 6:10: The MRI on SS Yunel Escobar's left knee and exam by Dr.  Koco Eaton didn't show any tears or structural damage, just a bruise similar to what sidelined CF Desmond Jennings, manager Joe Maddon said. Escobar, injured Tuesday, won't play again this season. ... C Curt Casali said he felt better today, the day after sustaining a concussion when hit by a foul tip, but still had "kind of a groggy feeling.'' ... Maddon said they will go with just Cs Ryan Hanigan and Jose Molina for the remaining four games, even though neither is 100 percent, as they have no other catchers on the 40-man roster to call up. INF Sean Rodriguez is the third catcher though Maddon seems reluctant to use him in anything but an emergency situation.

Red Sox lineup, with Ortiz and Napoli both apparently shut down:
Betts 2b
Bogaerts ss
Nava rf
Cespedes dh
Craig 1b
Cecchini 3b
Castillo cf
Brentz lf
Vazquez c
Webster p
UPDATE, 3:35: The Rays have Ryan Hanigan back behind the plate and Ben Zobrist at SS tonight.

 

Rays lineup: …

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Casali's season ends with concussion

Rookie C Curt Casali's season ended Wednesday when he sustained a concussion after being struck in the mask twice by foul balls off the bat of OF Rusney Castillo in the fourth inning.

"That  got him pretty good,'' manager Joe Maddon said. "The first one hit him and we were concerned but he looked like he was okay. Te second one definitely took him to the canvas. He was visibly not doing too well.''

Casali made a quick rise to the majors, given that in July 2013 he was playing at Class A Charlotte and he joined the team in July of this season. He hit .167 in 30 games, but showed promise at and behind the plate.

Casali was only in the lineup Wednesday because Ryan Hanigan was scratched due to a sore right big toe. Jose Molina, who hasn't been playing much after some knee issues, took over for Casali on Wednesday.

Maddon expressed some concern over the lack of depth with having only the two catchers available, and both somewhat limited. The Rays don't have any other catchers on the 40-man roster. Their catchers at Triple-A to end the season were Ali Solis, who was up briefly during the year, and Luke Maile, who was promoted.

 

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For starters, Rays at Red Sox, in Odorizzi's season finale

After a rough start, Jake Odorizzi made a series of adjustments and ended up the Rays top winner with an 11-12 record and 3.98 ERA.

Getty Images

After a rough start, Jake Odorizzi made a series of adjustments and ended up the Rays top winner with an 11-12 record and 3.98 ERA.

UPDATE, 6:21: Odorizzi needs four strikeouts to tie Matt Moore's team rookie record of 175.

UPDATE, 5:50: Escobar's season is over, as he was sent back to St. Petersburg, will have an MRI and see Dr. Koco Eaton on Thursday. The Rays don't expect there to be anything wrong that will require surgery or imapct him for next season. .... Maddon said he already was planning to start Forsythe at SS before Escobar got hurt, looking for a way to get the extra right-handed hitters at-bats since they aren't scheduled to face any lefties. ...  Zobrist and possibly Nick Franklin will get time at SS as well. ... Hanigan was scratched from the lineup due to a sore right big toe; he was hit by a Brad Boxberger pitch last night; Casali is in and the order changed slightly.

New Rays lineup:
Zobrist dh
Kiermaier cf
Longoria 3b
Myers rf
Franklin 2b
Forsythe ss
Guyer lf
Rodriguez 1b
Casali c
Odorizzi p

Red Sox lineup:
Betts 2b
Bogaerts ss
Nava rf
Cespedes dh
Craig 1b
Cecchini 3b
Castillo cf
Brentz lf
Vazquez c
Ranaudo p

UPDATE, 3:36: Forsythe started nine games at SS for the Padres last season, and two earlier in his career. Franklin had made seven starts at SS for the Mariners, five this year. …

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Escobar's season likely over due to knee sprain

    A left knee sprain on an awkward play to avoid a collision at home plate has likely ended SS Yunel Escobar's season.

   The Rays don't believe the injury is serious, but will send Escobar for an MRI soon and seem likely to shut him down regardless.

 "You probably won't see him the rest of the season, honestly,'' manager Joe Maddon.  "I think it's severe enough that even during the (bulk of) regular season he would not play the rest of this week.''

 Escobar was trying to score from second on a single. When the throw beat himn to the play, he tried to maneuver around catcher Christian Vazquez, based on rule implemented this season regarding collisions, and ended up injuring his knee.

    "Very awkward maneuver,'' Maddon said. " The rule that's supposed to be in place to protect the catcher that can impact negatively the baserunner - poom, that's what happened. ... I've told our guys before if the catcher's in the way, just hit him. That's the way the rule is designed. ... I don't want to see our baserunners getting hurt because of a rule change that I really don't agree with.''

 

 

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For starters, Rays at Red Sox

Alex Cobb will be on the mound for the Rays tonight, trying to continue an impressive second half streak in which he has the lowest ERA in the majors since the All-Star break - 1.51.

EVE EDELHEIT | Times

Alex Cobb will be on the mound for the Rays tonight, trying to continue an impressive second half streak in which he has the lowest ERA in the majors since the All-Star break - 1.51.

UPDATE, 6:11: Maddon said Kiermaier was just under the weather - "I advised chicken soup" - and may be available later if needed. Zobrist was going to be off. ... The Red Sox scratched Bogaerts and Middlebrooks from their lineup, which now looks like this:
Betts 2b
Weeks ss
Ortiz dh
Cespedes lf
Nava 1b
Castillo cf
Cecchini 3b
Vazquez c
Bradley rf
Buchholz p

 

UPDATE, 4:59: The Rays have Ben Zobrist in CF tonight as Kevin Kiermaier is ill.

Rays lineup:
Zobrist cf
DeJesus dh
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Myers rf
Franklin 2b
Joyce lf
Escobar ss
Hanigan c
Cobb p

Red Sox lineup, without Napoli again, and with Castillo's Fenway debut:
Betts 2b
Bogaerts ss
Ortiz dh
Cespedes lf
Nava 1b
Castillo cf
Middlebrooks 3b
Vazquez c
Bradley rf
Buchholz p

DEVELOPING: The Rays open their final roadtrip - and six games - of the season tonight when they take on the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

A series that at the start of the season looked to be significant turns out to be anything but, as the Red Sox have already locked up finishing last in the AL East, and the Rays are currently in fourth place and are assured of their first non-winning record since 2007. …

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For starters, Rays vs. White Sox, in the home finale

Nathan Karns, impressive in his Rays debut, makes his second and last start today.

AP photo

Nathan Karns, impressive in his Rays debut, makes his second and last start today.

UPDATE, 12:20: Sean Rodriguez has rejoined the team following the death of his grandmother and is in the lineup at DH. ... OF Desmond Jennings said the sore left knee that has sidelined him for the final month of the season is "feeling better" but not enough yet to play so he won't be going on the final road trip to Boston and Cleveland.

Rays lineup:
Zobrist cf
Guyer lf
Longoria 3b
Myers rf
Forsythe 2b
Escobar ss
Loney 1b
Rodriguez dh
Casali c
Karns p

White Sox lineup, with no Paul Konerko:
Ramirez ss
Sanchez 2b
Abreu dh
Garcia rf
Viciedo lf
Danks cf
Semien 3b
Wilkins 1b
Phegley c
Danks p

DEVELOPING: The Rays wrap up the home portion of their schedule today with a 1:40 game against the White Sox.

The Rays' lack of success at home - only 36-44 - has been a key art of their overall failure this season, one which manager Joe Maddon says is mystifying.

RHP Nathan Karns, impressive in his Rays debut, makes his second and last start today. The White Sox are starting LHP John Danks.

RHP Brad Boxberger is expected back in the Rays bullpen after missing the last two games following the Thursday birth of his daughter, Ava. …

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For starters, Rays vs. White Sox, trying to salvage something

UPDATE, 5:12: Maddon said waking up today officially eliminated reinforced how much he doesn't like it, and has already started thinking about what they can do differently next year. ... RHP Brad Boxberger (baby) is expected back Sunday, INF/OF Sean Rodriguez (whose grandmother died)  has not told the team when he will be back.

Rays lineup:
Zobrist lf
DeJesus dh
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Franklin 2b
Joyce rf
Escobar ss
Kiermaier cf
Hanigan c
Archer p

DEVELOPING:  After Friday's loss made their elimination from the playoff race official, the Rays take the field tonight against the White Sox needing to win the first of their final eight games to extend their streak of winning seasons to seven.

And at 74-80, they have to win seven of the remaining eight to meet manager Joe Maddon's goal of finishing .500, becoming the first team to do after being at least 18 games under .500 during a season.

RHP Chris Archer will be on the mound tonight, taking on White Sox RHP Hector Noesi.

1B Paul Konerko, winding down his career, is not in the Chicago lineup:

Eaton cf
Ramirez ss
Abreu 1b
Gillaspie 3b
Garcia rf
Viciedo lf
Wilkins dh
Flowers c
Sanchez 2b
Noesi p

Rays lineup when available.

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For starters, Rays vs. White Sox

UPDATE, 5:08: With a loss today or an Oakland win, the Rays would be eliminated from the Wild Card race. They've only played 13 games since 2007 that didn't factor into the playoff picture.

Today's lineups:

Rays

Zobrist LF

Guyer DH

Longoria 3B

Myers RF

Forsythe 2B

Escobar SS

Loney 1B

Molina C

Kiermaier CF

Hellickson RHP

 

White Sox

Eaton CF

Ramirez SS

Abreu DH

Gillaspie 3B

Garcia RF

Konerko 1B

Taylor LF
Phegley C

Semien 2B

Quintana LHP

 

 

DEVELOPING: The Rays open their final home series of the season today with the first of a three-game set against the White Sox.

The Rays will start RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-3, 3.63), who is still looking for his first home win of the season. And with his status up in the air for next year, it could be his last start as a Ray at Tropicana Field.

Chicago will start LHP Jose Quintana (8-10, 3.30).

Lineups and more when available.

 

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Zobrist wins MVP award now named for Zimmer

The Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association announced the winners of its annual awards today, and that its MVP award had been named the Don Zimmer MVP award, in honor of the team's former senior advisor.

INF/OF Ben Zobrist was chosen the winner for the second time, also in 2009.

Zobrist finished first in the voting with 22 points, just ahead of LHP Jake McGee (20) and 3B  Evan Longoria (19).

RHP Jake Odorizzi was named the outstanding rookie, finishing ahead of OF Kevin Kiermaier, 41-31.

Longoria was named winner of the Paul C. Smith Champion Award, which is presented to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field.

Longoria became the third player to win all three of the chapter awards, joining Carl Crawford and James Shields.

Zimmer's widow, Soot, attended the afternoon banquet and presented the award to Zobrist.

 

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