Saturday, August 15, 2009

Location, location, location

It doesn't matter if Pat Burrell gets another home run or not, or if B.J. Upton and Dioner Navarro continue to slump or the Rays offense fails to get hits with runners in scoring position.

There will be no October baseball beyond the regular season finale in St. Pete if the Rays continue to get poor starting pitching.

It's that simple.

James Shields retired a career-best 16 straight during one point Friday night. Problem was, he put the Rays in a 5-0 hole before settling down. With Roy Halladay pitching for the Blue Jays, that means one thing: Ball game.

Scott Kazmir is pitching Saturday night, and Matt Garza pitches Sunday. That should favor the Rays, but both were rocked in their previous starts and both have been so inconsistent that you never know what to expect.

The current rotation is one-game above .500 - 35-34, and that's with Jeff Niemann's 10-5 record.

I've written this plenty of times this season: Things can't be good if Niemann is the best pitcherion the rotation. Nothing against Big Jeff and everything against the Big Three.

Shields is 7-9 with one win since June 20.

Kaz is 6-7.

Garza is 7-8.

David Price is 5-5, looking great one start and like a rookie the next.

The Rays need consistent starts out of their starters if they plan to make a run at another postseason. At this point of the season, it is kind of much to ask that from a rotation that has been consistent in its inconsistency.

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