2011 Tampa Bay Rays season
|2011 Tampa Bay Rays|
|A.L. Wild Card winners|
|Major League affiliations|
|General manager(s)||Andrew Friedman (de facto)|
(Dewayne Staats, Brian Anderson)
Tampa Bay Rays Radio Network, Andy Freed, Dave Wills (English)|
Genesis 680 (Spanish)
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The Tampa Bay Rays 2011 season was the team's 14th season of baseball. Despite starting the season 0-6 and trailing the Boston Red Sox by 9 games as late in the season as September 1, the Rays captured the AL Wild Card and made consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history. However, they lost to the Texas Rangers in four games in the Division Series, the second year in a row they lost to Texas in the first round of the playoffs.
The Rays declined the options of reliever Dan Wheeler and infielder Willy Aybar, and added Elliot Johnson to the 40-man roster on November 3, 2010. Becoming a free agent, Wheeler stated that he was open to re-sign with the Rays, saying the two sides talked about "keeping the lines of communication open." Aybar is eligible for arbitration, and therefore remains under the team's control.
Seven of the Rays' nine free agents were offered arbitration on November 23, 2010. Those players were left fielder Carl Crawford, utility player Brad Hawpe, and relievers Grant Balfour, Rafael Soriano, Randy Choate, Chad Qualls, and Joaquín Benoit. All seven players declined arbitration. First baseman Carlos Peña and reliever Dan Wheeler were the two players not offered arbitration.
On December 3, 2010, the Rays tendered first baseman Dan Johnson, while infielder Willy Aybar, catcher Dioner Navarro, and relievers Lance Cormier and J. P. Howell were nontendered. Howell, who missed the entire 2010 season with a shoulder injury and will reportedly miss the beginning of April in 2011, was expected to re-sign with the team, and did so on December 14.
The Rays lost first baseman Carlos Peña when he signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Cubs on December 8, 2010.
Left Fielder Carl Crawford, who had played in the Rays organization his entire career since being drafted in 1999, signed with the Boston Red Sox on December 9, 2010. Crawford had been considered one of the top free agents during the offseason, and agreed to a 7-year $142 million deal with Boston, making him the second-highest paid outfielder and the 10th-highest paid player overall in baseball history.
Relief pitcher Randy Choate signed a two-year contract with the Florida Marlins on December 15, 2010. A day later, the Rays signed former Washington Nationals reliever Joel Peralta to a one-year, $600,000 deal.
Shortstop Jason Bartlett was reported to have been traded to the San Diego Padres for two minor league relievers on December 8, 2010, but the trade was not actually completed until December 17. When the transaction was finally made, it was learned that the Rays would give up Bartlett and a player to be named later in exchange for three relievers and one infielder.
Relief pitcher Dan Wheeler departed when he signed a one-year contract with the Boston Red sox.
On January 8, 2011, the Rays completed a trade with the Chicago Cubs, sending starting pitcher Matt Garza, outfielder Fernando Perez, and minor league pitcher Zach Rosscup in exchange for five minor league prospects.
The Rays added to their bullpen on January 15, with the signing of Kyle Farnsworth. The contract was worth $3.25 million for one year, with a club option for 2012.
On January 21, it was reported that the Rays had agreed to terms with veteran outfielders/designated hitters Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. Both contracts were for one year, with Damon signing for $5.25 million, while Ramirez's deal was worth only $2 million.
Third baseman Evan Longoria was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 3 for a strained left oblique. Manager Joe Maddon said he expected him to be out for three weeks. Felipe López was called up to replace him on the roster. RHP Mike Ekstrom was designated for assignment to make room for López on the 40-man roster.
Prior to their game on April 8, it was announced that Manny Ramirez was retiring. Ramirez, who appeared in five games with the Rays, had one hit in 17 at-bats. His decision to go into retirement was related to a positive test for a banned substance. Had he not retired, he would have faced a 100-game suspension.
The Rays started the season 0–6, their worst start in franchise history, but finished the month of April with a record of 15–12, 1½ games behind the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East. The Rays became the first team in league history to start the season 0–6 and finish April with a winning record.
For his actions during a May 4 game, center fielder B. J. Upton was suspended for two games and fined $1,500. Upton was ejected during that game for arguing with home plate umpire Chad Fairchild over a called strikeout. After being tossed from the game, Upton began yelling at the umpire, throwing his batting helmet and batting gloves to the ground, and had to be restrained by bench coach Dave Martinez and third base coach Tom Foley. Upton appealed the suspension when it was announced on May 7. He would end up serving the two-game suspension, which began on May 12.
Starting pitcher Jeff Niemann was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 6. Outfielder Brandon Guyer was called up to take the open roster spot. In his first major-league at-bat, Guyer hit a home run, becoming the second player in Rays history to hit a home run in his first career at-bat. Guyer was optioned back to Durham on May 8 when the Rays recalled relief pitcher Rob Delaney.
First baseman Dan Johnson was designated for assignment by the Rays on May 20, and relief pitcher Rob Delaney was optioned to Triple-A Durham. Johnson had a .115 batting average with one home run and three RBIs in 25 games. He cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Durham on May 24. Taking one of the open spots on the roster was relief pitcher J. P. Howell, who returned to the team more than a full year after undergoing shoulder surgery. Outfielder Justin Ruggiano was also called up.
Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson was named the American League Rookie of the Month as well as Pitcher of the Month. Hellickson complied a 4–1 record with a 1.36 ERA. He surrendered only five earned runs in 33 innings pitched, and struck out 23 batters. He limited opponents to a .168 batting average.
The Rays went 14–13 in May, improving to 29–25 overall, 1½ games behind first place in the division.
At the end of the month, the Rays were 45–36, having gone 16–11 in June. They were third in the division, four games behind the lead.
Starting pitchers David Price and James Shields, as well as outfielder Matt Joyce, were all named to the American League All-Star team on July 3. Infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist was one of the five players in the running for the Final Vote, but did not win. Joyce would be the only player to participate in the All-Star Game, as Price was suffering from turf toe, and Shields was ineligible to pitch after starting two days before the All-Star Game.
On July 17, in a nationally televised game, the Rays hosted the Boston Red Sox in a 16-inning game that lasted 5 hours and 42 minutes, ending at 1:35 a.m. EDT. It was the longest game in the history of the franchise in terms of time played, and matched the longest game by number of innings. It was also the latest a game ended in franchise history. The Rays became the first team since 1919 to have only three base hits in a game lasting 16 or more innings. The Rays lost 1–0. Following the game, catcher José Lobatón was placed on the disabled list. Robinson Chirinos took his spot on the roster. Manager Joe Maddon was ejected in the 11th inning for arguing an earlier check swing call during a pitching change and bench coach Dave Martinez was tossed later in the inning for unsportsmanlike conduct.
On July 18, relief pitcher Adam Russell was designated for assignment, while relief pitcher Juan Cruz was placed on the disabled list with a groin injury. Relievers Alex Cobb and Alex Torres were recalled from the minors.
The Rays ended July with an 11–15 record, falling to 56–51 overall. They were still third place in the division, but dropped to 10½ games behind the lead.
On August 10, it was announced that starting pitcher Alex Cobb would have to undergo surgery to remove a blockage in his ribs, which would cause him to miss the remainder of the season.
The Rays went 18–10 in August, going into the final month of the season in third place in the division and nine games behind for the lead.
September and Game 162
Trailing the Boston Red Sox in the American League Wild Card by nine games as late as September 3. Historically, no team had qualified for the postseason after facing a deficit that large in the month of September. The Rays defeated the Red Sox in six out of seven games the teams played against each other in September, pulling into a tie for the Wild Card on September 26, with only two games remaining in the regular season. On September 28, the Rays won the final game against the Yankees in spectacular fashion. Trailing 5–0 after just two innings and 7–0 going into the 8th inning (during which many fans left the stadium), the Rays loaded the bases with no outs. Pinch hitter Sam Fuld then drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in the Rays first run of the game. Sean Rodriguez was then hit by a pitch to score the second run. After a one-out sacrifice fly by B.J. Upton, making the score 7–3, Evan Longoria came to the plate and hit the first pitch he saw over the left field wall, a three-run shot that cut the deficit to 7–6. Then in the bottom of the ninth inning, after the first two Rays batters struck out, pinch hitter Dan Johnson, never known for his hitting abilities and sporting just a .108 average for the season, hit a home run on a 2–2 count to tie the game at 7–7. The game then played for three more innings before the Rays capped their remarkable comeback in the bottom of the 12th, clinching their third ever franchise postseason berth, winning the Wild Card when Evan Longoria again stepped to the plate, and hit a walk-off home run down the left field line which barely cleared the lowest wall in the park, giving the Rays an 8–7 victory.
Game 162 is commemorated in two ways in Tropicana Field. There is 162 Landing a designation in the left field corner where Longoria's playoff-clinching home run landed. The area is located off Left Field Street where Evan Longoria's 12th-inning walk-off homer landed September 28 to beat the Yankees and propel Tampa Bay to the postseason. The entrance to 162 Landing is open to the public and includes a recap of the events here and at Camden Yards from that night, video highlights and interviews, photos and displays. There also is a white seat in the right field corner commemorating where Dan Johnson's two-out, two-strike game-tying homer landed in the bottom of the ninth. Section 140, Seat 10, Row T.
|New York Yankees||97||65||.599||—||52–29||45–36|
|Tampa Bay Rays||91||71||.562||6||47–34||44–37|
|Boston Red Sox||90||72||.556||7||45–36||45–36|
|Toronto Blue Jays||81||81||.500||16||42–39||39–42|
Record vs. opponents
|American League East|
|American League Central|
|American League West|
|Boston Red Sox||12–6|
|Chicago White Sox||4–4|
|Kansas City Royals||5–2|
|Los Angeles Angels||4–4|
|New York Yankees||9–9|
|Toronto Blue Jays||12–6|
|2011 Tampa Bay Rays|
The Rays opened the 2011 season at home against the Baltimore Orioles for the second consecutive season.
|Bold||Rays team member|
|2011 Game Log|
|2011 Postseason Game Log|
Note: G = Games played; AB = At Bats; R = Runs scored; H = Hits; 2B = Doubles; 3B = Triples; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In; BA = Batting Average; OBP= On-Base percentage SB = Stolen Bases
Note: W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned Run Average; G = Games pitched; GS = Games Started; CG= Complete Games; SV = Saves; IP = Innings Pitched; H = Hits allowed; R = Runs allowed; ER = Earned runs allowed; BB = Walks allowed; SO = Strikeouts; K/BB= Strikeout to Walk Ratio
|18||Dane De La Rosa||28||0||0||9.82||7||0||0||0||7.1||10||8||8||1||3||8||2.67|
American League Division Series vs. Texas
Game 1, September 30
| WP: Matt Moore (1–0) LP: C. J. Wilson (0–1)|
TB: Johnny Damon (1), Kelly Shoppach 2 (2)
Game 2, October 1
| WP: Derek Holland (1–0) LP: James Shields (0–1) Sv: Neftalí Feliz (1)|
TB: Matt Joyce (1), Evan Longoria (1)
TEX: Mitch Moreland (1)
Game 3, October 3
| WP: Colby Lewis (1–0) LP: David Price (0–1) Sv: Neftalí Feliz (2)|
TEX: Mike Napoli (1)
TB: Desmond Jennings 2 (2)
Game 4, October 4
| WP: Matt Harrison (1-0) LP: Jeremy Hellickson (0-1) Sv: Neftalí Feliz (3)|
TEX: Ian Kinsler (1), Adrián Beltré 3 (3)
- Marc Topkin (November 3, 2010). "Rays decline options on Wheeler, Aybar; but could keep both". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on November 8, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- Marc Topkin (December 1, 2010). "Reliever Grant Balfour declines arbitration from Tampa Bay Rays, seeks multiyear contract". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
- Marc Topkin (December 2, 2010). "Tampa Bay Rays' J.P. Howell won't be ready for spring". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
- Marc Topkin (December 3, 2010). "Relievers J.P. Howell and Lance Cormier, DH Willy Aybar let go by Tampa Bay Rays, may return". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
- Marc Topkin (December 14, 2010). "Tampa Bay Rays re-sign reliever J.P. Howell for one year, $1.1 million". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- Bill Chastain (December 8, 2010). "Pena heads to Cubs with one-year deal". Raysbaseball.com. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- Ian Browne (December 9, 2010). "Red Sox fire another salvo, add Crawford". Raysbaseball.com. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- Bill Chastain (December 15, 2010). "Former Rays lefty Choate inks with Marlins". Raysbaseball.com. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- Marc Topkin (December 16, 2010). "Rays add reliever Peralta". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- Marc Topkin (December 17, 2010). "Bartlett trade to Padres – finally – official". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- Bill Chastain (December 18, 2010). "Wheeler fondly recalls tenure with Rays". Raysbaseball.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- Bill Chastain (January 8, 2011). "Rays complete big deal with Cubs for Garza". Raysbaseball.com. Archived from the original on January 8, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- Marc Topkin (January 14, 2010). "Tampa Bay Rays lose closer Rafael Soriano to AL East rival New York Yankees". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
- Bill Chastain (January 15, 2011). "Rays finalize one-year deal with Farnsworth". Raysbaseball.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- Marc Topkin (January 21, 2011). "Rays reportedly agree to terms with Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- Marc Topkin (April 3, 2011). "Longoria to the 15-day DL, Lopez added". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
- Tony Fabrizio (April 3, 2011). "Rays notes: Longoria goes on disabled list". Tampa Tribune. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
- Marc Topkin (April 8, 2011). "Manny retires due to "issue" with drug test". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
- Bill Chastain (April 30, 2011). "Shields, Joyce team to top Angels in 10 innings". MLB.com. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
- Marc Topkin (May 3, 2011). "Lopez designated for assignment". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
- Marc Topkin (May 5, 2011). "Former Tampa Bay Ray Felipe Lopez clears waivers, is headed to Durham". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- Rick Stroud (May 7, 2011). "Upton suspended two games, fined $1,500 for outburst vs. Jays". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- Dave Klemin (May 13, 2011). "Upton finishes serving suspension". Raysbaseball.com. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- Marc Topkin (May 6, 2011). "Now official: OF Guyer called up, Niemann on DL". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
- Rick Stroud (May 7, 2011). "Brandon Guyer's homer leads Tampa Bay Rays past Baltimore Orioles 6-2". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on May 8, 2011. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- Rick Stroud (May 8, 2011). "Rays option OF Guyer to Durham, recall P Delaney". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- Topkin, Marc (May 24, 2011). "Former Tampa Bay Ray Dan Johnson clears waivers, heads to Triple-A Durham". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- Chastain, Bill (May 21, 2011). "Howell returns to Rays after two-year absence". MLB.com. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- Marc Topkin (June 2, 2011). "Hellickson named AL Pitcher, Rookie of month". MLB.com. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- Smith, Joe (June 20, 2011). "James Shields' complete game lifts Tampa Bay Rays to 2-1 win over Florida Marlins and series sweep". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
- Topkin, Marc (July 3, 2011). "Shields, Price, Joyce are All-Stars". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
- Smith, Joe; Topkin, Marc (July 15, 2011). "Tampa Bay Rays catcher John Jaso out two weeks with side strain". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- Topkin, Marc (July 8, 2011). "Tampa Bay Rays put pitcher Wade Davis on disabled list". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
- Topkin, Marc (July 18, 2011). "Dustin Pedroia singles in lone run as Boston Red Sox win 16-inning marathon against Tampa Bay Rays 1-0". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- "Close Call Sports: Ejections: Chad Fairchild (3, 4)". Umpireejections.blogspot.com. July 17, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Topkin, Marc (July 18, 2011). "Tampa Bay Rays designate Adam Russell for assignment, among other moves". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- Chiang, Anthony (August 11, 2011). "Cobb set to undergo surgery on injured rib". MLB.com. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- Chastain, Bill (September 27, 2011). "Shields vaults Rays into tie atop Wild Card". MLB.com. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- "Down seven, Rays walk off with AL Wild Card".
- Shields, James, and Bill Chastain. September Nights: Hunting the Beasts of the American League East. Thomaston, Maine: Cadent Pub, 2011.
- Marc Topkin (September 14, 2010). "Rays 2011 schedule: O's for opener". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on September 18, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
- "Baseball-Reference.com: 2011 Tampa Bay Rays Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com". Retrieved October 18, 2011.