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D-Rays back in Business with new faces

by James Russo by Sports Now Magazine


It was a disappointing season in 2006 for Manager Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. As they reached the mark of losing at least 90 games for the 9th straight year. In the offseason, Bud Selig called a fantasy draft to even out all the teams to make them all fair. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays took advantage of this draft and drafted many of the bright, young stars. Some of the names are Scott Kazmir, Matt Cain, and Justin Morneau. I met up with Joe Maddon right after the fantasy draft and talked to him a bit about the draft.

JR: What do you think of Selig calling the fantasy draft? JM: I think it was a bold move, and it evened out all the teams. It gave me a fresh batch of kids to work with.

JR: Do you think that you drafted the right guys to turn this franchise around? JM: Well, I think I did a pretty good job on drafting some of the great players of the future. Let's just hope that these guys will turn this franchsie around

JR: How many games do you think the D-rays will win this year, 80, 85 perhaps? JM: I think that this team has the potential to win about 85 games. The only way we can do that is if the team chemistry is high in the clubhouse, and injuries don't plague us.

Joe Maddon said his team has the caliber to win 85 games, and winning this many games may have them in the middle of the hunt for the wildcard spot. The Devil Rays are tired of losing, and they're back in business for the '07 season. Do you think these guys are the real deal? Tune in for game-by-game updates of this team, press conferences, and more.

Team Goals


Team Salaries




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Kazmir pitches a web gem, D-Rays en route to first win of the season

by James Russo of Sports Now Magazine

Tampa Bay Devil Rays (0-0) at New York Yankees (0-0)

It started off rough for the Devil Rays in the first four innings of the game. They had 0 hits in the first four innings, but in the 5th Jeff Francouer broke Greg Maddux's perfect game with a single. Later in the 5th inning, Brandon Phillips singled home Jeff Francouer on a grounder missed by 2nd Baseman Chase Utley. The Devil Rays tacked on 1 more in the 6th, and 3 in the 8th inning to achieve their first win of the season. Scott Kazmir pitched one heck of a game against 4 time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux. Kazmir pitched a complete game, giving up 7 hits, and striking out 2 batters. Kazmir's counterpart, Maddux, pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowed 8 hits, and 5earned runs. Maddux also plunked Brandon Phillips in the 7th inning. The Devil Rays top hitter of the game was Jeff Francouer going 2 for 4, with a Homerun and 3 RBI's.

I caught up with Jeff Francouer after the game. I asked him about his homerun and the future of the organization.

Jeff: "He (Maddux) gave me a fastball in my wheelhouse, and I knew it was gone right when I hit it. It seems like this organization is going in the right direction, but who knows, this is the first game of the season.

Game Highlights


Brandon Phillips singles a man home off of an infield single


Ryan Zimmerman robs a hard hit grounder

Box Score



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Cain, Duke, Morneau big stars of games 2 and 3 of the series

by James Russo of Sports Now Magazine

Game 2: Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1-0) at New York Yankees (0-1)


Justin Morneau and Matt Cain were huge in this game for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays went to 2-0 on the season with the win against the Yanks. The Yankees had Javier Vazquez on the mound against 20 year old phenom, Matt Cain. Matt Cain pitched a complete game, allowing just one run. His counterpart, Vazquez, pitched 5 1/3 innings allowing 6 runs, and 2 Homeruns. Justin Morneau had a huge game against the Yankees's pitchers. He hit 3 Homeruns total against the Yankees, and racked up 5 RBI's. One of his other teammates, Andy Marte, picked up his first Homerun on the season. I caught up with Justin Morneau after the game, and I asked him about the 3 Homeruns he hit.

"I felt really good this game. Everything went right for me. The pitchers missed their spots, and I hit them out. It was as simple as that. Last game, it was frustrating to even swing the ball. This game, I was swinging the ball fine."

Game Highlights


Morneau smashes one out of the ballpark

Game 3: Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2-0) at New York Yankees (0-2)


Zach Duke pitched a phenomenal game in this contest. He threw a complete game allowing just one run. He also allowed 8 hits. I caught up with Zach Duke after the game and asked him about his performance.

"I thought I was doing quite well out there, I hit all the right spots. That's probably why we're going to Toronto at a 3-0 record, instead of a 2-1. It makes quite a difference on hitting the spots to win a ball game."

I also sat down with Zach once more after the game to ask him about the way this franchise is going.

"I think that this franchise is headed the right way. We have started off at a record of 3-0. We have some great prospects just waiting to get a shot in the Majors. I think that we can go deep into the playoffs this year, or maybe even win the World Series."

Game Highlights


Zach Duke celebrates after his complete game

Next Game: April 8th

Tampa Bay Devil Rays vs Toronto Blue Jays

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