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Rays Could Use More Casey Kotchman Magic, Like, Now

I, the biggest skeptic of all Tampa Bay Rays fans, finally surrendered my Critic's Cap and traded it for a Casey Kotchman Wizard's Robe. Though I still think 2011 is a career year for the Rays' first basemen -- and I would wager fine American currency that Kotchman does not repeat his success in 2012 -- I have deliberately elected to ignore this dangling sword of Damocles (the previous two dependent clauses notwithstanding) and simply to root blindly for this fellow Floridian.

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Well, in a stunning and all-too-predictable turn of events, Kotchman has Reid Brignac'd his way through the last two weeks: From August 9th through the 24th, a .200/.268/.280 and a .548 OPS.

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This is a big bummer, especially given how the Rays have suddenly awakened from their summer swoon and begun gaining bits of ground on the division leaders, the Yankees and Red Sox. The playoffs may well be out of reach, but it still would be nice to finish a few games out instead a dozen out.

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(In the grander scheme, a worse record would actually be better because it would move the Rays up a few slots in the 2012 Amateur Draft. But, a few slots should not kill the team, and a better record may actually bolster the abysmal attendance.)

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During Kotchman's suddenly dry spell, the Rays offense has largely come on the shoulders of Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist, and Evan Longoria. Kotchman started the month crazy hot -- causing me to just turn off Analyst Mode -- but is now ice cold.

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Maybe the more I mention it, the sooner he'll get magical again?

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Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.