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CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Weekend Buzz: Compared to Yanks, 'immature' Rays whip-smart

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The Weekend Buzz while you were wondering how California gets divvied up in the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Maria Shriver split. ...

1. Rays shinin' brightly: As Yankees manager Joe Girardi contemplates his next move -- maybe asking Jorge Posada to pick up team jock straps? -- Joe Maddon continues to solidify his credentials as one of the funkiest, coolest and smartest managers in the game.

Complimenting skipper Joe Maddon, Rays GM Andrew Friedman calls him "the most immature 57-year-old I've ever met." (Getty Images)  
Complimenting skipper Joe Maddon, Rays GM Andrew Friedman calls him "the most immature 57-year-old I've ever met." (Getty Images)  
Even after losing two of three to Baltimore, Tampa Bay's 22-9 record since April 11 is the majors' best. The rebuilt Rays are first in the AL East despite Evan Longoria missing five weeks (oblique strain), bidding farewell to Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena and losing seven of their top eight relievers from 2010.

As Yankees general manager Brian Cashman prepares for his next mid-game TV interview -- neither the time nor the place to bang on a man who helped you win four World Series rings -- Tampa Bay's classy GM Andrew Friedman plows ahead with planning for the draft, and the Rays' next haul that will continue to fuel this whip-smart organization.

The Rays are rolling, and not even the disruptive departure of Manny Ramirez knocked the wind out of them. (They weren't so smart there, were they?) Compare that to the mishandled mess with Posada. Had Girardi and Cashman not so badly botched things, Posada's apology Sunday could have been the end of it. Instead, the Yankees need a week's worth of hand sanitizer.

There are miles to go, but the difference this weekend between an organization with fresh legs and creative genius vs. one with old money and tired blue bloods was stark. The Yankees signed former Ray Rafael Soriano this winter, yet Tampa Bay still ranked third in the AL with a 2.92 bullpen ERA on Sunday.

Sure, with Kyle Farnsworth as closer, these late-inning outs might not last the season. But this side of Cleveland, nobody is off to a more surprising and impressive start in the AL, and the Rays are primed to dip back into the talent pool: Armed with a couple of extra compensatory picks for losing Crawford and Soriano to free agency, the Rays own 13 of the first 121 picks in next month's draft.

For an organization boasting a home-grown rotation as good as the Rays, that's lethal. In David Price, Wade Davis, James Shields, Jeff Niemann and Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa starters lead the majors with 20 starts of seven or more innings. That's one key way to keep any bullpen -- particularly a rebuilt one like this -- sharp: Don't overwork it.

Hitting every right note is Maddon, the subject of an entertaining interview segment during Tampa Bay's telecast Sunday.

"Eclectic," Longoria said.

"Most immature 57-year-old I've ever met," Friedman teased.

Speaking of which. ...

2. Posada pouts: Girardi mishandled things. (A veteran like Posada deserves advance warning of being dumped to ninth in the order.) Cashman was brazenly wrong. (Don't do interviews mid-game, especially to throw your own players under the bus.) And Posada took the low road. But just as wrong as he was Saturday, he bounced back strongly, taking responsibility and saying, "I had a bad day." Yes, he did. But we're all allowed those every now and again. Now it's time to move on -- which won't be quite as simple because the Yankees are the reason this blew up.

3. Tiger tales: How do you win seven in a row and 10 of 11? Led by Justin Verlander, Detroit starters over their past 11 games are 9-1 with a 1.67 ERA and a .205 opponents' batting average.

4. Cincinnati takes first: After a sweep of St. Louis to seize first place in the NL Central, Joey Votto's .471 on-base percentage now stands as the third highest by any Cincinnati hitter through 40 games since 1946, according to STATS LLC. In the meantime, according to our favorite tweeter, Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP): "QUEEN CITY, WHERE YA'LL BROOMS AT?"

5. Civil Rights Weekend in Atlanta: We can never get enough Hank Aaron, and Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947 remains one of the best moments not just in the history of the game, but the history of the United States. Very cool that this weekend included a roundtable discussion on Friday at Ebenezer Baptist Church, across the street from where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached civil rights and non-violence. But can we please eliminate the cheesy red, white and blue logo caps all 30 teams wear on Memorial Day and July 4?

6. Minnesota's M&M's melt in Jose Bautista's hands: After Sunday's power show, the Toronto slugger now has seven homers in seven games in Target Field. Minnesota's Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau have five homers combined in 129 games in Target Field.

7. Season of Bob Dylan: A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall. And fall. And fall. Sunday's three postponements bring the total in the majors this year to 26. There were 21 in 2010 -- for the entire season. No, this was not brought to you by Scotts Miracle-Gro grass seed.

8. Cleveland (and Mother Nature) hates Seattle: With postponements Saturday and Sunday, the Mariners now have had 11 games wiped out in Cleveland since 2007, including the four-game snowout in '07.

9. Fun with the Diamondbacks: On Saturday, they won 1-0 despite being held to one hit -- handing the Dodgers their first loss when surrendering no more than one hit since 1914. On Sunday, Arizona scratched the Dodgers for four runs in the second inning -- their first four-run inning since April 12. Hollywood, where dreams are made.

10. Harmon Killebrew: A prayer that the great Hall of Famer finds peace and comfort in his final days. And a how-to quote from Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, an old teammate of Killebrew's, who said in 1988: "Harmon told me never to chew gum at the plate. He said it makes your eyeballs bounce up and down."

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