Time to bring back the GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.
THE GOOD: James Shields. Shields came up with a Big Game when the team really needed one. He retired the first 8 batters he faced. He repeated the feat in innings 4-5-6. In the first 6 innings he allowed only one runner on base with less than 2 outs, a lead off double in the 4th. That runner was also the only base runner Shields allowed past first base…Evan Longoria. Three more hits, including his 4th double and his league-leading 5th home run. Last fall I did a radio interview for ESPN Radio on a New England radio station. They asked how good Longoria can be. I responded, “multiple MVPs,” and I sensed that they thought it was just homerism. Wonder what they think now…Carl Crawford. A 3-run triple and later he was robbed of an RBI for the second time in a week when Gabe Gross got faked-out by the center fielder on CC’s single and was thrown out at home…The Middle Infielders. Jason Bartlett and Aki Iwamura were a combined 6-10 with a double and a home run. Bartlett scored 3.
THE BAD: Grant Balfour. The Mad Australian was The Bad Australian. Balfour faced 5 batters and all 5 reached base, including 2 hits and 3 walks…El Gato. It does seem strange putting Carlos Pena here on the day he hit his 2nd home run. But he was 0-4 with 3 strike outs in his other at bats and right now Pena is very much feast or famine, with a lot more famine. We would love to see a little more consistency from the cat.
THE TELLING: Matt Joyce, in his last game in the big leagues for now, spent the day on the bench despite earlier reports that he would start…Ben Zobrist started in center and later replaced Gabe Gross in right…Dan Wheeler was given the ball in the 8th. Of course, the score was 11-0 at the time…If a player has a single, double and home run, as Evan Longoria has now done twice this season, he did NOT “just miss the cycle.” Triples are rare. If Longo only needed a single, then he just missed a cycle.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: James Shields. We really wanted to put Carl Crawford here. Man, that triple was vintage CC and he looks an awful lot like 2007 Crawford. In a sense, Crawford is playing for his 2009 contract and it is going to be a fun summer watching him every day. And Evan Longoria had a great day, but the home run came when it was 9-0. But what Shields did was more impressive and much more important. The Rays needed that performance and he delivered.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Funniest thing you will read today (thanks Stewey). [Orioles Hangout]
- If she hadn’t seen it with her own eyes, she wouldn’t have believed it. But what is really important is…Yes, she does dig the long ball. [Her Rays]
- Trop Talk and The Rays Party had a conversation about the Rays.[Trop Talk]
- Wow. The first 50 players or so on the the top Devil Rays ever, is a who’s who of mediocre pitchers. [Bugs and Cranks]
- Joey Johnston takes a look at some of the memorable moments of past home openers. [Tampa Tribune]
- And then he does it again? In a separate column with different material? Strange. [Tampa Tribune]
- Tonight’s game marks the 12th consecutive sellout at the Trop and tomorrow’s game is close to being sold out.[Tampa Tribune]
- Marc Topkin has all the details and time schedule for tonight’s game. Need to know when the parking lots open? Topkin has got you covered. [St. Pete Times]
- Curtis Ross projects the Rays at bat walk-up songs. [Tampa Tribune]