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: The Offense. 26 runs in last 2 games. Where was that in the first 2 games against the O’s? 17 hits and 8 walks. 6 different starters had at least 2 hits…BJ As Willie. Even more impressive than BJ Upton’s over the shoulder catch at the wall was how easy he made it look. It was as if he was playing catch in the backyard. We are still in awe…BJ As Ricky.7 stolen base attempts in 3 rehab games. 2 steals in the first inning of his first game of the season. What is his over/under now? 60?…Bartlett’s Big Blast. Wait. Did Jason Bartlett just hit a home run in his second straight game? After only 1 last year? Those 2 home runs raised his career total by 16.7% to 14…Carlos Pena. The grand slam was great, but we loved his double even more as it was to right center indicating that he wasn’t trying to pull it down the line…Scott Kazmir. He kept his pitch count in check (only 71 through 5) and worked into the 7th inning for the first time since last July 21, a span of 20 starts (including playoffs).
THE BAD: No Bads last night. We won’t even mention Gabe Gross getting thrown out between first and second on his single in the first with a runner on third and only 1 out, which likely cost the Rays a run. Nope. Won’t mention it….But we will mention that Gabe Kapler struck out against Nick Swisher. Yes, that Nick Swisher. The fielder. Gabe Kapler, you are dead to us.
THE TELLING: Just when you thought the evening couldn’t get any better, the Red Sox got smoked by the A’s 8-2 and fell to 2-5…The Yankees were forced to get 6 innings from their bullpen (Nick Swisher worked the 8th) without a true long reliever on the roster. With AJ Burnett going tonight, the Yankees need at least 7 innings, so look for the Rays to take a few more pitches than normal…After contemplating a start for Ben Zobrist in right field, Joe Maddon went with Gabe Gross.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Carlos Pena. BJ Upton was on base 4 times and stole 2 bases and made one of the most amazing catches you will ever see. Pat Burrell hit his first home run as a Ray and Scott Kazmir is back as he worked into the 7th inning. But 6 ribbies are 6 ribbies. And it was Pena’s grand slam in the 2nd that got the Fat Lady singing.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- One of the all-time greats passed away yesterday. Harry Kalas, father of the Rays’ Todd Kalas died after collapsing in the broadcast booth. Our thoughts go out to the Kalas family. We will absolutely miss him. [MLB]
- We have updated the Cork-Board in the sidebar with the most common lineups used so far as well as a number of additions to the minor league DL.
- Shawn Riggans has been placed on the DL with shoulder tendinitis. Michel Hernandez has been recalled from Durham. [Rays Report]
- Tony Fabrizio was with Stuart Sternberg when BJ Upton made his catch and Joe Maddon says it is going to take Upton a while to grow into his new role and compares him to Ricky Henderson. [Tampa Tribune]
- Evan Longoria was named the AL Player of the Week. [MLB]
- Last night the Rays raised their championship banners. Boy those look nice hanging from the rafters. [MLB]
- One of Stuart Sternberg’s main goals for the season is to be league average in attendance. That was 2.6 million last season. [Tampa Tribune]
- Does this mean that Vince Naimoli has written a book called “Let the Truth Be Known”? [YouTube]
- Apparently Orioles fans fear the Cowbell. [Bugs and Cranks]
- Jeff Niemann was named the top rookie of spring training. [Biscuit Crumbs]
- Tonight’s game is also a sellout. [The Heater]
- Jason Isringhausen is scheduled to throw two innings today in an extended spring game, but says he is “not getting anything out of facing high school kids.” [St. Pete Times]