Yankees Rays Baseball

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.

click above image for boxscore

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]

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18 Comments

  1. cougar says:

    instead of gabe gross being the odd man out, how about the possibilities of gabe kapler? i know the problem is that matt joyce is a lefty, so he replacing kapler on the roster makes no sense, but can't zorilla fill his spot and adam kennedy take over as a backup utility player?

    also, can we mention how many times michael buffer messed up in the pregame announcements? leading off, joe maddon? dude gets paid big money just to talk, and thats what we get? weak

    finally, RIP Harry Kalas. as a tampa bay fan, your voiceover and quotes on the Bucs super bowl championship dvd will always be special to me. as a baseball fan, we lost one of the greats. my good friend in philly said "i feel like ive lost a friend." thank you for everything

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  2. Christian says:

    Please update the Kazmir win counter to 49.

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  3. Possum Avenger says:

    I'm more than ready for Izzy to be DFA'd. If you don't want to play in the minors then don't sign a minor league contract.

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  4. bobrittner says:

    I think we should be a bit more calm about Kapler. He has had all of 12 plate appearances so far, hardly much evidence of how he can help the team. I know he had a bad spring and he made a base running mistake, but he is known as a good fielder who hits lefties well and generally plays good fundamental baseball, which is exactly why the Rays got him.

    As for Joyce, it makes little sense to keep him in TB when he does not hit lefties well and so cannot play regularly on a contending team. Since the Rays expect him to develop into a regular, he needs the experience hitting against lefties (and also handling off-speed pitching), something he can only get in the minors.

    I would relax about Isringhausen also. Most of the criticisms (his refusal to pitch in the minors, taking a locker et al) are entirely irrelevant to whether he should remain on the team. When healthy, he is a solid pitcher who may be able to help, and that is all that matters.

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    • Justin says:

      Bob,

      I think most of us are worried about Izzy's impact on clubhouse attitude--not his pitching skills.

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    • Joe D. says:

      I agree that we need to have a little patiences with Kapler. He's a guy known for his work ethic and veteran leadership, and his a been a stable contributor on almost every team his been on.

      However, Izzy worries me, he comes in to the Rays wants some primo locker spot, grudgingly accepts a "Minor League" assignment to stay in extended spring training, this instead of taking a real Minor League, assignment where he could pitch in real games against top prospects. Then bitches about only facing, as he puts it "High Schoolers". What happens when the Rays have to DFA a guy like Joe Nelson for a guy like Izzy, then he breaks down, and/or doesn't like coming in the 7th or 8th inning, then complains that he's used to closing? I say cut your ties now, and let him go pitch for Nationals, or Mets or something.

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      • Possum Avenger says:

        I agree completely. The Rays have too good of a thing going on to risk bringing Izzy in and messing it all up. It would be one thing if the guy had a lot of upside, but he is barely even a replacement level player. The guy is strutting around like he's Nolan Ryan for christ sake.

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    • Brixology says:

      I hope that the blogs closely monitor Joyce's hitting against lefties in Durham. I am still not sure Gomes didn't get a bum rap in that regard.

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  5. Cougar Bait says:

    I know it's early, but, it's good to see the offense clicking aside from the shutout in Baltimore. We are ranked 1st in HR and SB in all of baseball and 2nd in Avg.

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  6. bobrittner says:

    I guess I just put far less emphasis on clubhouse impact and supposed character issues than others do. I also am confident that Maddon is fully aware of Isringhausen's character and possible impact and either considers it insignificant or something easily managed. As fans we tend to react to images presented in or suggested by media stories, images that rarely have any relationship to reality.

    I doubt the Rays are going to allow Isringhausen to disturb the clubhouse or replace someone more valuable. More likely he is simply another bullet available if necessary. The fact that there seems to be no deadline for activating him suggests that he will only be added if it seems he can help.

    Assuming that the bullpen is due for regression Friedman reacted by creating tremendous depth. Thus the Rays may be able to sustain poor performance by a few and still manage by replacing them with alternatives. Isringhausen is simply one of those alternatives. Just as he has no commitment to the Rays they have none to him. I presume his view is that if the Rays do not want him on the major league roster he can find a team that will; I see nothing wrong with that kind of self-interest. My guess is that most players with Isringhausen's pedigree would act the same way.

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    • Possum Avenger says:

      Bob -- You're point about the media creating images that may bear no resemblance to reality is well taken. I am almost certainly overreacting. I do, of course, trusts Maddon's judgment in this case.

      I guess the thing with Isringhausen that annoys me so much is his perception of his own abilities versus reality. If he really thinks he can find a team that wants him on their major league roster why did he accept a minor league deal from the Rays? Then he complains about having to face "high schoolers", but he is only facing players just out of high school because he is too arrogant to believe he gain anything by spending time in the minors working on various things. Even if the media is presenting a bias image, Isringhausen gave them the ability to do so with his own words. Maybe he should just keep his mouth shut.

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    • Joe D. says:

      I'm just going on the handful of quotes and stories that we have heard Izzy so far to call these young Minor Leaguers, High Schoolers, is disrespectful. To make the Rays Ace move his locker because he has more seniority in MLB is disrespectful. When he didn't make the opening day roster, and made quotes pretty much saying that he's he'll stick it out with the Rays because they should be a contender, and thinks that he could have made a roster elsewhere but this was a better opportunity, was arrogant.

      So with the handful of stories that we have heard from the guy, is all we know is that he is arrogant, and disrespectful. We also know that he thinks that he's do the Rays a favor by taking a rehab assignment. He's not afraid to be demeaning to the younger players in the organization, even if they are already the established Ace of the staff. Sounds like a jerk to me...

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  7. Brian says:

    Gabe Kapler is a fricking JOKE. Release him and call up Ruggiano or Weber now. My whole family did get a nice laugh though watching on the package.

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  8. bobrittner says:

    We do not know the context of Isringhausen's remarks, the etiquette of the locker room, the discussions that led to his signing or the promises made then, the response of other players to his requests or demands, the nature of the market for his services then and now, and much else that might affect our view of his stance. Regardless, in the end it is simply a player looking out for his own interests, and despite the maudlin mythology and phony nostalgia for the players who supposedly played for the fun of the game and put the team first, the reality is that most players seek to make the best possible deal for themselves.

    I don't know whether he is a nice guy or not, nor do I particularly care. I once spoke to a Mets' executive who indicated he thought Isringhausen was rather stubborn and somewhat difficult to deal with. Nonetheless, he was a useful contributor on a number of teams, and if he can be one for the Rays I will be happy. If not, good riddance.

    As for Kapler, not rational person considers him a star or much more than a useful role player. But it is equally silly to discount his potential to contribute in the role assigned. The tendency of fans to focus on players' failings leads them to underrate those like Kapler and Gross who are important cogs in the larger machine.

    Which do you believe? A bad spring training and a line of .100/.250/200 with one double, 2 BBs and 5 Ks after 12 PAs? (although the double and 2 BBs came against lefties and raise his OBP to .375 which is excellent.) Or the line of .301/.340/.498 with 17 Doubles, 2 triples, 8 HRs, 13 BBs and 39 Ks in 245 PAs last year?

    Or perhaps the .354/.379/.622 line in 87 PAs against lefties last year?

    Or maybe the career line in 887 PAs against lefties of .293/.344/.483?

    At some point in the year just about every major league player will go 1 for 10, even Pujols. When it happens to start the year it looks worse but means nothing.

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