photo by B. Cassella of the St. Pete Times

photo by B. Cassella of the St. Pete Times

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 Bossman Cometh. It was his second 3-hit game in 3 days, but it was the line drive blast over the left field wall leading off the 9th inning that completed the biggest comeback in team history. And what was even better, was how hard the ball was hit. That was vintage Bossman and the best he has looked since the ALCS last year…The Bullpen. We can’t expect the 7 guys in the ‘pen to save the rotation’s butts every night, but they got the job done last night with 5.2 scoreless innings, holding the tribe to 1 hit and 2 walks over that span…Zorilla! Another home run for Ben Zobrist, his 7th, tied the game in the 8th inning. His blast came one pitch after just missing a home run foul, and may have been even more important than Upton’s homer. After pulling within 1 run in the 7th, the Rays missed an opportunity to tie the game with Upton on 3rd and only 1 out. The wind could have easily come out of the sails at that point.

THE BAD: Scott Kazmir. 10 hits, including 2 home runs, 4 walks and only 2 Ks and his night was over before the end of the 4th. And no matter how great you think the comeback win was, the rotation is still in a lot of trouble…Delicate Sensibilities. Victor Martinez joins the ranks of those that can’t handle a pitch up and in. And by “in” we mean about an inch inside and yet that was apparently too close for Martinez as he started jawing at JP Howell. We once read Carl Yastrzemski’s autobiography and he wrote about being knocked down at least once a game for his entire career. Did he get offended? No. He got up, stepped back in and hit the damn ball. Martinez is baby and he is lucky the next pitch wasn’t in the middle of his back.

THE TELLING: Troy Percival worked the 7th inning…Carl Crawford was back in the lineup after missing 1 game with a bruised shoulder…Pat Burrell received a cortisone shot and will not be available today. He will be reevaluated tomorrow… This is the 13th series of the season and the Devil Rays ($8) have only played 7 3-game series. This is the 3rd 4-game set in addition to 3 2-game sets. And 2 of the next 3 series are also of the 4-game variety.

SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: BJ Upton.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • The St. Pete Times has a bunch of photos from BJ Upton’s walk-off home run. [The Heater]
  • Marc Lancaster has some quotes from JP Howell about his confrontation with Victor Martinez. [Rays Report]
  • Scott Kazmir says he is in “a long funk” and is convinced he will find his way out…Also, Joe Nelson says his recent problems can be blamed on a mechanical issue he hopes to resolve. [St. Pete Times]
  • Joe Maddon explains why he has stuck with BJ Upton in the leadoff spot. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Two weeks ago Rays the Stakes projected the Devil Rays ($9) record over the next 14 games. They weren’t that far off. [Rays the Stakes]
  • The Serious Tip says the Devil Rays ($10) need to incorporate new tunes for 2009. [The Serious Tip]
  • The Detroit Tigers Weblog is having second thoughts on their criticism of the Edwin Jackson-Matt Joyce trade. [The Detroit Tigers Weblog]
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11 Comments

  1. Dirtbag Fan says:

    Martinez v Howell
    I guarantee you that had the game still been a blow-out the very next pitch would've been to the ribcage and an all-out fall-out would've ensued...

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  2. leningan says:

    Please Martinez. Learn how to get out the way of a pitch. His head was right over the plate by the time the ball got there. Had he simply leaned back it would not have been close. Howell's staring him down at first base after the ground out was classic.

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  3. DRR says:

    Hey, are you not paying a dollar for that "Devil Rays" in The Telling?

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  4. Don says:

    Last man up wins!... BJ hits home run in the 9th....so player of game...
    Ok, But without Zorilla in 8th...Upton only ties...!
    So guess what... Zorilla sits on bench on Sat. and Gross who went 0 for Fri plays(starts) Sat.
    Guess I'm over the hill for baseball Strategy...because I don't get it?
    Go ZO...maybe someday???

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    • bobrittner says:

      I think you are missing a point-actually a few points. First, Zobrist is being groomed as a super-sub because of his versatility. He will probably get near 500 ABs this year which is pretty close to what a regular gets. His greatest value lies in his ability to play all over and to be a threat on the bench. It is entirely possible that he would be less productive were he a regular right fielder.

      Second, you are discounting defense in thinking of Zobrist in RF. He seems to be adequate there, but Gross is far better. As a matter of fact, Gross's leaping catch and strong throw on LaPorta's fly ball to the wall probably saved a crucial run by keeping the runner at 2B. Maybe Zobrist could have done that, but by no means is it likely.

      Third, Maddon's approach is to use his entire roster giving each man an opportunity to contribute and to remain alert. Gross has been a valuable player for the Rays, not just for his fielding which is excellent but for the terrific ABs he regularly has. I think he saw the second most pitches per plate appearance last year for a Rays' player. And while Zobrist has been hitting for more power since the middle of last year, Gross also has pop in his bat as his 13 HRs last year indicate. He is hitting very well this year as well with an OBP of .366. It is true that Zobrist is currently doing better, but that is no reason to bury Gross on the bench. Both need to be kept sharp, especially as it is likely that one or the other will slump at some point.

      And fourth, Zobrist is getting plenty of opportunities this year. Outside of the regulars, he has more plate appearances than any other player, with 88 compared to Gross's 71. Maddon has rewarded his early season success with more playing time and if he continues to excel he will probably get even more time. But regardless, Gross, Kapler and Aybar will also see action as well they should.

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      • Don says:

        I've just had about enough on Zobrist: Let me help you....
        1) Zo does not NEED to be a super sub......
        He could be an everyday (starter) player ,even though at a number of positions...He would put up numbers better than most of the players starting now....Before you laugh..do you know he has hit more home runs than Crawf, Upton and whoever plays right field put together!
        2) Gross: Give me a break..if you think he is even close to Zobrist as an over all player... your blind...give me one(1) time Zobrist has cost in the field??? come on..
        3)Just about had it with "give everyone a chance"
        PLAY YOUR BEST PLAYERS...to have the best chance to win! Amen!

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        • bobrittner says:

          The best response to your comments are in those very comments. Here it is:
          "do you know he has hit more home runs than Crawf, Upton and whoever plays right field put together!"

          Of course I know that. The point is such data is virtually useless in evaluating a player because the sample size is far too small, and the absurdity of it is clear in any comparison of Zobrist to Upton that suggests Zobrist is even in the same league let alone superior.

          Gross is not a better over all player than Zobrist, but he is definitely a better defender in RF and he is valuable to the team. While Zobrist has demonstrated more power over the past year, Gross had a far better OBP against righties last year (.356-.328), and that is significant and over a larger sample. Perhaps Zobrist is developing into a superior player, and he is getting plenty of playing time to prove it, but it is not as clear as you suggest that he currently is significantly better against righties.

          Part of the Rays' success last year was attributed to the contributions from nearly everyone on the roster, a stated goal of Maddon. One of the problems that the Yankees have had recently has been their ignoring complementary pieces on their roster and depending too much on the stars. The notion that you always play your best players is at best debatable, at least where the differences between 2 players are not dramatic.

          In any case, if you review the PAs given to Rays' players you will see that Maddon does distribute it so that his best players get the lion's share of time. But he also makes sure that his complementary players see plenty of action. To his credit Zobrist has forced his way into the RF platoon, and may get increasing time as he succeeds, but Gross also can contribute there and needs to get his time also.

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  5. MJ says:

    I know you mentioned the pen in "the good," but I think Cormier deserves at least a name drop there. This guy has been solid for pretty much all season, and he was throwing some pretty crafty stuff yesterday. He set the tone for the pen the rest of the way.

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  6. Mark says:

    Speaking of the telling I noticed that Percival wasn't out there again tonight in the 9th. Is it just a case of not wanting to work him back to back days or am I missing something here?

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  7. Rumpy says:

    You need to set up a paypal account so the ones that want to help contribute to the "DRays" account can....

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