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: Joe Maddon. Coach has a tendency to overthink games in NL parks, but with an off-day Monday, Maddon pinch-hit for Jeff Niemann in the 5th even though he had only allowed 2 runs up to that point. Niemann was not sharp, but with 2 on and nobody out, Maddon chose to pinch-hit with Willy Aybar as opposed to bunt with Niemann. Aybar came through with a single to load the bases. The Rays would eventually score 4 in the inning…Top O’ The Order To Ya. BJ Upton, Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria combined to go 11-16 with 7 RBI and 6 runs scored. …Willy Aybar. Think Willy Aybar knows how valuable BJ Upton is? After Upton crossed the plate in the 5th and Gary Sheffield’s throw sailed to the backstop, Upton was potentially in line of the throw to second base to get Carl Crawford. Upton ducked and Aybar immediately covered Upton’s backside (above). That’s love.

THE BAD: Jeff Niemann. When he doesn’t have control, there seems to be no hope of finding it that day. No strikeouts, 4 walks and 2 pitches to the backstop…Carl Crawford. With nobody out and the pitcher on the ropes after giving up 5 straight hits, CC was caught trying to steal 3rd in the 5th. CC can’t go there with Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena and Ben Zobrist due up…Carlos Pena. Yes, ‘Los likes to bunt against the shift from time-to-time, but with nobody on and 2 outs, Pena can’t bunt there. There is little advantage to the Rays to having a runner on first in that situation and Pena is no threat to steal second…Joe Dillionaire. Joe Dillon has not played since the opening game of the Rockies series and Joe Maddon even used Andy Sonnanstine as a pinch-hitter in the 9th with Dillon still on the bench (see comments for explanation).

THE TELLING: Yesterday’s game included two delays. The first for an umpire injury and then a 34-minute rain delay in the 7th…Sure, 4-2 would have been nice, but 3-3 on the road against 2 NL playoff contenders is not bad…The Rays now lead the AL with a .355 OBP…The Bullpen, despite early struggles, now has the third best ERA (3.56) in the AL…The Rays are 6 back in the AL East, but only trail the Yankees by 2 in the Wild Card. Toronto and LA are 1 back in the Wild Card.



  • Scott Kazmir will be limited to about 85 pitches tonight in his latest rehab start, this one for Durham. Also, Chad Bradford will pitch back-to-back games tomorrow and Wednesday and then again on Saturday. He is expected to be activated next week. [Tampa  Tribune]
  • Yes, there is a creature called Zorilla and it has nothing to do with a Gorilla or Ben Zobrist. [St. Pete Times]
  • There does not appear to be much excitement for the upcoming World Series rematch and Marc Topkin reports that The Trop may only be half-filled tomorrow night. [St. Pete Times]
  • A father’s day card for Elijah Dukes. [Trop It Like It’s Hot]




  1. bobrittner says:

    According to the story, Maddon used Sonnanstine to pinch hit because he wanted to have Dillon and Hernandez available in case of an emergency. Had the Rays been down or tied at the time, I am sure Dillon would have been given the AB.

    • thanks for that explanation.

      i guess I understand, but don't agree. it is certainly a minor point and not one to dwell over, but Dillon hasn't seen any action in 5 days and Maddon has a chance to get him an at bat and doesn't use it? Maddon always goes out of his way to get his bench players playing time. just seems strange to me.

      • I actually said out loud to my father (we were watching together for father's day) that Dillionaire's days as a Ray are numbered. However, upon further review, Maddon may be keeping him under the radar to try and sneak him past waivers. Kazmir's return is coming real soon and it wouldn't surprise me to see him go with the extra pitcher. Whatever the case, I really miss Dillionaire.

        • I forgot about Winston Abreau, but that's because I have him marked for Bradford's return.

        • Ken Kandefer says:

          Andy S. has a minor league option left. I believe he will be sent down to improve on his mechanics and be an insurance policy, if they decide to keep only 12 pitchers. Then we won't see Andy until Sept, unless a starter gets hurt. I thought keeping 13 pitchers was a great idea before Aki was hurt. Ben and Willie were flexable enough to cover 7 positons. I am not as confident with the coverage of positions by the bench players now that Ben is our starting 2b.

          • Dirtbag Fan says:

            Andy's mechanics are as sound as any other pitcher's on the staff. So much so that he gets to play with different arm angles. If your mechanics aren't good you can't do that.
            He may end up in the minors (i don't think so, but he may), but it won't be because of his mechanics.

      • bobrittner says:

        Before clicking "submit", I actually erased my remark that it is unusual for Maddon not to give a bench player an AB when possible, but I do think it was prudent to preserve him in case of emergency. I don't see the decision as wrong or right, simply a matter of preference.

  2. Rytor says:

    Check out Marc Topkin giving the RaysIndex store some love at the bottom of the Zorilla article! 😀

  3. Cougar Bait says:

    Thanks for the link Prof!

  4. Pudieron says:

    It'll get interesting when (if) Aki gets back in late August, especially if we're still in contention. If Zobrist is still playing, does he become the RF and we keep Burrell at DH with the Gabes for pinch hitting and late game defense?

    • bobrittner says:

      I think it possible, but if everyone continues to play as they have, I am guessing he won't replace Zobrist at 2B. Apparently the defensive ratings show Zobrist playing very well there (which surprises me), and so long as he keeps hitting he has to stay in the lineup.

      As for RF, both players are contributing. I suppose if one should falter Zobrist might replace him there with Iwamura at 2B. Interesting that for his career Iwamura as reverse splits hitting much better against lefties. Only in 2008 did he hit righties better. This year the difference is striking, a .656 OPS vs. righties and a 1.060 OPS vs lefties so far.

      I think another factor is that this is Iwamura's last guaranteed contract year. The Rays have a $4.25 million option with a $.25 million buyout on him. I doubt they will extend him and as much as I like him don't think they should. Unless he is clearly an upgrade over someone else, I don't see the benefit of playing him regularly if he is not in the team's future plans.


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