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 the Greater. For the second straight start, we saw garden-variety James Shields. 8 innings, 2 runs, 8 Ks and no walks. Run support be damned. As long he continues to deliver games like this, he will get his fair share of Ws…Bossman is Backeth? That home run was classic BJ Upton. And it is amazing how much his good swing is similar to the way he runs. It is so smooth and so nonchalant, that you don’t realize exactly how much bat speed he is capable of generating. But that one swing got the Rays off the hook in a lot of ways. It was run support for James Shields. It gave the Rays a win in a one-run game. It gave the Rays a win without scoring 4 runs. And it gave the Rays a win over a team they should beat in a game they have lost too many times this season…Reid Brignac. We don’t know about the bat yet, but the glove is fine. We haven’t seen a signature play yet, but we have seen enough from Brignac to know that he is a major leaguer with the glove.
THE BAD: James the Lesser. No matter how great James Shields is, he is always good for one or two mistake pitches in a game. With the bases loaded and nobody out in the third, Shields induced a 1-2-3 double-play. But on the next batter, with 2 runners in scoring position and a full-count, Shields gave up a 2-run double on his 4th best pitch (slider). If you are going to throw a slider there, knowing first base is open, it has to be out of the strikezone…LOBs and RISP. Prior to BJ Upton’s home run in the 8th, the Rays had left at least 1 runner on base in every inning, including 2 in each of the first 4 innings, and were 0-12 with runners in scoring position…Blue on Blue. We like the new Navy blue alternates, but if the Rays are going to wear them, can they make sure the opposing team has another option besides their blue jerseys?
THE TELLING: James Shields faced CooCoo Crisp for the first time since the two exchanged missed punches last season. That is, if you don’t count the time that they hugged it out in the gym. And yes, that still bugs us…The same day that we mention that the Rays were 0-20 when scoring less than 4 runs, the Rays won a game by scoring less than 4 runs.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: BJ Upton. Could have easily gone Shields, but that home run has a chance to be big for Upton and the Rays beyond this one game.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Evan Longoria hit in the cage yesterday and was available to pinch hit. He hopes to play tonight, but it might be Saturday before he returns…Also Jason Bartlett was jogging yesterday and hitting off a tee. [St. Pete Times]
- Yes. Jeff Niemann threw a 2-hit shutout even though he used his fastball. Shocking! [The Rays Party]
- Joe Henderson says yesterday’s start is a sign that the 2008 Rays are reemerging. [Tampa Tribune]
- It’s Friday, so here is the latest group of the Top 177 Devil Rays Ever. [Bugs and Cranks]