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 Giraffe. June, 2004. That was the month Jeffrey Warren Niemann was drafted by the Devil Rays. At that time, we dreamed of 2-hit complete game shutouts, with 9 strikeouts and 1 walk. OK, so it took a while. A year ago, we were beginning to wonder if Niemann would ever get another shot. And now? He is one of the Rays Big 3 and here to stay…Bossman Returneth? BJ Upton was on base 3 more times last night with a single, double and a walk. But the bat speed still is not there. The flyball in the first inning should have been a home run…Zorilla. Another night. Another home run. This one a grand slam…Speed Kills. 2 more steals for Carl Crawford and 1 each for BJ Upton and Matt Joyce.
THE BAD: Nothin’. We tried. We really did. We looked everywhere. OK. How about the Rays trainers? There are 9 players on the DL and Evan Longoria is on the shelf. Don’t the trainers need a little blame here?
THE TELLING: Don’t look now but the Rays have won 4 of 5, and are now 5 games behind the Yankees and Red Sox who are tied atop the East, and 3 games behind the Jays…The Rays are 0-19 when they have scored less than 4 runs. Last year, the Rays were 20-41 (via Peter Gammons)…The Rays broke out “Seven Nation Army” during a Royals pitching change. As far as we know, that is the first instance since the ALCS.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jeff Niemann.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Evan Longoria had an MRI that came back negative, so no DL stint is likely. Joe Maddon said he will hold out Longoria until they reach the regular turf in New York on Friday…Also, Scott Kazmir threw another bullpen session. He will keep working out of the bullpen every other day for another week and then be reevaluated…Maddon said Pat Burrell will hit off a tee today and Jason Bartlett may not be ready to come off the DL even though he is eligible today. [St. Pete Times]
- Marc Lancaster notes that next Tuesday’s draft will be a new experience for the Rays and that RJ Harrison has a list of about 15-20 players in mind for the #30 slot. [Tampa Tribune]
- Jonah Freedman of SI.com says that basestealing is on the rise in baseball and Carl Crawford is leading the way. [SI.com]
Chone Figgins on Crawford stealing 6 bases in 1 game: “No team would let me do that,” giggled the Angels third baseman, who ranks third in the MLB with 20 swipes. “We went back and watched the tape and it was funny how he just took over that game. They couldn’t do anything with him.”
- The Rays Party says there is no need to worry about Carlos Pena’s batting average noting that he is still productive by walking and hitting home runs…To which we would add that prior to last night’s game, Pena had 230 plate appearances. 55% of those ended without a fielder touching the ball (home run, walk, hit by pitch or strikeout). Carlos Pena, putting fielders to sleep one at bat at a time. [The Rays Party]