Angels 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: By The Arm of Gabriel. Gabe Gross redeemed a poor at bat earlier in the game (see below) by potentially saving a run in the 7th by throwing out a runner at second base after he rounded the bag too far on a basehit…Ben Zobrist. 2 more hits and another home run. Ho-hum.

THE BAD: Not-So-Golden Opportunities. Bases loaded in the 7th with 1 out and Carlos Pena at the plate. A great chance to cut into the 22-run lead as long as Upton gets a bat on the ball. He did, and he hit it hard. Right at the first basemen for vomit-inducing 3-unassisted double-play…Flyballs Going Uncaught. Sure enough, only a couple of days after noting that BJ Upton had started catching deep flyballs that earlier this season were landing on the turf, last night, two such flyballs landed safely for extra-base hits…Giveup Swing. With 1 out and runners on first and third in the 2nd, Gabe Gross did something with the bat. We still aren’t sure what he was trying to do. It looked like a 2-strike swing that was trying to foul off a tough pitch (it was a 1-1 pitch). He just flicked the bat, half-a**ed and hit a shallow pop-up to left. Dioner Navarro would then strikeout to end the threat…And Of Course. From the “we should have kept our mouths shut” department, Carl Crawford grounded into his first GIDP of the season, and with it, the game was lost and the Rays were once again flushed down the toilet of mediocrity.

THE TELLING: BJ Upton was ejected after flying out in the 9th inning. He was apparently upset at the strikezone…Jeff Niemann takes the mound with an extra day of rest since his 2-hit shutout…

SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Ben Zobrist

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Marc Topkin has some more info on top pick LeVon Washington and the Rays other two picks from the draft, both high schoolers. [St. Pete Times]
  • The Rays released Chad Orvella and signed Jorge Julio, who has 99 career saves and made 15 appearances with Milwaukee earlier this season. Julio has been assigned to Durham, but expect to see him in a Rays uniform at some point this season.  [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Jason Bartlett is hoping to return to the lineup on Friday. [Rays Report]
  • Evan Longoria still has the overall vote lead for the all-star team in the American League. [The Heater]
  • Ted Keith has a piece up on SI.com about this new feeling we all have in our stomachs. Apparently it is called “disappointment.” (thanks Amanda) [SI.com]
  • If you want an escape from the depressing Rays, may we suggest the latest “Why I Love Baseball” piece from, Sixty Feet, Six Inches. [Sixty Feet, Six Inches]
  • Rays Revolutionary offers an optimistic and a pessimistic view of the Rays. [Rays Revolutionary]

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19 Comments

  1. Sublime says:

    I think the thing that gets me with watching the Rays there seems to be no sense of urgency! It appears to be more of a going through the motions sort of thing. I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, but the Manager takes a very relaxed approach to things so I guess the team follows suit. I will say this if they continue to lose these series dropping 2 out of 3, they are going to find themselves out of this race and probably salary dumping.

  2. Charles says:

    I can’t even take solace in the other team I follow (the Astros) because they’re WORSE. But at least I had no expectations for them. This . . . this is just sad.

  3. Brixology says:

    Fare thee well, Chad Orvella. And congratulations for hanging on this long. I will be interested to see who picks him up.

  4. bobrittner says:

    Every team that is losing appears to lack fire or to be pressing, one or the other. The notion that the Rays have no sense of urgency or that the manager has a relaxed attitude has nothing to support it. When you lose you look bad.

    • bobrittner says:

      Think about it this way. Had Pena’s line drive gotten past the first baseman or had Upton’s gone up an alley rather than straight to the center fielder or even had Joyce swung a millisecond later on the foul line drive he hit the conversation might be how resilient the team is, how the comeback looked like 2008 and proof that this team has that intangible quality so often talked about.

      So was it the lack of a sense of urgency that led Pena’s line drive into Morales’s glove that was the problem?

    • Sublime says:

      This notion (for me) is predicated on the fact of winning 5 out of 6 games and them dropping 3 or 4 in a row. Didn’t we just have this same spell a week ago with beating the Marlins and Twins then going to Cleveland to drop 4 in a row. That’s what I’m talking about with no sense of Urgency! You keep drop three and four games in a row and soon you can take the rest of the year off!

      • bobrittner says:

        But why do you think that having bad streaks following short successful ones results from some psychological failing or lack of commitment? Is there any clue in the Rays’ behavior that suggests they are not totally committed to winning? Are we hearing ball players say or hint that they are satisfied?

        Good teams, which I think the Rays are, sometimes play badly. When they do, the easiest thing to do is to blame their state of mind. But that seems simplistic to me. It’s not as if any team, no matter how good, can just decide to win. I don’t think Shields was being too relaxed when he allowed ringing doubles and triples last night, nor is there any reason to think Pena was distracted from winning when he let that first ball get through him. They just did not do well, and the Rays lost.

        So far, this has been a dreadfully frustrating year. It doesn’t do any good to try to locate the problem in some sort of pop psychological analysis or to accuse players of becoming complacent without evidence beyond their poor record.

  5. Dirtbag Fan says:

    The best thing Orvella ever did was to give me the lead in the Trade Pool…

  6. I’m considering a goodbye, Chad Orvella, blog post over at Rays Revolutionary. That, coupled w/ the Magic win, kept my night from being a complete disappointment.

    As for last night’s game, I agree that the team looks like it’s just going through the motions. But, I think the losing is part of that. As bad as we’re feeling… the team is feeling worse. Don’t think that they don’t have their own expectations that they’re not living up to. They just need something to get that “feeling” going that they had last year. That “feeling” that you’re going to win every game, no matter what the score. The “feeling” that you’re unstoppable. The “feeling” that becomes “swagger” to opposing teams. The “feeling” that makes those same teams thing that you can do know wrong. Ask Red Sox fan about that swagger, they recognized it from the Rays last year.

  7. cyl says:

    Regarding Zobie, I know there was some talk that he shouldn’t be an everyday player because he’d be exposed… Has he been playing everyday (and very well) enough that we can refute that theory? Or does he have to face the same teams/ pitchers again for us to tell if that’s really true?

    • bobrittner says:

      In my view he is making an increasingly strong case for himself-although I think he is at best a mediocre infielder defensively, and maybe not even that. I think that is all we can say; one year is promising but not definitive.

      But he sure does look good at the plate, taking good swings and being selective. It is quite remarkable, really.

      • Joe D. says:

        I think that the Rays have to stick with what’s working right now, we are two games under .500, and the franchise goal is to get back to the playoffs, and draw more attendance. I think those goals go kind of hand in hand. Right now the Rays need Zobrist bat in the line up.

  8. Sublime says:

    Good Teams do not give up 6-run leads in the bottom of the 9th inning! Good Teams are not going to lay down versus sub .500 teams on the consistent basis the Rays have done this year. We are getting further into the season and the one step forward two step back mentality Is going to make the season over at about the 4th of July mark for them.

    In my initial statement, I mentioned the Manager and not soley the players as part of this issue as well. Last year when BJ Upton refused to run out a play, Bj Upton was sat down, this year Willie Aybar blows another play in the field and he’s sat down “for medical” reasons. This seems to be a lack of “you F’ed Up, and need to try harder” on the team Plus, if you can’t do your job, maybe someone else should be playing in your spot. We all know the stats about teams with less than .500 records by June 1st making the playoffs.

    No Pop Psychology, just looking for players to perform up to the level of talent we all know they have.

    Excuse errors, typing from my Ipod Touch.

  9. bobrittner says:

    Demonstrate the good teams do not give up 6 run leads in the bottom of the 9th. And demonstrate that the Rays “lay down” against sub .500 teams on a consistent basis. I know they have lost quite a few games to them, but that is not the same as laying down.

    As for sitting Aybar, there is a huge difference between making an error and not hustling. There is no evidence that Aybar is not trying or made errors because of a lack of effort. Pena has 6 errors this year, 2 all of last year. That is not evidence that he is lackadaisical. Good defensive players have bad stretches.

    Your next to last paragraph is exactly the point, except that what you are doing is pop psychology. As you imply, the Rays are not playing up to their talent level. In other words, they are a good team that is playing badly, which is precisely what I am saying. But to blame that on the players or manager being unmotivated is definitely pop psychology. It is based on nothing more than fan feelings and frustrations, not on any data or intimate knowledge of what is going on in the clubhouse or in the players’ and manager’s heads.

    • bobrittner says:

      It is interesting that the quotations in today’s paper would appear to support your view as the players talk about the need to play tougher and more aggressively et al. But in reality, if anything it suggests just the opposite. Just about every player in every sport attributes success or failure to the winner “wanting it more”. If you are satisfied with that pap, fine. Enjoy the comfort of cliched thinking.

      Of course the interesting thing is that I have never heard a player or manager before a contest say he thinks the other team wants it more. In fact, each side always claims the greater motivation. It is only after the loss that one side may admit the other had the “wanting it more” edge. Pretty silly, don’t you think?

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