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 Shields. Show of hands: How many of you think Shields would have allowed both of those runners to score in the 7th? And how many of you think Shields could have also at least started the 8th?…Zorilla. As great as his offense has been, we must admit, the defensive play is just as surprising. Not great, but he has definitely improved and it doesn’t matter where Joe Maddon puts him. Yesterday he was in right field and immediately contributed by throwing out a runner at home…Pat the Bat. It is not really the lack of home runs that have bothered us. It is the lack of RBI doubles. Those are the hits that Burrell should be delivering on a regular basis. And yesterday he did with 2 RBI.
THE BAD: Joe Maddon. Did JoeMa pull James Shields too early, having thrown only 89 pitches? Sure looked like it. Maddon said he was concerned after the walk. It wasn’t like Shields was all of the sudden walking the ballpark. It was his first walk of the day. Shields has been hampered by poor run support this season. Yesterday he was hampered by poor managerial support…The Bullpen. Maybe Dan Wheeler and JP Howell thought they were still wearing the Devil Rays jersey.
THE TELLING: Carl Crawford was given the day off…The Rays finished the first-half 48-41, 6.5 games behind the Sox and 3.5 behind the Yankees. At the all-star break last year, the Rays were 55-39, one-half game behind the Red Sox, depite having lost 7 in a row. CoolStandings.com gives the Rays a 37.1% shot at the playoffs, while PECOTA says it is 20.9%.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Ben Zobrist. 2 hits, scored a run and nailed a runner at the plate. Might have gone with James Shields if Joe Maddon leaves him in for 2 more outs. Not Shields’ fault, but wasn’t given the chance.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Updates will be limited this week since we were not selected to represent the Rays in the All-Star game.
- We reported yesterday that Carlos Pena was named to the all-star team as a replacement. Well, he will also participate in the home run derby contest tonight. We also love this quote from ‘Los: “This is a huge deal to me,” Pena said. “I’m not going to even pretend to play it cool.” [Tampa Tribune]
- With Dustin Pedroia off the all-star squad, and Carlos Pena on, Ben Zobrist will not be the starting second baseman, with Joe Maddon electing to go with Aaron Hill. Of course we are biased, but it would have been fitting if Zorilla would have been called upon to start at second base with the starter unable to play.
- Dioner Navarro was a little woozy on Saturday night after taking a foul tip off the mask, but tests showed he did not suffer a concussion and he is expected back Friday. Navi says he does not remember the pitch…Also, Grant Balfour went back to Australia to attend his grandfather’s funeral and Shawn Riggans will begin a rehab assignment today with Charlotte. [Tampa Tribune]
- The voice for moving the Rays to Tampa is getting a little louder. 10 fans have started a grassroots effort that we have a feeling will become much larger. [Tampa Tribune]
- Martin Fennely is tired of Stuart Sternberg’s banter about a new stadium. [Tampa Tribune]