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: Off He Goes. Pat Burrell was 2-4 with a home run. He just missed another later in the game. He just looks different at the plate right now. More confident. He is starting to zone in and we have a feeling he will be a big part of the offense over the next few weeks. Let’s just hope when it starts, it stays for a while…Strangest Tribe. Gabe Gross may be the strangest home run hitter we have ever seen. He doesn’t hit a lot of them, but when he connects they are always no-doubters. Sounds like a Jonny Gomes or a Dave Kingman, right? Except Gross is actually a very good hitter, so with that power, it is amazing he doesn’t hit more longballs…Glove Boat Captain. Carl Crawford has always been very good with the glove. Of course, much of that was just speed. But this season, CC has really stepped up his game defensively. He made a catch last night similar to the one that won him the All-Star game MVP. He has been making those all year and even his arm has been much more accurate this season.
THE BAD: All or None. The relievers won’t be here too often, but they blew chunks all over the mound last night. Both Randy Choate and Dan Wheeler failed to retire a batter as it took 5 different pitchers to get through the 7th inning. And no, we are not going to lay any blame on BJ Upton for misplaying the ball over his head. A ball hit right at a centerfielder on a line is one of the toughest plays in baseball…Fatal. This didn’t cost the Rays last night, but we noticed a glaring weakness with this roster as it is currently constructed. With Dioner Navarro on first base with no outs and down by 1, Joe Maddon did not have a pinch-running option. Willy Aybar, Joe Dillon and Michel Hernandez were on the bench and none are a marked improvement over Navi. Of course, the irony is that the Rays may be one of the fastest teams in history but were stuck with a 5’9″ 250lb catcher on first base who wouldn’t have been able to score on a double.
THE TELLING: Chad Bradford entered the game in the 7th but was pulled with a back injury before facing a batter. Seems awfully convenient that the Rays shakiest relief pitcher of late has an injury with Brian Shouse set to come off the DL tomorrow. Coincidence? Just sayin’…The Rays have scored 3 or 4 runs in 5 straight games.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Ok, Ok. We will bring back the Sunburst Player of the Game Pick ‘Em for the second-half starting next week.
- Joe Posnanski has put together a list of the Top 100 baseball players. Four Rays are in the top 52 and 5 are in the top 100. And yes, Ben Zobrist is on the list (thanks Tyler). [SI.com]
- Carl Crawford is featured in this week’s Sports Illustrated. Jonah Keri has a PDF of the article. [JonahKeri.com]
- The Rays will be giving away All-Star t-shirts featuring each of the Rays’ all-star representatives, during the next homestand. Rays Revolutionary has images of the t-shirts. [Rays Revolutionary]
- Joe Henderson writes about the great trade the Rays didn’t make. That was their decision to keep Jeff Niemann. [Tampa Tribune]
- The Marlins new stadium is not being built in an area that is most convenient for the fans. This same issue is at the center of where to build the next Rays stadium. [Tampa Tribune]
- For the “Freakonomics” blog, Buster Olney addresses some of the economic issues in MLB, a couple of which have a direct impact on the Rays (thanks Laura). [New York Times]
- It doesn’t matter what Joe Maddon says, Trop It Like It’s Hot says the Rays have a closer. [Trop It Like It’s Hot]
- Former Devil Rays pitcher Jim Parque opens up about using HGH prior to his comeback attempt with the Devil Rays in 2003. [Chicago Sun-Times]