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The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

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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]
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15 Comments

  1. DRR says:

    The comment about the lack of speed on the bench makes me wonder about where Fernando Perez is with his rehab.

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    • my guess is that he should be close to beginning what would likely be an extended rehab stint. Before Kazmir went on his rehab stint, he faced Perez in a simulated game, so he is definitely well enough to swing the bat which I would think would be the last step with a broken wrist.

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  2. Sam A says:

    The timing of Bradfords injury is just a coincidence, I'd say. I would think they have already decided to dump Choate when Shouse comes back since neither one of them (Shouse or Choate) can get righties out.

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    • Definitely a coincidence it just seems that Rays injuries often happen when another player is due back. It seems that we have had the "who is going to be cut" discussion many more times than a player has actually been cut.

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  3. Charles says:

    As far as the trade they DID make, I think it's worth tipping the hat to The Hammer, who has already logged career highs in starts, wins, innings, and strikeouts in his first real full time starting opportunity (not counting 2007 since he made a bunch of relief appearances before hitting the rotation). He's also got an ERA+ over 100 and a strikeout to walk ratio that's far above what he's ever had before, and in Colorado no less (though his road numbers are much much better).

    Keeping Niemann was definitely the right decision, but I always liked Hammer - he didn't complain too much and just kept working in whatever situation he was put in. So I'm happy to see him get a chance and have some success.

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  4. Don says:

    "were not going to lay ANY blame on BJ misplaying a ball over his head"

    guess you didn't see his initial move was "in" on a ball hit right to him...
    Sorry.... as a major league out fielder your going HAVE TO make plays on fly balls hit to you...
    I am so tired of seeing FLY balls hit over his head this year I could strangle the SOB...
    Then the irony of.... a weak fly ball falling in front of him later???
    ...and the blame goes to the relief pitchers when gound balls and fly outs are being misplayed..Sorry..I must have had the wrong game on!

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    • Because his first move was in is exactly why I am not blaming Upton. This wasn't a case of playing too shallow. It was a misread on a ball that is very difficult to read. I would say a line drive just over the head of a center fielder is the OF equivelent of a bad hop for an infielder. Sure you would still like to see the SS make a play on the bad hop but it really isn't his fault when he doesn't.

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    • How many plays has Bossman made this year that other players would've missed? And I'm not talking about normal outs... I'm talking about game-changing plays in CF. Cork is right. That is one of the toughest plays in baseball. Much tougher than throwing one into the dugout one batter earlier.

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      • Don says:

        You two should apply for asst. mgt to Maddon...you could reinforce his mentality of, "every thing is fine...We liked their efforts..."
        Even Upon attitude was "IT happens, there's not much you can say."
        How about "what time is fly ball practice, maybe I can improve as a player.......

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  5. Rytor says:

    Prof, kudos for the Pearl Jam references. What do you think of The Fixer?

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    • Reminds me a little of Wishlist. Every once and a while Eddie likes to throw out a fun little rhythmic song that stands out a bit bc it is different. Kinda like The Cure occasionally doing a love song.

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      • Rytor says:

        Yeah, I can see the Wishlist reference. It has a little bit of a "pop" feel to it, but in the upbeat sense. I like it a lot.

        Still can't beat Black or Rearviewmirror though. But thats just me. :)

        Rytor
        http://zeakden.blogspot.com

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  6. Michael says:

    The non-strike call against Alexi Ramirez sucked, but the majority of the blame has to go to the craptastic offense. The Rays have no business losing a game when the pitching matchup is Shields vs. a rookie making his major league debut. Torres looked really shaky at times but the only runs they could plate were off the two home runs? Just awful.

    This lineup really needs to get it back in gear real soon.

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  7. Don says:

    Just sitting here and watching game on Fri night...bored..but another ball hit over BJ heads early in the game and Toranto ties up the game.
    Give me ONE MORE CENTER FIELDER that has more fly balls hit over their head and I will shut up.....How far should it be between the outfielder and the wall...50 feet/80 feet..... how fast is he???

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