Blue Jays 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: David Price. After the worst start of his career, he rebounded with maybe his best, striking out 7 and walking just 1, outdueling one of the best…Grant Balfour. The Mad Australian rebounded from his worst outing of the past 2 months to record one of his best. Balfour came in and closed the door on the Jays in the  7th, entering with the bases loaded and just 1 out. He got a line out and a flyout to get out of it…‘Los! He may not be an all-star, but he had the biggest hit yesterday, a 2-run double in the 5th to give the Rays the lead…Hallawho? Doc Halladay is now 10-3 on the year, but he is 0-2 against the Rays. Maybe we shouldn’t be worried about him being traded to the Red Sox or Yankees…Carl Crawford. We don’t care how well Dan Wheeler is pitching (only given up a run in 1 of his last 24 outings), we will always be nervous when he comes into the game in the 9th with the game on the line. And yesterday he would have put the leadoff hitter on second base, but Carl Crawford ran down the flyball to save Dan’s heiny.

THE BAD: Pat the Bat? Every starter got a basehit for the Rays except *drumroll please* Pat Burrell! Who also left 5 runners on base.

THE TELLING: Gabe Gross batted 7th, which means the 3rd leading hitter in the AL, Jason Bartlett was batting 8th. That my friends, is a deep and balanced lineup…Yesterday’s game was delayed for 20 minutes in the 7th inning after lightning strike in the area caused some of the lights to go out…Carl Crawford is just the 4th player in big league history with 100 hits and 40 steals prior to the All-Star break.

SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: David Price

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Carlos Pena will not be joining his 4 teammates in St. Louis for the All-Star game, finishing 4th in the final vote. [The Heater]
  • Aki Iwamura was on the field before the game playing catch. [Tampa Tribune]
  • David Price did not look at any scouting reports prior to the game. He went back to the basics and it worked. [Tampa Tribune]
  • The Rays Party breaks down David Price’s latest start. [The Rays Party]
  • John Romano discusses the power of the stolen base and the efficiency of the Rays on the base paths. [The Point After]
  • The Rays, er Devil Rays, hold the record for largest signing bonus ever given to an international free agent. That would be the $7 million they gave Rolando Arrojo. Peter Gammons also reports that he once possessed Cuban baseball cards that listed a much different age for Arrojo than the one listed with MLB. [ESPN]
  • Gabe Kapler is feast or famine, but when he hits the ball, he gets his money’s worth. [The Rays Party]
  • Trop Talk wonders if it is time for Scott Kazmir to go. [Trop Talk]
  • Rise of the Rays takes a look at what Jonny Gomes has been up to. [Rise of the Rays]
  • David Chalk is slowly inching his way to the top of his Top 177 Devil Rays ever list. This week it is #72-69. [Bugs and Cranks]
  • Michelle Bearden writes about Julianna Zobrist’s recent appearance at The Trop. [Tampa Tribune]
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27 Comments

  1. Pudieron says:

    Also, first game at the Trop this year without a homer?

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  2. Jim says:

    "Hoping Halladay Stays In The East"

    Seriously, be careful what you wish for. They may have a good record against him, but it's not like they put up a bunch of crooked numbers when he pitches.

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    • Yeah, that was a bit tongue in cheek. The farther away the better. I just think JoeMa would tell you he doesn't worry about those things as long as the Rays play like they are capable of, theycan beat anybody.

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  3. Charles says:

    Somebody should turn Ben & Julianna's story into a Lifetime movie. It's got the classic small-time to big-time hook with a totally adorable love story running through the whole thing.

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    • I'm sure it is just a matter of time and I am willing to bet that Kirk Cameron plays Ben.

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    • Lawrence says:

      The Ben & Julianna movie would probably be better served on the Hallmark channel. The lifetime channel would probably have a man-hating plot twist where Ben ends up dead or in prison. What? My wife makes me watch lifetime movies. Fine, I like Tiffany Amber Thiessen. It's not weird...

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    • Don says:

      I don't know about a love story....but how about Zo as SUPERMAN....
      perfect Clark Kent on the street and SUPERMAN with a bat in his hand!!

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  4. Chris says:

    Sad to report, but Thayer has shaved his 'stache.

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  5. bobrittner says:

    I am not sure how you mean "feast or famine" for Kapler. If you are contrasting his April/May performance with June/July it makes sense. But if you are focusing on his plate appearances since June 8, it is not appropriate.

    He was walking a lot and hitting a lot of doubles from the start as I pointed out in an earlier post. But since June 8, it is consistency that marks his PAs, not feast or famine. In 13 games since then he has gotten a hit in 11 of them and in one other he walked in 2 PAs. In the one he failed to hit, he only received one PA.

    True, many of those hits were for extra bases with 15 total hits including 6 doubles (one in 5 straight games at one juncture), 1 triple and 4 home runs. But in those 39 PAs he also has gotten 7BBs and 4 other hits. Incidentally, he has only struck out 3 times since that June 8 spurt.

    Well, on second thought, I can see why you might consider it feast or famine since when he did get a hit it was usually a big one. In that sense it seems appropriate, but I do think the connotation of the phrase is that his hitting has been erratic, and that is certainly not true recently.

    I wonder if people are still incensed that Maddon was so patient with him (he probably has already earned his salary no matter what else he does this year) instead of having him DFAed and bringing up Joyce. Joyce is managing a .761 OPS vs lefties so far in AAA with 20 Ks to 4 BBs in 60 ABs and 1 home run. His line is .267/.328/.433. That is despite a .385 BABIP.

    Kapler, despite his horrid start and against major league pitching, has a line vs. lefties of .320/.418/.680. And his BABIP is a more normal .308. My guess is, given his history, he will level off, but regardless, players only demonstrate they can contribute by being given playing time, and the judgment cannot be on a couple of months, whether the performances are great or terrible. Barring special circumstances (injury, conditioning et al), it is usually wise to consider at least 3 consecutive years of performance before declaring a player useful or not.

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    • theraysparty says:

      Good point. Everyone starts to get off his back when he hits well.

      He had one of his better hitting seasons of his career last season with the Brewers. So I guess you are right abut Maddon waiting for that to come out again, which it has.

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    • Don says:

      I have a prediction for you: Mr. Kapler will be selling used cars in 2010!

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    • Brixology says:

      Bob, I get it and I understand and support patience, but how do you deal with the fact that he doesn't have 3 years here? Are you saying that you require 3 years of data to call someone a bust? How do you rate Vinny "the Cash Stealer" Castilla?

      And how are you feeling about Pat? I trust Joe with that situation and I imagine that is your response as well, but I don't think you've weighed in recently.

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      • bobrittner says:

        It does not have to be 3 years in the same place, nor is there a hard and fast rule to my knowledge.

        And I don't think every case is the same. Castilla, for example, had somewhat inflated numbers due to the Coors Field effect and had shown some decline prior to arriving in TB. Apparently there were also some attitude problems. While he was never a star again, he did rebound somewhat once in Houston and had another year or so when he was usable.

        I am very concerned about Burrell. And while I respect Maddon immensely, I don't consider him infallible. It's less a matter of trust than it is benefit of the doubt. I don't know what shape Burrell is in, and I don't trust long range interpretations based on looking at chubby cheeks or hearing about carousing or giving in to the comforts of being a newlywed. My guess is the Rays are particularly aware of his condition given their financial commitment and would not simply keep using him while he did not maintain his conditioning.

        But he is at that age when many lumbering power hitters go into sudden decline. It is a risk with such players. It looks as if there was a subtle slide last year, particularly in OBP, and he had a very weak second half as I remember. Still he has been remarkably consistent for better than 3 years. So my answer is I am concerned but not prepared to label him a bust. In fact, even if he finishes the year as he has begun it, I think it possible he will rebound in 2010.

        I am a fan like everyone else here. When simply talking with friends or attending games I have the same emotional responses to my team's failures. I hate it when I see Burrell popping up with a man on third or when Navarro flails at pitches way off the plate (although he has actually been hitting rather well this past week. In fact I noticed he was hitting a lot more line drives since the middle of June but many were right at people.).

        But on a site like this which seems to encourage thoughtful consideration instead of silly fantalk I prefer to look deeper. I don't see what something like Don's last post contributes unless you enjoy reading irrational non-sequiters. Nor do I understand why anyone wants to read opinions that have no data to support them, or that posit non-facts as evidence. Why not just save those for the Heater or dial in to talk radio.

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        • Beth says:

          Bob, that was about the most thoughtful posting I've ever read on a baseball website! Makes me glad I found this site. About Burrell: if you are a NY or a Los Angeles team, you can bench or release a nonperforming player even if you eat a multi-million dollar salary in the process. If you are a small market team, you can't do that. They have to give Burrell every possible chance to turn this around, and as Rays fans we may flinch with each wasted at-bat, but it's also in OUR interest to see him reach what would seem, from past performance, to be his potential.

          And from what I've read on these message boards, Don seems to be the master of the irrational non sequitur!

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        • Don says:

          I'm sorry I can't provide the rambling ons as you do big Bob....
          The the point of my short biting post to any player that is not performing is not to upset someone like you...but to get MY angle of what is actually going on...like or not...hurt someone feelings or not!

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          • bobrittner says:

            You neither upset me nor do you hurt anyone's feelings as far as I can tell. But what is the point of stating your "angle" on something if there is no reasoning or data behind it, or at least none you care to share? It seems to me the height of arrogance to think anyone wants to read one's opinion without substantive argument to support it.

            Stating that Kapler will be selling used cars next year is not just irrelevant. Given that he has been a contributor for about a month now, it is simply stubbornness to continue to mock him.

            In any case, there is nothing biting about a rather trite putdown. As for rambling posts, I think you are confusing verbosity with rambling. I plead guilty to the former, but deny that the post to which you refer lacks structure.

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  6. Beth says:

    The Professor wrote: "We don’t care how well Dan Wheeler is pitching (only given up a run in 1 of his last 24 outings), we will always be nervous when he comes into the game in the 9th with the game on the line."

    I thought it was just me! Looking at his stats for this and last year he appears to be pretty reliable, so why do I reach for the valium when he gets called in? I think in part because some of his blown saves or holds have been so spectacular that I shake my anxiety. Also, even in some of his "successful" (e.g. holds the lead) outings, he does so by bringing us to the brink and then, mercifully, getting those last few outs. So how many scoreless innings will Dan have to pitch before he stops causing fans to break out in hives?

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    • Scot says:

      While we don't have definitive confirmation, one can assume the Rays management is a reader of advanced metrics for relief pitching. Wheeler is doing better than the average relief pitcher with a Fair RA of 2.87 (AL average is well above 4), hence Joe is more than comfortable calling upon him. Like the "Moneyball" folks, the Rays look for advantages in the market. Given today's market, one can expect about 1.7 wins above replacement, for a price take of nearly 3 million per year, and already he is about 1.3 wins above replacement.

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  7. Amanda says:

    "David Price did not look at any scouting reports prior to the game. He went back to the basics and it worked."

    Heh ... and I was lambasted for saying that you can overanalyze stats. *shrug*

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    • Don says:

      MOST posters on these sites are stats people...they really don't SEE what they are watching....they will quote you some numbers...instead of giving an opinion of what is really going on...shrug/shrug!

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      • Scot says:

        Don says, "MOST poster on these sites are stats people".

        You have got to be kidding. Anybody with eyes can clearly see this site is filled with knee-jerk, passion-only, reaction type folks. Clearly, those who site such indefensible statements are simply burying their head into their laptop and not actually watching the game!!!!!

        Have a nice day. :)

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      • Amanda says:

        Hey Don? Does everything you type have to be an annoying snide comment? You agreed with me and pissed me off. *SHEISH*

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  8. Don says:

    NO ONE was more critical of Wheeler LAST year than me, esp in 2nd half...
    But this year he has been ICE...DAN is the MAN...JP too!!
    Relivers shored up....starters where are you....

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  9. Don says:

    Dear Bob: seems like Kapler is your man...and I guess thats ok..
    But let me try to explain his situation for the future with the Rays....
    If Aki is given his job back...Then, for our right fielder options next year will be Zo, Gross, Joyce plus minor league players that have to be given a chance before they are lost....
    So where does that leave Mr Kapler?....4th or 5th best option for RF...
    Why bury him on the bench for $1m salary....
    Thats why I suggested the used car sales option for 2010....hopefully this is not irrevelant help for you.....Sincerely

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