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: Big Bats. The Rays blew yet another lead to the Mariners, but it was Evan Longoria’s home run in the 5th that gave the Rays the lead for good and Carlos Pena’s home run 2 batters later that sealed the deal…Gregg Zaun. First was the high-pants look, something we missed since Akli Iwamura has been on the DL. Then it was the taped interview of Zaun shown during the game in which he explained why he still works so hard at blocking pitches in the dirt. To paraphrase, he wants to give the pitchers confidence to keep their breaking pitches down. If a catcher is bad at blocking pitches, they are more likely to hang a slider or curve.
THE BAD: Jame Shields. The Rays finally scored some runs for Shields, but he immediately gave it all back with 3 runs in the 2nd inning.
THE TELLING: After the Rays took a 6-3 lead in the top of the 5th, Joe Maddon made an unusual move, making some lineup changes and went with a better defensive unit, something you would usually not see until the 8th or 9th inning…Gregg Zaun was in the lineup for the first time…With the recent roster changes, the Rays will go with an extra bullpen arm and only 3 bodies on the bench, at least through this road trip…The Rays are now 1.5 games behind the Red Sox and one-half game behind the Rangers in the Wild Card race.
SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Evan Longoria
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Rays once again took advantage of their stronger waiver position and claimed 40-year old relief pitcher Russ Springer from the A’s. To make room the Rays DFA’d Joe Dillon. They also cut ties to RJ Swindle who was claimed earlier in the week. [St. Pete Times]
- Marc Topkin writes about Gregg Zaun’s adjustment to working with the pitching staff. [St. Pete Times]
- Small sample size, Jason Bartlett is taking to his new role quite nicely. [The Rays Party]
- The Rays attendance is even worse on the road. [Rays All Day]
- The Rays have the 9th oldest double-A roster and the 6th oldest triple-A roster. The Montgomery roster is a bit surprising, but not necessarily the Durham roster. The Rays like to collect minor leaguers with lots of professional experience and keep them on the Durham roster. This helps with the maturation of the younger players but also gives the Rays some insurance should a big leaguer go down with an injury. [Hardball Times]