Rays Blue Jays Baseball

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: Jeff Niemann. Let’s ignore the 2nd inning for a second. How The Giraffe made it into the 7th inning after that is beyond us. With the game on the line in the middle innings, Niemann retired 12 of the final 13 batters he faced…JoeMa. If there is one thing Joe Maddon does, quite often he will stick with a struggling player longer than most managers. Sometimes it backfires. But many times his patience pays off. All the time, it tells his players that he believes in them and he has their back. Not many managers would have let Niemann finish the second inning…Down With OBP. 7 of the Rays starters were on base at least 2 times. Get on base, good things happen…Bonus W’s. The Rays have given away their fair share of wins this season. They got one back last night. Anytime you face Roy Halladay and give up 7 runs and win, that is a bonus win. That was one they probably didn’t deserve, but got anyway.

THE BAD: The Second Inning. Our blood pressure does not need innings like the second. Your sitting there. Enjoying some good food and a good beer. Your Rays have scored 3 off one of the best pitchers in baseball in the first inning. And then the second inning happened. The first 9 batters reached base in the second inning. 5 runs scored before Niemann finally got an agida-ending double-play.

THE TELLING: Carlos Pena hit his 35th home run last night. He also has 35 singles this season…The 8 runs (7 earned) given up by Roy Halladay was the most he had allowed since June, 2007 when also gave up 8 runs (7 earned) against the Devil Rays. That was also Andy Sonnanstine’s big league debut…Jeff Niemann’s 12th win is the most in the majors for a rookie.

SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Ben Zobrist. At his utility best. Was on base 4 times. Scored 4 times. Started at second base, moved to left when Carl Crawford came out in the third and then went back to second in the 9th.


  • Carl Crawford left the game in the third because of back tightness. He will not play tonight, but hopes to be back in the lineup Wednesday. [Tampa Tribune]
  • In the same piece, Marc Lancaster speculates on September call-ups based on some comments from Joe Maddon. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Marc Topkin also speculates on possible September call-ups…He also notes that tonight’s game will not be broadcast locally. [St. Pete Times]
  • Did you know that in 12 seasons, a ball has hit a catwalk in fair territory 102 times. That is 954 games at the Trop. That is actually a much higher rate than we would have expected at once every 9.4 games. [USA Today]
  • Bill Chastain notes that the Rays will need an extra starting pitcher on Sept. 7 when the Rays play a day-night double-header…Paging Mr. Sonnanstine. Mr. Andy Sonnanstine. [MLB]
  • The Rays Party takes a look at the starting rotation moving forward into the 2010 season. [The Rays Party]
  • Good question. It does seem to happen a lot. [Trop It Like It’s Hot]




  1. The Rays love battling Roy Halladay. Hopefully, they can put the same kind of focus and intensity against Brett Cecil tonight. This is the type of mediocre no-name lefty that's given the Rays fits all season. In fact, he's already pitched a gem against the Rays in Toronto (on my birthday, no less). The Rays need to beat this guy tonight. No more crap against the Brett Cecil's of the world! I'm going to puke if they strikeout a ton tonight!

  2. david says:

    mr sonnanstine? ummm, no thanks. his crappy season needs to stay in the minors, where he's being about equally crappy. the bullpen is where his major league career is headed. Wade Davis por favor.

    • bobrittner says:

      I don't think Sonnanstine has been crappy in the minors. He has had 9 starts of which 2 were very bad. They happened to come back to back and recently.

      In his other 7 starts, all but one are clearly quality starts or better, with that one being decent. There is room for concern as his K rate is not good, although his BB rate is excellent. He has not been particularly prone to home runs and his ground ball rate is not good but also not bad.

      What is strange is that while he has been excellent against lefties, he has been pretty bad against righties. It may be that he has not been able to conquer his command problems with any consistency which would indeed make it unwise to have him pitch in TB down the stretch.

      But it is not really accurate to say his performance at Durham has been crappy.

      Caveat: I may be biased because I love watching him pitch. He appears to me a very smart pitcher who has an idea of what he is trying to do with every pitch and whose stuff is a lot better than people make it out to be. He may not have the big fastball, but it is not bad, averaging in the 86-88 range and hitting 90 on occasion, but his ball moves and he is very deceptive with lots of arm angles, speed changes and movement on his pitches.
      I think his problem this year is not control but command, missing his spots. I also think he is the type of pitcher who will keep working on it until he figures out how to improve his command and will once again be a useful back of the rotation starter as he was last year.

      • Don says:

        Your right..... Sorannanstine has not only been crappy in the minors...he was just as crappy in the majors (while he lasted) ....
        Just by observation... I have come to the conclusion I could hit better aga. him (220+) than Burrell has hit all year....more home runs..too...
        Bring Mr. slow ball on..... I'll kill him!

      • Gus says:

        Sonannstine is either Greg Maddux or Ryan Rupe. I love to watch him pitch also, mostly because he works so fast, but I don't think he deserves to pitch on this team any more this season. His MLB numbers were dreadful and its not like he throws so hard that you figure improvement is around the corner.

        Maybe next year, whatever. I'd rather see the new guys get a chance.

        The Rays have kind of owned Halladay dating back to July 2008. Time for the RH scapegoats -- Burrell, Upton and Kapler -- to keep reverting to the mean tonight. Also, for those so anxious to run CC out of town (I am violently opposed), this will be a chance to see what the lineup would look like without him in 2010. If Aybar is in the field, it is probably better that the game is not televised locally.

  3. Copley says:

    Is the game on the MLB package? Can tonights game be watched at Fergs?

    • Amanda says:

      The game will be on TSN tonight, and it's available to me on MLB.tv, but I'm sure the same will be the same if you have the MLB package for cable/satellite.

      I'll be listening to 620 via MLB.tv, though. I love a good baseball game called on the radio.


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