BlueJays Rays BaseballTime 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: Gregg Zaun. The Zaunbie Nation is growing with every swing of his bat. This time it was a grand slam that broke a 1-1 tie with 2 outs in the 8th. Could the stirrups be this year’s Rayshawk? We can hope, can’t we?…Carl Crawford. He was only 1-4 yesterday but he was 7-12 in the series…Jason Bartlett. 3 more hits on Sunday and Barty continues to shine in the leadoff spot.

THE BAD: Matt Garza. How in the world he only allowed 1 run is a testament to his stuff, as Garza was on the brink of disaster in 4 of the 5 innings he pitched. He allowed at least 2 baserunners in each of those 4 innings, once loading the bases with no outs and once allowing the first two to get on base. Both times he got out of the situation. But in the end, all of the close calls raised his pitch count and he was out after only 5 innings.

THE TELLING: Gregg Zaun is short. He is listed at 5-10, but do you think he is only 5 inches shorter than Ben Zobrist (above)?…The Rays have 11 games remaining with the Orioles including 8 of the final 19…After this 3-game set, the Rays have a 23 game stretch in which 20 games are against AL playoff contenders Rangers, Tigers, Red Sox and Yankees. Texas now leads the wild card race by a half-game over the Red Sox. The Rays trail by 3.5.

SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: Gregg Zaun (Carl Crawford took the honors on both Friday and Saturday)

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Tonight at midnight is the deadline to sign 2009 draft picks (non college seniors). As of now, the Rays have signed 11 of their top 15 picks. They have yet to reach agreements with their top pick LeVon Washington, second pick Kenny Diekroeger, their 10th and 15th picks.
  • The Rays have not been shy about singing their draft picks, going well-over the bonus amounts recommended by the commissioner’s office. [St. Pete Times]
  • Reid Brignac has been recalled from Durham and took the roster spot of Jeff Bennett who was sent down. This leaves the Rays with the normal complement of 12 pitchers. [Rays Report]
  • Chad Bradford is ready to be activated, but is waiting on Pat Burrell.  [Tampa Tribune]
  • The Rays sent minor leaguer Rhyne Hughes to Baltimore to complete the Gregg Zaun deal. [The Heater]
  • David Chalk presents the facts about Gregg Zaun. [Bugs and Cranks]
  • Pat Burrell missed the last two games with a recurrence of the neck injury that sidelined him earlier this year. This one is not as bad and he is hoping to be back in the lineup on Tuesday. [Rays Report]
  • Akinori Iwamura felt fine after his first rehab game but Fernando Perez has minor neck injury that has interrupted his rehab assignment. [The Heater]
  • Around the Majors argues that trading BJ Upton now would be a mistake. [Around the Majors]
  • Letitia Stein has an interesting piece on the eating habits of the Rays, one of the healthier big league clubs. [St. Pete Times]

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9 Comments

  1. Myrna says:

    Did anyone notice how annoyed Navarro seemed when they sent the real big game player, Zaun, to pinch hit for him? What an absolute thrill! I’ve seen Navi get up there with bases loaded more than I can count and no one goes home. Zahn brings something to this club that gives me hope for at least a wildcard spot. Maybe the rest of the team will get some of that spunk back..I hope so!

  2. Amanda says:

    Cork, check this out: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/aug/16/161855/zaun-rays-slam-jays/sports/

    Looks like we have an explanation for the getaway-game morass (and, luckily, a cure for it).

    • Beth says:

      Heck, if we realized all they needed to get energized for day games was a better mix tape I’ll bet the fans could have contributed some of our own before now!!

  3. Don says:

    Great work Gregg Zaun…Didn’t know you could hit like that!
    Funny..that a guy that has only been with the team a few games…
    starts to see some problems in the clubhouse….ie Howell “normally we would be dreading coming to work” and he does something to change
    the attitude of the clubhouse!
    Tells you something about attitudes and leadership to date this year!

    • Dustin says:

      Agreed. I know that the statistically minded among us are not supposed to believe in the importance of things like leadership or clutchiness, but with the Rays’ unevenness all year it’s seemed to me that steady clubhouse leadership was something the Rays sorely needed. After all, Floyd’s urging BJ to *ahem* or get off the pot is frequently cited as a contributing factor in Upton’s postseason breakout, and it’s hard to phone in a game when you’ve got Jonny Gomes foaming at the mouth, even if he’s doing so from the dugout.

      As we’ve known all season, the Rays are capable of playing as well as any team in the league. They don’t need to right the ship so much as steady it and play every game like it matters. This is probably the post-salami glow talking, but I’m holding out hope that Zaun can help them do it.

      • bobrittner says:

        “I know that the statistically minded among us are not supposed to believe in the importance of things like leadership or clutchiness”

        I think you make good points but this is not valid. Statistically minded fans do not discount leadership (“clutchiness” is another issue; clutch performance is not discounted either. It is simply noted that there is no evidence that it is a repeatable skill, although some researchers remain open to the possibility it exists.).

        It is simply that leadership and similar factors, not being quantifiable, are not their primary concern. That is not the same as saying they are not important.

        Think of it this way. If you read a medical journal, you are likely to find lots of articles on the chemistry of the human body and similar issues. That does not mean that doctors do not appreciate aesthetics, for example, as part of the human experience, just that they are not primarily concerned with that in their role as doctors.

        While we may agree that medical knowledge does not provide a full understanding of human beings, I think we can agree that it does add to our knowledge and enhances our understanding of how the body works.

        As a matter of fact, occasionally you will find articles discussing “non-scientific” issues in such journals, appraising their role in the overall health of a person. In the same way, sabermetric sites sometimes have articles about non-statistical issues, recognizing their role in any complete analysis.

        It might be fair to say that statistically minded fans do think that such factors as veteran leadership and clutch performance are over stressed in traditional thinking and are often referred to as substitutes for actual thinking about what is happening. Many columnists and media commentators repeat cliches as if they are really analyzing the play of a team, plugging in whichever ones happen to coincide with their point rather than asking really relevant questions.

        But that does not mean that the statistically minded simply dismiss such issues. I really think it is time to jettison such simply minded stereotyping and recognize that the stats do not replace traditional analysis but supplement it and deepen one’s appreciation of the game.

        And incidentally, as is often noted, traditional thinking does not ignore stats. Quite the contrary, it simply focuses on age-old stats that are probably less significant than the more advanced studies. What commentator does not refer to BA or RBIs or ERA or won-lost records, all of which are statistics? They simply are less useful statistics in understanding what is happening.

      • bobrittner says:

        Purely by coincidence, I saw this link at another site today. (Neyer’s)

        http://sabermetricresearch.blogspot.com/2009/08/did-book-really-find-evidence-for.html

        You don’t have to read all the math. I certainly didn’t. And it is not the final word on whether a skill called clutch hitting exists. In fact, as you see, the sabermetricians are still arguing the issue.

        But whatever one’s view, the research adds more information to help arrive at a conclusion, or at least a tentative one.

        Here is a simple (and simplistic) example. A-Rod has developed a reputation as a poor clutch player based primarily on his last few post-season failures. Joe DiMaggio is almost the poster boy for the winning ballplayer who always came through when needed most.

        Check out their post-season performances. You can make a very strong argument that A-Rod has been better. Perhaps there are extenuating circumstances and DiMaggio really was better. But sometimes what we observe, or think we observe, fools us.

  4. Don says:

    This is just rehash but…The ability to “observe” a sporting event and determine who is doing what…is a skill that is superior to statistics!
    There is only a few of us that can do it! (HA!)

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