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: Sean Rodriguez. 3 games, 3 home runs. And for the third straight day, his HR might not have happened without the wind, just clearing the center field fence with the wind blowing out. Still, there is a lot to like about his compact and simple swing that does generate a lot of bat speed and power. He also added a triple and double and has a leg up on the battle for playing time at second base…Jeremy Hellickson. In his first appearance in a Rays uniform, Hellboy did not disappoint. In 1.1 innings he allowed only one baserunner. He threw a few more balls than you would like (9 balls, 14 strikes), but he did have 5 swing-and-misses and struck out both Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. The Teixeira K was especially impressive, battling back from a 3-0 count. But our favorite moment was the Curtis Granderson at bat. With a runner on third and 1 out, Granderson hit a slow roller back to the mound. A young pitcher making his debut might get happy feet in that situation. Hellboy was cool, calm and collected. Gave the runner a glance and then threw easily to first base for the out. It would have been easy to rush that play, but Hellickson slowed it down and that showed us a lot.
THE BAD: David Price. It wasn’t necessarily a bad outing, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings. But it took King David 42 pitches to record 5 outs…Mike Ekstrom. Ekstrom is a longshot for the bullpen, and yesterday didn’t help. He faced 6 batters, and 5 of them scored…Another Injury. This time it was RJ Swindle who somehow managed to hurt himself while throwing a 55mph pitch…
THE TELLING: Sean Rodriguez started in left field. While his bat has been impressive, his ability to play the outfield is what gives Rodriguez a strong edge over Reid Brignac for a roster spot. Joe Maddon loved what Ben Zobrist brought to the team last year and Rodriguez can potentially be the same type of player, playing anywhere in the field and wherever JoeMa needs him…Andy Sonnanstine will make the start today versus the Red Sox and he will be followed by Wade Davis.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Marc Topkin writes about Jeremy Hellickson’s strong debut. [St. Pete Times]
- Tony Fabrizio speculates that we won’t see JP Howell until “around March 15.” [Rays Report]
- Tony Fabrizio reports that Willy Aybar played catch and took light swings yesterday with “no issues.” [Tampa Tribune]
- Peter Gammons suggests that competitive balance could be enhanced if the Red Sox and Yankees are moved to different divisions. [MLB]
- Marc Topkin reports that Yogi Berra asked Evan Longoria for his autograph prior to the game…We are guessing that the ball is for Yogi’s museum. [The Heater]
- The Sarasota Herald-Tribune interviewed Tim Beckham. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
- Roger Mooney has 5 questions for Jeff Niemann. [Tampa Tribune]
- Big League Stew has Aki Iwamura’s new “Topps” card in which his Rays uniform has been photoshopped into a Pirates uni. You can see that the photo was obviously taken at The Trop. [Big League Stew]
- A video report from Andy Freed on the first week of games. [FS Florida]
- Bill Chastain writes about Reid Brignac and his fight for a big league job. [MLB]