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: Justin Ruggiano. We completely ignored Ruggy in our roster projection yesterday. But with 2 more hits yesterday he is now 17-38 with 7 extra-base hits. And it would not surprise us if he is selected for a bench spot if Matt Joyce is on the DL and the Rays do not keep Hank Blalock…Joaquin Benoit. Benoit looks to be in mid-season form after his second consecutive no-hit outing. This one lasted 1.1 innings and he struck out 1. We would be surprised if he is not on the opening day roster, and even more surprised if he is not the main high-leverage guy in the 7th and 8th innings by the second-half…Matt Garza allowed 3 home runs in 5.2 innings, but all were solo and he struck out 4 without walking a batter. In 21.2 innings this spring he has walked only 3.
THE BAD: Missed Signs. Joe Maddon was upset after the game because several batters missed signs…Grant Balfour walked 2 including the eventual winning run in the 9th inning. He has now allowed 8 runs on 10 hits and 5 walks in just 7.1 innings this spring.
THE TELLING: The decision on who will be the 5th starter in the rotation will be announced today…Sean Rodriguez was originally slated to start but was pulled with a sinus headache. JJ Furmaniak replaced him in the lineup but was pulled after 1 inning after injuring his foot during his first at bat.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Jonah Keri, who is currently writing a book about the Rays, made an appearance on “The B. S. Report” with Bill Simmons. The podcast is over an hour long and they spend a good deal of time talking about the Rays and the race in the AL East. [ESPN Radio]
- What do the regulars do when they are given the day off during spring training? Well, apparently if you are BJ Upton you stay home and play video games. BJ announced on Twitter that he was “at the crib playing that FIFA” at almost the exact same time that the Phillies were driving in the winning run. [Twitter]
- Roger Mooney makes the case for Wade Davis as the 5th starter. [Rays Report]
- Marc Topkin says the final spot on the roster could come down to Hank Blalock or Reid Brignac. [St. Pete Times]
- Desmond Jennings will be on the cover of the latest issue of Baseball America (with image). [Biscuit Crumbs]
- Matt Joyce and Joe Maddon comment on Joyce’s struggles with his arm. [Tampa Tribune]
- Marc Topkin looks at some numbers that show just how much JP Howell will be missed…We are not the first to make this observation, but without Howell, the bullpen suddenly looks very thin. [The Heater]
- Bill Chastain examines the Rays roster possibilities and who might fill the last available spots. [MLB]
- Martin Fennelly says Pat Burrell needs to be better this year or his career could be in jeopardy. [Tampa Tribune]
- Jenn Sterger served as a guest bartender in NYC recently. [BobsBlitz]