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: David Price. Anybody still think King David should be in the bullpen? His first career complete game and his first career shutout. And he got better as the game moved along. In the final 4 innings, Price threw only 35 pitches. He struck out 9 and walked just 1…BJ Upton. Even though it was a pitch in on his hands, Upton pushed a double down the rightfield line to help start the rally in the 5th. Eventually Bossman’s efforts to go opposite-field will lead to even more pitchers trying to pitch him inside. And when that happens, the home runs will really start flying as Upton unleashes one of the fastest bats in baseball…Patience. The 8 hits were good, but the 8 walks were even better. Just one reason the Rays have scored 12 more runs than any other team in the AL…Evan Longoria, had 2 hits in each game of the series, going 2-4 yesterday. He is hitting .324 early on. But his biggest contribution came in the 8th inning with the Rays nursing a 2-0 lead. With a runner on first, Dirtbag dove to his left turning John McDonald’s sure hit into a double-play.
THE BAD: Slow Start. The Rays were thrown out trying to steal 4 times in the first 4 innings including Carl Crawford twice. Jose Molina was the first catcher to throw out 4 in one game since 2002 and it was just the 3rd time Crawford has been thrown out twice in one game. There were only 4 other attempted steals against Molina prior to yesterday’s game and he had thrown out 3.
THE TELLING: Dioner Navarro was scratched from the lineup with a sore leg…The Rays drew 23,250 for yesterday’s game and just a hair over 23,000 per game for the weekend series…We did a very quick survey of the 2008 season and it appears that the Rays 14-5 mark equals the Rays best 19 game stretch that season…The Rays scored 4 runs in the 8th inning. That is the 15th time in the last 12 games they have scored at least 3 runs in one inning after doing that just 2 times in the first 7 games.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 14-5 and have the best record in baseball, 1.5 games ahead of the Yankees and 4 games ahead of the Blue Jays in the Wild Card race. After 19 games in 2008, the Rays were 8-11.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- In case you missed it yesterday, we welcomed a new weekend contributor to Rays Index. [Rays Index]
- Today’s Durham Bulls game will be aired on the MLB Network live at 11:00 AM (thanks Chris).
- Virgil Vasquez, the pitcher obtained from the Pirates just before the start of the season broke his wrist in a car accident. [Biscuit Crumbs]
- Joe Dillon’s home run yesterday hit the Bull at DBAP and won himself and an entire section of fans a free steak. [Twitter]
- Andy Hutchins says the Rays may be the best team in baseball right now. [The Sporting Blog]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: At 14-4, the Bulls actually have a better record than the Rays…Aneury Rodriguez gave up a leadoff double, but then settled down to retire 17 of the next 18 batters and did not allow another hit in 7 innings of work. He struck out 4 and walked 2. In 2 triple-A starts, Rodriguez has yet to allow a run and has given up just 5 hits in 14 innings with 10 Ks and 3 walks…Justin Ruggiano (4), Joe Dillon (2), Alvin Colina (2) and Chris Richard (2) homered for the Bulls…Fernando Perez was 2-5…Hank Blalock did not play.
- MONTGOMERY: Alex Torres pitched 6 shutout innings with 7 strikeouts in the first game of the double-header…Matt Fields went 0-7 with 3 strikeouts in the two games.
- CHARLOTTE: Matt Moore struck out 8 and walked 4 in 5 innings. He allowed 1 run…Matt Sweeney was 0-4 with 2 strikeouts.
- BOWLING GREEN: Jason McEachern pitched 6 shutout innings in game 1 and Shane Dyer pitched a 7-inning shutout in the nightcap.