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: Wade Davis. Big Dub’s control was better (55 strikes, 31 balls). And his curveball was great. If not for the weather and the 12-run lead, he could have easily worked deeper than 6 innings…Jason Bartlett. His second 3-hit game in the last 3 days raises his batting average 50 points. And his RBI single in the 3rd got the scoring started…BJ Upton. Two more hits, including a double, and both were to right field…Sean Rodriguez. Rodzilla started at second and picked up 3 hits including his first home run and 4 RBI.

THE BAD: First Inning. We had a heart attack in our butt when Mark Buehrle struck out the side in the first. But Upton’s double in the second ended an 0-52 stretch against White Sox pitchers by Rays not named Carl Crawford.

THE TELLING: Ben Zobrist, in a 3-28 slump, got the night off and Willy Aybar missed the first of two games to be with his expecting wife…John Jaso will start today against the right-hander and all of the sudden this series with the White Sox is exactly what some of has hoped for the catching position months agoIt is early, but PECOTA says the Rays now have a 79.8% shot at the playoffs…Tonight’s game will be found on 970 AM as 620 AM is bumping the Rays for the NFL Draft.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 11-4, one-half game behind the Yankees and 2.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays and Mariners in the Wild Card race. In 2008, the Rays were 6-9 after 15 games.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Joe Maddon was not happy with umpire Joe West who Maddon felt had rushed him during a pitching change on Tuesday. [The Heater]
  • Jonah Keri once again joined Bill Simmons on his podcast to talk all things Rays and also to try and help Red Sox Nation back from the cliff. [JonahKeri.com]
  • Jon Paul Morosi is pushing the panic button on the Red Sox early on…let’s keep in mind that the Red Sox had two stretches of 15 games in 2007 as bad as the current one and they still won the World Series. [Fox Sports]
  • Maybe we missed something, but it seems as though John Kruk is advocating that the Rays not trade Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena and that they should make a push for the playoffs even if they are 15 games back at the trade deadline (thanks Thad). [ESPN]
  • BJ Upton headlines Joe Lemire’s list of players that have something to prove this season, noting Upton’s offseason work and his early strong start (thanks Thad). [SI.com]
  • The HART busline is looking into bus service to The Trop for Rays games, but it may not be legal. [Tampa Tribune]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Virgil Vasquez, the player acquired from the Pirates for cash before the season, allowed 5 runs in 4.2 innings…Joaquin Benoit retired all 4 batters he faced, striking out 2…Hank Blalock hit his first home run in the Rays organization…Dan Johnson hit his league-leading 7th home run…Desmond Jennings was 1-5 with a walk and 2 steals…Fernando Perez was 3-5 with a walk and his 8th stolen base.
  • MONTGOMERY: Jake McGee allowed 1 run and struck out 3, but had to leave after 2.1 innings because of a leg injury…Nevin Ashley was 2-4.
  • CHARLOTTE: Nick Barnese struck out 8 and walked just 1 in 5 innings, but did give up 10 hits and 4 runs…Tim Beckham went 2-4 with a double…Matt Sweeney was 0-2 with 2 walks…Henry Wrigley hit his 2nd home run.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Wilking Rodriguez gave up 2 runs (1 earned) in 6 innings with 2 strikeouts and 1 walk…Bowling Green managed only 3 hits. There are 60 single-A minor league teams. Only Kinston in Southern League (.568) has an OPS worse than Bowling Green (.577).
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34 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    Oof, bumping the Rays for the NFL draft when it's obvious the Bucs are going to take whichever one of Suh or McCoy (Gerald, not Colt) is left? Weak (though I know they probably didn't have much choice).

    Shield vs. Peavy tonight seems winnable, but Shields really needs to keep the ball in the park tonight. I know giving up solo home runs and nothing else is kind of his MO, but he seems to be on quite the homers allowed pace so far, even for him.

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  2. Rumpy says:

    "We had a heart attack in our butt when Mark Buehrle struck out the side in the first. "

    I peed my pants laughing at this one. Keep up the good work. GO RAYS

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  3. As Bossman goes, so goes the Rays versus lefties. His double opened the floodgates last night.

    I'd also like to give props to Mr. Wade Davis who looked absolutely nasty last night.

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  4. Beth says:

    Not only did Buehrle strike out the side in the first inning, but Davis looked awful. I was sure this game was a certain loss.

    I'm unbelievably pleased that the Rays managed to take this game. Clearly these hitters do have a learning curve. Maybe the new hitting coach helped, too?

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  5. Brian H says:

    i was very pleased with this win, not only that they won but they beat the snot out of them.

    and also, all spring they spoke about getting off to a good start. i loved that they accomplished that goal, its a real good sign of thing to come

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  6. Tone says:

    The start of the game got me upset too, then it turned into a gem for Davis and the offense. I hope they show up again tonight. They do have a bad habit of beating the crap out of you and then laying down like dogs the next game.

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  7. Don says:

    Tremendous effort by the Rays last night...I don't even feel like picking on Kaplar, Upton or even Maddon..Unbelievable effort by all!!!
    Now tonight they could put the lid on the most successful road trip EVER by a (Devil) Rays team!
    Go Rays...one more...then come home to the Trop.!

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  8. Joe D. says:

    Prof., you've made it no secret that this was to be a warm up blog before you started a bucs blog...

    Any thoughts on the Bucs draft tonight? Suh, G. McCoy,Berry?

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    • I have 2 demands with the #3 pick:

      1) Don't trade down (unless by some miracle Bradford is still there). The Rays have 12 picks and won't be able to fit all 12 on the roster as it is.
      2) Don't draft Berry. I understand he might be the closest thing to a sure-thing in the draft, but even great safeties are rarely difference-makers. It would be like drafting a great middle reliever over a starting pitcher that might be great.

      As for Suh or McCoy? I think we'll be happy with either.

      After that, I want to see the Bucs use some of their other picks and either move up into the late-first round or add another 2nd round pick. If they do that it will be a very good draft no matter who they get.

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      • Mark01 says:

        Polamalu and Reed aren't difference makers?

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        • Polamalu is a difference-maker but I also have never thought of him as a true safety. He plays the position kinda like a very fast linebacker. And Reed is a great player, no doubt. But I don't think he has ever carried that defense.

          Again, I have no problem with a great safety. I still wear #47 at RaymondJames. But I miss Warren Sapp more.

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  9. Joe D. says:

    I'm a little bit surprised by your take on Berry, especially with him having a year under Monte Kiffin, and the recent impact safties like Polomolu, and Bob Sanders.

    I'm obviously hoping Suh 'slides' to us, and we don't have to worry and it should be a no brainer

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    • but i think Sanders is a perfect example. He is great. No doubt, and as an Iowa grad, I love him. But how many games has missed? And their defense doesn't ever lose much of a step. I just think the difference between a great safety and a good safety is not much. But the difference between a great DT and a good DT is huge.

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      • Gus says:

        Ryan Niece has his dad on line 1 and would like a word with the professor.

        The risk that McCoy or Mt. Cody eat their way out of the league is something you have to consider. Berry is going to be in the league for 12 years for sure.

        With all the blowouts and a few close losses, wouldn't the Rays pythagoreum formula predict a 125 win season at this point? Blowouts are underrated, just for the fact you can sit BJ down for a few innings, get your struggling guys in the pen some work in low leverage situations, and generally relax.

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        • No doubt about it. Berry is the safe pick. But i don't think you take a safe pick at #3. I don't want a 12-year starter. I want a guy that can be a 6-time pro bowler. If you really want Berry, that's fine. But I would drop down to 5 or 6 and take him and hopefully pick up another 2nd rd pick. But I personally wouldn't take a safety in top 3

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          • Mark01 says:

            I'm confused. Are you saying Berry isn't going to be great?

            He can't make 6 pro bowls?

            I would say the chance of him making 6 pro bowls are higher then the chance of McCoy making 6.

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          • No. Like I said. Berry is the safest pick. But I don't think the difference between an all-pro safety an average safety is as great as the same spread at DT.

            Even if Berry is a 6-time pro bowler, I don't think he will be worth the money a #3 gets. And yes, one of the DTs could be a bust, but they could also be much greater. Personally, I don't think you make great teams by being safe at the top of the draft.

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          • Indiana Rays Boy says:

            I want to see DT Gerald McCoy with that 3rd pick in a Buccaneers uniform. He fits well in that system and he would blend well with DT Roy Miller.

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        • PS. Even if you could do the '81 draft all over again knowing EXACTLY what every player would become, Ronnie Lott is still not a top-5 pick (Taylor, Singletary, Green, Long, RickyJackson, Grimm)

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  10. Joe D. says:

    Very true, never really thought of out that way, but you're right, we're still trying to replace Sapp 7 years later...

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  11. steve-o1285 says:

    Only 17,000 at the game last night. CLEARLY CHICAGO IS NOT A BASEBALL TOWN AND THE TEAM SHOULD BE MOVED IMMEDIATELY!!!111!!2

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    • I was just talking with some co-workers about this. On this road trip, the Rays have played to a deserted stadium in Baltimore, a half-empty cold and wet Fenway park, and a half-empty US Cellular Park. Yet, when the Rays play the A's next week... all we're going to hear is that the attendance sucks.

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      • steve-o1285 says:

        I'm sure the seats at Fenway were sold, so the numbers will still look good for them. But the magnifying glass will always be on the Tampa Bay area until they finish above average in attendance for a full season...especially while the team is this good.

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    • Indiana Rays Boy says:

      Chicago is more like a Bears and Cubs town. Cubs and Bears are one and two in attendance in that city. MLS team, Chicago Fire home opener 2 weeks ago outdrew the White Sox and Rays game yesterday at US Cellular Field (Fire 20,100 people White Sox 17,000 people).

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  12. Jason W says:

    Longo deserves to remain in the 3 spot. In the 4 spot it seemed he was trying to pull every pitch he swang at and last night in the 3, he was hitting some nice loine drives just going with the ball instead of just swinging wildly.Also seeing as Zobrist is hitting bad and has no HRs yet while Longo has 3. Behind him should be Pena.I dont know why Maddon got the idea for Zo in the 3 anyways, horrible idea from the start

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    • Carey says:

      I'm really torn on this. If you look at his numbers from last year, and the fact he's a switch hitter who's pretty consistent from both sides, Zobrist is an obvious choice to bat third. Ditto for Longo and the 4-hole. It "seems" to make perfect sense.

      But that's what I love about baseball: What seems obvious isn't always so.

      I really am not worried about Longo. He's 25 going on 55. He can handle it. His demeanor seems ideal for the game and he'll adjust. It's Zobrist that I always liked in the 5 or 6-hole. I think it allowed him to sneak up on people. Not like he would this year, but I wonder if the "leverage" of the situations at 3 makes a difference mentally.

      Eh, could just be mental mastrubation. Either way, I think the jury is still out on the new lineup.

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    • Tone says:

      Mr. Perfect was far from it last night, Danks was pure nasty the night before. I am worried about Zobrist at 3 but it is still early. If he keeps sucking Maddon will move him down, even though in the past he would just keep him there to fail repeatedly. This year it's all or nothing. New attitude for Joe this year, not pissing me off too much so far. Ben has looked WAY better than BJ did leading off.

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  13. Don says:

    Who the HELL gives a damn about the Bucs....A shitty team, playing in a half ass town, to a half empty stadium...and thats what you have to talk about when the Rays are going GREAT...thats why you are SMALL TIME!

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    • Carey says:

      "Who the HELL gives a damn about the Bucs….A shitty team, playing in a half ass town, to a half empty stadium…and thats what you have to talk about when the Rays are going GREAT…thats why you are SMALL TIME!" - Don.

      And that's why you're a douchebag.

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      • Don says:

        Ok....Bucs are a great team, playing in a fine city, to a full stadium...
        Do you feel better??? Loser!

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        • Carey says:

          Don't know where you're from or who you root for, but the fact that you are here - at a TAMPA BAY site - and posting that says it all.

          Just in case you missed it the first time:

          DOUCHBAG!!!!

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  14. steve-o1285 says:

    Yeah, what a disaster our offense was tonight. Maddon has more baseball knowledge in his left nut than you will ever have. You only sound dumb when you question him.

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