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: 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 ago…It 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).