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: BJ UPTON. Dude is red hot and it sure looks like our Bossman is back. This time it was an opposite-field 3-run home run, his 4th home run of the road trip. BJ hasn’t looked this comfortable at the plate since the 2008 playoffs…PLAYING FOR 1 RUN. We are not big fans of the sacrifice bunt and Joe Maddon usually isn’t either. But yesterday he played for 1 run in the first innings when Carl Crawford bunted Jason Bartlett to third. Bartlett then scored on Ben Zobrist’s groundout for the early lead…NIEMANN’S ESCAPE. The Sox had runners in scoring position with less than 2 outs in the first and second innings. In the third he walked the leadoff hitter. In the 4th the Sox had second and third. And in each case he escaped without allowing a run. Then he settled down and retired 9 in a row until a 2-out single in the 7th…THE BAT. A 6-game hitting streak for Pat Burrell. 3 more hits yesterday. It was only his second 3-hit game with the Rays. Don’t look now, but Burrell is hitting .270…JASON BARTLETT. Bartlett was in an 0-14 funk before getting 3 hits yesterday.
THE BAD: TRUFFLE SHUFFLE. OK, he had 3 hits and we love his newfound enthusiasm and hustle. But what the hell was Pat Burrell thinking when he tried to stretch his wall-ball into a double in the 6th? He was out by 15 feet…STRIKEZONE. When Ben Zobrist is dropping F-bombs, the home plate umpire is not doing a good job.
THE TELLING: We know spring training means little, but the Rays are now 9-0-1 against the Red Sox this season including the spring…This was the 4th time the Rays have swept a 4-game series on the road and first since 2008 (Baltimore)…Matt Garza is the first AL pitcher in 20 seasons (Roger Clemens 1991) to go at least 8 innings in each of his first three starts and allow no more than 1 run in each start. Clemens won the Cy Young award that season.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 10-3, one-half game ahead of the Yankees and 5.5 in front of the Red Sox. After 13 games in 2008, the Rays were 6-7.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Kelly Shoppach did have surgery on his knee and will be out 4-6 weeks. [St. Pete Times]
- Aneury Rodriguez, the player acquired for Jason Hammel, has been promoted to triple-A. [Biscuit Crumbs]
- Joe Henderson says it is early but the Rays start is very promising. [Tampa Tribune]
- Jeremy Hellickson was named the IL pitcher of the week. [Biscuit Crumbs]
- The Rays now sit atop one power rankings list. [USA Today]
- TAUNTR has an image in honor of the Rays sweep of the Sox. [TAUNTR]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: Heath Phillips struck out 4 and walked 2 in 5.1 innings, allowing 1 run…Joaquin Benoit gave up his 2nd home run in 1 inning of work. He struck out 1 batter and walked another…Desmond Jennings went 2-6 with 2 RBI and his first stolen base…Dan Johnson hit his 5th home run in 12 games…Hank Blalock went 2-4 with a walk…Fernando Perez went 0-4, but had a walk and his 6th stolen base…Jose Lobaton was 3-4 in his second game with Durham.
- MONTGOMERY: Alex Torres gave up 6 runs (5 earned) in 4 innings. He struck out 6 and walked 1…Ryan Royster hit his 1st home run and Matt Fields drove in 2.
- CHARLOTTE: Chris Andujar gave up 2 runs in 6 innings, striking out 4 and not walking a batter…Tim Beckham was 0-3 with a walk and Matt Sweeney went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts.
- BOWLING GREEN: The Hot Rods managed only 3 hits. Dustin Biell had 1 and the only 2 RBI.