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: Reid Brignac. One of the great things about young players? They still backup EVERYTHING. Leading off the 4th inning in a 1-run game, Mark Kotsay bunted his way on and tried to go to second when Evan Longoria’s throw got away from Carlos Pena. But Briggy Baseball was backing up just like he was taught in little league and threw Kotsay out at second. Huge play. He then singled home 2 runs in the next inning to stretch the lead to 3…Pat Burrell. After falling behind 2-0 early, The Bat drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the 3rd. Paces mean little this early in the season, but Burrell is on pace for 97 RBI…Ben Zobrist. After a day off, Zobrist collected 3 hits to end a 3-28 slide.

THE BAD: Schedule. Nice of the White Sox to schedule the geteway day game as a night game. Yes, they are home this weekend, but it is still April in Chicago and the NFL Draft was on. It would have been a good opportunity to schedule an afternoon game for the weather and to allow the Rays to get home at a decent hour.

THE TELLING: This marked the first time the Rays scored 10+ runs in back-to-back games since May 23 of last year in Miami…Lucky? Based on the Rays runs scored (93) and runs allowed (54), the Pyhthagorean Win Percentage says they should be 12-4 through 16 games. The Rays are 12-4…The Rays went 9-14 last year in April.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 12-4 and have the best record in baseball. They are one-half game ahead of the Yankees and 2.5 games ahead of 3 teams in the Wild Card. After 16 games in 2008, the Rays were 7-9.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Marc Topkin is reporting that the Rays will announce a 5-year extension today for Ben Zobrist that will buy out his first 2 free agency years. [The Heater]
  • Matt Joyce flew to Alabama to see Dr. James Andrews. It is never good when a player visits Andrews, but we would be worried more if Joyce was a pitcher. [MLB]
  • Jayson Stark looks at the markets the Rays could move to and determines that even if they do want/need to move, Tampa may be their only option. [ESPN]
  • There were some rumblings that the Orioles were like the 2008 Rays. Now Richard Griffin says the Blue Jays are not the next 2008 Rays by being the first to compare them to the 2008 Rays. [Toronto Sun]
  • This just in: Jeremy Hellickson is pretty good. It is behind the “Insider” wall, but Jason Grey sings high praise for Hellboy. [ESPN]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Carlos Hernandez allowed 1 run in 7 innings, striking out 5 and walking 3…Desmond Jennings went 0-3 with 2 walks and 2 stolen bases…Hank Blalock was 1-4 and Dan Johnson was 2-4 with a double…Jose Lobaton had a double and 2 walks…Fernando Perez had the night off.
  • MONTGOMERY: Matt Fields was 2-4 with a double and his 4th home run. He also struck out twice and now has a 24-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in just 14 games.
  • CHARLOTTE: Tim Beckham was 0-4 with a walk and a strikeout…Henry Wrigley homered for the second straight game…Matt Sweeney went 0-4.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Kyle Lobstein gave up 5 runs (4 earned) in just 3 innings…Ryan Wiegand had 3 hits including his first home run.

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16 Comments

  1. MikeD says:

    So, Maddon gives JB a day off and he comes back with a stellar game. Zorilla gets a day off and comes back with three hits. Where are all the “Joe doesn’t know what he’s doing” folks now? These guys are off to such a great start – hard not to have pretty high hopes. One thing that has impressed me is how, in this road series, the order has been producing from top to bottom for the most part. Lots of little things done well, and they’re “going for the jug” when they need to.

    • MikeD says:

      Oh – and I didn’t mention cause I just read this – Rays have best ERA, 2.93, in AL. Despite the bullpen struggles, which, I hope, don’t come back to bite them in the ass. Balfour has been good, and I’m looking forward to seeing JP back and Benoit come up from Durham in a couple weeks, hopefully.

    • Deadeye says:

      Joe gave JB the day off before an off day when he went like 4 for 4 the previous night then he pretty much went 0 for Boston.

    • Alex says:

      It had nothing to do with the fact that Buerhle, Peavy and Lackey were all terrible right? It was the day off? Maybe Navi should get more days off. Not because it will help him, but because he is so terrible and Jaso looks so much better.

  2. Justin says:

    The Good: Getaway road wins. So far this season the Rays have won every single getaway road game. Small sample size, yes, but encouraging nonetheless.

  3. John S says:

    Winning on Getaway Day and a bullpen taking care of business most of the time. Again, small sample size, but if it turns out this team fixed the two big problems from last year it’s going to be a fun summer.

    • MJ says:

      Its easy for your bullpen to look good when your starters are going at least 7 inn. Let’s just hope they keep it up until JP gets back, if not longer.

      • What he said. It’s like the starters know that they can’t turn the ball over to the bullpen too early. Also, the way they’ve been tacking on runs… it looks like the hitters are well aware of the bullpen weakness. Overall, a good job of masking the team’s deficiencies but improving other parts of the game.

        • Sarah says:

          Wait a second….are you two turning strong starting pitching and good hitting into a negative? You are making it sound as though the good pitching and hitting we are seeing are “merely” compensation for a weak bullpen. Why not say that their pitching and hitting have been good enough that they haven’t needed to test their bullpen much?

          Every team has SOME weakness — good teams are able to compensate with strengths elsewhere.

  4. Joe D. says:

    Good: After CC was the only guy to get a hit in Tue’s game the Rays rebounded to put up 22 runs in the next 2 games.

    Bad: 5 errors in the last 4 games, I’ve got imagine this will come back to haunt us in closer games when the offense isn’t as hot…

    • Deadeye says:

      Clanking gloves in near freezing temps is to be expected. No worries, they will be fine in the 72 degrees of the Trop.

  5. Alex says:

    Sign Garza next. Don’t let that talent get away

  6. Tone says:

    I agree about the errors being mostly due to the freezing ass wet weather in Chi-town and B-town. They are making me so happy, I feel like skipping all the way to the subway every morning. I saw a guy with a Crawford shirt up here in Brooklyn(sweet). Trying to convert more Mets fans up here, already have completed two. I am loving this team right now. Even Fat Burrell is finding a place in my heart right now(Drunk with baseball joy).

    • Sarah says:

      I know what you mean about Burrell. We’ve been disgusted with him for so long it’s almost hard to switch gears. I still get that sinking feeling when he comes up with runners in scoring position, and then he surprises me!

      At least Navi is still not hitting, so we know the basic laws of physics are still operating.

    • Gus says:

      Burell seems to be enjoying the benefit of low expectations in Rays land. As I’ve said for a yar or so, other players in the system are better and deserve his at bats. The Rays are afraid to pull the trigger, but they should. It would also allow a better player to keep his bat in the lineup but get some rest at DH.

      • Tone says:

        Some players(Longo for one) do not like DHing too much. It screws up their routine, Burrell sucks by most standards but they are going to keep him in there so we all might as well hope he can hit some more and at least not draw too much attention to himself. A Fat Burrell turn around is about as likely as the umps making good calls at a Rays/White Sox game, but winning makes things taste sweeter.

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