The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

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THE GOOD: Pat Burrell. Yep, 2 hits, including a cue-shot off of Mo Rivera in the 9th…Joaquin Benoit. After another strong outing (see below) Benoit has now struck out 9 of the 12 batters he has faced. He still hasn’t shown that he can work back-to-back games. But at this point, isn’t Benoit every other day, still a better option for the Rays than some of the everyday options Joe Maddon has now?

THE BAD: Joe Maddon. Despite throwing 24 pitches the day before, and despite Jorge Posada being a better hitter from the right side with more power versus versus lefties, JoeMa brought Randy Choate in with a 2-1 lead to try and induce a groundball double-play. Instead, Hip-Hip Jorge hit a 2-run home run to give the Yankees a lead they would never relinquish…James Shields. With this bullpen, Shields has to give Joe Maddon more than 5.1 innings (103 pitches)…Hot Springs. Sean Rodriguez may have used up all his hits in the spring. After an 0-3, he is now 2-13 (both singles) to start the year…Baserunning. We’re not going to mention that BJ Upton was picked off first base. Nope, not going to mention it…Navi’s D. Does anybody else remember when Dioner Navarro was actually a decent defensive catcher? Yesterday the Yankees scored their 4th run on a wild pitch by Lance Cormier. The pitch was in the dirt, but the pitch was blockable and Navi made only a half-assed attempt at blocking the pitch.

THE TELLING: Andy Sonnanstine worked the final 2 innings which means Jeff Niemann will make his scheduled start on Tuesday…The Rays debuted their new powder blue jerseys. We were a little disappointed at the beginning of the game, but they were starting to grow on us by the end…Matt Joyce is day-to-day on his rehab assignment after being hit in the forearm with a pitch.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Marc Topkin talks to some of the Rays about getting ready for their 11-day roadtrip. [The Heater]
  • Joe Maddon talks about the need for the Rays to play better on the road this season. [St. Pete Times]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Hank Blalock sat for the third straight game even though Matt Joyce was unavailable to DH. The opposing starting pitcher was a lefty. Still, he didn’t come in after Joyce left Saturday’s game and he did not pinch-hit yesterday…Virgil Vasquez made his first start since being acquired from the Pirates, allowing just 1 run (a home run) in 5.2 innings with 2 strikeouts and 1 walk…Joaquin Benoit, struck out 3 of the 4 batters he has faced and 9 of the 12 he has faced on the season…Joe Dillon went 2-4 with 2 doubles and an RBI.
  • MONTGOMERY: David Newmann pitched an impressive 7 shutout innings, allowing just 5 hits and no walks with 4 Ks. He needed only 65 pitches (45 strikes)…Shawn O’Malley was 3-4 with a walk, an RBI and 2 stolen bases…Cody Cipriano went 3-4 with a double and a stolen base.
  • CHARLOTTE: Game suspended in the 2nd inning.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Wilking Rodriguez, whom some think is the Rays next great pitcher, got pounded early giving up 6 runs (4 earned) in the first 2 innings. But he did settle down to work 5 innings with 6 strikeouts and no walks…Mark Thomas went 2-4 with his second home run.
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24 Comments

  1. leningan says:

    Thought exactly the same when choate came in... the choices out of the bullpen was my big concern coming into the series, Niemann going down early really hindered us. I think Ekstrom threw 4 games in a row, choate was way overused, and possibly misused, and cormier is now too vital to run out there for multiple innings. I understand wanting a ground ball, but why use the only lefty in the pen that early? Surely that was part of the decision, I just can't believe it could be ignored. Let's hope for more 8 inning outings on this roadtrip or we could be off to a slow start...

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    • I was trying to put my manager's hat on and figure out what I'd do in that situation and the only conclusion I would draw is let Shields pitch to Posada. Really, the only guy Shields was having problems with was A-Rod. He was already done that ining. Why not let Shields see if he can get an out or two in a couple of pitches? Of course, Shields could've just as easily gave up the same ding-dong Choate did.

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      • I thought the exact same thing with Shieds. I was shocked when he came out and did not face one more hitter. He was only at 103 pitches. Granted it was a laborous 103. Still, why not let Shields pitch to Posada.

        If JoeMa was worried, then just tell Shields to nibble the outisde corner with nothing but fastballs and a changeup or 2. If Posada walks fine. Then bring Choate in to face Granderson.

        After Posada it was lefty-switch-lefty. Did Maddon think Choate was going to face 4 batters after throwing 24 pitches the day before? No way he's going that long. Of course Girardi would have pinchhit for Gardner (the 4th batter) but at least Maddon is making Girardi react to Maddon instead of the other way around.

        Joe Maddon is a good manager. But that might have been the worst in-game move he has ever made.

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        • Gus says:

          Oh I've a long list of worse moves than that. Games 5 of the World Series, anytime Willy Aybar puts on a glove, the bullpen meltdown in Cleveland last year.

          But it was Joe Maddon overmanging the game again. For sure.

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  2. Now that the number is up on the Rays bullpen, expect a lot more pitch watching early in the game. It's going to be awful in Boston. I don't think that lineup will swing at anything until it's two strikes. They're going to be pushing hard to get to that bullpen.

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  3. Joe D. says:

    If Benoit gets called up some time this week, I guess Eckstrom gets DFAed, but then who do you all think is the next person out of the pen when Howell is ready? Or is it still too early to think about that?

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    • Gotta be Sonnanstine, right? they could send him down to Durham to be the Rays 6th starting pitcher should somebody get hurt. If he stays in the bullpen and is needed in the rotation it would take him 2-3 starts to stretch out his arm again and might be limited to ~5ip until he does. But that is not the worst thing in the world.

      But who else would go down? Choate is the only lefty. I guess Cormier is an option, but is Sonny any better than Cormier out of the pen as the long reliever?

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  4. Joe D. says:

    So far I've been underwhelmed with all of pen, Balfour's lack of velocity scares me, he's a power pitcher that can't throw more than 93 any more. Sonny to me looks about like he did as a starter, still throws up a meatball for a homerun then setlles in...

    I don't think I've really seen enough of Cormier this year... I guess I'm almost thinking unless Balfour shows his good fastball... He might be our weakest link... It pains me to say it because we all remember him being nearly unhittable in '08 but that was also w/ a 96mph fastball...

    Choate been bad a couple of times too, but do you want to lose a lefty, when you get Howell back... I thinking not...

    Does Sonny still have an option for this year? I'm assuming he does...

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  5. Deadeye says:

    Yes Pat had 2 hits. I am trying to remember what the last time was that he actually hit a ball that looked like it "might" be a homerun. No power from the DH in the AL East? Not good.

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  6. Alex says:

    Two garbage time singles for Burrell. Yea go team

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  7. Rumpy says:

    "Rumpy says:
    April 3, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Am I the only one that is still sketchy about our bullpen? Sure we have ONE closer now but I still am nervous about the bullpen as a whole."

    I know it is still early in the season but, "I told you so", just doesn't seem to cut it...

    We are REALLY missing JP right now. Our "lefty specialist" she only be used against lefties. Joe really has to stop over-thinking things and trust his guys that got him there. Oh an Sonny needs to go back to AAA when JP comes back, easy choice.

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  8. Don says:

    Pick on the pitching all you want but the truth is IF:
    Upton(.200) Pena (.235) BURRELL (.188) S. Rod (.154) Kaplar(.000)
    Do NOT hit and contribute to the scoring...Bartlett,Longo, Zo and CC
    can not carry this team alone!....I don't care if Price pitches every game an who is in the bullpen...
    They can not beat the Yankees and Red Sox with only 4 hitters!
    End of story!

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    • I'll give 'Los a break because of the guys batting behind him. But I can't completely bash the hitters for the last 2 games... Sabathia and Burnett were lights out.

      One thing these guys have to do when they're facing CC on an "on" day is learn to layoff a little bit and take a couple strikes and foul a few off. According to reports, Bartlett came back to the dugout after his first at-bat off CC and said he has some "giddy-up." Now, if I'm anyone in the rest of the order, I'm thinking that I'm going to make the big boy work for every at-bat and vow to get at least 5 pitches thrown per batter.

      Of course, you have to have some pretty good eyes for that kind of strategy. Some of the Rays lineup would have real trouble with that.

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  9. Don says:

    Oh I almost forgot my favorite subject....Joe (fricken) Maddon...
    I would like to say he (we) have the MOST TALENT in the league..
    but lets give the Yankees their due (world champions)...so lets say we have the 2nd best talent in baseball....Are we going to watch .500 baseball from the talent we have?? It's early... but they could have lost every game to the Orioles(all close) and won 1 with the Yankees (Price)
    I (we) should expect better!

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  10. Jason W says:

    I'm starting to wonder if Sean is just one of those AAAA guys who hit well in the minors and in spring but dont do so well in the majors.And not just because he is strggling right now but he also struggled with the Angels.Maybe we should send him to Cevallos(I think that is his name
    0.It worked for Zobrist.

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    • I'm willing to give s-rod a little more time. But he definitely looks overwhelmed at the plate like Zobrist and Brignac used to. I don't think Maddon had plans to have S-Rod in there too often, but the Matt Joyce injury changed all that.

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  11. Joe D. says:

    Joe Maddon didn't leave the bases loaded in the bottom of the 6th with out scoring a run...

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  12. Joe D. says:

    Yes he did on the first pitch saw... He's looking more and more like Delmon Young at the plate...

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    • Gus says:

      The league made an adjustment to Upton and his raw talent can't get him by anymore, especially with a shoulder with issues. Delmon Young is a good comparison. I was actually thinking Ben Grieve myself. Long swings have holes that get exposed.

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    • mike says:

      You sound like Debbie Downer. BJ is putting some good swings on the ball. He is going to start getting results any game now. We are 2 series in to the season and you sound like its a lost cause. The Rays are awesome this year, but they are going to lose several series throughout the season.

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  13. steve says:

    http://talksportsphilly.com/?p=1716

    Nice showing for our rays. LETS GO RAYS!

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  14. Joe D. says:

    My prediction have gatza, a nono tonight

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  15. Joe D. says:

    Or not

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