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: What Goes Around. How many times last season did the Rays get the bases loaded with 1 or no outs and fail to score? The key moment in last night’s conclusion of Friday’s game was when the Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the 11th and David Ortiz up. That should be an automatic win for the Red Sox. But Joe Maddon used a 5-man infield. Ortiz grounded to Carlos Pena who forced the runner at home (great scoop by Dioner Navarro). Then Adrian Beltre grounded to Evan Longoria who stepped on third and threw across for the double play…Pat’s Bat. Pat Burrell hit a 2-run HR in the top of the 12th for the game-winner in the first game and cleared the bases with a double in the first inning of the second game. 5 RBI in 2 at bats. Last year, that was known as June…Rafael Soriano. Soriano finally gave the Rays a 1-2-3 outing when they needed it most, protecting a 1-run lead in the 9th. It was his second save of the day.
THE BAD: Bullpen depth. How bad is the bullpen depth right now? Joe Maddon had to go to Andy Sonnanstine with 2 outs in the 7th with a 3-run lead and a runner on base. The result was a second-pitch 2-run home run to make the score 6-5…Rodzilla. It is still very early, but Sean Rodriguez continues to struggle. In the second game he was 0-4 and is now 4-25 on the season with no extra-base hits. He had 13 extra-base hits in the Spring.
THE TELLING: The win was the first for James Shields at Fenway Park…The Rays are now 5-0 on the road this season…After starting Friday’s game with all the players wearing #42, the Rays completed the game on Saturday wearing their standard road unis. So every player was wearing at the end of the game, a different number from when it started. And after completing the first game, the Rays switched to their navy blue alternate jerseys, meaning the Rays wore three different jerseys in less than 24 hours…Winning Friday’s game was huge. Anytime the Rays can get a win in which Wade Davis is facing Josh Beckett in Fenway Park, that is like a 2-game bonus swing in the standings.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are now 8-3, tied with the Yankees for first place in the East. The lead the Wild Card by 1.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays. The Red Sox are 4 back. Back in 2008, the Rays were 5-6 after 11 games.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Kelly Shoppach’s knee injury may be worse than previously believed. There is now a possibility that surgery is required. [Tampa Tribune]
- Matt Joyce has suffered a “setback” during his elbow rehab. He has returned to St. Pete so that the Rays can more closely supervise his progression. [MLB]
- We always hear about “small sample sizes,” but if you want to know exactly how that is defined in baseball Steve Slowinski has a nice summary. [DRays Bay]
- From Rays Renegade comes this image of the “i heart Longo” T-shirt that will be given away to Ladies on Friday…To which we wonder: why just the ladies? [Twitter]
- Would you have ever thought a baseball player would be voted “most popular athlete in the bay area”? [St. Pete Times]