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: Matt Garza. We predicted that The Garza Complex would contend for the Cy Young this season and he did not disappoint in his first start. He allowed 2 runs (1 earned) in 8 innings striking out 9 with just 4 hits and 2 walks…Evan Longoria. Dirtbag might make us eat our words that he is not an early favorite for AL MVP. He homered and doubled and now has driven in half of the 8 runs the Rays have scored.

THE BAD: Rare Error. Carlos Pena couldn’t field a low throw in the first inning that would have been the third out. Instead the O’s scored their second run…Kelly Shoppach. With the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 4th, Shoppach took a fastball right down the pipe. He was either sitting on a breaking ball or he was just hoping the pitch would be a ball. Either way, it was not good…Umpires. There were a couple of questionable calls last night, but none worse than the check-swing strike called by Kerwin Danley on Carl Crawford. CC clearly did not swing and Danley did not ask for help from the third base umpire. In the confusion, Reid Brignac was thrown out at second because he assumed it was ball 4…Rafael Soriano. It is early so we don’t want to make too many Troy Percival comparisons, but one thing we do know. Big league hitters can hit 92-mph fastballs that are up and don’t move. And they usually hit them hard as Garrett Atkins did with his ground-rule double in the 9th.

THE TELLING: Matt Garza used to have chin-pubes. He now has chin super-pubes. Lucky for Matthias MLB doesn’t take hair samples during drug testing, because his goatee is on something…The season is about winning series and the Rays have already clinched their first series. But beating bad teams is what the Rays are supposed to do. We won’t know until this weekend whether they are ready to compete with the big boys…While opening day did not sell out until the last minute, TV ratings were very good. The 4.8 average rating was more than double last year’s home opener (2.2)…Matt Garza now has a 2.72 career ERA against the AL East and 5.09 against everybody else…The Rays top 4 minor league affiliates begin play today.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Matt Joyce will begin a rehab assignment tonight with Durham. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Jeff Passan has a long piece suggesting the Rays can’t compete in the AL East and that they are destined to become the next Oakland A’s. That is, they will develop talent just to see it shipped off to other teams because the Rays can’t afford to keep them. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Jonah Keri wrote an even longer rebuttal to Jeff Passan. [JonahKeri.com]
  • Nevin Ashley will miss Montgomery’s opener due to a death in the family. [Biscuit Crumbs]
  • We were going to search for a picture of Matt Garza’s chin super-pubes, but Her Rays’ artistic rendering is much better. [Her Rays]
  • Michael Sasso reports that a baseball stadium is not part of the proposed development of the Florida State Fairgrounds. But the developers may be “keeping the door open.” [Tampa Tribune]
  • Jake McGee says he feels as good and as strong as he did before his injury. Wade Davis predicts that McGee will need “maybe a month” in Montgomery before he will be promoted. [Montgomery Advertiser]
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19 Comments

  1. Nothing against Reid Brignac, but I'm not too sure that the early shaky defense didn't have to do with this 2nd base platoon Maddon's working. I'm not a big fan and I think he should stick someone at 2nd and be done. Brignac looked much better at the plate than Sean Rodriguez did, but I thought the rest of the infield looked much more comfortable w/ S-Rod at 2nd.

    I know Joyce's injury muddled things up a bit, but c'mon.

    As for Soriano.. I keep telling myself the Ends justify the Means. It wasn't pretty, but he's 2 for 2 in getting the job done. That's a lot better than that clown that Boston trots out in the ninth (BTW, it was real sweet to turn over to that game and watch Red Sox nation melt down w/ his blown save).

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    • Justin says:

      Dude, Soriano is asking to be smacked around. This is exactly how Percival ran things: close. Too close.

      If he keeps this up, he will blow saves faster than Papelbum--which I loved seeing by the way. Problem is, a better team will KILL Soriano. Remember Percival... in Toronto... Grand Slam...

      If something similar happens you will not be happy with the "ends."

      And I think it's worthwhile to draw a contrast with second half 2008 Wheeler, who also nearly gave me heart attacks. I think with Soriano we have a guy who is more similar to Percy than Wheeler. Both Percy and Soriano have that closer bluster. We need this guy to get his stuff together.

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      • Is Soriano as sharp as he can be? No. Would a better team have beat him up? Maybe. Is it the 2nd game of the season? Yes.

        I'm not going to start calling Soriano the 2nd coming of Troy Percival only 2 games into the season. The fact is, he did what he was paid to do twice. That's fine by me. I'll say it again: You don't get style points for closing games. The guy has the attitude to succeed.

        If you don't like my assessment, how about Evan Longoria's from the St. Pete Times:

        "It doesn't need to be pretty," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "You look at everything in this game, you get a broken-bat single for an RBI — it ain't pretty, but it gets the job done.

        "As long as he keeps doing it, I don't care how he gets it done."

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  2. Fixed

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  3. leningan says:

    What shaky defense was there aside from the pena drop? The only other play I can think of was the double play we just missed that reid turned quickly and from where I was sitting the runner looked out. I think the cajun will play his way into a regular role at 2b, his bat has been as hot, or hotter than diddy's and he is solid with the glove. Or, reid and diddy could play bartlett off the team...would we deal jason this year?

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    • Yes, the double play ball was the other one I was talking about. If I'm not mistaken, the guy on the backend of that double play is just coming off some sort of achilles injury. I didn't click the stopwatch, but it seemed like a slow turn.

      I have no favorites when it comes to 2nd base. You're right, Brignac looked real good at the plate last night while his counterpart looked a bit shaky on opening night. But, I just can't stand the idea of a 2nd base platoon when run prevention is your goal. Don't think that either the Red Sox or the Yankees wouldn't take a Carlos Pena drop or missed double play and turn it into 3 runs at the drop of a hat. The Rays are just lucky that the back half of the Orioles line-up has some holes.

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      • Brixology says:

        In another rarity, Evan threw that potential double play ball behind Reid and after the play got Reid's attention and said "my bad." I thought Reid did as well as could be expected under the circumstances. I actually thought both guys looked quite good. I will say, there was a play that Rodriguez almost made to his left on opening night where he covered an amazing amount of ground.

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        • I didn't place blame for that double play, except to say that it was "slow." My point was that changing second baseman every day can have that kind of effect on other infielders.

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    • Jason says:

      Possible potential moves to maximize payroll:

      Carl and Carlos = gone
      Bartlett = get what you can -- above average young relief maybe!

      Move people to the following:
      Zobrist = 1st
      Rodriguez = 2nd
      Reid = SS
      Joyce = RF
      Jennings = LF

      Just throwing it out there!

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      • Brian says:

        Gotta keep C or Los. Pat the Fat not being on the payroll next year ($9MM), the possibility of a home grown closer ($7.25MM), and no more Wheeler ($3.5MM - trade him) will free up almost $20MM.....enough coin to sign C or Los.

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  4. Connie says:

    What was that movement that Danley made with his hand toward the third base side just before he made the third strike call?

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    • Somebody please correct me if I am wrong, but from memory, I thought Danley pointed sorta towards the plate as to indicate that it was swing. I vaguely remember the arm pointing a little to the left which might have caused confusion. Also, Danley waited a long time to raise his right arm for the strike signal.

      From what I have read the third base umpire never made a signal.

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      • Thrill says:

        Wasn't that call also after Danley got jacked in the mask by the foul tip? I think he was a little concussed. Seriously.

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      • steve-o1285 says:

        I was at the game and was also confused. It looked to me like Danley was pointing to third base. I kept waiting for the 3B ump to call something, but he never moved. Just awful.

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  5. Tone says:

    Reid Has shown far better defense than Sean, and so far his bat has been better too. I think that error was all on Pena, and Maddon's platoon plan since maybe he is not used to taking throws from Reid. His DP throw was great and I will bet it was quicker than most options. His bat looks good and I hope he gets more time. I wish they would just dump Burrell, how many rallies can one player kill in just a few at bats? Aybar is a better hitter and is switch, faster too. Wins are the best. Hitting problem does not look solved, not the hitting coach after all. Perfect game was not a fluke, they looked so bad at the plate in most of the 1st two games. Happy but worried for weekend.

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  6. Alex says:

    Reid didn't show that he was better on defense last night with that lazy throw he made.

    Another solid night from Burrell right guys? I mean he took so many pitches and he almost hit some of them!!!!

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