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: Offense? The Rays are only 7th in the AL in hitting (.259), 5th in OBP (.342) and 6th in slugging (.431), but they lead the AL in runs scored (113). Why the disparity? The Rays are hitting when it matters most. in 216 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, the Rays are hitting .318 (1st in the AL), have a .413 OBP (1st in the AL) and have a league-best OPS of .964, which is 150 points higher than the next best team (Boston)…Starting Pitching. The Rays starting pitchers have the second best ERA in the AL (2.81) and they lead the AL with 6.4 innings per start.
THE BAD: Relief Pitching. One reason the Rays starters work so deep into games is to hide a weak bullpen. So far this season, the Rays relievers are 9th in the AL with a 4.13 ERA even though they have the 3rd best batting average against (.227)…Basestealing. The mathematical cutoff for success stealing is 75%. Less than that and the team might be losing runs (although it can be argued that the affect of stolen bases goes beyond the success rate). The Rays are tied with the White Sox for the AL lead with 21 stolen bases, but they have also been thrown a league leading 10 times leading to the 4th worst success rate in the AL (68%).
THE TELLING: The Rays now begin a stretch of 7 straight series (20 games) against non-AL East opponents.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Andrew Friedman made an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show.” The only telling statement is when Friedman refers to a sold out Trop as “like a 10th man,” which may or may not have been a Freudian slap to the face of Pat Burrell. Here is the link to the audio if you are so inclined. [Audio]
- Steve Slowinski attempts to quantify the difference between John Jaso and Dioner Navarro and whether the Rays should stick with Jaso once Kelly Shoppach returns. [DRays Bay]
- Aneury Rodriguez was named the IL pitcher of the week, one week after Jeremy Hellickson won the same award. [Rays Prospects]
- Joe Henderson takes a matter-of-fact look at the Rays attendance woes. [Tampa Tribune]
- John Romano writes about the path Leslie Anderson took from Cuba to the Rays and how he is adjusting with his new club. [St. Pete Times]
- Rays Prospects informs us that Wade Townsend has signed with an independent team. [Twitter]
- An Astros short-season team will be giving away Ben Zobrist bobbleheads. There will only be 1,200 of them so you can expect them to not be cheap on eBay. [Rays Rev]
- Virgil Vasquez actually has two broken wrists, suffered in a car accident. [St. Pete Times]
- Angela Jacobs has some quotes from John Jaso on his early success with the Rays. [10Connects.com]
- Rays now sit atop ESPN.com’s power rankings. [ESPN]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: Heath Rollins made his first start in place of the injured Virgil Vasquez. He allowed 4 runs in 4 innings…Fernando Perez was 1-5 with 3 strikeouts…Dan Johnson hit his league leading 8th home run…Hank Blalock started at third base and collected 2 more hits. He is now hitting .396 with a .455 OBP. Of his 19 hits, only 2 are for extra-bases.
- MONTGOMERY: Darin Downs pitched 5.2 shutout innings but was pulled after being hit in the leg by a comebacker…Nevin Ashley was 0-4.
- CHARLOTTE: Nick Barnese gave up 3 runs in 6 innings on 3 hits and a walk. He struck out 5…Isaias Velasquez went 4-5 with 3 stolen bases. He is now second in the FSL with 8 steals…Tim Beckham went 0-3 with 2 walks. He is just 4-39 (.103) to start the year…Matt Sweeney was 2-4.
- BOWLING GREEN: (no game scheduled)