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: Matt Garza. It is just two starts against the Orioles, but Gonzo is starting to look like he could be off to a magical season. The first batter of the game ruined any chance for a no-hitter or a shutout, but after that he did not allow a run, striking out 5 and walking 3…Carl Crawford. Best thing about losing CC after the season? He seems motivated like never before, and the Rays are reaping the benefits. Last night it was a 4-4 performance with a home run, 2 runs scored and a diving catch in left-center. That catch came in a 2-run game with a runner on third. If he doesn’t make the catch, it is 3-2 with a runner in scoring position and only 1 out…Rafael Soriano. He looked a little better this time, striking out 2 in a scoreless 9th…Reid Brignac. Briggy hit his 2nd big league home run. He later added an infield single driving in the 5th run. Might he have earned himself a little more playing time with Sean Rodriguez struggling a bit?

THE BAD: Dioner Navarro. We are beginning to wonder if his head is in the game anymore. In the 7th inning with 2 outs and nobody on base, Navi tried to bunt his way on. We’re speechless.

THE TELLING: This was just the second time in 7 games that the Rays have scored more than 4 runs…The crowd for the Orioles was 9,129. That is the smallest crowd to ever see a game at Camden Yards. [begin sarcasm] Clearly Baltimore is a terrible baseball town and the O’s need a new stadium [end sarcasm]…On queue, Joaquin Benoit worked last night, marking the first time he has worked back-to-back days since the Rays signed him. We would be shocked if he is not with the Rays by the time this road trip is over…Ratings for the first five home games (not including Saturday’s national broadcast) are up 141% over last year.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • PSA: You can now reach the Raysheads Forum through the link in header above or at Raysheads.com.
  • Hank Blalock hasn’t played since opening day, missing 4 straight games due to “soreness” in his upper leg. However, it is not serious and he has been dressed and available to play.
  • Joe Maddon says he will continue to use Randy Choate against right-handed batters. [St. Pete Times]
  • The Yankees had some not-too-kind words for the Rays. Apparently they had never heard of the Trop’s catwalks prior to this past weekend’s games. [NY Daily News]
  • We are not sure how somebody could confuse Carl Crawford for Reid Brignac, but Briggy did not hit 2 home runs last night. [All Headline News]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Carlos Hernandez only allowed 2 runs in 5 innings despite giving up 4 hits and walking 4 batters. Only 46 of his 85 pitches went for strikes…Joe Dillon continues his hot start, going 2-5 with a double and a pair of RBI…Matt Joyce returned to the lineup for the first time since being hit by a pitch and went 1-4 with a double…Joaquin Benoit allowed 2 hits in 1 scoreless inning.
  • MONTGOMERY: Jeremy Hall pitched 7 shutout innings, striking out 5 and walking 1…Emeel Salem and Matt Fields were each 2-4.
  • CHARLOTTE: Kyle Lobstein pitched 5 shutout innings, striking out 3 and allowing 2 hits and a walk…Tyler Bortnick went 3-5 and Mark Thomas was 1-2 with a pair of walks.
  • BOWLING GREEN: No game scheduled.

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20 Comments

  1. I must admit, Reid Brignac is growing on me a bit. Sean Rodriguez almost looks like Briggy and Zobrist did at the plate when they first came up. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out if the Rays make a roster move later.

    BTW, no good for Pat Burrell? He was 1 for 4 and no strikeouts. He did his job and moved Bossman into scoring position. Let’s just hope he doesn’t get the memo that Blalock has thigh soreness or he’ll start mailing it in.

  2. Brett says:

    Perhaps Burrell should be in the “almost earned his money” section. Not quite great, definitely not bad. Worth the money yet? He’s got a long way to go…

  3. leningan says:

    Was gonna comment on the attendence…lots of empty seats. I wonder if there will be any scathing articles about the oriole fanbase? Garza is dialed in and his mental notes on the bill of his cap seems to have rubbed off on soriano… whatever works. I think we will continue to see diddy against lefties. Let’s hope niemann can give us 7 or so and keep the bullpen resting.

  4. Beth says:

    Re: Catwalks and whiners:
    I had the huge misfortune to listen to Sunday’s game on the Yankee’s radio feed. You would have thought that the Rays put Catwalk B there just to annoy the Yankees from the way those announcers carried on. The ground rules are clear that a ball hit off of those catwalks is in play, but apparently anything that makes the Yankees look foolish must, to them, be illegitimate.

    Why is it that the idiosyncrasies of other parks (Green Monster?) are part of baseball’s lore, but if a ball hits a catwalk in the Trop it’s “unfair?” Heck, I can’t believe I’m defending Tropicana field, but the Yankees have been playing here for 12 years now, so like everyone else they need to figure out how the place works.

  5. Brian says:

    Do I get royalties for use of Gonzo? Hah!

  6. Joe D. says:

    Good for me was bottom of the 7th, and top of the 8th. Crawford’s great diving catch, then catching Wiggy in the rundown, leaving Reimold at the plate, and following up with some offense in the top of the 8th, I could see the ’07 Devil Rays having messed up the rundown somehow… Also good, Garza giving the bullpen the night off for the most part, Soriano kind of needed to get some work in anyways.

  7. Gus says:

    If only the Orioles stadium were located way from depressed Baltimore and to closer to Annapolis, then they’d pack the place. I just know it. You should see how they pack the place for those Navy football games.

    You kill any fanbase over time with a lousy product no matter if you have the best stadium in the world. If you have a good product, people will pack the place no matter what kind of dump it is. All the rest of it is excuses.

    Carl’s motivation, by the way, should never be questioned. That guy has been full effort from Day 1 in green.

    • My bad. I didn’t mean to imply that CC has ever not played hard or given max effort. My point was only that his numbers and production had kinda hit a plateau the last few years when many were expecting him to reach a new level. I just get a sense from his off-season workouts and his play the first week that we are seeing some signs that he is finally ready to take his game to that level that many have been waiting for.

  8. Washington Irving says:

    Didn’t CC’s catch come with a man on 1st?

  9. Don says:

    I think we ought to get rid of CC….who needs him… we have other players that go 4 for 4 (wait a minute I’ll think of one) and we have plenty of out fielders that if the ball is not flying over their head (Upton) then they can catch some balls!
    Lets get rid of CC..he makes way to much money… plus he may want a raise all the way up to $15mil….how are we going to pay guys like Burrell, Pena, Upton Wheler if CC…. our best player..makes $15Mil!
    End of sarcasm…now lets get real!

  10. Tom says:

    In Navarro’s defense (no pun intended), he did a great job blocking pitches in the dirt.

  11. Thrill says:

    On the “CC is gone in 2010″ issue, given Jennings propensity to get injured and let’s just assume that for whatever reason he just can’t stay healthy, where do the Rays turn in 2011 in LF? Perez? Ruggiano? Maybe S-Rod?

    BTW, I think S-Rod needs about 150-200 ABs at this level before we write him off. He seems like he’s pressing a bit right now. Not being patient enough. Briggy looks more comfortable.

    • Michael says:

      I completely agree that Rodriguez needs a lot more ABs before we designate him as an AAAA player. Heck, Brignac was batting .000 through his first 20 or so ML at bats and now he looks fairly comfortable out there. Part of what I think could be Sean’s problem, is that in every single at bat of his I’ve seen so far he completely leaves the bat on his shoulder for the first pitch of every at bat. Now, I certainly advocate a Delmon Young-swing-at-everything approach, but he’s starting himself behind in the count in almost every plate appearance while passing up some pretty juicy pitches to hit. Pitchers will look to pound the strike zone on him because he hasn’t yet proven he can hurt them if they catch too much of the plate.

  12. Joe D. says:

    Don, I don’t think anyone is saying the Rays don’t want to sign Crawford, it’s that they can’t. When the Yankees need a LF and they can give him a 5 year $100MM contact and not think twice about it, and what’s the best the Rays could offer 4 years $65MM? I just don’t see it happening, I’ve been watching CC since he was at AA Orlando, I sure as hell don’t want to see him going anywhere, but I also don’t want to see 1/4 of my favorite teams payroll going 1 player…

    • Don says:

      Your an idiot… that repeats everything he reads or hears…who cares what % of the payroll CC makes…what % of the payroll did they offer Burrell when they signed him..
      Here’s the point… without CC they lose THE MAN! He is NOT replaceable!
      They have the MONEY…get rid of anyone they have to except Bartlett, Zo, and of course Longo..and Price & Garza …
      Pay your BEST player…the rest can GO to …….

  13. Matt says:

    Prof, i saw on espn that John Jaso was recalled and Shoppach was hurt with a sprain. When did that happen?

  14. Joe D. says:

    The reason these things are said isn’t because I’m an idiot or anyone else that has said anything similar is an idiot, but because it’s true…

    Enough of Burrell really, but if we’re going there I believe the Rays payroll was about $55MM before they signed him and they gave Burrell $7MM which is just over 1/6.

    But back to the CC discussion, I don’t see the logic in getting into a biding war with Yanks, especially when the thing that the rays can’t match is the extra year. I don’t see the sence in having a speed guy around until he’s 34-35… Maybe Crawford’s the exception but that usually doesn’t work out well…

    • Don says:

      The ONLY reason they would want to keep CC around until he’s 34-35 would be to win baseball games, be in playoffs and World Series…
      Otherwise… you can have Kaplar play left field…. and just think you only have to pay him $1mil !

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