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: James the Greater. He had the changeup working as good as ever and the end result was a career-high matching 12 strikeouts. He had 9 in the first 5 innings…Belly-to-Belly. Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena hit back-to-back home runs in the 6th (Pena’s nearly landed in the Ray tank). It was the first back-to-back home runs for the Rays this season…Jason Bartlett. Bartlett gave the Rays their first lead with a bloop double. 10 of his 24 hits have come with runners in scoring position, giving him 13 RBI from the leadoff spot. He also teamed with Carl Crawford on a relay to nail a runner at home in the 5th to preserve a 2-2 tie…Yet Another Big Inning. This time it was a 6-run 6th that broke a 2-2 tie started by Evan Longoria’s rulebook double.

THE BAD: Attendance. Just when you thought it couldn’t go any lower. 10,691 last night.

THE TELLING: Rocco Baldelli took batting practice with the Rays prior to the game…Former top pick Matt Bush has been activated by the Rays and will pitch for high-A Charlotte.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are an MLB-best 16-5, 2.5 games in front of the Yankees and 4.5 games ahead of the Tigers in the Wild Card. After 21 games in 2008, the Rays were 10-11.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • We add a couple of entries to the 2010 Rays Trade Pool and made the corresponding adjustment to the rankings. [2010 Rays Trade Pool]
  • JP Howell’s bullpen session went well. We are still looking at a late-May return. [St. Pete Times]
  • John Romano offers his 2 cents on the Rays attendance woes. [St. Pete Times]
  • On Tuesday we pointed out that the Rays run production was due in large part to their league-leading success with runners in scoring position. Roger Mooney takes a closer look at the team’s efforts at the plate in those situations. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Joe Maddon received a gift from Bill Belichick. [Tampa Tribune]
  • The Baseball Opinion takes a look back at the trade that brought Ben Zobrist to the Rays organization. [The Baseball Opinion]
  • The Baseball Notebook takes an early season look at the Rays and what we can expect the rest of the way. [The Baseball Notebook]
  • Ryan Royster will have surgery on his back and will miss at least 6 weeks. [Rays Prospects]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Jeremy Hellickson picked up his 4th win after allowing 2 runs in 5.1 innings. He struck out 5 and walked 1…Mike Ekstrom, Winston Abreu and Dale Thayer combined for 3.2 scoreless innings of relief…Hank Blalock was 2-4 with a double, walk and 3 RBI. He is now 23-57 (.404) in 13 games…Rashad Eldridge, Chris Richard and Angel Chavez homered for the Bulls…Dan Johnson drove in 3 with a single and a double.
  • MONTGOMERY: Jeremy Hall struck out 5 in 5.1 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk…Matt Fields was dropped to 6th in the lineup and responded with his 5th home run and 3 hits overall.
  • CHARLOTTE: Tim Beckham had a bases-clearing triple in the second and a 2-run triple in the 5th for 5 RBI overall. He also drew a walk.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Kyle Lobstein allowed 2 runs (1 earned) in 5.2 innings. He struck out 3 and walked 3…Brett Nommensen had 3 hits and 2 RBI.

Tags

 
 

24 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Yes, the attendance sucks, but the team’s got to be going pretty well when attendance is the only “bad.” Let’s stipulate that the attendance is lousy and then not talk about it again, OK? There’s so much great stuff taking place in the field, why do we need to focus on what’s happening (or not) in the stands?

    As for the game….are the Rays really this good or are other teams this weak? Or are the Rays lucky? Or is this all a dream and we’ll wake up to find runners stranded on base and a bullpen choking?

    • Amanda says:

      Because if they can’t get enough people and corporations to financially support the team, the owners will have to move the team, and it may not be to just the other side of the bay.

      I’m sorry to bring you down on this, but at some point, we have to stop pretending that everything is sunshine and lollipops. It is truly wonderful how great this team is playing. But the owners took a BIG risk to sign the players we do have out of the promise that people made to them when the fans said if they started winning, they would come back to the ball park. Guess what — so far, it ain’t happening. And I *will* say that I do think it’s the economy. (My best friend’s husband has now been out of work for three years. He’s doing his best to get a degree to try to help out that way.) Let’s say (I know this is wrong) that New York City had 20 percent unemployment. That would still leave 8 million people to support two franchises. The Bay area with 13 percent unemployment probably takes it down to about 900,000 people who could go to the game. And then when you take into consideration that a good chunk of retirees, who wouldn’t come up in unemployment statistics, still root for their old teams. In this economy, I don’t blame the fans. But I also wouldn’t blame the owners for considering a move because if the economy would ever dip again, this same thing would happen again.

      • Sarah says:

        I’m not denying those problems. Just asking for a moratorium on discussing them…unless you’ve got a solution.

        • Amanda says:

          Yeah, because sweeping the problem under the rug and pretending like it doesn’t exist will make it go away.

          I can celebrate the Rays on-field success and bemoan the lack of attendence on the other, and still be a contented person.

  2. Amanda says:

    *NERD ALERT — PLEASE IGNORE IF YOU AREN’T INTO GRAMMAR*

    In a made-up scenario, a guy has three hits in a game and drives in one run. A writer may decide to write about this by saying, “He had three hits and an RBI.” Right? Right. But with the logic of not adding an “s” to RBI because you say “Runs Batted In,” wouldn’t you say, “He had three hits and a RBI”?

    OF COURSE YOU WOULDN’T!

    Grammatically speaking in baseball terms, RBI is its own word. It can be pluralized with an “s.” Funny how nobody has ever gotten on news reporters for saying POWs, and it’s the same exact concept of RBIs. But that’s because acroBut no … some talent (read: The people who read the news are not journalists. They’re payed to look pretty and talk well.) at ESPN decided he was smarter than everybody and got on his high horse about this, and now everyone does it.

    And, backing up my case, thanks to the good people at Capital Community College in Hartford, Conn.:

    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/GRAMMAR/plurals.htm

    “When an abbreviation can be used to refer to a singular thing — a run batted in, a meal ready-to-eat, a prisoner of war — it’s surely a good idea to form the plural by adding “s” to the abbreviation: RBIs, MREs, POWs”

    *NERD ALERT OFF*

    Sorry Cork for taking this on a weird tangent. And I didn’t mean this squarely on you. I wanted to get it off my chest (especially about it being a made-up ESPN thing), and I just feel comfortable writing it here, knowing you’d take it in stride.

    • Mike says:

      what’s up nerd?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I am willing to concede that on strictly grammatical terms “a RBI” is probably correct but there are issues that I am not sure you will find addressed in AP Stylebook.

      First if all, I certainly do not hold this blog up to the same gramatical acumen as I do when I am writing my molecular biology papers (that is probably painfully obvious).

      The biggest reason (other than a lack of detailed editing) is that I have always tried to keep a conversational tone here. As if we are just hanging out talking about the Rays. And with that comes slang and some questionable grammar.

      The problem with RBI (or RBIs) is that normally when you abbreviate something in writing you treat it as though it is actually written out. But that is not how we talk. How often do we actually say “Runs Batted In”? Not very often. No, we say “RBI.” We treat “RBI” as if it is actually it’s own word. And phoenetically, RBI begins with a vowel just like phoenetically “honor” begins with a vowel.

      If you and I were talking, would we say “a RBI”? I wouldn’t. Just like it is incorrect to say “a honor.” It doesn’t sound right, and most of my friends would smack me and tell me to stop drinking if I did.

    • Don says:

      You must be one of those teachers that don’t make any money and evidently have too much time for stupid sheeet!

    • Dirtbag Fan says:

      Its all about phoenetics… the Purdue Owl (my writing Mecca) says that phoenetically pleasing scenarios can (at times) override general rules of grammer, such as saying “a hundred” as opposed to the proper “an hundred”. In the case of RBI I am emphatically on the side of absolutely detesting the term “RBIs”… the pluralization is built-in to the first word in the abbreviated phrase and needs not be added to the last, even if it were to seem more phoentically pleasing

  3. Amanda says:

    (Of course, I just noticed the glaring grammatical error in my main comment, where I started a sentence and never erased it. lol)

  4. Joe D. says:

    Good for me has got to be Jaso, good ABs, good results, good approach, walks more than he strikes out (over his career in the minors he’s shown good plate discipline numbers, too)…but i think the most important thing that he’s don well is block balls in the dirt, I think the big reason Shields had 12k’s he wasn’t afraid to throw breaking balls, namely his change up in the dirt because he knew Jaso would keep it in front of him.

    • MJ says:

      Do we have to see Navarro back behind the dish now? Why would you sit Jaso right now? He has brought energy back to the C position. And his skills behind the plate aren’t obviously worse than Navarro’s at all.

      • Cork Gaines says:

        Well, Shoppach is still out for a while. In the meantime, my guess is that Jaso has earned at least full-share of the starts until Shoppach is back. Navi will start against lefties and I’d bet Jaso gets about 2/3 of the starts versus righties. Sure it is a small sample size. But might as well ride the wave and see how far it goes.

  5. Kelley says:

    Belichick gets on my every last nerve but I guess even he can do something cool.

    I agree that the Rays are so awesome and playing so well and I wish there was nothing sad going on at all. But to me, it’s not as embarrassing because of the way it looks on TV that we have so few fans in the seats, but it’s embarrassing for the Rays themselves. I love those guys like my family and they have the best record in baseball and not many people out there supporting them in the stands. That’s what’s more embarrassing in my opinion. I could care less what the rest of the country thinks of us. But I do care what the Rays think of us.

    I also think the city of St. Pete is making a huge mistake by not letting the Rays leave the Trop and have a new stadium in Tampa. I know it’s all complicated but something has to be done, because I will be crushed if the Rays move far away.

    One more thing…. I read about some other closer for another team having 10 saves this season, etc. The reason we don’t have that many is because we’ve been crushing the other team and don’t need our closer. Just had to get that off my chest.

    • leningan says:

      I think your last point touched on one my favorite things about this team so far… with the tight leash off of our starters this year and the way our offense is producing right now, we haven’t needed the “high leverage” guys nearly as much. I never thought that having Sonny closing games out could be viewed as a positive, but it is. If you couple this with a reliable 9th inning guy, our questionable bullpen is no longer an issue. Now, if we start to slip up a bit (starters-wise, or offense-wise), we have reinforcements coming with the return of JP and the imminent promotion of Benoit. As long as we are able to use our bullpen guys in their optimal roles, I think it’s more of the same for this team.

  6. Tone says:

    That was a good game for the hitters. Shields gives up homeruns and doubles but limits the damage. Happy Happy Joy Joy. Now all we need is a sweep of Kansas and for the White Sox to sweep the Yanks.

  7. ramedy says:

    I mentioned this to Collette on Twitter last night, but I thought I’d mention it here too in case Hanselman has any input: has anyone looked closely at Shields’ approach when bases are empty vs. men on base?

    I’m not sure how the average pitcher splits in their performance with these two situations; however I noticed that 2007-2008 Shields was much better with bases empty, while 2009-2010 Shields peformed much better with men on base. I wonder if he’s changed anything in his approach to cause that change in performance.

  8. Amanda says:

    Cork, they brought up something during the broadcast that I found absolutely fascinating. They said there’s 11 games between these two clubs this year, 2 in St. Pete and 9 in Oakland. How in the world can that happen?

  9. Amanda says:

    I double-checked the schedule, and they were a little off, but not much. It’s 2 games here, 7 games there. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to play maybe a 3 or a 4 game set here, and divide the other 5 or 6 games on our two West Coast trips? I can see Oakland not making two trips to the Trop because the Rays are the only AL team for miles. But couldn’t they have split that series more evenly? And does that routinely happen and I just never noticed before?

  10. Chris Wise says:

    A little trivia from “Down on the Farm”
    Average age of last night’s Durham Bulls lineup was older that Rays starting lineup last night.
    The Bulls have played the same number of games as the Rays, but started season later … Bulls work harder than Rays.

Leave a Comment