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: John Jaso. Nobody saw it (unless you were at the game or have an iPhone) but Jaso hit his first big league home run. Not bad for not even being in the original lineup (Dioner Navarro was scratched with a sore leg). He also saved a run in the 8th when the Rays were still trailing by one when he blocked Dan Wheeler’s wild pitch with a runner on third…Bases Loaded Freebies. Back in ’08, the Rays led the majors (by a wide margin) the number of free runs with the bases loaded. They walked 25 times and were hit by a pitch 4 times for 29 free runs. Last night the Rays had one of each in the 7-run 8th inning…Randy Choate. Choate came on and ended a Jays rally in the 7th by getting a bases-loaded strike out.
THE BAD: Blackouts. They suck. We were able to watch the game on our iPhone for some reason. Not sure why the blackout rules are different…’09 Flashback. The Rays got a runner on third with no outs in the 7th, down 1, and they failed to score. If the Rays had lost, ooooh, mama…Jeff Niemann And The Long Ball. Giraffe was great early, needing only 13 pitches in the first 2 innings and striking out 6 in the first 4 innings. But he ran in to trouble in the 5th with a leadoff home run. And in the 6th, after getting the first 2 batters, he gave up a 2-run home run and the lead. As great as his stuff was last night, it seemed like he lost his concentration at the absolute worst times.
THE TELLING: Big Innings. In their first 7 games, the Rays scored 3+ runs in an inning 2 times (both in same game). In the last 11 games, they have score 3+ runs in an inning 14 times…Every starter had a hit except Carlos Pena who was 0-4 with a walk.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 13-5, tied with the Twins for the best record in baseball. The Rays are one-half game ahead of the Yankees and 2.5 games ahead in the wild card. After 18 games in 2008, the Rays were 8-10
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Ben Zobrist’s new deal includes a $561K signing bonus which essentially boosts his 2010 salary to $1 million. [St. Pete Times]
- Nothing is torn, but Matt Joyce is going to be shutdown for another 3-4 weeks. There is no timetable for his return, but we have to believe this means that the earliest we would see Joyce with the Rays is after the all-star break. [Tampa Tribune]
- More evidence that Sean Rodriguez really is Ben Zobrist Jr: If Dioner Navarro is suspended for bumping an umpire this past Friday, John Jaso’s backup would be Rodriguez. [MLB]
- Pat Burrell missed his second straight game because of “stiffness in his upper back.” [St. Pete Times]
- Jake McGee will miss his start on Mondayto give his sore knee a rest. [Biscuit Crumbs]
- Why is the Tampa Tribune continuing to write stories on a new Rays stadium even though there is nothing new to report?…Listen, we think the Rays would do better in Tampa, but there is something disingenuous about all the “Rays to Tampa” talk now that the Rays are good. [Shadow of the Stadium]
- Roger Mooney writes about Carl Crawford’s newest weapon, the bunt. [Tampa Tribune]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: Desmond Jennings did not start, but was used as a pinch-runner. He was caught stealing…Fernando Perez was 1-5 and stole his league-leading 10th base…Hank Blalock was 2-3 with a double and 2 walks…Justin Ruggiano hit his 3rd home run.
- MONTGOMERY: (ppd. rain)
- CHARLOTTE: Tim Beckham was 0-5 with 3 strikeouts…Matt Sweeney had 2 doubles and an RBI…Henry Wrigley hit his 4th home run and his 3rd in the past 4 games.
- BOWLING GREEN: (ppd. rain)