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: Shades of 2008. We just have a good feeling about this team. Last year the Rays never win that game. Last night we were never worried. And Carl Crawford came through in his walk season with a walk-off 1-out, 2-run double to turn a loss into win #1…James Shields. James the Greater gives up home runs. Always has, always will. But he usually does a good job of keeping runners off base in front of the bombs. And last night it was 3 solo home runs as the only runs allowed…Catchers. Dioner Navarro didn’t exactly rake last night, but he did have 2 hits off of right-handed pitchers, which may or may not have equaled his 2009 total. And Kelly Shoppach pinch-hitting in the 9th and facing a lefty nearly ended the game when he missed a 2-run HR by about 6 inches…Defense. It started with BJ being BJ running down a flyball to the wall in center and saving a run and included Evan Longoria gunning a runner down at the plate to save another run in the 9th…Evan Longoria. Spring training doesn’t mean anything? Longo turned up the pop in his bat the last two weeks and it translated to a monster HR last night…Pat Burrell. He had some rough moments last night, striking out twice and killing a rally in the 6th by grounding into a double-play in the 6th with 2 on and no outs. But he also had a double and an excellent first at bat that lasted 10 pitches and included 5 foul balls.
THE BAD: Baserunning. We are all for being aggressive on the basepaths, especially with 2 outs, but why was Dioner Navarro sent home in the 3rd inning with little chance of scoring and Evan Longoria due up? And yes, Pat Burrell scored, but let’s hope he doesn’t run through too many stop signs in which he probably would have been thrown out with a good throw…Percivalian…Rafael Soriano came on in the 9th to keep the game close and almost failed miserably. 3 of the 6 batters he faced reached base and only a great defensive play by Evan Longoria kept the O’s from increasing their lead…Kevin Kennedy. We forgot how much we did not miss Kennedy.
THE TELLING: Evan Longoria’s HR (video) was the third longest (473ft) in the history of The Trop (Vinny Castilla 478ft, Jonny Gomes 474ft) and only the second to land in the left field Party Deck (Castilla)…Randy Choate indeed got to face a righty in a high-leverage situation getting Miguel Tejada to ground into a double-play to end the 7th inning…Kelly Shoppach will start today and possibly tomorrow. No decision has been made on who will start at second. Ben Zobrist will play second base tomorrow against the lefty.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- MLB has changed the blackout restrictions for the FOX Saturday games. Now, if the first FOX game begins at 3:10pm ET, any Rays games that begin at 6:05 or later will be televised. This is significant as the Rays typically start games with a postgame concert at 6:10 and in years past those games were blacked out. If the FOX game starts at 4:10 or later, a Rays game starting earlier than 7:05 will be blacked out. [The Biz of Baseball]
- Is the city of St. Pete in the early stages of planning a new stadium for the Rays? If so, the Rays may not know about it. [Shadow of the Stadium]
- Stuart Sternberg said that he agrees with most of what was written in the ABC report about a new stadium. [St. Pete Times]
- Nevin Ashley has left the Biscuits to tend to a family emergency. [Biscuit Crumbs]
- The Rays announced that Bright House Networks will air 63 Rays games in Spanish on channels 154 and 900 in Tampa and channels 130 and 613 in Central Florida.
- A look at how some Rays bloggers feel the Rays will perform the first week of the season. [Tampa Bay Rays Fan]
- Aubrey Huff is one strange cat. [7th Inning Stache]