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: Junkyard Dogs At It Again. Jason Bartlett led off with a home run, but that was the only big blast. Everyone contributed. Eight different Rays had a hit. Five different Rays had at least 2 hits. Heck, the Rays loaded the bases and scored a run in the 3rd without a basehit, Junkyard-style…John Jaso. Remember when we were all worried that the Rays didn’t have any legit catching prospects? Yeah, neither do we. Jaso had 3 more hits and is now hitting .333. JJ is DYN-O-MITE!…Big Dub’s Big Night. Sure he gave up 7 hits, walked 3 and didn’t make it out of the 6th inning. But we’ll take that against the Yankees. Especially when he strikes out 7, 6 of those swinging, and 5 of those against future Hall-of-Famers Derek Jeter (twice), Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira (twice)…Running Wild. The Rays stole 6 bases. And that was against the Yankees “good” catcher. Evan Longoria stole 2 and is now on pace for 28 steals. Also, BJ Upton and Hank Blalock executed a perfect double-steal. Both runners would score on JJ Dynomite’s double.
THE BAD: CC’s Future. Carl Crawford just missed a home run in the fourth, which brings up a good point about his free agency. One of the knocks about giving Crawford $100 million is that he is a speedster and will soon be on the wrong side of 30. But if he were to sign with the Yankees, he could very easily transform his game the same way Johnny Damon did with the Yankees. With that short porch in right field, Crawford could easily hit 25 home runs a year.
THE TELLING: The Rays 29-11 record is the best start since the ’02 Red Sox started 30-11. BTDubs, that team missed the playoffs…The Rays are 13-4 versus the AL East and 6-2 versus the Red Sox and Yankees combined including 5-0 on the road…The Rays are now 18 games over .500. Even if they just played .500 the rest of the way, they would still win 90 games.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 29-11, 4 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East and 5 game ahead of the Blue Jays in the Wild Card. After 40 games in 2008, the Rays were 23-17.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- JP Howell indeed had surgery yesterday and will be out for the rest of the season. The Rays are optimistic he will be ready to start the 2011 season. [Rays Report]
- Pat Burrell (obviously) cleared waivers, and is now a free agent.
- Carl Crawford was hounded by more than a dozen reporters and asked about his pending free agency. [The Heater]
- Wade Davis talks about his first start in Replica Yankee Stadium (video). [The Heater]
- Jeremy Hellickson did a radio interview. Dock of the Rays has the audio. [Dock of the Rays]
- Apparently Evan Longoria is in this Men’s Journal photo spread. We vaguely remember somebody else being in the photos. Didn’t realize it was Longoria. [The Heater]
- Jeff Passan writes about Maddonology 101. [Yahoo! Sports]
- The Hillsborough County Commissioners pledged support for a new Rays stadium, as long as they don’t have to pay for it. [Shadow of the Stadium]
- JoeBucsFan rips into Peter Gammons pretty good. Side note: As far as we know, Gammons did not appear with Steve Duemig of 620-AM as was scheduled. [JoeBucsFan]
- Got a clever caption for this Rays picture? [Big League Stew]
- Baseball Daily Digest argues that BJ Upton needs to alter his approach at the plate if he is to step up his game. [Baseball Daily Digest]
- The Stamford Advocate writes about Carl Crawford’s rise to be on one of the team leaders. [Stamford Advocate]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: Jeremy Hellickson lasted just 4 innings, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 6…Desmond Jennings doubled in 5 at bats.
- MONTGOMERY: David Newmann gave up 3 runs (2 earned) in 4 innings…Matt Sweeney was 1-5.
- CHARLOTTE: Joe Cruz struck out 5 and walked none in 6.1 innings…Tim Beckham was 2-5 and hit his 4th home run. He also tripled.
- BOWLING GREEN: Aaron Dott, the Rays 31st round draft pick from a year ago was promoted from extended spring training and made his first start for Bowling Green. He gave up 4 runs in just 3 innings. He struck out 1 and walked 2.