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: 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.

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41 Comments

  1. Razzlegator says:

    Passan just couldn’t write an article about how good “we” are without getting in a dig on us as fans and the place we watch the game. The House that Steinbrenner built looked pretty empty to me last night. No mention of that in this article.

    • Beth says:

      You know, as I watched the game, I couldn’t help notice all those lovely leather seats empty. Either Yankee’s fans spend an awful lot of time in the bathroom, or they can’t manage to fill the stadium even when they are playing the best team in the majors! And I could swear I saw a smattering of Rays hats in the crowd. Not only that, but throughout most of the game the crowd was completely silent. So yes, indeed, let’s talk about those Yankees fans!

      • Kelley says:

        I noticed how quiet the crowd was too, except for their occasional booing when their team was getting smoked. I guess Sonnanstine had to bring me back down to reality in the bottom of the 9th, because I sure was pretty excited at how the whole game had gone up to that point.

  2. Amanda says:

    I didn’t have a chance to listen to 620 all day yesterday, but I made sure I tuned in right at 3 p.m. to hear what Duemig had to say, especially since part of the controversy about Gammon’s numbers is that he lied* about the ratings of 620 and its far-inferior rival. From what Duemig said almost right from the start is that they sounded like they had been efforting getting Gammons on well before his show started, sounded like he agreed to it, but then as it became more apparent that the numbers Gammons used were completely false, he stuck his head in the sand. Duemig said Gammons went Hollywood and stoped answering calls after a while.

    * There’s no other word for it. Journalists know never to directly quote something as fact if they haven’t researched it himself. I think he pulled the attendance and ratings numbers completely out of his ass, then blamed a fictional research staff/media relations department to cover.

  3. Clifton says:

    I agree with Razzlegator about all the empty seats at the game last night. I realize it is a huge stadium compared to the Trop, but the Yankees play in the biggest market in the country and the top two teams in baseball were playing. The announced crowd was 43,000 and it holds 52,000. Percentage wise that is not any better than a typical Rays vs Yankee game at the Trop.

  4. Beth says:

    I guess we’re all in a generous mood last night, but wouldn’t Sonnanstine deserve a mention in the “bad”? Your mop up guy can allow a run here or there, but four runs in 2/3 of an inning is not respectable. Maddon took him out about two hitters too late for my taste.

    And among the “good” — Davis is our #5 starter and I thought he looked darn good, even if he was far from perfect. Lots of first pitch strikes, and the Yankees really never got anything going against him.

  5. Brian H says:

    Pat Burrell (obviously) cleared waivers, and is now a free agent.

    Don?? say the words buddy. say them.

  6. ramedy says:

    I know Jaso isn’t going to hit this well all year (at least I think I know that), but it sure seems like he can hit above replacement. So here’s my question – WTF happens when Shoppach comes back? I mean, the Shoppach/Jaso platoon makes a heck of a lot more sense. I’m assuming Navi would have to clear waivers before he could be sent to the minors – would anyone be in the market for an occasionally impressive defensive catcher with Wiffle offense?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Well, if Jason Kendall can get a 2-year deal this past off-season, there would have to be somebody interested. The problem is, I think the Rays believe they are stronger with Jaso as a third catcher than they are with a Jaso-Shoppach platoon AND Lobaton as the third catcher. As often as Rays catchers get hurt, I’d say Jaso goes down, but he’ll be back in a month.

      • Hal says:

        I agree with everything that you say from a “it makes sense” perspective; but man, we just can’t send JJ down as long as he’s going even close to the way he’s going now. He just changes the bottom third of the order and dude plays HARD.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          Well, if it makes you feel better, Jaso and Shoppach WILL be the catchers next year. Shoppach is already under contract and Jaso will be out of minor league options.

      • ramedy says:

        Navi is batting about .180 the last two years against RHP, which is actually worse than the Mendoza-hovering that Shoppach’s been doing. I mean heck, Jason Kendall is batting around .250 against RHP. It’s not like Maddon doesn’t like to play the left/right platoon game – why pass up this chance?

        Then again, the Rays apparently were completely okay with that handicap to start the season – Jaso doesn’t likely see the light of day until September if Shoppach doesn’t get hurt.

        What’s Navi’s contract status after the season? Is there any organizational advantage to losing him after the season as opposed to now, assuming you could squeeze some sort of compensation from another team in a trade?

        • Alex says:

          He goes to arbitration again and there is no way the rays pay him again. He got 2.1 million(2.3?) this year and they will not give him a raise.

      • Thad says:

        Just curious, WTF was Navi’s BABIP in 2H08 that got him into the All-Star game? .500? .600? .700? Just kidding, of course, but seriously, how in the world did that little chunky, punch and judy, weeble-wobble make it to the All-Star game?

    • Wembley87 says:

      Possibly trade Navi ?

    • Pipp says:

      A bit OT, but there was an interesting fanpost last week on draysbay about how Jaso may have been tipping pitches. On fastballs, he’d put his meat hand behind his back, and on breaking balls, he’d keep it between his legs. He changes it up a bit now, but even last night, you could see it on certain at bats.

      Perhaps the fact that Jaso is still learning the craft is reason enough for Maddon to keep Navarro over Jaso.

  7. Sublime says:

    FORGET BAD, F’IN Horrible: ANDY SONNASTINE!

    He was terrible last night!

    • Jim says:

      He was bad, but in his defense, that was his third night in a row. For a former starter, I could see his arm not being used to being run out there that often.

      • Thad says:

        Jim, in all seriousness, this team deserves better than Sonny. I’m not a hater, as most here know, but that was embarrassing. That was Devil-Raysian. His tricks and off-speed junk may fool a few Indians, but when you have two outs and no one on and an 8-run lead and you STILL manage to screw it up and almost cost the game, that’s just not good enough.

        Let the Sonny watch begin!

        • Jim says:

          Thad, I can’t argue with that. I like Sonny, but still think he’s better as a starter, and that gives him no place on this team. I’d like to see him as the 5th starter for an NL team.

  8. Joe D. says:

    My favorite play last night was Gardner’s “spectacular” catch that allowed Zobrist to tag up from second, and score… tagging up from second, that’s like some video game stuff… I guess at that point the Yanks needed outs, but it seems Gardner my have been been served to play it off the wall and get a strong throw to second…whatever I’m glad we spoiled their one highlight.

    I’m a Sonny fan, but he gets two easy outs and can’t finish them off, that was really bad, no excuse, especially for a guy that has some off the best control around…awful

    • Thad says:

      More classic hate from Harold Reynolds last night, he claims that Zobrist tagging up was a TERRIBLE base-running blunder that just happened to work out, but shouldn’t have. He said that Zobrist SHOULD have been half-way because the ball PROBABLY wasn’t going to be caught. My contention is that it was a brilliant play because he’s probably going to score from touching second base either way. It was hit SO hard that if it falls it probably caroms off somewhere that he can score easily. And it if doesn’t (which it didn’t) then he STILL has a chance to score.

      MLBN generally does a great job and I much prefer their experts and commentary to ESPN, but I DO loathe H.R. sometimes.

  9. Brian H says:

    DON???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • Deadeye says:

      Don is too busy getting his facts from talk radio.

    • Don says:

      Actually Burrell could accept a minor league assignment…but someone will pay him $300,000 to get a look see…
      BUT, I was wrong and the Rays lose $6mil+(actually $18 mil for two years) of nothing!
      But look I admit it….Have you heard one Rays Exec. SAY “WE MADE A MISTAKE”…no you haven’t…which was my POINT in the first place!
      Stand by… my next mistake will be a year or two coming…
      and Deadeye..why don’t you give me one (1) statement from me… that came from talk radio…I’m an original and your a mouse!

      • Deadeye says:

        I feel belittled by you Don. Ouch! My go see therapist now so I can make it through the rest of the day.

      • Brian H says:

        don dont be ridiculous, they are not going to come out and say we made a mistake, that would just further embarass burrell. and would just be classless.

        releasing your 3rd most highest paid player for no compensation is admitting a mistake, which was the point you were wrong about. you thought they would be so prideful that they would put their pride before the organization, which obviousily was wrong.

        • Beth says:

          Exactly. I mean seriously, do you want Rays management to hold a press conference and say “Pat Burrell is the worst thing that ever happened to us!” And where does that end? Should there be another press conference where they say “Maybe we let Edwin Jackson go too cheaply” and “we’re starting to wondering about using a high draft pick on Tim Beckham!” I’m perfectly willing to let Andrew Friedman save the self-doubt for his private moments.

      • steve-o1285 says:

        Oh Don, why can’t you donate that crystal ball of yours to the front office?

        You dumb.

  10. Joe D. says:

    I seem to remember in ’08 prior to the all star break navi was staying around .320 BA, and it do dipped to about .300 by the time of the game, but he was shutting down run games…

  11. Thad says:

    For the record, Navarro’s BABIP in 1H08 were:

    March/April = .467
    May = .367
    June = .247

    Everything hit by the little chunky monkey was dropping for a basehit until June. His BABIP for the full 2008 season was .313. With each month that passes by since then proving to be the exception and NOT the rule.

  12. leningan says:

    I’ve been tossing around nickname ideas for Benoit…
    The French Connection (as setup man)
    French kiss of death
    The JoaKing

    thoughts…?

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