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: Waking Up The Bats. The top 4 hitters in the lineup each had 2 hits. Evan Longoria’s 2-run triple in the 6th was the big blast. But even bigger for the Rays were the 2 opposite-field hits by Carlos Pena and his first RBI in 15 games. The hits are a good indicator that he is about to break out of his slump. The usual cycle of Pena’s hitting goes: 1) Lots of home runs and walks; 2) No home runs and lots of strikeouts; 3) Joe Maddon spends 2 weeks trying to convince Pena to use the whole field; 4) Pena remembers that he has enough power to hit the ball out to any part of the park; 5) Sauciness returns…The Anti-Rays. The Rays offense has come through all season with runners on base. Yesterday, Rays pitchers allowed baserunners in every innings. But Cleveland was just 1-19 with 6 Ks and 1 walk with runners on base.
THE BAD: Grant Balfour. Now that JP Howell’s season is over before it begins, the Rays will need a strong performance from The Mad Australian. Yesterday he struck out the side in the 8th, but not before giving up back-to-back doubles and a run.
THE TELLING: The Rays are now 13-5 versus lefties and 8-1 in their last 9. The one loss was the perfect game. Maybe teams will stop stacking lefties against the Rays. No other team in the AL has faced more than 14 lefties this season. The Blue Jays have faced only 8…The Rays are now 9-1-1 in their last 11 series…Carl Crawford had the day off…PECOTA now gives the Rays a 94.6% shot at making the playoffs, and projects them to win 101 games. That number may be a little inflated but even CoolStandings.com says the Rays have an 88.1% shot…The Rays rank 7th in the AL in OPS (.722). That is 11 points behind the Royals (.733). However, their 2.69 team ERA leads the rest of the AL by a full run.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 28-11 and thanks to the Red Sox, now lead the Yankees by 3 games in the East. They also lead the Blue Jays by 5 games in the Wild Card who must just be hating life right now. After 39 games in 2008, the Rays were 23-16.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Matt Joyce began a rehab assignment with Charlotte.
- JP Howell did not take news of his injury well. [St. Pete Times]
- Drays Bay looks at who might replace JP Howell. [DRays Bay]
- Some think the loss of JP Howell will hurt the Rays. Others recognize that even at his best, he is only worth 1.5 wins. John Romano falls into a third category: Armageddon! [St. Pete Times]
- Andrew Friedman spoke with MLB Trade Rumors about the first trade he ever completed. [MLB Trade Rumors]
- Noah Pransky reports that the ABC Coalition says the Rays need to open their books in order to gain the community’s trust and support…That may be true, but they will have to go on not trusting and not supporting, because the Rays will move to Uzbekistan before they open their books. [Twitter]
- Meanwhile, an investment group is planning to acquire enough land in downtown Tampa to build a new state-of-the-art stadium for the Rays. [10Connects.com]
- Here is a disturbing eBay auction featuring Pat Burrell. And by disturbing. we mean awesome! [eBay]
- What type of drink special would you name after Pat Burrell? [The 700 Level]
- Braves Blast thinks Pat Burrell would be a good fit for the Braves. [Braves Blast]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: Carlos Hernandez allowed 2 runs in 4.2 innings…Desmond Jennings was 0-4 with a strikeout. He did steal his 9th base…Dan Johnson was 0-3 and Joe Dillon had 2 hits including a double.
- MONTGOMERY: Alex Torres struck out 8 in 5 innings, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks…Matt Sweeney was 1-4 with a double in his first game with Montgomery.
- CHARLOTTE: Nick Barnese allowed 4 hits and 4 walks in just 3.2 innings, giving up 3 runs…Matt Joyce began a rehab assignment. He DH’d and went 1-2 with a double and 2 walks.
- BOWLING GREEN: Alex Colome allowed just 1 unearned run in 6 innings. He struck out 6 and walked 1.