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: 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.

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24 Comments

  1. Amanda says:

    Sauciness? *teeeee*

  2. Joe D. says:

    A few of things good for me:

    Crawford out of the line up, Rays don’t miss a beat.

    Kapler’s been doing some good things lately from shorting up to drive (sac fly) in the winning run the other day when he batted 3rd, to getting the hit on the hit & run that moved Jaso 1st to 3rd…yesterday may have been his least impressive of the past couple of days but still good AB’s scored a run, took a walk, and advanced on as passed ball/wild pitch.

    Knowing now that JP’s done. Sonny’s recorded the last 3 outs for us the past 2 games.

    The last 4 games: 9th inning walk off, 8th inning sac fly/save, come from behind extra innings win, to a “leading the whole way” win. Finding a new way to steal souls each game…

    Huge early season series, a sweep off the 2 game set against the Yanks puts us up 5 games in the division…that’s huge!

  3. Kelley says:

    I love seeing Rivera struggling for 2 games now and hope it contines. Hopefully we won’t even need to face him anyway these next 2 games and the rest of the yankees will be reeling from the loss last night that they can’t pull it together to face us tonight.

    Oh, and I agree, yesterday’s game was much better for the Rays. Can’t wait for tonight!

    One more thing, I’m a little excited about the stadium news going on today, although it may turn out to be nothing.

  4. Deadeye says:

    PtB would be a great fit for the Braves. None of them can hit either….

  5. Don says:

    Yankees
    Could be THE most important (2 game) series of the the year…despite
    the Rays down play (Longo/Maddon)
    Why? In May?
    If Yankees win both…their right back neck and neck… BUT
    If Rays win both…they are 5 in front…and the Yankees will get the feeling
    they are NOT the best in AL East….
    same as when the Rays crushed Red Sox earlier (April) in the year….they haven’t been the same since!

    • Lawrence says:

      Do you start drinking when you wake up or do you just not stop drinking from the night before?

      I have
      no idea WHAT you…
      are saying or WHY you type tHiNgS… the WAY you do.
      Fire Maddon, bench LONGO/UPTON… We NEED to PLAY like I DO on my XBOX 360. THAT is our ONLY chance…

      • Don says:

        If drinking is MY excuse for bad typing..What is YOUR excuse for being stupid…I dare you TYPE one original thought/idea about the Rays…
        Lets hear it….

      • Beth says:

        Lawrence:

        Please ignore him.

        There are so many people who write interesting things in understandable English on this blog. Don sucks up way too much attention. If we all agree to ignore him he might go away.

        • Don says:

          Dear Beth..see my question for Lawrence…see if you can help him…because I have never see anything from YOU that could be considered original…mostly rehash ….fan trash….

  6. Thad says:

    A little concerned with Davis taking the bump tonight in this “important” game. I would probably rather have anyone else in the rotation than him. Just not sure he’s ready for the limelight. I know he’s faced other team’s aces all year, but his control can be spotty. And his last outing against the Bombers wasn’t pretty. I’m setting the over/under on Davis’ IP at 5, and I’m prob taking the under. Still think the Rays bats FINALLY come to life and win 10-8 though.

    If Rays can win two in the Bronx (BIG IF, I know), they’d be 5 games up headed to Houston with Garza, Niemann and Price lined up. Houston, YOU have a problem. Look out.

    • Don says:

      Davis has been the “sacrificial lamb” all year going against the best..
      Still winning 3 games with a 3.38 ERA….amazing! ANY of our other
      pitchers couldn’t have done much better…maybe Price 4 and 2 but thats it…Our favorite “Florida Redneck” hits the big time…watch out Yanks!

    • leningan says:

      I’m pretty excited about Big Dub throwing tonight. It will be a great test for him… he has great composure on the hill almost to the point of appearing bored. So, I don’t think the limelight will get to him per se, though the lineup is fairly intimidating. I’m more concerned with seeing Burnett. In fact, I remember feeling better about facing Halladay when they were in Toronto.

    • Thad says:

      Hopefully, I’m unnecessarily paranoid about Davis tonight. Just have a bad feeling. Also, have a strange feeling that the Rays will get to Burnett early and often. I think our young hitters are ready for the big stage.

      I’m not complaining about Davis, but the stats just indicate that if he doesn’t have his good stuff early (against arguably the best lineup in MLB), it could be a short night for Big Dub.

      – Davis has only pitched past six innings once in 7 starts
      – Davis has only made it thru 5 IP in three of 7 starts (6IP the rest)
      – Despite only going “deep” in one start, Davis has pitched over 100 pitches 4 times and over 95 two other times
      – Despite only pitching 40 innings, Davis has more BBs than any other Rays starter
      – Davis has the highest WHIP of any Rays starter
      – Davis has the most BB/9 of any Rays starter (4.7)
      – Davis has the lowest SO/BB of any Rays starter (1.29)

      Again, not complaining. He IS the 5th starter after all and for his age and experience, he’s been fantastic. Just a little concerned about his lack of command facing the Yankee lineup tonight. I’d still rather have any other Rays starter on the hill than him.

      P.S. Don’t tell his wife that I posted this. Thx.

      • leningan says:

        she might crap her pants…
        Points taken. I guess you and I are taking the opposite approach, I’m hoping he makes this matchup a coming out party, while you are afraid the control issues rear their ugly head and he’s done in 4. Either way, I am excited to see how he performs. If you can’t tell I like Wade, it’s mostly because of his “interviews”. I think he took lessons from silent george hendrick…

  7. Brian H says:

    wont we all be a little happy when don, actually admits and says the words, I’m wrong.

  8. Pipp says:

    I didn’t get to see the game, but Navarro bunted twice? I know that one was for a hit and the other a sacrifice, but is his confidence so low that he feels his only contribution is to give himself up?

    • leningan says:

      When batting from the left side, yes. Dioner should always try to put the bunt down. If only so that we may enjoy him “busting it” down the line…

  9. Alex says:

    After his performance against the Mariners, Davis definitely scares me. Hopefully the Yanks pen problems, late games the past few nights and injuries will hold them back in these two games. Unfortunately I’m not really that much more encouraged about facing Andy HGH tomorrow either. Hopefully Pena can step up and Maddon is smart enough to realize Longo needs to be in the three hole now.

  10. Joe D. says:

    Shouldn’t we be hearing something on Burrell today, that he cleared waivers (48 hours I thought)? Accepted his assignment, our choose to be released?

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