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: John Jaso. With Evan Logngoria getting the day off, Jaso batted third and the Rays didn’t miss a beat. Jaso went 2-4 with a 2-run home run that tied the game and 4 GTMIs…Ben Zobrist. With Jason Bartlett getting the day off, Zobrist led off and was on base 3 times. For all of his early “struggles” Zobrist now has 5 multi-hit games in the last 6 and is hitting .309 with a .385 OBP, or about exactly where we would expect him to be…Hank Blalock. Blalock got the start at third and hit his first home run with the Rays…Joaquin Benoit. In his last 3 appearances, Benoit has faced 9 batters. He struck out all 9 including 3 in the 6th inning yesterday. Since being promoted, he has retired 23 of the 26 batters he has faced.

THE BAD: David Price. The Rays have dominated this season with big innings offensively and by their pitchers avoiding big innings. Price put the Rays in a big hole early by giving up 4 runs in the first. In the inning, the Astros batted around with 3 hits and 3 walks. The big blow was a 3-run home run by Pedro Feliz.

THE TELLING: The cap above is what the Rays will be wearing next Monday (Memorial Day), and on the 4th of July…Evan Longoria had the day off ending a streak of 131 consecutive games played. Hank Blalock started at third base…The Rays 6-game lead is the largest in franchise history surpassing the 5.5-game lead on August 31, 2008,

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 32-12, with a 6-game lead in the East over the Yankees and a 7-game lead over the Tigers and Blue Jays in the Wild Card. After 44 games in 2008, the Rays were 25-19.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • A correction to a comment we made on Saturday. Dioner Navarro does have one option remaining and can be sent down without having to clear waivers (thanks Marc).
  • John Jaso talks about his big day on Sunday (video). [The Heater]
  • Tony Fabrizio writes about the suddenly surging Red Sox. [Rays Report]
  • The BuildItDowntownTampa group has its eyes on two tracts of land in downtown Tampa for a new stadium. [Tampa Tribune]
  • We’re still not sure if this comic makes us feel better or worse about the perfect game. [ArcaMax]
  • Dock of the Rays made an appearance in Houston this weekend and has the pictures to prove it. [Dock of the Rays]
  • The top 10 moments in the Rays-Red Sox rivalry. [WEEI]
  • Rise of the Rays argues for a 6-man rotation. [Rise of the Rays]
  • Murray Chass writes about the Rays rise to the top of baseball. [Murray Chass...On Baseball]
  • John Romano writes about Dan Johnson, as he waits in triple-A for another shot with the Rays. [St. Pete Times]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Aneury Rodriguez started and worked 2 innings before the game was suspended. Richard de los Santos picked it up in the 3rd and worked 5 innings, giving up 1 run…Desmond Jennings was 2-4 with a walk, a stolen base and 4 runs scored…Dan Johnson hit 2 home runs including a grand slam and drove in 8…Elliot Johnson had 2 singles and a double…Fernando Perez stole his 13th base.
  • MONTGOMERY: Alex Torres allowed just 1 run in 6.2 innings. He struck out 7 and walked 1…Matt Sweeney went 1-3 with a double and an RBI.
  • CHARLOTTE: Shane Dyer allowed 2 runs in 6 innings…Matt Joyce was 2-3 with a double and 2 walks…Tim Beckham was 1-3 with 2 walks and 2 stolen bases.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Alex Colome gave up 2 runs in 6 innings on 6 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 4…Julio Cedeno hit his first home run…Christopher Murrill had 3 hits and now has 10 hits in the last 5 games.
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20 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    For what it's worth, David Price was in good company yesterday -- Halladay,Greinke and Sabathia all got hit hard -- King David, at least, salvaged a W. I would have thought that in interleague match ups the pitchers would have an advantage.

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  2. Cork Gaines says:

    Speaking of Sabathia, how about that move by Joe Girardi? Last week he skipped his 5th starter so that CC Sabathia would be in line to pitch against the Mets. Why? Because Sabathia is such a good hitter, Girardi wanted his bat during the interleague series. But in doing so, Sabathia did not get to face the Rays (after nearly no-hitting the Rays in week 1). Instead the Rays got Pettitte who was pounded and the Rays swept the 2-game series. Not to mention Sabathia got beat by the Mets and fall to 6 games back.

    Ya think Girardi wishes he had that one back?

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    • Giraridi's tinkering w/ the rotation just shows how much he's sweating the Rays. I still maintain that he kept Phil Hughes out of the Tropicana Field rotation in April because he knew he would have trouble with the Rays tough hitting and would be a blow to his fragile psyche. Girardi has big problems with his rotation and he knows it. Pettitte and Hughes both have been pitching over their heads. Javy Vasquez needs a bus (or bust) ticket back to the National League and CC/Burnett can't do it by themselves. It won't be long before Joba's starting again. LOL.

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    • Kelley says:

      I was almost as excited when the Mets won last night as I was when the Rays won yesterday afternoon. I LOVE seeing Girardi coming out to argue about Gardiner's out in the 9th and kicking the dirt, etc. What a bunch of entitled, rich crybabies. Being 6 over the Yankees is making my day today.

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  3. Razzlegator says:

    Is the information about Navi's remaining option coming from Marc Topkin?

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      I was reminded by somebody named Marc that even I had Navi with a remaining option in the 40-man roster projections. The information was verifed by the Rays.

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  4. Don says:

    I have I good project for you statistics man (Jason?)!
    Just guessing... but I'll bet the Rays opponents score more runs in the 1st and/or 2nd than any other inning...
    The Rays PITCHERS never look ready in the 1st...I don't care who it is Price, Davis, Garza... all of them...
    Its got to be pre-game prep....they are all expierenced... the 1st inning can't scare them...there are NOT ready to start...Hickey?..don't know... what??

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    • Thad says:

      Don, I think it could be argued that MOST teams give up more runs early in games as pitchers get used to the mounds and the stuff they have that day. I wouldn't think that is an indictment on the Rays staff or Hickey. I assume you're forgetting that they have the best ERA in baseball.

      Rays HAVE given up 21 runs in 1st and 10 runs in 2nd this season. 21 is their high for any inning tied with 21 in the sixth.

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      • Don says:

        I would be willing to bet MOST teams do NOt give up the most runs in the 1st...would be interesting for some stats. nut..
        Plus, even though the rays have the best ERA ....there has to be a reason the 1st is the worst...just think... if the 1st was the best or at least avg. their ERA would even better....Still think its prep. work!

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        • Alex says:

          Would you learn how to post a coherent reply? Is it really that difficult to make use of a whole sentence with proper punctuation?

          The pitchers struggle in the first inning because they are not settled in. The don't know what pitches are working yet. They don't know what kind of approach the hitters are going to have. They don't know how the ump will call the strike zone. There are a number of factors that make the first inning tough

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          • Don says:

            Alex..feel free to criticize my punctuation and whole sentences..in fact I was thinking about hiring someone like you to edit.... BUT...
            I can't figure out YOUR " The don't know what pitches are working yet"
            Sorry can't use someone that writes like that!
            In fact you missed the point....no other team has consistant nightmares in the 1st like the Rays....Please tell me you get it!

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  5. Alex says:

    Those white hats are hideous. They look like some cheap knock off you'd find at a gas station.

    I don't get it. Why were Maddon, Hickey and Freid so adamant about letting the leashes off our pitchers and now all the sudden 2 months into the season Maddon is backing off? Is he going to start doing that one hundred pitches and your gone crap again?

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    • Beth says:

      I agree about the hats! Also, it seems to me that the Rays have played badly whenever there is some holiday-related gimmick. Weren't they using pink bats when Braden perfect gamed them this year? And I seem to recall some debacles in red caps on national holidays last year. Can we just stick to the regular uniform, please?

      As for the pitchers -- I guess now Maddon realizes he needs to save them for October.

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  6. Gus says:

    How can Hunsicker say that the Rays payroll budget should be $58M this season and they are over budget? That is a joke, when you get at least $50M in MLB revenue sharing alone, $25-30M in ticket sales (undisclosed, but a conservative guess), TV and radio revenues ($3M?), ballpark signage revenues of $3M+.

    How can this go unchallenged? I know we are in the "era of good feelings" right now, but this seems to be such an ownership dip into the cash that it deserves some conversation.

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    • Huey Lewis says:

      Do you have any idea how much it costs to run the Minor League operations for the Rays? 5 Minor League affiliates here, plus acadamies in the D.R., Venezuela, Columbia, Argentina, and Brazil. Plus all the money to lease and run the Trop, pay all their employees (full-time and game day staff), etc.

      The Soriano signing, while completely necessary to make the team on the field one of the best in baseball, also cut greatly into any profits this team was going to make. This ownership group is NOT pocketing millions upon millions and just sitting on it. They have truly tapped out their wallets for this season.

      So far it has paid off on the field. I just hope the end result is a World Series title. This Ownership Group certainly is one of the most savvy, intelligent, ahead of the curve groups anywhere in sports. I would like to see them, and all of us fans, rewarded.

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      • Beth says:

        No, Huey, I actually have no idea how much it costs to run a minor league system, nor do I know, really, how much the Rays make in beer sales, revenue sharing or TV proceeds.

        I applaud the RFO, think they do an awesome job, but if they are going to plead poverty and ask the public to build a new stadium (which I think is the main reason they've got their top officials constantly talking about their need to cut payroll) you've got to be willing to show us the actual numbers.

        So here's my message to the Rays executives: I'd like to believe you and I'd like to support you, but I can't unless you are willing to be more transparent about the money coming and the money going out.

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        • Alex says:

          No one's pleading poverty, but they can't continue to inject more and more money into the team if no one is going to come out to pay for it. If they continued spending money with nothing to show for it in attendance then they are going to lose money. Worse for us would be if they spent a decent amount of money such as this year and the team wasn't very good. Then they are taking a big hit to an already shaky, but growing, attendance.

          Part of it could just be a ploy to get people to come and I can't blame them there either. It's like the people running St Pete. We don't want to lose the Rays but as soon as it comes to going to the games there isn't much to show for it. The RFO could be trying to boost attendance by giving people the idea that if they come out they will be able to keep the payroll up. But if no one comes to the games then the payroll will drop.

          I hope, no I plead, Navarro gets sent down. He needs to work on blocking balls in the dirt, hitting, throwing to second base without throwing it to BJ among other things

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  7. Aaron says:

    Like the hat.

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