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: Left-Handed Lineup. The Rays were 55-54 against lefties in 2008 and 2009 combined. And they started this season 1-3 against southpaws. Since then the Rays are 5-1 in their last 6 games versus a left-handed starter…Big Innings. The Rays continue to score their runs in bunches, with two more big innings (3+ runs) last night…Dioner Navarro. The Fat Catcher gets a lot of grief, but it is only fair to point out that his hustling double led to the first run when Gabe Kapler singled him home. For all his faults, Navi has always been a very smart baserunner. Last season, Navi stole 5 bases. All 5 came with 2 outs as Navi put himself into scoring position…Matt Garza. Gonzo worked 8 innings for the 4th time this season. The 2 runs given up on the home run in the 4th inning marked just the second time this season Garza gave up more than 1 run. He finished with 5 Ks and 1 walk. He is now 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA…Grant Balfour. He may not throw 96 anymore, but he has better control this season. He walked one batter last night. That was just his second walk this season to go with 13 strikeouts. And the walk ended a stretch of 31 straight batters faced without a walk.
THE BAD: Rough Schedule For ‘Los. Carlos Pena went 0-5 with 2 Ks and is now hitting .200 on the season with 29 strikeouts in 26 games. He is hitless in the last 5 games and is 0 for his last 22 with 11 strikeouts. And with all the lefties on this roadtrip, there is little hope for Pena to break out of his funk anytime soon.
THE TELLING: John Jaso will start today against a lefty.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 20-7, one game ahead of the Yankees and 4 games ahead of the Blue Jays and Tigers in the Wild Card race. After 27 games in 2008, the Rays were 15-12.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Rays released Virgil Vasquez, who was acquired prior to the season from the Pirates. He recently broke both of his wrists in a scooter accident.
- Joe Maddon now admits JP Howell might not be back until June. Also, since the start of the 2007 season, Carlos Pena has the fourth most walks in baseball. [St. Pete Times]
- Joe Maddon says he will continue to get John Jaso playing time, even if that means starts versus lefties. [Tampa Tribune]
- Carlos Pena says there have been no negotiations for a new contract but that he “would love to play here forever.” [St. Pete Times]
- Milton Bradley left the team and threatened to quit during the 6th of the first game of this series. Now he says he needs help for “emotional stress.” [ESPN]
- Rob Neyer says the Mariners “probably should release Milton Bradley“…Think Andrew Friedman still wants to go down that road? [ESPN]
- Brett Gardner is off to a hot start for the Yankees. Josh Levitt calls Gardner a younger and cheaper version of Carl Crawford and now wonders if the Yankees need Crawford next year. [The Hardball Times]
- “The Rays’ run differential is plus-70. For a bit of perspective, only three AL teams had a greater run differential than that for the entire 2009 season.” [Fanhouse]
- Desmond Jennings talks about the pressures of being a top prospect. [Burlington Times-News]
- Evan Longoria is Steve Gardner’s early-season pick for AL MVP and he picked Wade Davis and Matt Garza second in the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young respectively. [USA Today]
- Jeff Niemann spends a minute with Roger Mooney (video). [Tampa Tribune]
- Gary Shelton writes about the arrival of the next generation of sports stars in the Bay Area. [St. Pete Times]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: (no game scheduled)
- MONTGOMERY: Jake McGee made his first start since suffering a sore knee. He only allowed 1 run, but was pulled after 2.1 innings with 61 pitches. He struck out 4 and walked 1…Alex Cobb made his 2010 debut in relief of McGee, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings. He struck out 4 and walked 2.
- CHARLOTTE: Matt Moore struck out 9 in 5 innings, but allowed 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks. He has now allowed 18 runs in 26.1 innings this season…Tim Beckham missed his 3rd straight game due to a medical issue in his family.
- BOWLING GREEN: Alex Colome pitched 6 shutout innings despite 6 walks. He struck out 3. He had walked only 5 batters in 27.2 innings prior to this start.