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: Pena’s D. There was the diving grab towards foul territory to retire the first batter of the game and then there was the catch while tumbling into the dugout. Is Pena’s glove once again Golden? Sure seems like it…Jeff Niemann’s Royal Domination. Niemann who had allowed only 1 run in 17 career innings versus KC, worked into the 8th and gave up just 1 run. He did struggle in the 7th and the inning could have been worse if not for Jose Guillen’s double going over the wall. Otherwise, a second run would have scored.

THE BAD: Non-Save Closers. We are one of those people that hates seeing a closer in a non-save situation. Most closers seem to thrive on the adrenalin of protecting a lead and winning the game. All of the sudden they get thrown into a non-save situation and some closers will let up a little bit. Rafael Soriano faced 6 batters in the 9th inning of a tie game. Four of those batters reached base (3 singles and a hit batter…Jaso’s Inexperience. The key play in the decisive 9th was a 1-2 pitch in the dirt to Billy Butler. Replays showed that Butler clearly swung and missed for strike 3. But the umpire ruled that Butler had fouled the ball off keeping the at bat alive. An experienced catcher would have immediately jumped up with the ball and tagged the batter which might have earned the correct call. Jaso never tried to sell the call. And never asked the umpire to get a second opinion. On the next pitch, Butler singled, moving the go-ahead run to third base…Dirtbag’s Big Tease. With 2 on in the bottom of the 9th, Evan Longoria missed a walk-off home run by about 2 feet.

THE TELLING: This was the Rays first loss with John Jaso in the starting lineup. They are now 7-1 when he starts…Sean Rodriguez started at second base. We would be surprised if Reid Brignac is not back in the starting lineup tonight and tomorrow.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays have are an MLB-best 17-6, 1.5 games ahead of the Yankees and 3.5 games ahead of the Tigers in the Wild Card race. After 23 games in 2008, the Rays were 12-11.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Tony Fabrizio writes about David Price’s newest weapon…In the same piece we learn that Matt Joyce hopes to return by the end of May. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Well, Rob Neyer isn’t happy Joe Maddon gets to wear a hoodie in the dugout. Why? Because wearing a hoodie will “look sloppy.” Nevermind that Maddon has been wearing a hoodie since FOREVER and Neyer never had a comment until now. [Twitter]
  • Joe Maddon got a new gift. [The Heater]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Aneury Rodriguez had his first rough outing in triple-A, giving up 7 runs (4 earned) in 3.1 innings. He gave up 8 hits, 2 were home runs. He struck out 4…Fernando Perez was 1-4 with a walk and Angel Chavez hit his 3rd home run.
  • MONTGOMERY: Alex Torres gave up 3 runs, all on 2 home runs, in 7 innings. He struck out 7 and walked 1…Nevin Ashley was 2-5 with 2 doubles…Matt Fields was 3-5 with a double, 2 RBI and 2 strikeouts. He is now 8-13 in 3 games since being dropped to the 6th spot in the lineup…John Matulia hit his 2nd home run of the year.
  • CHARLOTTE: Matt Moore gave up 6 runs in 5 innings, raising his ERA to 5.91…Tim Beckham was 1-4 and is hitting .154.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Shane Dyer gave up 4 runs (3 earned) in 6 innings…Brett Nommensen was 2-4 with 2 doubles.
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11 Comments

  1. The phantom foul ball on Butler was the beginning of the end for Soriano. I think his problems stemmed more from frustration over that than they did being thrown into the mix in a non-save situation.

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  2. Don says:

    Poor Jaso..he"s hitting .500 plus excellent defense... and he has to take the heat for a missed umpire call??
    You want a goat how about Choke and his fielding abilities, plus hitters that can't hit after scoring 12 night before and on and on...

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  3. Jason W says:

    I think Niemann's start was saved by good D from people like Crawford, Pena, and Longo. If not for them the Royals woulda scored a good 3 or 4 runs.

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  4. Sublime says:

    I was at the game last night, and the almost homerun by Longo had the entire place about to erupt!

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  5. Kelley says:

    I'm so used to the Rays winning, I was shocked when things deteriorated in the 9th and we lost. It's also sad that so many Sat. games aren't on TV. I know they want people to come to the concert games but I'm still disappointed not to get to watch it tonight, and the 8th and 22nd.

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    • Don says:

      The reason some Sat games are not on.. is that time wise they conflict with ML rules when the game of the week is on!
      If all else fails you can see the game at the stadium....

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    • Beth says:

      Kelley, I agree, I had sort of forgotten that the Rays could lose. I fully, fully expected them to pull it off in the bottom of the ninth.

      As for the issue of Soriano's subpar performance....I don't buy the argument that outside of a save situation some closers can't get the adrenaline going. If you put him in with a multi-run lead or deficit that makes sense. But coming into a tied game in the 9th and you are not pumped up because it's not a save situation? Come on!

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  6. Roger says:

    Sorry to inform but hi def clearly showed Butler fouled the pitch off. Jaso knew it by his reaction too (not saying he shouldn't have sold it). Choate was the culprit there. It was in the bread basket then Butler's AB would have been totally different.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      I just rewatched that pitch again...in HD. and using both Rays and Royals broadcasts. From the front view, not only does it look like he misses it by 2 inches, but the ball is off the end of the bat. I dont even think he could have reached the pitch. And that is why it might look like it was tipped from the side view.

      Also, watch how slowly the umpire reacted. He wasn't sure of the call, and probably based it on how the players reacted.

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