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: The Bullpen. It has been a while, but most remember that the key to the ’08 Rays was the bullpen. The outstanding bullpen in ’08 led to a league-best 29-18 record in 1-run games which was a big reason the Rays played 5 games better than their Pythagorean record. Last year, the Rays bullpen was not as strong and the Rays were only 20-25 in 1-run games. So far in 2010, the Rays 7-5 record in 1-run games is second only to the A’s (6-2) and shows that the bullpen is back to ’08 levels even without JP Howell. Yesterday, 4 pitchers combined for 3 shutout innings allowing just 2 baserunners and Rafael Soriano picked up his 10th save in 10 opportunities…Gonzo. Matt Garza struggled early with his control but the M’s were unable to breakthrough. And Garza and his defense did a good job of surviving the 5th inning having allowed only 1 run. A 6-4-3 killed the bases loaded situation.
THE BAD: Maddonology. With no Ben Zobrist and no Carlos Pena, Joe Maddon went with Gabe Kapler in the 3-spot against the lefty. JoeMa said he chose Kapler because he is good against lefties and wanted him setting the table for Longoria. If that is the case, then why isn’t Kapler always higher in the order against lefties? Kapler has struggled against lefties this season (.302 OBP) and he was a 1-8 with 4 Ks versus Cliff Lee in his career. There was nothing to suggest Kapler was the best option. And yes, Kapler drove in the go-ahead run with a sac fly, but BJ Upton who actually has table-setting skills had 2 doubles…The Bullpen. Yes, we just got done praising the bullpen above. And yes Randy Choate and Dan Wheeler got the job done. But does anybody feel good about Choate and Wheeler pitching the 8th inning of a tie game? Please hurry back JP Howell.
THE TELLING: Carlos Pena and Ben Zobrist were not in the starting lineup with Hank Blalock making his Rays debut at first base. It was Blalock’s first appearance at first base this season, having only played third base and DH in triple-A…Andy Sonnanstine hasn’t pitched in a week. This is in part due to the sudden lack of runs scored by the Rays. In his last 6 appearances, The Duke has recorded the final outs for the Rays. The average margin of victory in those 6 games was 6.5 runs. Sonny is now officially the “Even you can’t eff this up” guy.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 26-11 and lead the AL East by 2 games over the Yankees. They are 4 games ahead of the Blue Jays in the Wild Card. After 37 games in 2008 the Rays were 21-16.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- If you missed it on Saturday, Heath Rollins caused quite a stir around here. [Rays Index]
- The Yankees will skip Javier Vazquez today. That means the Rays will face AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte on Wednesday and Thursday and not CC Sabathia who almost no-hit the Rays in week 1. And why the switch? Because apparently Sabathia’s bat during interleague is more important than facing the team the Yankees are chasing in the standings. [New York Post]
- According to Andrew Friedman, Pat Burrell was the reason for the move, not Hank Blalock’s demand to be promoted. In fact, Friedman says the Rays considered replacing Burrell with Dan Johnson. [The Heater]
- Hank Blalock-for-Pat Burrell is just the first of several roster moves that will be made in the near future. [St. Pete Times]
- Rise of the Rays argues for trading Hank Blalock now. [Rise of the Rays]
- A look at where Pat Burrell could end up. [MLB Trade Rumors]
- Might Pat Burrell be a good fit for the Mets? Only if they return to Shea (thanks Beth). [New York Times]
- The lesson of Pat Burrell: sometimes projections are wrong…Something to keep in mind. As you know, we are not afraid to take shots at the Rays. But we are not going to blame Andrew Friedman for this one. At the time, the Burrell deal was considered a steal by most. So much so, that some were blaming Burrell for lowering the going rate for other free agents that off-season. There were some red flags (old man skills). But nobody predicted The Bat to be this bad. [Fangraphs]
- Rays Renegade feels the Rays unnecessarily caved to Hank Blalock’s demands when they had Willy Aybar available. [Rays Renegade]
- Ken Rosenthal thinks the market for first basemen might lead to Carlos Pena staying with the Rays…This is just a hunch, but we have a feeling that Pena has already told Scott Boras he is re-signing with the Rays and that Boras can do whatever is necessary to get the most money. But that at the end of the day, Pena will be a Ray next year. [MLB Trade Rumors]
- Why are pitchers better against the Rays the second time they face them this season? [Dock of the Rays]
- Oh dear Lord, Raymond is multiplying? Picture via RaysRenegade. [TwitPic]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: Aneury Rodriguez allowed 5 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings. He did not strike out a batter and gave up 2 home runs…The Bulls had 10 hits but did not score a run…Dan Johnson was 4-4 to raise his average to .325…Desmond Jennings was 1-3 with a walk.
- MONTGOMERY: Jake McGee was pounded for 8 runs on 10 hits and a walk in 3.2 innings. He struck out 5. For those that believe McGee is a future closer, he did retire the first 7 batters he faced with 3 Ks…The Biscuits managed just 1 hit in the 7-inning game.
- CHARLOTTE: (postponed)
- BOWLING GREEN: (postponed)