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: Junkyard Dogs. You gotta love this team. They ain’t a bunch of poodlefied rich brats in pinstripes. These guys are much more like Junkyard Dogs. Just doin’ whatever it takes to survive. And if somebody gets in the way, somebody is gonna get bit…Emo Squeeze. Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus calls Joe Maddon’s squeeze the “emo squeeze. Not serious about suicide, but it calls for attention.” Like everything the Rays do on the basepaths, it is much more aggressive than a traditional safety squeeze, and Jason Bartlett’s won the game in the 11th…The Bullpen. Another great night from the relief pitchers, highlighted by Joaquin Benoit who struck out all 5 batters he faced. Even Andy Sonnanstine pitched his first important appearance in his last 7 outings, retiring the side in the 11th.

THE BAD: Jonathan Papelbon. It is always fun to watch Papelbon blow a lead. Just wish it wasn’t against the Yankees.

THE TELLING: The Rays drew a solid 18,879 last night. Not bad at all for a Monday night versus Cleveland. For comparison, last year in a mid-May, Monday night contest versus the A’s, the Rays drew 12,000…The Rays are 16 games over .500. If they play .500 the rest of the way, they would still win 89 games. The goal is 26 games over .500 which would be 94 wins and an almost guaranteed playoff spot…The Rays are on pace to win 115 games. The Yankees are on pace to win 107 games and finish 8 games back. Holy Super AL East Batman…Pat Burrell was worth -0.3 WAR with the Rays this season. If the Rays miss the playoffs by 0.3 games, we’ll blame Andrew Friedman.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are an MLB best 27-11, 2 games ahead of the Yankees in the East, 5 games ahead of the Tigers and Blue Jays in the Wild Card and 8.5 games in front of the Red Sox. After 38 games in 2008, the Rays were 22-16.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • JP Howell pitched a simulated game yesterday but lasted only 12 pitches before experiencing what Joe Maddon called a “setback.” No word yet on how much longer he will be out…Also, remember when the Rays starting pitchers were throwing all those pitches the first two weeks of the year? Yeah, well now Joe Maddon says he is going to limit the pitches of Matt Garza, James Shields and David Price. [St. Pete Times]
  • Rays still on top in the ESPN power rankings. [ESPN]
  • Matt Sweeney, who came to the Rays organization via the Scott Kazmir trade, has been promoted to double-A Montgomery. [Biscuit Crumbs]
  • “Except the Rays are, I think, smart enough to know that sometimes $16 million doesn’t buy a single victory, but instead is simply the cost of doing business.” [ESPN]
  • The fan that ran on to the field during Saturday’s game has been banned from Tropicana Field for life. [St. Pete Times]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Richard de los Santos gave up 4 runs in 5 innings…Desmond Jennings was 0-3 with a walk…Fernando Perez went 1-4.
  • MONTGOMERY: Alex Cobb pitched 6 solid innings, allowing 1 run, striking out 5 and walking none…Matt Fields was 2-4.
  • CHARLOTTE: Matt Moore got touched for 7 runs (6 earned) in 5 innings during game 1 of a double-header. His ERA is now 6.51…Shane Dyer gave up just 2 runs (1 earned) in the nightcap. He struck out 6 and walked 1 in 6 innings…Henry Wrigley was 3-7 and hit his 7th home run…Tim Beckham was a combined 1-7…Stephen Vogt went 3-7 and hit 2 home runs in game 1.
  • BOWLING GREEN: no game scheduled

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16 Comments

  1. Now that the Maddon is going to start limiting the number of pitches by starters, expect the chorus of anti-Maddon sentiment to grow. I can already hear it (or have already heard it).

    I like the Junkyard Dogs analogy. However, the way they’ve been playing the last week or so probably won’t get it done against the Yankees. There’s no way the Yankees are going to let the Rays hang around for a late rally. Just revisit the games from the Trop in April.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I don’t know if Maddon boo-birds are needed but some of us were questioning why some of the guys were throwing 110 pitches the first week.

      In JoeMa’s defense, the guys have been a little too good. Part of the reason their pitch counts are high is because the never get knocked out early.

      As for the Yankees. The Rays are a much better team now than week 1. They don’t have to face Sabathia (this week). And the Yankees have some of their own problems. Nick Johnson is out at least 2 months and now they are missing a key OBP guy in front of the big bats. And they don’t really have a 5th starter right now. I think this Yankees squad can be beat.

      • I agree this Yankees squad can be beat. However, the Rays bats are going to have to do a little bit better than they have the past week or so. They have to score early and often.

  2. Brian H says:

    DON,
    please read that article cork put up about pat burrel. allow me to excerpt

    Matt Klaassen on The Mysterious Case of Pat the Bat:

    ” Now that they’ve basically admitted that it didn’t work out, what can we make of them, and, of course, “us” (the community of internet baseball bloggers who have nothing in common)? ”

    NOTE KEYWORD: ADMITTED

  3. Brian H says:

    so i guess you wont say the words “i am wrong” until next wed, when he is officially released. looking for anyway out of being wrong.

    be a man and just say it.

  4. Boxauthor says:

    Another good thing about last night’s attendance numbers: The Yanks and Red Sox were playing on ESPN. Given their fan base in Tampa, the turnout at the Trop last night was that much better.

    • Gus says:

      If you throw out the big markets/attendance outliers of Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals and Yankees, the 18,879 at the Trop last night is pretty good.

      Drawing more (barely):
      Braves 21,086, Texas 20,210, San Diego 20,550.

      Drawing less:
      Baltimore 9289, (First Place) Reds 12,409, Marlins 10,870, Oakland 10,051.

      One other consideration: because so much of the attendance is walk-up and single game purchase, the Rays actual attendance is far closer to the attendance/tickets distributed number used in the box scores (which are grossly inflated at most places. They have a real home field advantage at the Trop. Good to see the fans coming out.

  5. Don says:

    Who the Hell is Matt Klaasen…Does he work for the Rays? or just a moron offering HIS opinion of the situation??
    The game (trade/sale) is not over by far….
    Anyway… just headed to the game, get my Bud cold, kiss Burrell for me Brian ….we have got help from the DH spot 2 days in a row….amazing!

    • Brian H says:

      you got to be kidding me don. you couldnt be farther from correct. the rays front office are going to eat a 9 million dollar contract (6.35 left on the year). you think thefront office are saying they wanted this all along?

      admit your wrong, be a man and stop trying to figure out some small loophole.

      also please stop trying to explain how you always wanted pat burrell gone, i did too obviousily since i wanted him released. and you said that would never happen because the front office would never admit a mistake, which DFA’ing a player ,( anybody who is a sane indivual), would realize that is admitting things did not work out in your favor.

      no one in the baseworld would say that the rays are not admittign a mistake here. i dont understand what you even trying to hold onto here.

      say your wrong. say it, say it. SAY IT

      ps: say it.

      also: say it.

      one more thing: say it.

      it=don=wrong.

      • Brian H says:

        DIRECT DON QUOTES BELOW: heres to accountability……….

        “Ok…Lets go this way…. I’ll BET your apples, oranges or your lunch money Burrell Never gets CUT from the Rays….”

        “The Rays will NEVER just CUT Burrell…the embaressment factor would be way too much for AF and mgt.”

        “At best they will weed him out in a slow playing time decrease”

  6. Mike says:

    Free baseball is always nice, but we need to break out of this hitting slump. We made Carmona look much better than he is, he is not a strikeout pitcher and we made him look like one. Hopefully we can get some hits today and hit full stride in the homer friendly new dump in the Bronx. If I remember correctly, it was about this time last year that the untouchable Mo Rivera gave up back to back jobs for the first time ever leading to a great D-Ray victory. I wouldn’t mind a repeat performance, although I would prefer to see two 10-0 games.

  7. Alex says:

    We made a lot of Indians pitchers look good last night and basically all of them had more walks than strike outs. That was pathetic

  8. Joe D. says:

    Prof, i listen to quite a few rays games on the radio, and Andy and Dave frequently refer to the new Yankee Stadium as Replica Yankee Stadium. I know you call out that on here, I haven’t heard it called that anywhere else.

    Obviously we know that at least one of them checks your site out at least once and a while after the zorilla shirt reference last year…

  9. Aaron says:

    “Holy Super AL East Batman” LOL

    AND BTW, Banning that kid that ran on the field for life seems a little harsh if you ask me.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I kinda thought the same thing. But there is a shelf life to the ban. It sounds like it is just for The Trop. I assume the ban will not be in effect at any new stadium the Rays were to play in.

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