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: 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