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: Recovery. There was the flyball that BJ Upton lost and played into a triple. But Carl Crawford’s running grab two batters later kept the Yankees from turning it into a big inning. And there was James Shields not fielding one bunt and then throwing the ball away when the very next batter also bunted. That left the Yankees with 2nd and 3rd with no outs. He recovered to get Mark Teixeira on a groundball followed by strikeouts of both Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano to get out of the inning without any further damage. Both of those innings should have been crooked numbers for the Yankees but ended up with just 1 in each…Settling In. After BJ Upton lost the flyball and James Shields walked the next batter, he settled down and retired 12 in a row before a Mark Teixeira single in the 8th. In that span, the score went from 4-4 to 8-4…Sauciness Returns. Ben Zobrist hit his first home run of the year. BJ Upton hit his first home run since April 19 and Carlos Pena hit a pair. Those were his first home runs since April 28. What are the Rays going to do now if they actually start scoring runs again?

THE BAD: Excuses. Apparently a $200 million roster doesn’t come with a bench. The rallying cry of the Yankees and their fans right now is “wait ’til we’re healthy!” Injuries are a part of baseball. They are not an excuse. When your catcher is 38-years old, it is not “unlucky” that he goes on the DL. When Nick Johnson, who averages 66 games missed a season, goes on the DL, that is not “unlucky.” The Yankees are old. Injuries are a part of the equation, not an excuse. On the other hand, when a roster is composed mostly of 25-28-year olds, it is not “lucky” when they stay relatively healthy. That is normal…The Master Is Sometimes The Servant. James Shields’ changeup is one of the best pitches in baseball. But sometimes with great power comes great responsibility. And when Shields hangs the changeup, it is no longer a changeup. It becomes an 83-mph batting practice fastball. And that’s what happened when Shields gave up a 2-run home run in the second…Baseball Pet Peeves. We generally disapprove of the use of the term “sweep” during a 2-game series. But for the Yankees we’ll make an exception.

THE TELLING: Last year, the Rays didn’t win their 30th game until June 10, the 61st game of the year…The Rays are now 9-0 on the road in the AL East including 6-0 against the Yankees and Red Sox.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are an MLB-best 30-11. Their 5 game lead in the East is the largest in any division which is pretty amazing considering the Yankees have the 3rd best record in baseball. After 41 games in 2008, the Rays were 24-17.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Michael Van Sickler of the St. Pete Times spoke with Ryan Neubauer, the founder of a group that wants to bring the Rays to Tampa. According to Neubauer, the group plans to go public with their plan later this year and financing for the stadium will not include any public funding. [St. Pete Times]
  • Rays Prospects reports that Andrew Bellatti, has entered a “not guilty” plea in his vehicular manslaughter case. [Rays Prospects]
  • Dock of the Rays spoke with a baseball injury expert about JP Howell’s injury. [Dock of the Rays]
  • Jeff Passan wonders if the Rays can win 125 games (including playoffs)…Easy Jeff. At this point we will take 95 and a trip to the playoffs. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Tyler Kepner writes about what makes the Rays so strong. [New York Times]
  • Hey check it out! Another national piece on the Rays that doesn’t focus on attendance. That’s two in one day! [USA Today]
  • The Rays are still on top of the Yahoo! Power Rankings. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Here is a graphical look at what Yankees fans are saying today (via RaysUpdates). [Twitpic]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: The Bulls managed just 2 hits…Desmond Jennings was 0-4.
  • MONTGOMERY: Jeremy Hall picked up his first win with 7 shutout innings. He struck out 3…Matt Sweeney had a single and a walk.
  • CHARLOTTE: Tim Beckham was 2-5 with 2 RBI. He now has 4 hits in the past 2 games…Henry Wrigley went 5-5 and hit his 8th home run. He is hitting .340…Matt Joyce hit a home run and was 2-5.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Jason McEachern struck out 7, but gave up 4 runs in 6 innings…Christopher Murrill was 3-3 with 2 walks and is now hitting .341. He also stole his 13th and 14th bases.

Bonus graphic via Gui Romano

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30 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Agree with you 100% on the Yankee injury thing — when your starting catcher and shortstop, 1 starting pitcher and your closer are all 35+ how can you claim to be shocked that key players are injured? And the core of their pitching staff and lineup are all healthy. At the same time, the Rays have lost half their catching platoon; their potential right field platoon; and the best performer in their bullpen to injuries, but have somehow had sufficient resources in the system to replace them.

  2. Sandy says:

    The Yankees (and their lovely fans) need to quit their wah, wah, wah-ing and just face the fact that the Rays are a GREAT – not just good – team, that is playing GREAT ball…and they ain’t goin’ away! Maybe they need to take that $200 million and bet it on the Rays winning the World Series this year. It would be money better spent! Woot Woot!!!

    (Sorry for the cockiness – I couldn’t help myself.)

  3. Amanda says:

    From Passan’s column: “Their oldest player, Gabe Kapler(notes), is 34.”

    I’m older than everyone on the Rays. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! :(

  4. Thad says:

    All I can say is, “Hide the women and children in Houston, this could get ugly.”

    Myers is their best chance for a win tonight and he’s facing Gonzo.
    Wandy has given up 19 runs in his last four outings never getting past the sixth.
    And Norris just plain suxx.

    Houston, you have a problem. Oswalt pitched LAST night.

  5. I’m not ready to write the Yankees off just yet. I expect plenty of more battles. The Rays really caught the Yankees at the right time, but I’m doubting that the Rays will see the AAA relievers and Juan Miranda, Randy Winn and the Great Gazoo when these teams face off in September and/or October.

    With that being said, it’s a good day to be a Rays fan… And I’m sure we’ll see a few less Yankee hats and shirts today in the Tampa Bay Area.

    • Sarah says:

      I agree, and I also suspect the Red Sox won’t continue to be as bad as they looked when the Rays swept them at Fenway. No point in getting too cocky — while the chances of the Rays getting into the playoffs are excellent, the chances that they will run away with this division are slim. Joe Maddon’s advice to his players — don’t get too down when you lose or too elated when you win — probably works for fans as well.

      • Sandy says:

        I do agree with you! I had a temporary lapse of rational thinking earlier today and cockiness prevailed, but I’m back to clear thinking now – the Rays do play in the AL East Division, after all! And let’s not forget that Toronto is right on the heels of the Yankees! How come no one’s talking about them?

    • Pipp says:

      Great Gazoo… heh-heh. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks those new concussion helmets are absolutely absurd looking.

  6. Joe D. says:

    Chuck Norris picture is so bad it’s good! I have it up in one of my co workers cubes he’s a yankees and lost our “team colors” bet!

  7. Boxauthor says:

    Speaking of power rankings and ESPN (the other day), I noticed that ESPN and Yahoo put their power rankings up the same day . . . except this week. ESPN has had the Rays in 1st for awhile, but last week, they put the Rays in first with this disclaimer:

    “. . . for the fourth straight time, the Rays have earned the No. 1 ranking. But this week, the two teams will share the same field to determine which is the best.”

    I suppose now that the Rays have proven it on the field, ESPN doesn’t know what to do.

    • Boxauthor says:

      lol. and if you scroll halfway down the MLB main page on their site, they have a tribute to the 2009 World Series Champions . . . .

  8. Boxauthor says:

    Ok, partly sorry about the ESPN comment. It looks like they’ve dated the rankings as May 17. I was sure they were the ones that posted at the end of the week.

  9. Thad says:

    Guilty pleasure of the day: Listening to WFAN on the Internet.

    Baseball Schadenfreude is awesome. Especially when it involves the Yankees.

  10. Gus says:

    If Soriano hasn’t pitched in 5 days, and you had a bullpen implosion in the 9th inning the night before, why not start Soriano in the 9th? Choate almost never finishes an inning and starts the next one, so why do that., especially if he is your only lefty for the immediate future.

    • Jim says:

      Probably because it wasn’t a save situation at that point. The Rays were up 4, and managers are hesitant to put closers in for non-save situations.

      • Sarah says:

        So…instead they wait for the other reliever to put enough men on base so that it IS a save situation, and then bring in the closer?

        • Jim says:

          Pretty much.

        • Alex says:

          I had no problem leaving Choate in seeing as he had to throw 4 strikes to strike out the last batter he faced (don’t remember who it was). Those runs that Jeter got should of never crossed if we had been given the strike out we would of been out of the inning on Winn’s strike out

    • ramedy says:

      1. The bullpen implosion the night before had a name – Andy Sonnanstine. That had nothing to do with Choate or Wheeler or Soriano or anyone else.

      2. Don’t judge Maddon’s decision solely on the results, unless the decision was truly more than likely to end with that result. You could maybe argue that Choate vs. Swisher was a bad idea, but he has less power from the right side. You can’t really argue against Choate vs. Miranda because that’s why Choate is on the roster. If we get that situation 10 times, I think Choate gets the better of it a majority of the time.

      3. The whole situation changes if the umpire hadn’t screwed Choate on that non-strike call. If we get that pitch 10 times, I’m quite certain Choate gets the strikeout 9 times, as long as Kerwin Danley isn’t the umpire.

      • Gus says:

        You are right — Kerrwin Dayley is an issue for the Rays. I just think save or non-save, given Soriano’s inactivity, Choate’s staying over an inning, a switch at the plate and the near death experience of the night before, the fact that Soriano was throwing anyway as was coming in after Miranda anyway, it was a poor call.

        Put it this way, when they came back from commercial and I saw Choate, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

        • leningan says:

          Rafa pitched on the 17th, inactive for 2 days. Choate is the only guy that could force Swisha to bat righty (apparently something maddon preferred) and with a lefty coming up next it made sense to let Choate have a go at swisha and have the preferred lefty on lefty matchup. fully agreed on the missed strike out call… we get that call, Rafa comes in and jeter doesn’t get a chance to make it interesting.

  11. Rumpy says:

    I was curious to see how many games we won and lost with and without Pat Burell in the lineup this season. So I looked it up, the numbers don’t lie.

    Rays Record when Pat was released: 24-11
    Rays Record with Pat was in the lineup: 15-9
    Rays Record WITHOUT Pat in the lineup: 9-2
    Rays Record since Pat was cut: 6-0
    Rays total record WITHOUT Pat (to date): 15-2

    • Sarah says:

      The numbers may not lie, but they don’t tell us much, either. Certainly don’t tell us that Pat CAUSED any losses, or that his replacements have CAUSED wins.

  12. YRM says:

    *posted before*

    we should do a thread on JT The Brick, check out this pathetic tweet:

    Someone should remind those RAYS fans that the playoffs begin in October. It should be easy to count from ZERO championships.

    yep, one of the greatest sports talk trashers in History actually used the zero titles argument, 2 years ago this guy would hang up on Rays fans that we’re talking World Series, and then blasted us for losing it, sad and pathetic; he’ll probably tweet me a reply of a reply of his desperate tweet about the attendance

  13. Andrew Pelty says:

    I would be so p**** if I was Galleraga.

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