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: John Jaso And The Leadoff Spot. Sure you want speed at the top of the order, but it is more important to have a guy that can get on base, and JJ Dynomite can get on base. Yesterday he came to the plate 6 times. He walked, singled, doubled and hit a big 2-run home run. All told, he drove in 5 runs and he even stole a base. So that thing about speed is moot also…Bottom of the Order. And why did a leadoff hitter have 5 RBI? Because the Rays 7-8-9 hitters (Rodriguez, Brignac, Upton) went a combined 6-14 with a walk and scored 6 runs…Grant Balfour. He will never be 2008 Mad Australian, but 2010 Mad Australian is looking pretty good. Yesterday, he came in when the Rays lead was only 1 and recorded 2 scoreless innings with 4 strikeouts and no walks. On the season he now has 25 Ks and just 4 walks. He is 1 of only 3 relief pitchers in the AL with at least 20 Ks and no more than 5 walks.

THE BAD: Matt Garza. He picked up the win with a little help from his friends. And it wasn’t like Garza was terrible. Only 1 run came via a home run. 67 of his 108 pitches were strikes. He even did a good job of throwing first-pitch strikes (16 of 24) something that he struggles with at times. So what was the problem? Normally, Garza will throw the 4-seem fastball well over 50% of the time (59.1%), but yesterday it was just 7 of 108 pitches (6.5%) according to PitchF/x. Instead, Garza was throwing his 2-seem fastball (60.2%), a pitch he usually only uses 11.0% of the time. So was this part of a specific game plan for attacking the Rangers or did Garza just not have confidence in his 4-seemer yesterday? Typically, a 2-seem fastball has more movement than a 4-seemer. But Garza’s 4-seemer already has a lot of natural movement. Did the weather play a factor? In the hot dry air of Texas it is possible that Garza’s 4-seemer did not have the typical movement and he felt the need to use his 2-seemer more. The problem is, the 2-seemer is a slower pitch and by using it more, Garza was effectively a weaker pitcher. We wish we had an accurate PitchF/x from Matt Garza’s start in Texas 2 years ago in which he scuffled with Dioner Navarro. That was another hot afternoon game and we wonder if use of the 4-seem fastball led to the argument.

THE TELLING: John Jaso was the first catcher to ever bat leadoff for the Rays/Devil Rays. He was also the first catcher in baseball the AL to bat leadoff this year…Joe Maddon has now used a different lineup in 9 straight games and 41 of 57 games this year…Sunday’s game took 4:06.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 37-20, 2 games ahead of the Yankees and 4.5 games ahead of the Red Sox and Blue Jays in the Wild Card. After 57 games in 2008, the Rays were 35-22.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Two of the Rays recent signings from Cuba, Leslie Anderson and Sergio Espinosa have been promoted to double-A. [Rays Prospects]
  • The Rays plan to give Wade Davis plenty of opportunities to work on his “mechanical issues.” [St. Pete Times]
  • Joe Maddon will not bench Carlos Pena noting that his defense is “hard to walk away from.”
  • Minor League Ball has their latest first round mock draft. [Minor League Ball] And here is their supplemental round mock draft. [Minor League Ball]
  • Evan Longoria is the fifth best position player in all baseball over the last 3 years. [Beyond the Boxscore]
  • In a 3-part series, Rays Prospects looks at the Rays draft history. [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]
  • Sully Baseball wonders if Stephen Strasburg might end up like former Devil Rays prospect Matt White. [Sully Baseball]
  • Dave Scheiber talked to Todd Kalas about his relationship with the fans. [FS Florida]
  • Joe Maddon recalls meeting John Wooden. [Rays Report]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Aneury Rodriguez allowed 3 runs in 4.2 innings on 5 hits. He struck out 4 and walked 4. He now has a 3.80 ERA in 45.0 triple-A innings…Kevin Witt Dan Johnson hit his 16th home run, which is the second-most in triple-A. He is hitting .328…Matt Joyce was 2-3 with a walk and is now 9-37 (.243) in 10 triple-A games…Desmond Jennings was 0-4 with an RBI…Elliot Johnson stole his 19th base which is 2nd in the IL.
  • MONTGOMERY: David Newmann gave up 2 runs in 6 innings on 7 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 4. He now has a 3.15 ERA in 11 starts…Matt Gorgen struck out 1 in a perfect 9th for his 12th save…Chris Nowak was 2-3 with his 5th home run.
  • CHARLOTTE: Joe Cruz allowed 4 runs on 10 hits and 2 walks in 5 innings. He struck out 3…Tim Beckham went 2-4 with a walk and scored 3 runs. He also stole his 10th base…Henry Wrigley hit his 12th home run and was a single short of the cycle. He drove in 5.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Wilking Rodriguez gave up 4 runs (2 earned) in 6 innings with 6 Ks and no walks…Brett Nommensen hit his 2nd and 3rd home runs of the year and drove in 3…Ty Morrison stole his 20th base.

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5 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Everybody is missing the point….It doesn’t matter Where Jaso bats…
    1st, Last, 4th, whatever…He HAS to be in the line up….
    Burrell gone…. Jaso at DH… automatic 3/4 run improvement…
    Now… Maddon has to get over Pena…nice guy,good defense but he Stinks….He is costing us big time…forget Defense..my mother can play 1st base…we need hitters…Joe Moma get rid of your $10 mil Oh Yea!
    You will have a better team…guaranteed!

  2. Don says:

    Oh I forgot…Garza major trade bait …Rays could get a really good 1st Baseman or RF…for an “unlimited ability” front line pitcher…(really… mentally stupid pitcher)
    Hellboy ready to come up, Garza contract up, we get another “hitter” to help with runs….everybody wins!

  3. KillaTapes says:

    Hey Prof, hasn’t Russell Martin been in the leadoff spot some this season?

    On another note, Jaso is really working some good counts and making pitchers work. Really nice addition to the lineup, and if Shop gets going again this will be a really welcome surprise- having 2 solid catchers platooning is not something most Rays fans believed possible just a couple months ago. Also great to see BJ heating up, let’s hope he stays hot.

  4. Hal says:

    Jaso is just solid – you just can’t sit him right now. Suddenly we have 5 guys hitting at .300. Carlos and BJ are just killing rallies right now. Every time BJ seems to be coming around he regresses and it’ll take more than 1 game to convince me that he’s coming around. Carlos just has to sit. I will repeat my weekly plea for Dan Johnson.

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