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: Little Help From The Jays. With runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out and trailing by 1 in the 9th. Dioner Navarro came to the plate to face Shaun Marcum. Marcum is tougher on lefties, but one would have to think that even a left-handed Carlos Pena or Hank Blalock would have been a better option than a right-handed Navarro. So when Joe Maddon did not pinch-hit, the Jays had to know a squeeze play was coming. They should have had 6 fielders within 20 feet of the plate. Even if Navi swings away, there is little chance Navarro hits it past a drawn-in infield. Instead, Navi laid down an ugly, but effective bunt scoring Sean Rodriguez to tie the game…Carl Crawford. Great game. 2 hits, 5 RBI including a grand slam. But if you read the headlines this morning you would think CC won the game. Yes, his home run was ultimately the winning margin. But there were 3 or 4 hits at bats in the 9th inning more important including Dioner Navarro’s squeeze and Reid Brignac’s double…Dirtbag’s D. With a runner on first and no outs in the 8th inning of a 1-run game, Evan Longoria made a diving stop to his left and started a 5-4-3 double-play from his knees to keep the Rays alive.

THE BAD: Another Blown Call. This time it was Sean Rodriguez rounding third and scoring the tying run in the 6th only to be called out for missing the bag. Replays seemed to indicate that Rodriguez touched the bag. And even if the replay wasn’t conclusive, an umpire can’t make that call unless he is 100% certain…Navarro Is Spanish For Tortoise. The Rays had runners on second and third with no outs in the 5th. BJ Upton hit a medium-depth flyball to right field. Navarro tagged up and was thrown out by at least 15 feet. The right fielder could have walked the ball to the plate.

THE TELLING: Jeff Niemann brought out the lineup card before the game. We can only imagine this was so none of the coaches would suffer from a premature ejectulation…A decision will be made on whether to DL Jason Bartlett prior to Friday’s game…Willy Aybar, Ben Zobrist and Dioner Navarro batted right-handed versus the righty Shaun Marcum. In addition, Carlos Pena was not in the starting lineup. Lefties are only hitting .166 versus Marcum, while righties are hitting .280.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 36-18, 2.5 games ahead of the Yankees and 5 games ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card. After 54 games in 2008, the Rays were 32-22.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • The umpires were adamant after the game in defending their call that Sean Rodriguez missed third base, erasing the first tying run. [The Heater]
  • Carl Crawford talks about the win (video). [The Heater]
  • Marc Topkin looks at who the Rays might call up if Jason Bartlett goes on the DL. [St. Pete Times]
  • Matt Bush has been activated from the DL and will resume play with Charlotte.
  • Henry Schulman thinks Pat Burrell could be called up by the Giants as soon as this weekend. [San Francisco Chronicle]
  • Jeremy Hellickson was named the IL pitcher of the week…again. [Rays Prospects]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Richard de los Santos pitched 7 shutout innings. He struck out 5 and walked 2…Dan Johnson hit his 15th home run. He now has a league-leading 1.052 OPS…Matt Joyce was 1-4 with a walk…Kelly Shoppach caught and went 2-4…Desmond Jennings was 2-4 and Fernando Perez stole his 16th base.
  • MONTGOMERY: Jeremy Hall threw 8 shutout innings with just 2 hits and 3 walks. He has not allowed a run in his last 3 starts (23 innings)…Drew Anderson was 3-5 with his first home run of the year…Matt Sweeney went 1-3 and is 11-49 (.224) since being promoted.
  • CHARLOTTE: Frank de los Santos allowed just 1 unearned run in 6 innings…Tim Beckham was 1-5 with 2 strikeouts…Leslie Anderson went 1-4.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Alex Colome gave up 6 runs (5 earned) in 4 innings. Of the 6 hits, 4 were home runs.

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36 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    Here’s a question — I noticed that, at least until the 8th/9th inning, Marcum consistently threw first pitch strikes, and the Rays consistently watched them. So virtually every batter started with an 0-1 count.

    If a pitcher is in the strike zone on nearly every first pitch, why wouldn’t you go up swinging? Worst case scenario you miss and you are still at 0-1.

    • Chris says:

      Agreed. If it is a pitcher with amazing stuff, it would be one thing. If it is a control picther and he is always around the plate, no sense in going down 0 – 1 and then maybe chasing a bad pitch. Kinda like Greg Maddux…might as well take a cut because he was always in the strike zone.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      that’s a tough one and at some point in the game, they may want to adjust their thinking. But some hitters like to take a pitch to get their timing down. And they may want to see as many pitches as possible so they get a feel for the different pitches he throws.

      the problem may be that the Rays are trying to teach their hitters to be patient. the more pitches they see, the better hitters they will be. and the more pitches the pitcher has to throw. and ultimately it will lead to more walks and a higher OBP which means more runs. But like anybody that is learning to do something, it is not always easy to know when to deviate from the plan and make adjustments. maybe the second time through the order, they need to be a little more aggressive on a night like last night. they will learn that eventually.

    • Thad says:

      I think in most normal situations that would be a logical response (i.e., the White Sox approach to Shields over the wknd). Swing first on early fastballs to avoid getting to the pitcher’s better out pitches later in the count.

      But the caveat here IMO, is that the only way pitchers like Marcum can even pitch in the Major Leagues is because of their impeccable control and movement on the fastball. Marcum d/n throw four-seam fatties even on first pitches. His fastball has a lot of movement and hacking at anything in the zone may not always be the best course of action. Make him work a little bit and nibble on the edges and hope he wears down eventually. Which???? Happened last night.

      He’s a tough guy to “square up” in the immortal words of KK. And I’m not sure first pitch swinging is the best approach always.

    • MJ says:

      Actually worst case scenario is you ground out and the pitcher gets an out w/ one pitch.

  2. Chris says:

    Unreal that the umpires would not only refuse to admit that they blew the call but actually seem adamant that they got it right. Sad thing is, nothing will happen to them going forward either.

    Not a conspiracy theorist but it sure does seem personal with that crew and the Rays.

    • Beth says:

      Except that, if you look at the reporting from around MLB, you see a blown call that cost a perfect game in Detroit, and another blown call that determined the outcome of the game in Seattle. So I do think the officiating has been poor, but I don’t think it’s directed at the Rays (although I did wonder whether the Hernandez thing last night was payback. I mean, how did the Jays even think to make the appeal at third? Did he signal to them somehow? I guess that’s my ultra-paranoid side coming out).

      • Cork Gaines says:

        Usually a call like that comes from the dugout. Somebody on the bench is usually watching for that sort of thing. That being said, they can also watch and see how the umpire reacts during the play. It may not be a conscious effort, but the umpire may give away that he thought the runner missed based on his body language.

        • Mike says:

          The key is he can’t make the call unless he KNOWS the bag was missed. He can’t make that call if he thinks it was missed. That was really a joke, but I feel worse for the guy in Detroit. The umps are human and they will miss calls, but admit you were wrong instead of defending it. Drives me crazy. That Joe West is a real a**.

  3. Greg says:

    3rd base coach Tom Foley has to take the blame for sending Navi – that’s a bad decision when you have 2nd and 3rd and no one out. You have Crawford and Longoria coming up to get the run home and you take yourself right out of the inning. Of course, Crawford singled on the next pitch which probably could have plated both runners.

    • Chris says:

      Agreed. I was wondering if Navi went on his own or did Foley send him because it was so awful. Surely the scouting report on depth of the fly ball/Jays’ OF arm could not be off that much.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Indeed. If there was 1 out, maybe it is OK and just hope that the throw is offline. But with no outs, there is still a very good chance you will get one or two runs even if the runner stays.

      • Sarah says:

        The camera was following the outfielder, not the runner, and I expected when the camera finally picked up home plate we’d see a close play on Bautista’s great throw …but when the ball got there, Navarro wasn’t even close to the plate. It hardly seems humanly possible to be that slow. Fortunate that they scored other runs or we’d be griping about that play quite a bit more.

    • MJ says:

      Good point.

  4. The Reverend says:

    Professor,

    It seems like there is some serious heartburn developing between the Rays/Joma and the Joe West umpire crew. Should this be a cause for concern? How often does a team face a given crew? Once every 15 series? Once every 8? What happens if they are assigned to our ALDS?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Somebody please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe MLB uses all-star crews in the playoffs. So maybe the Rays would get one or two of those guys, but not the who crew.

      As for seeing this crew again…I’m not sure what the policy is in MLB, but I’m willing to bet that there is some sort of procedure where if a manager/team has a real problem with one particular crew, they can file to have that crew removed from their schedule. I’m a high school football and basketball official and if a coach has a problem with our crew or a particular official they can have us “scratched.” that is, we would no longer be assigned to that school’s games. The only question is how far in advance does MLB schedule their umpires. I dont know. But I’d bet there is some flexibility built in.

      • MJ says:

        I think I remember people complaining that they DIDN’T keep the original crews together and actually use “all-star” crews, argument being that the “all-star” crews don’t know each other’s tendencies or communication styles, etc.

    • Michael says:

      I’m pretty sure I heard during the 2008 playoff run that MLB has a rule that once an umpiring crew has done a playoff series they are ineligible for another playoff series for a certain amount of time. In other words, MLB does not make sure that the best of the best are umpiring the most important games of the year, they caved to the union and consider it more important that ‘everyone gets to play’ when it comes to umps. I’ll see if I can dig up a link to support that.

  5. Beth says:

    Another question from last night’s game: since when do you bring in your closer with a 5 run lead? Soriano had worked the night before so it wasn’t as if he were getting rusty.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      certainly unusual. but the Rays have today off and Monday off. So there is little chance he is going to get worn out. I think Maddon just didnt want to take any chances last night and blow the good feeling of the last two games. The Blue Jays are a very good offensive team and can hit a lot of home runs. It wouldn’t have taken much for them to make it a little scary in the 9th.

      • Jim says:

        Also, he was the only one warming up, and the Rays jumped from a save situation to a five run lead very quickly. Maybe they figured they couldn’t get another arm ready in that time.

    • And would you want the normal “Human Victory Cigar” (Andy Sonnanstine) facing that line-up. Andy + Homerun Hitting Team = Disaster Waiting to Happen.

      • Sarah says:

        I was thinking Benoit, but it makes sense that they had Soriano warming up when it looked like a closer game and decided to use him.

  6. Amanda says:

    Cork, here’s one for you: With what happened in the Detroit/Cleveland game last night, and what happened in this game, how do you feel about the blown call in the near perfect game? To me, with what we saw in the Rays game, all I can think about is that the Rodriguez blown call means infinitely more to me than what happened to poor Galarraga. (And believe me, I do feel bad for the guy.) Every commentator I’ve heard that said they should overturn that call, I see the slippery slope that other commentators are saying — when does it stop? If you do it for one, why not this one or that one? I’m in the camp that human error is part of the game (though I’m not opposed to more instant replay), but what’s done is done. He faced 28 batters last night, and you can’t take that away either.

    But — in that game, why didn’t anyone protest at the time? Or the home plate ump conference about the call? Could that have been done?

    One more thing, because this does relate to the piss-poor officiating that the Rays have seen. I can’t commend everyone involved in that other game more, because everyone was either apologetic or accepting. Wouldn’t it be nice just once — JUST ONCE — for Joe West or someone on his crew go to, “Oops, my bad!” That ump was so conciliatory, so dejected … and I really appreciate that. And the fact that he met face-to-face with Galarraga speaks volumes, too … and not issuing a handler-written apology. And it was so nice to see the player directly involved saying, “it happens” and not making more of the situation.

    • Mike says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Joyce made maybe the worst call I have ever seen, but at least he took responsibility for it. Joe West and his crew on the other hand seem to screw up every game and not even bother to watch the replays to show how many times they blew calls, let alone take responsibility for the mistake. That whole crew should be fired. It seems like Joe West is in the news every week, and that is not a good thing for an umpire.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I’m with you. I dont want to open that can of worms. Too many ugly things can happen. Baseball is an fallible sport. Mistakes happen by all sides. Go back and watch the replay of the last pitch in Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series. That pitch was almost over the head of the batter. And that was a World Series game!

      • Amanda says:

        BTW … Olbermann meeting with Selig makes him more like TMZ than anything else. He wants to be the news, not report on it.

    • The way perfect games are being thrown now, it’s going to become like a no-hitter. Something nice to have on the resume, but doesn’t mean you’re an elite pitcher. Gallaraga will actually get more fame from the near perfect game than he would if he’d finished the job.

  7. Mike says:

    The Good should include BJ in the leadoff spot. 2-4 with a walk is exactly what we need in the 1 whole. I hope Maddon keeps him there, at least against lefties, for the foreseeable future.

      • Gus says:

        Wasn’t 2009 proof enough that BJ at the top of the order is a very, very bad idea?

        2010 BJ isn’t better. Put him in the No. 9 hole and enjoy his defense. Put him at the top of the order, and he kills the offense.

    • Jim says:

      Also, that would have been 2-3 if anybody other than Navarro had been running on that one shot to right. Seriously, how the hell did he get thrown out that bad?

  8. Thad says:

    If the Rays don’t die from heatstroke this weekend in Texas (two day games will be played in 100+ degree weather; the low Sat night will be 79; that’s effing hot), the Rays bats might start to heat up (literally and figuratively).

    The Rays will face:

    Fri: a recently struggling CJ Wilson (near 10 ERA in last 3 starts)
    Sat: a recently activated from DL Tommy Hunter (who hasn’t exactly torched AAA in rehab stint)
    Sun: a consistently inconsistent Rich Harden (leads AL in walks)

    With Big Dub, Ace 1b, and Ace 1a going this weekend. I like the Rays chances for a sweep. And some retribution for them kicking the Rays a$$es last year in Arlington. Set your DVRs for an extra 1 1/2 hours though.

    • Jim says:

      I’m not going to get too cocky walking into Texas, the Rays have a habit of playing down to their competition. I remember before the Houston series, we were all pretty giddy expecting a shellacking, and we barely got out of there with the series win.

  9. Don says:

    NEW CAMPAIGN: Lets get rid of Carl Crawford…he makes too much money…besides we have Upton (Mr.200) and a couple of minor leagues
    Joyce and Jennings that are hitting .200 +/-
    Who needs Carl…Grand Slams or no..CC’s got to go!

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