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: All The Giraffe Does Is Win. Jeff Niemann tied a franchise record with his 7th straight win and has not last at home in his last 16 starts. That is the longest streak in the majors (thanks JB). Last night, Niemann took a no-hitter into the 6th and finished with a complete game, 2-hit shutout. It was his 3rd career shutout…Bossman. Say hello to the Rays new leadoff hitter. At least against lefties. Last night he was on base 4 times in 5 plate appearances and at one point had reached base 9 straight times. On the season, he has been on base 10 out 20 plate appearances as a leadoff hitter…Carlos Pena. Is the sauciness back for reals this time? Two home runs for El Gato, including a grand slam. The slam earned Pena a curtain call. Does anybody remember the last time a player got a curtain call at the Trop? We don’t. It was Pena’s 2nd multi-HR game of the season and his 11th with the Rays.

THE BAD: Keeping Pace. Both the Red Sox and Yankees won last night. Not only are the two best teams in baseball in the AL East (according to record), but the East also has 4 of the top 9.

THE TELLING: Attendance was 12,937…Pat Burrell is 5-12 in 4 games with the Giants…John Jaso is likely to remain the leadoff hitter versus right-handers according to Marc Topkin.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 38-20, 2 games ahead of the Yankees and 4 games ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card. After 58 games in 2008, the Rays were 35-23.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Jacob Thomspon, the Rays second-round pick, says he is ready to sign. [The Heater]
  • LeVon Washington, the Rays #1 pick a year ago, was drafted by the Indians in the second round and may have agreed to a $1.55 million deal. That would be about $500K more than the Rays offered a year ago (other sources dispute that an agreement has been reached). [Twitter]
  • No Rich Herrera last night, tonight or tomorrow. He has switch places with Durham Bulls play-by-play guy Neil Solondz. [Rays Prospects]
  • Check out the second graph on this link. Great look at how the Rays offense compares to the run production of the last 2 years. [Watching Durham Bulls Baseball]
  • Rays are still #1 in ESPN.com’s power rankings. [ESPN]
  • Matt Garza as Zoltar. [TAUNTR]
  • The Rays were not among Keith Law’s “winners” of day 1 of the draft. [ESPN]
  • Here is the complete list of players drafted by the Rays in the first 30 rounds. [Rays Prospects]
  • Follow along on Rays Prospects’ draft signing board as they will update with all of the Rays draft pick signings in the coming weeks. [Rays Prospects]
  • Chris Nowak was named the SL hitter of the week. [Rays Prospects]
  • Shane Dyer was named the FSL pitcher of the week.
  • Three Hot Rods were named to the ML All-Star team. [Rays Prospects]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Carlos Hernandez struck out 8 and allowed just 1 hits and 2 walks in 6 shutout innings. He improved to 5-3 with a 2.90 ERA… Desmond Jennings batted second and went 3-5 with a triple…Ryan Shealy and Chris Richard homered for the Bulls…Matt Joyce was 1-4 with a walk.
  • MONTGOMERY: Jake McGee allowed just 1 unearned run in 4.2 innings. He struck out 5 and walked 4, but did not allow a hit…Chris Nowak went 3-4 with a double.
  • CHARLOTTE: Matt Moore picked up his first win in 12 starts this season by holding Clearwater to 1 run in 6.1 innings. He struck out 4 and walked 3…Tim Beckham was 1-3 with a double and a walk. He has 5 hits in the last 3 games, but is still hitting just .218.
  • BOWLING GREEN: (postponed)

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29 Comments

  1. Connie says:

    The Pena link goes to a video from June 2….

  2. Jim says:

    Professor, I was thinking about when you were discussing Jaso as a PH hitter late in the games (assuming Navarro is sent down). As long as Rodriguez is up with the Rays, they could do it. If something happened, he is their emergency catcher. For that matter, in a pinch they could use Zobrist too…

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Certainly possible and it will be interesting to see how often Joe risks that. Obviously you don’t want to use Rodriguez or Zobrist behind the plate. And it will look awfully silly if the Rays are playing the Yankees and a game goes extras and Sean Rodriguez is catching.

      Obviously injuries are rare but the Rays are in a bit if a pickle. Shoppach just had surgery on one his knees. I don’t know how often he’ll be able to work 9 innings, much less extras. In that case, if Jaso is used as a PH earlier, the 3rd string catcher is more than an “emergency” option. They are more like a certainty.

      So then argument becomes: well then just have Jaso replace Shoppach. That’s possible. Under that scenario, the 3rd catcher is in play, but less likely to be needed.

      That last scenario is the one we are going to see most often. I just hope we don’t end up with Rodriguez catching the 12th inning of an important game.

      • cmshannon says:

        Professor, isn’t John Jaso better suited as a DH/emergency catcher? Navi on the bench and Shoppach the everyday catcher. This eliminates the PH/injury Quandary.

  3. zenny says:

    Los, BJ, and the Giraffe are great stories, but the best news of the day is that Rich Herrera is out of town, imo.

    • Deadeye says:

      Rich as a play by play man is dreadful. He has a long way to go if he were ever to do play by play for a majors team. anyone who has heard him in spring training would have to agree.

    • MJ says:

      Exactly what i was thinking.

  4. Political_Man says:

    The last curtain call at the Trop was when Aki hit a home run in the ’08 Playoffs, game two of the ALDS.

  5. ramedy says:

    Being at last night’s game reminded me of three reasons I love attending games with low attendance:

    1. Parking

    2. The crowd is made up mostly of good baseball fans who get into the game and know how to cheer (I know we need casual fans to get a packed house, and I’m not saying I hate casual fans – just that aspects of a small crowd are more enjoyable for me). Before the big screen prompted people to get on their feet with 2 outs in the 9th, a lot of fans were already standing. The curtain call was a good sign too, much deserved.

    3. The Wave can’t get started. I saw a couple of fools in the outfield try to start it, but there weren’t enough people in the section next to them to get it going.

    Highlight of the game beyond Peña and Niemann: Kelly Shoppach’s at-bat music is “I’m On a Boat.”

    • Brixology says:

      Was that really Shoppach’s song? His first at bat, I didn’t pay attention until the end and I actually thought it was the Samberg song with Julian Casablancas where everyone starts dancing to him boombox. The other time I caught it, it was just a lot of autotune and I couldn’t pick it out. Excellent choice for Kelly.

      • ramedy says:

        Yeah, I did an aural double-take during his first at-bat, didn’t realize it for sure until the second AB. It’s hard to tell since it’s just the T-Pain Auto-Tune bridge of the song. There were actually a lot of people around us in our section during the game, but my friend and I were clearly the only ones who noticed (or were actually amused by it).

        Then we decided a player should use “Yakety Sax” for their AB music. I nominate Navi.

    • Chris says:

      Nothing frustrates me more than people starting the wave (well ever) but most certainly while the game is being played. I finally snapped at someone last year – I was being told I need to stand up to get the thing started – it was 3 – 2 or so game in the 6th, we are batting with men on base. Seriously? Wave? I am here to watch the damn baseball game.

  6. Joe D. says:

    Yesterday got me thinking, if the playoffs were today, and the Rays needed a 3 man rotation, who would be in and who would be out?

    I guess prior to last I thought our 3 best starting pitchers were still Shields, Garza, Price.

    After last night I’m thinking, a 3 man playoff rotation might be better as Shields, Garza, Niemann, with Price working out of the ‘pen, since Price showed in ’08 that he is very effective out of the ‘pen.

    I’m curious if any one else has any thoughts on a premature playoff rotation, 3 or 4 man and who’s in who’s out?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I think Maddon would probably go with a 4-man rotation and obviously Davis would be out. I’m trying to remember the off-days but think you can only get away with 3-man rotation in the division series. In the other rounds it would require going on short rest. And while they could, there really is no reason if there isn’t a big dropoff for #4.

      And even if the spacing works in the ALDS, I doubt JoeMa would want to risk the 4th starter going 10-12 days between starts if he isn’t used in the ALDS but is used in ALCS.

    • Gus says:

      Forget the playoffs; after the All-Star break, they should re-set the rotation and have Neiman, Garza and Price be the Big 3. Shields hasn’t been the No. 1 started since mid-2008, but gets the role because of seniority. Unless he’s super-hot going into the playoffs, he’s the No.4 starter for playoff purposes.

      • ramedy says:

        In both FIP and WAR (if you don’t know what these are, just Google them), the order of the rotation is the same:

        1. Shields
        2. Price
        3. Niemann
        4. Garza
        5. Davis

        xFIP has Garza ahead of Niemann, but I’m done being skeptical of Niemann. All his numbers scream lucky, but I can only watch so many hitters put weak contact on Niemann pitches before I finally start to think it’s more than luck.

        Ultimately though the order of the rotation in the regular season is pretty much irrelevant.

    • Hal says:

      I was having the same thought last night and it has to line up like this now: Price, Nieman, Garza, Shields. JoMa like seperating the power arms and Nieman might be our best pitcher right now. I can’t even believe I just typed that. Dude is just steady.

    • Maddon is not Girardi. He’ll go with the 4 man rotation like he did in 2008.

      • Chris says:

        And I think MLB took so much criticism over last year’s Yankees favorable schedule that they have arranged it so you are almost forced into a 4 man rotation. I’ll try to dig up the link.

  7. Don says:

    I’m not ready to give Pena or Upton any standing ovations after performing in 1 or 2 games..
    Lets say if after this home stand(6 games) they each have 10 hits or so, and we WIN 5 of those games…I’ll be standing…If they each strike out 6-10 times..it will be business as usual!

    • Alex says:

      I know your probably drunk or something right now Don but Bj is 7-18 in the last seven days and 12-38 in the last 15 days. So nice try

      • Gus says:

        So a .320 stretch absolves BJ? Reminds me of his player of the month last May or June that was surrounded by 5 totally crummy months.

      • Don says:

        I’m not drunk…its only 10am… give me a chance…But what is your excuse for thinking a 7 game stretch makes up for a season of poor performance? Could it be stupidity??

  8. Brixology says:

    On the curtain call front, someone came out and gave a quick, jokey curtain call right before Carlos came out. I think it was Carl. Anyone catch it? It made us laugh.

  9. Indiana Rays Boy says:

    On the boo-ya network (aka East Coast Sports Programming Network i.e. ESPN) had a segment called the Four Horsemen for best 4 pitchers had top performances for Tuesday. The four pitchers mentioned on that list were Phillip Hughes, Mike Pelfrey, Chris Carpenter and Steven Strasburg. What baffled me was that Jeff Niemann was not on that list what so ever. What a joke that was with a starting pitcher that gave up two hits and had a complete game shutout. Putting 2 New York pitchers make me want to throw up. Then again, it is ESPN, it is all New York, Boston and Philly why does that shock me.

  10. Indiana Rays Boy says:

    pardon my corrections

    On the boo-ya network (aka East Coast Sports Programming Network i.e. ESPN) had a segment called the Four Horsemen for best 4 pitchers had top performances for Tuesday. The four pitchers mentioned on that list were Phillip Hughes, Mike Pelfrey, Chris Carpenter and Stephen Strasburg. What baffled me was that Jeff Niemann was not on that list what so ever. What a joke that was with a starting pitcher that gave up two hits and had a complete game shutout was not acknowledge. Putting 2 New York pitchers make me want to throw up. Then again, it is ESPN, it is all New York, Boston and Philly why does that shock me.

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