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: Joe Maddon. With the Rays trailing by 2, Carlos Pena struck out looking for the second out even though he attempted to call time before the pitch. Joe Maddon then came out of the dugout and conducted one of the best, most entertaining manager arguments we have ever seen. After arguing with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez and dropping several F-bombs, he was ejected. JoeMa then turned and ran towards third base ump Joe West. Maddon was pointing at West and yelling “this is your f*cking fault!” West was genuinely confused and Maddon kept yelling “yeah, this is your f*cking fault!” Maddon was blaming West because of comments West had made earlier in the season about speeding up the game. And JoeMa picked this moment to let West exactly how he felt about those comments. Classic. And amazingly, after the ejection, 8 of the next 12 pitches were balls, several of which were very close. That loaded the bases before Sean Rodriguez cleared them with a go-ahead double…Sean Rodriguez. He finally did something big. He’s finally a real Ray! Arod’d.

THE BAD: Rafael Soriano. He got the job done in the bottom of the 9th, but not before he made our heart stop momentarily. With a runner on base and 2 outs, Vernon Wells missed a game-tying home run by about 2 feet when his linedrive hit off the top of the wall. The Jays would score one, but no more…Reid Brignac. Not his best game as a pro. The runner that scored in the 9th reached base via his throwing error. That followed a missed double-play in which he was ruled too far from the bag on the turn and 3 strikeouts at the plate…Stress. This was easily the most stressful game of the year to date. It was so stressful I shit a squirrel. And now I’ve got this shit-covered squirrel running around the house. I think I’ll name it Pat the Squirrel.

THE TELLING: With Jason Bartlett out, Joe Maddon’s “surprise” leadoff hitter was BJ Upton. We like it, but that’s not much of a surprise…Of Matt Joyce’s 58 plate appearances this season, only 4 have come against left-handed pitchers. In other words, he will never be more than a platoon player with the Rays…PECOTA gives the Rays an 84.1% chance of making the playoffs. CoolStandings.com says it is 77.7%.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 35-18 and lead the Yankees by 2.5 games in the East and the Blue Jays by 4.5 in the Wild Card. After 53 games in 2008, the Rays were 32-21.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Here is video of Joe Maddon’s ejection. [Pro Rumors]
  • Joe Maddon called last night’s game a “big win” and said about the ejection that he was making a stand “for all teams” (video). [The Heater]
  • Joe West defended Angel Hernandez’ decision after the game. [The Heater]
  • Joe Maddon said there is now a “50-50″ chance that Jason Bartlett ends up on the DL due to his sore hamstring. [The Heater]
  • Evan Longoria still has a comfortable lead at third base in the AL All-Star voting. Carl Crawford fell to third among outfielders and Pat Burrell fell to fifth among DHs. [MLB]
  • Hank Blalock will start working out in the outfield. He has never played the outfield at any level. [St. Pete Times]
  • John Romano writes about the upcoming draft in which the Rays have 6 of the top 100 picks. [St. Pete Times]
  • Tony Fabrizio calls the upcoming draft “important.” Andrew Friedman says this year’s draft “is probably void of depth with really significant-type prospects. [Rays Report]
  • Tom Buehring of Bay News 9 had a sit-down with Andrew Friedman about the early part of the season (video). [Bay News 9]
  • The Rays have partnered with the Sagicor Life Insurance company to start the “Rays Kids Spirits” program to support children at All Childrens Hospital. [PR Newswire]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out “The Rundown” from Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Aneury Rodriguez allowed 5 hits and walked 4 while striking out 4. Four of those runners scored…Matt Joyce was 1-4 with a walk…Kelly Shoppach went 1-4…Desmond Jennings once again batted 7th. This time he was 0-3 with his 12th stolen base…Justin Ruggiano had 2 hits and stole 4 bases.
  • MONTGOMERY: David Newmann struck out 8 and walked just 1 in 5 innings. He did give up 10 hits and 4 runs.
  • CHARLOTTE: Joe Cruz gave up 1 run on 5 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings. He struck out 5…Tim Beckham went 1-4 with a walk…Leslie Anderson hit his 3rd home run in 18 games.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Kyle Lobstein allowed just 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks in 6-plus innings. He struck out 5. The first hit off of Lobstein did not come until the lead off hitter in the 7th. Only two batters reached base (walk, error) in the first 6 innings…Ryan Wiegand homered twice and drove in 5 runs. It was his 5th 2-hit game in the past 10.

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19 Comments

  1. Tom says:

    A few random thoughts regarding an entertaining game:

    Did Madden give an explanation as to why he did not bring in Rodriguez to play 2nd after pinch-hitting for Kapler? They eventually brough him in anyway and losing the DH would have really hurt had the game gone into extra innings.

    CC almost getting picked off at 2nd in the 9th could have been a disaster. That really would have been inexcusable.

    I wish Staats would stop whining about the umpires strike zone and I also wish they had used FoxTrack on some of those pitches Gregg threw in the 9th.

    I know I am not the first to say this but I prefer Anderson over Kennedy in the booth.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      You bring up a good point about Anderson. I liked how he handled the neighborhood play in which the ump ruled the runner safe at second base.

      I love Staats but sometimes he is a little quick and over the top with his emotional outbursts directed at umpires. He immediately got on the umpires about the call before even seeing a replay. Anderson let him go, waited for the replay and then calmly disagreed and explained why. Other young commetators might tip-toe around a more experienced play-by-play.

      Even if you think the ump was wrong I liked how Anderson handled to situation.

      • Tom says:

        I agree. Anderson handled it well and the Ump got the call right.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          I agree. I think it was the right call. Especially since (if I’m remembering correctly) the runner was nowhere near Bartlett. Now if Bartlett was avoiding a hard slide, there is a good chance he gets the benefit of the doubt.

          • Beth says:

            I think you mean Brignac (not Bartlett) — and indeed I was thinking, as Brignac failed to make that play, that this is where lack of experience could be an issue — although my husband did note, when I said that last night, that even a rookie has been playing this game for some 10 years when he takes the field — Brignac should be able to make that play.

            But I also thought it was a good call — the point of the “neighborhood” play is that you are, indeed, in the “neighborhood” and Reid was somewhere across town.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Well, there is a second pitch touching the black and 4-5 more that just missed. But I’m not saying Gregg had a beef or that the calls were bad. I was just suggesting that he wasn’t getting the benefit of the doubt like others might have been getting earlier in the game.

      • MJ says:

        When a pitcher is all over the place like Gregg was last night, they usually don’t get the close strike calls. Like the link shows, its not like he was getting robbed. What about the slider/cutter that was thrown to pena that almost hit him that was called a strike?

  2. SeanDubbs says:

    I’m sorry I ate your chocolate squirrel.

  3. Beth says:

    The pitcher had definitely NOT started his delivery when Pena called time.

  4. ramedy says:

    So I defend Maddon for the context of his criticism comment, and then he goes and does something I can’t stand.

    Ask yourself this question: would you want Carlos Peña getting one more plate appearance than Ben Zobrist in a game right now? When I realized we had the top of the lineup for the 9th, I played out this scenario in my head: Upton strikes out, Crawford hits a pop fly way early in the AB, Longo gets on base somehow, Peña strikes out, Zobrist gathers dust on the bench. I know that’s a slightly pessimistic scenario; but if Gregg had the right prescription in his glasses, it very well could have happened.

    I know the bottom of our lineup needed some juice (although I find it questionable, putting a high OBP guy among guys who can’t drive in runs); but I think giving your best hitters a chance for more ABs is probably a more reasonable approach.

    That being said, I still think Maddon’s right 99% of the time, I wouldn’t trade him for any manager out there right now, and I can’t wait for that wild lineup tonight. Sonnanstine leading off? Bobby Ramos in CF?

    • SeanDubbs says:

      Look who Pena has had hitting behind him most of the season: Upton and PtB. Zobrist has been hitting the ball well the last two weeks and maybe Joe is looking for a little better protection behind Pena so he’ll get better pitches to hit.

      • ramedy says:

        Even if you think lineup protection isn’t overrated, Aybar was the more immediate protection for Peña last night – I’m not sure what that was going to accomplish. The way Peña is hitting right now, I’m not sure Lou Gehrig’s ghost could protect him.

        • Thad says:

          JoeMa does make some headscratching moves, but I’ve given up griping over them. He studies it, he lives it, he analyzes it and he makes decisions, some seemingly strange. But many times they are not JUST moves for what they appear on paper, but they may have a psychological angle as well (i.e., Upton leading off last night). I do think he deserves some slack though from the local talking heads and the like (Deumig, etc.) that just bash him incessantly for the sake of bashing (and ratings, of course).

          At the end of the day, this team is prepared, this team plays hard, they play til the final out and they believe in the eccentric JoeMa. And most importantly, they win.

  5. Kelley says:

    I agree totally with what Maddon did last night. But, if the umpires DO have something against the Rays like people are saying on the radio this morning, isn’t Maddon making it worse for us by yelling at Joe West? Aren’t the calls going to keep getting worse the more often Maddon goes out there to argue?
    I still think Maddon did the right thing, I’m just wondering if we’re going to suffer for it tonight with a wide strike zone for the Blue Jay’s pitchers, etc.

  6. Beth says:

    I also wanted to note one of my favorite points about last night’s game, according to the St. Pete Times coverage — apparently, all it took for Sean to deliver the winning hit was some pointers from Longoria, who is such a baseball stud that he not only hits but can get his teammates to hit, too:

    ” Rodriguez has been working extensively with hitting coach Derek Shelton on hitting the ball to rightfield, and before he went to the plate, Longoria, who was on third, called him over for a constructive reminder.

    “He tells me to just relax, that if he throws you that heater, you’re going to pull it naturally, and if he throws you that cutter middle away, which he’s probably going to do, hit it right over the second baseman’s head,” Rodriguez said. “And that’s what ended up happening,”

  7. Amanda says:

    What gets me about Maddon sometimes is his lack of emotions. No, I don’t want him going off half-cocked every other pitch. But last night’s game just proves that baseball isn’t always about stats, The Book, Maddon’s way, or if-then scenarios. Sometimes, a little juice is needed to light a fire under people. Sometimes this team is so mellow, that it sometimes borders on lackadazical, and that’s not soley directed at Upton. I think that may be the one tiny but key element that is missing from the 2008 team: A Johnny Gomes-type player, someone who is willing to go, “WAKE UP!!!!” when the bats are asleep.

    • Myrna says:

      I won’t mention any names, but I saw a couple of players laughing and joking around when we were 5 runs down…looked lackadazical to me!

  8. Aaron says:

    Pat the Squirrel? lol

    Also, good for Maddon, that strike out on Pena was stupid.

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