The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

Rays 9, Red Sox 4

THE GOOD: Big Innings. One feature of the Rays early in the season when they were winning everyday was the consistency of big innings and last night they had two of them. During this recent stretch of poor play, the Rays have continued to draw walks. Getting on base is great. But the walks are wasted if they aren’t followed by a string of hits and last night the Rays were able to string together hits for what seemed like the first time in a long time…Ben Zobrist. Zorilla is no center fielder, so let’s not use him as evidence for getting rid of BJ Upton. But in Upton’s absence last night, Zobrist got on base twice as the leadoff hitter, stole a base and even played some solid defense…Matt Garza. He had 104 pitches after 7, so it was a little surprising to see him come out to start the 8th. If we ignore those 2 batters, Garza held the Sox to 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks in 7 strong innings. He is now 9-5 with a 4.08 ERA on the year.

THE BAD: Zero Confidence. That’s what we have in Randy Choate right now. The Rays lone bad moment last night came when Joe Maddon left Matt Garza in to start the 8th and then brought Choate in to face David Ortiz who promptly hit a 2-run double.

THE TELLING: Jason Bartlett’s home run was his first non-solo home run since 2006, snapping a stretch of 21 straight 1-run home runs.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 45-32, 2 games behind the Yankees and 1 game behind the Wild Card leading Red Sox. After 77 games in 2008, the Rays were 46-31.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Even though Carl Crawford’s arm is still not 100% and teams will continue to take advantage of it, Joe Maddon says Crawford will continue to play LF because he doesn’t like to DH. [St. Pete Times]
  • The Angels are interested in Hank Blalock. [MLB Trade Rumors]
  • Three Bulls will be on the IL All-Star team. [Rays Prospects]
  • Why isn’t Jeremy Hellickson on the IL all-star team. [Watching Durham Bulls Baseball]
  • Joe Maddon thinks Jeff Niemann should be considered for the all-star game. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests the Braves target BJ Upton in a trade. [AJC]
  • Ryan Torello points out that during interleague play the Rays batted .237 with a .346 OBP and a .365 SLG. He also notes that (prior to last night) in Rays wins this season, Evan Longoria is batting .358. In losses, he is hitting .203. [Twitter]
  • RotoProfessor examines whether or not Wade Davis can turn his season around. [RotoProfessor]
  • Here is a relatively new Rays blog that had slipped below our radar until now. This Chick Loves The Rays posts her dream Rays lineup. [The Chick Loves The Rays]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Jeremy Hellickson lasted only 5 innings after throwing 95 pitches. He gave up 3 runs on 9 hits. He struck out 4 and walked none…Dioner Navarro went 1-3 with a walk…Desmond Jennings did not start, but made an appearance as a pinch-runner…Dan Johnson was 2-4 with a 2 RBI and a walk.
  • MONTGOMERY: (postponed)
  • CHARLOTTE: Frank de los Santos held Palm Beach to 1 run in 7 innings on 7 hits and a walk. He struck out 2…Tim Beckham went 0-5 with 2 strikeouts. He is hitting .211.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Alex Colome pitched 6.2 shutout innings with 6 strikeouts and 3 walks…Robi Estrada drove in both runs with a double.
  • HUDSON VALLEY: Wilmer Almonte gave up 5 runs in 5 innings. He struck out 2 and walked 2…Derek Dietrich was 1-4 with an RBI.
  • PRINCETON: Eliazar Suero made his second start and gave up 2 runs in 3 innings, striking out 4…Bryan Fogle went 3-5 with a pair of doubles.
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27 Comments

  1. Rytor says:

    Thanks for the mention, Cork!

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  2. ramedy says:

    Zero confidence in Choate? Really? That was the second hit he's allowed in his last 14 appearances. It's one thing to have questioned him early in the season when he got drilled a few games in a row (though that was likely due to overuse after the Niemann injury), but come on.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      I guess my point is just that when Choate does fail to get the job done, they are epic meltdowns. If it comes to a high-leverage situation in September, and Choate is called on to get out a tough lefty, I wouldn't be surprised if that lefty hits a 3-run HR costing the Rays an important game.

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      • ramedy says:

        He can definitely be all-or-nothing, I'll give you that; but as long as his freeze jobs continue to outweigh his meltdowns, the only thing I'll dread when he appears is that weird facial hair of his.

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  3. Matt says:

    I can't see the Rays doing anything this trade deadline. The past two years they said they were going after players and didn't get them and know Friedman said they dont have any plans because there is nothing they need. Why can't they see that Upton stinks and we need another bat to DH when Jaso is catching.

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  4. Matt says:

    We could trade Upton to Atlanta for Jonny Venters who could be our lefty guy. He's really young and has 1.29 ERA through 29 games. Then they could throw in a minor league outfielder and Jennings gets called up to replace Upton.

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  5. Hal says:

    Outfield next year: Zobrist, Jennings, Joyce? And I'm with Ramedy - throw out the early season stuff and I feel great when Choate comes in to get a lefty. He will give up a hit now and then - last night wasn't exactly a high leverage situation.

    Why can't someone put a fastball in to Ortiz's back? His act is so stale.

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    • Jim says:

      "Why can’t someone put a fastball in to Ortiz’s back? His act is so stale."

      Hear, hear!

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      • Rayofhope says:

        I am with you guys on that. Just the fact he sits there and admires each home run is a joke. It also takes him 2 days to round the bases. He needs a Price fastball to the ribs next week..thats if Price can even get to his ribs through 8 layers of fat he is carrying...haha

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  6. Mason says:

    Well, I'm hoping last night was the start of a turnaround but I just don't like the way this team has been hitting. It's quite embarrassing.

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  7. Matt says:

    I think Joyce gets a bad rep. I know his numbers aren't great in the bigs but he never really plays. I think guys need more than 100 ab's to tell if they can really hit or not and he hasn't gotten that. If the Rays give him a chance which they are doing, he may start hitting.

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    • Rayofhope says:

      Agreed Matt. Same can be proven by SRod. He took a while with Maddon pulling him in and out every night but he looks pretty damn good up there now..

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      • Alex says:

        So far I'd equate Joyce's hitting to Nick Green. The guy can barely get it out of the infield and if he does it's on a pop up

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  8. John S says:

    Event though Upton has low value right now...

    He would like to think he could fetch more than a reliever..

    Good discussions by all

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  9. Rich says:

    Although you said that 'Zorilla is no center fielder' he looked pretty darned impressive out there last night. When I saw him catching that one in that corner cutout in center, I could not help but think that it was a very 'Upton-ish' play.

    At a minimum, it is good to know that if anything were to happen to BJ (injury, trade, whatever), Zobrist could step in.

    think of that , so let’s not use him as evidence for getting rid of BJ Upton. But in Upton’s absence last night, Zobrist got on base twice as the leadoff hitter, stole a base and even played some solid defense

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  10. Don says:

    Poor Zo remains the Rodney Dangerfield of media and unknowledgeable fans! (remember the utility player tag)
    Let me tell you this... after last nights performance Zo once again "shows" that he can adapt to any situation..
    He is every bit as good as Upton in CF, will make less mental mistakes (like Positioning) and he hits .300!
    Why not ship Upton...Zo in CF, Joyce his chance in RF....we don't need Zo in the infield...
    It would be a perfect fit all...and rid of a major headache and distraction.....other words Upton!

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    • Huey Lewis says:

      Serious question....how old are you? You are probably the worst commentor I have ever seen on any blog. And that is quite an accomplishment. So, I salute you.

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      • Don says:

        Huey Lewis?...think you been in the band too long,,,,smoking funny cigs....because I can't figure out what a "commentor" is?
        My graduation is next week...after that I'm calling myself "Elvis"!

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        • Huey Lewis says:

          Excuse me. Worst "commenter" I have ever seen. But, your reply is exactly what I'm talking about. You never make any sense. All you do is make 3-5 borderline illegible comments complaining about Joe Maddon and the Rays a day. They don't make any sense, they add nothing to the conversation, and nobody likes you. I just don't understand your goal and/or why you continue to do what you do on here. But, to each his own I suppose.

          Kudos again though. Impressive feat.

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  11. Connie says:

    Did anyone see the mlb network highlights on the Rays drawing TB on the ground and filling it in with seeds and gum? That was hysterical. What inning was that? I missed it...or was it only shown on the Red Sox broadcast?

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    • Charles says:

      It was on the Sox broadcast on NESN, and it went on pretty much the entire game. It was pretty hilarious and very well done. At some point, a Red Sox grounds crew guy came over - we thought he was going to break it up, but he was watching them do it and looked like he was admiring the work. Quite funny.

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  12. Gus says:

    It is a funny thing, but for all the success of the Rays in the Maddon-era, they have never really had a lead-off hitter. I suppose Good Bartlett's run last year was the best lead-off work we've seen done for any extended period. Maybe if he returns to form, that is the answer, but it is still a question for me. Rotating guys isn't the answer, and I think they need Zobrist down in the order to get some contact amongst the whiff kings, so I'm not sure.

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    • Rayofhope says:

      Once Jennings is ready and Upton is gone we will have a true leadoff hitter....cant wait :)

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    • Don says:

      They won the league champ. and went to the World Series with Aki batting 1st in 2008...
      Next year(2009) Maddon moves Aki way down and bats Upton 1st...
      for a total disaster...But Joe was Manager of the year (2008)
      so he knew best.....please!

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  13. Don says:

    Just flipped over to "the chick" blog...even she noticed Zo in CF.... and changed her lineup...probably better start watching her Blog.....

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  14. Matt says:

    Did the Rays call up Desmond Jennings? I thought I heard that on the radio but I may be mistaken.

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