The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.
THE GOOD: James Shields. James the Greater was just 1-7 in his last 8 starts and allowed at least 4 runs in 4 of those starts. And while he gave up 4 runs yesterday, 3 of those came in the 7th inning. In the first 6 innings, Shields was strong giving up just 1 run on 5 hits and no walks. And more importantly, he avoided the longball…Evan Longoria. His RBI-triple in the first got the scoring started. And his 2-run single in the 5-run 7th, put the game out of reach…Randy Choate. As Jim noted yesterday, the biggest outs of the game may have came in the 8th when the Twins were trying to get back in the game. Choate got Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer to hit weak groundballs during Choate’s perfect 8th inning…Matt Joyce. A day late, but we have to tip our cap to Joyce’s big grand slam to give the Rays the lead in Saturday’s game.
THE BAD: Star and Stripes Caps. We shouldn’t come down too hard on the white caps with blue brims and the “TB” in red, white and blue stars and stripes. After all, they are patriotic and supposed “raise awareness for the Welcome Back Veterans Fund.” But unless somebody can show me where MLB says they are giving ALL the money made off of these caps to the Veteran’s Fund (we can’t find where it says any money goes to the fund), then the caps are just a money grab by MLB. And an ugly one at that.
THE TELLING: Delmon Young is one of 5 players in the running for the final roster spot on the AL All-Star team. Also, Carl Crawford will be joined in the starting lineup by his former minor league teammate Josh Hamilton…As of Friday, Carl Crawford leads the majors with 7 4-hit games. Nobody else has more than 3 (via Ryan Torello). Crawford is also just the 3rd player to have 7 4-hit games prior to the All-Star break…Carlos Pena continues to bat 7th with Willy Aybar hitting cleanup. With Aybar-Matt Joyce-Kelly Shoppach batting 4-5-6, nobody is going to mistake the Rays for the ’27 Yankees…BJ Upton returned to the starting lineup on Saturday against the lefty and was in the lineup again yesterday versus the righty…Joe Maddon has used 63 different batting orders this season in just 81 games. That seams like a lot, but the Rays are on pace to barely surpass last year’s total of 123 and the 115 used in 2008.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 48-33, 2 games behind the Yankees and a half-game behind the Red Sox. After 81 games in 2008, the Rays were 49-32.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Shortly after announcing the all-star starters, somebody at MLB.com had a little trouble remembering who Evan Longoria plays for (thanks David). [Image]
- Evan Longoria will not participate in the Home Run derby if asked. [St. Pete Times]
- Joe Maddon on whether Wade Davis might be sent to Durham to work on his issues: “That’s a fair question. But we have not had that conversation. We want to get it done here.” [St. Pete Times]
- There may not be any money in Tampa, but there might be some tax money available in Pinellas for a new Rays stadium. [St. Pete Times]
- Bill Varian takes a closer look at Ryan Neubauer, the face of those trying to to get the Rays in Tampa. [St. Pete Times]
- Prior to this weekend, the Rays had struggled mightily, but Lee Jenkins writes that the Rays are right where they expected to be before the season. [SI.com]
- MVP might be a stretch, but Ben Zobrist is certainly valuable. [Baseball-Reference.com]
- Evan Longoria talks about being voted to start the All-Star game (video). [The Heater]
- David Price talks about being chosen as a member of the AL All-Star team (video). [The Heater]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: Virgil Vasquez appears to be recovering nicely from the two broken wrists. Yesterday he allowed just 1 run in 6 innings, striking out 10 and walking none…Winston Abreu struck out 4 of the 5 batters he faced for his 9th save…Desmond Jennings was 2-5 with his 20th steal…Dioner Navarro went 0-2 with a pair of walks.
- MONTGOMERY: Jeremy Hall was roughed up for 7 runs (5 earned) in 4.1 innings. He struck out 2 and walked 1…Henry Wrigley hit his 1st home run since being promoted and Nevin Ashley added his 3rd.
- CHARLOTTE: Joe Cruz pitched 7 shutout innings with 3 Ks and 1 walk…Tim Beckham was 1-4 and stole his 12th base.
- BOWLING GREEN: Kirby Yates gave up 2 runs in 5 innings on 3 hits and 4 walks…Brett Nommensen hit his 7th home run, a 3-run shot. He finished 2-6 with 4 RBI.
- HUDSON VALLEY: Nate Garcia made his 1st start after 4 relief appearances and threw 4 shutout innings with 5 strikeouts, no walks and just 2 hits…Derek Dietrich was 0-4 and is now hitting .200.
- PRINCETON: Braulio Lara made his 3rd start and gave up 3 runs in 3.2 innings, bringing his ERA up to 4.50…The Rays managed just 3 hits, all singles.