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: The Offense. If you asked us before the game if we would take 4 runs in a game that both CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera would pitch, we would have taken that in a heartbeat. 9 hits and 4 walks is always a good night against those two…Grant Balfour. The Mad Australian had a little extra giddy-up on his fastball last night. His fastball was consistently 93-94, even hitting 95 once.

THE BAD: One Of Those Nights. As soon as the Rays took the lead, we just had a bad feeling about the dramatic tone that was being sent over the entire evening…BJ Upton. Earlier in the game, Bossman made a great slide into 3rd base on a basehit by Carl Crawford. He would score the go-ahead run later in the inning. But any “good” was erased by what happened in the 9th. With the score tied in the 9th, Upton got a leadoff single off of Mo Rivera. He then proceeded to get picked-off. Of course. We wish we could say we were surprised…James Shields. Well, it wasn’t a hanging changeup and the bases were empty. But “Big Game” James (ironic, huh?) did hang a slider and a fastball for back-to-back home runs that tied the game in the 6th. His 21 home runs allowed lead the AL…Joe Maddon. As the visiting team in a tie game, it is not unusual for a manager to save his closer in case his team takes a lead at some point in extra innings. Of course, the risk is losing the game with one of JoeMa’s biggest weapons never being used. And last night, Maddon went with Choate, Wheeler and Cormier in the 9th and not Rafael Soriano…Sean Rodriguez. Rodzilla missed last night’s game because there was a sprinkler mishap at his condo causing it to flood. Was there nobody else that could move the furniture or lay down some towels? Was anybody’s life in immediate danger? Couldn’t the Rays have sent over a couple of interns to help out? There will only be 18 opportunities to beat the Yankees during the regular season. And Rodriguez left the Rays short-handed during one…

THE TELLING: About a week ago we noted that several of the Rays appeared to have switched from striped stirrups to striped socks. In actuality, they are still wearing stirrups, but for some reason several players (e.g. Jason Bartlett) are wearing navy socks under the navy stirrups, giving the impression that they are solid socks…

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 54-35, 3 games behind the Yankees and 3.5 games ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card. After 89 games in 2008, the Rays were 55-34.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Former Rays minor leaguer Jon Weber has retired. [Watching Durham Bulls Baseball]
  • David Price spoke about his all-star experience, including hitting a lady in the neck with an errant warm-up throw. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Derek Dietrich and Nick Barnese make this week’s “Prospect Hot Sheet.” [Baseball America]
  • You know BJ Upton has hit a low point when even Jonah Keri says it is time to trade Bossman. [JonahKeri.com]
  • David Laurila spoke with John Jaso about his career, his stats and his relationship with Fernando Perez. [Baseball Prospectus]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Virgil Vasquez picked up his first loss after giving up 5 runs in 5 innings including 3 home runs…Desmond Jennings went 0-4 with a strikeout…Joe Dillon was 2-3 and hit his 6th home run…Dioner Navarro was 0-4 with 2 Ks and is hitting .265 in triple-A.
  • MONTGOMERY: Jake McGee struck out 8 and gave up just 2 runs in 6 innings on 5 hits and a walk…Cody Cipriano hit his 3rd home run…Leslie Anderson went 0-5 to drop his average to .304…Henry Wrigley was 2-5 with an RBI.
  • CHARLOTTE: Frank de los Santos was pounded for 8 runs on 12 hits in 4.1 innings…Tim Beckham went 2-4 with a double and another walk.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Alex Colome gave up 5 runs on 9 hits and a walk in 5 innings. He struck out 6…Cody Rogers was 0-3 with a walk. He also stole his 4th base.
  • HUDSON VALLEY: Wilmer Almonte gave up just 1 run on 4 hits and a walk in 8 innings. He struck out 3.
  • PRINCETON: Eliazer Suero struck out 9 and pitched 7 shutout innings with just 3 hits and no walks.

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21 Comments

  1. Tone says:

    BJ getting picked off again is almost laughable at this point. I love Pena too but his at-bats last night were just pathetic. He just looks lost 9 out of 10 times he comes to the plate. Pena is more key than BJ in helping the Rays win. Why was Kapler not pinch hit for when Robertson was pitching? Joyce, Reid, or even Jaso should have been used. Maddon is not a good manager overall. Last year his weakness was visible and this year he has been lucky for the most part. Maddon gets the loss with help from Pena. Sucky.

  2. Don says:

    Maddon sucks, Upton is dumb, and Pena can’t hit (help)….
    End of story!

  3. Carey says:

    I have to disagree with the 4 runs against CC being “The Good.” Bottom line: We should have had at least 7 on the board and won this one going away.

    I knew we were going to lose as soon as Longo hit into the double play and we whimpered away with one run after loading the bases with no outs.

  4. td says:

    I’m over Upton. He’s just not very good… as a matter of fact, he sucks offensively. How about those 2 basehits he had last night…. Haha, a broken bat and a seeing eye single.

    But I will say this. Rivera blatantly balked in the 9th, and it should have been called. It’s a shame the broadcast team didnt break down the balk for people that dont understand the rule. Rivera clearly picked up his left heal, indicating he was going home. That is the trigger a good base stealer looks for. Unfortunately, they didnt call it.

    Also, how did Shoppach not make it to 3rd on the error by Swisher? I understand he is a catcher, but he should have been on 3rd with no one out.

    Also, niceto see Rivera in during a tie game for the Yanks, but Cormier in for a HUGE situation for the Rays.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Can someone explain what might have been the reasoning for the Cormier move? Why bring him in to replace Wheeler since both are RHP and Cormier has been so ineffective this year? This is a serious question and I am looking for a serious answer (not “Maddon is an idiot”)

    • td says:

      Not that I agree with the move, but COrmier is a far better pitcher versus lefties when compared to Wheeler. My question is why Soriano couldnt come in for that out.

      • Stephanie says:

        Thanks. I didn’t know that. And I agree about Soriano. No sense saving him for a save situation that can’t happen if the Yankees score.

  6. Don says:

    Just saw the line up for this afternoon…guess who is batting 4th….I’ll bet George Stein. is smiling down on Yankee Stadium…
    and saying God Bless… Joe Maddon!

  7. Mark says:

    Cork, in regards to Upton, why is “any “good” erased by what happened in the 9th”???

    This is the problem I have with all the Upton bashing. Everyone just ignores or dismisses any notable progress. I know it has become trendy to slag the guy, but in my opinion, BJ had a very solid game. Two hits (infield hits are still hits – ask Crawford), a walk and a run scored and he also made a sensational catch to rob Gardner. Not to mention, he displayed good baserunning as you stated above going first to third on Crawford’s hit.

    As for the the pick-off in the ninth, I don’t even see it as that INEXCUSABLE of a play. I think we’re getting a little dramatic anytime BJ makes what appears to be a mistake. We blame him for all the team’s problems. First of all, the move by Mo was a BALK by most standards. Secondly, with Mo pitching, and assuming Upton was trying to steal second, I don’t see all the beef with Upton trying to be aggressive and get into scoring position. While the result wasn’t there (ie. picked off), the intention was good and worth taking the risk in that situation.

    Feel free to disagree.

    • Don says:

      Let me take this one….from this day forward..since you don’t agree that Upton has been a liability in the past…everytime he makes a bone head move, everytime he strikes out with men on base, everytime a ball goes over his head or he is out of position on a ball hit to center ect. ect. ect…put a dollar in a Jar….
      Every time he does something good to help the team….take a dollar out….after the season you could buy a used car with the money jar….Get the idea?

      • Mark says:

        Don, I understand your point. I get it. Chalk me up as one of the few who would take you up on that money jar idea. I feel Upton’s positive impact on the team at season’s end would outweigh his negatives.

        And I am not saying Upton has never made a bonehead play or that he hasn’t struck out too many times with RISP or that his blowup with Longoria was warranted or justified (it was not). All I am saying is that BJ can contribute greatly to this team and when he does, it should not be overlooked by a BALK!

        He had a good game last night and here’s hoping he continues that trend today by playing hard, being aggressive on the basepaths and showing better plate discipline.

        • Alex says:

          Are you serious? You do realize Bj’s been picked off at least 5+ times this year. It’s probably closer to 10. As for his “hits”: One he got because Arod almost fell over and the other he got because his bat almost killed Arod. Without the bat nailing him he wouldn’t of had that hit. BJ has made no progress this year. His arm sucks big time this year, whereas in years past in was always a strength. His hitting? Forgettable. His baserunning? A complete joke.

          • Mark says:

            Alex, are you serious??? Closer to 10 pick-offs? I understand he’s had two notable pick-offs in the last few weeks but come on!

            Using baseball-reference, I looked up just how many times Upton has been picked off this year and the answer is 5 times.

            I also looked at other base stealers who have over 20+ steals this year to compare stats to see how many times they’ve been picked off. I picked these guys randomly. Here’s the numbers:

            Michael Bourn – 5 times been picked off.
            Nyjer Morgan – 7 times been picked off.
            Rajai Davis – 2 times been picked off.
            Juan Pierre – 3 times been picked off.
            Brett Gardner – 5 times been picked off.
            Elvis Andrus – 7 times been picked off.

            So really, when looking at the numbers of these guys, Upton really isn’t too far out of line with the norm of other top base stealers. Pick-offs happen. Deal with it.

      • Rumpy says:

        Don. Although I don’t agree with a lot of what you say, I think I am finally with you on this one. From this day forward I am going to start the BJ Upton jar fund. Hopefully you can help keep me up to date on it as I work difficult hours and can’t always watch the games. Starting… NOW!

        GO RAYS

        • Don says:

          Rumpy ….I could think of more..but have to go to beach to watch the game at the Tradewinds…party time!
          But: put two dollars in for another hitless day 0for3
          put two dollars in for a maj. leaguer unable to bunt (2x)
          But have to take a dollar out for a sac. fly (which he hasn’t been able to do)

          Your $3 ahead for 1st game…what kind of car do you want?

  8. Sarah says:

    Can we just stipulate that Pena is going to strike out against Sabathia and skip his at-bat in future? It will cut down on the game’s running time and save us all some aggravation.

    We can certainly blame the bullpen for failing to hold a lead. But the underlying problem is: we have no clean up hitter, esp. against lefties. Not only does that leave a hole in the 4 spot; it also means that Longoria will never see a pitch within miles of the strike zone.

    And I also was stunned that Rodriguez couldn’t join the team on time. If you are making $40,000 a year and your apartment floods, maybe you need to be there to mop it up. When you are making $440,000 a year, you can’t move the family into the Tradewinds for a few days and hire a clean up crew?

    • Don says:

      Wanta hear a better one….in one Rays publication Dan Wheeler said he hates it every time he gets traded because he has to clean up the apt. before they move…his wife won’t do it..
      He makes $3.5 mil a year… and cleans up his own apt….
      Gee Dan… how about $100.00 for some bum to do it for you?
      Huh?

    • Sarah says:

      Revisiting my earlier post after today’s game: Carlos, I’m happy to eat my words. You really cleaned up today. Still think you should sit against Sabathia and other tough lefties until you are really on a roll.

  9. Amanda says:

    Cork, I’m going to respectfully disagree with you on Sean Rodriguez. Maybe I have a soft spot for this because we had a fire in our house when I was in high school. It only destroyed the garage and caused smoke damage through the house, but it was still a very emotional thing to deal with. The first thing I wanted to do was to go in my room and make sure my things were OK … but now that I’m older, I have the appreciation that “things” are just “things” and everyone in my family (including the dog) were OK. But you still want to see if your family photos or anything of sentimental value is OK, and I don’t know if an intern can do that the same way a homeowner can. Basically, he’s human, and it’s not too far fetched for him to want to go home and make sure his stuff was OK.

    But, to your point, my dad was in Saudi Arabia on a three-month business trip when we had that fire, and he didn’t come home. But Mom was there, and she was able to take care of it, so I’m not sure if that’s a complete 1-to-1 ratio there.

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