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: Carl Crawford. Plain and simple. As of July 9, 2010, he is the greatest Tampa Bay Ray that ever lived and one of the best players in baseball. Last night he went 2-4 with 2 long home runs and 4 runs batted in. The Real Superman is now hitting .321/.378/.516 and is on pace for 20 home runs, all of which would be a career highs…Wade Davis. It is easy to think that Big Dub’s job is in a fragile state these days, so he needed a strong performance entering the break. And for the 2nd time in 2 starts, Davis worked at least 7 innings and held the opposition to 2 runs. He is still walking too many batters (4 last night), but he is showing signs that the Rays may not need Jeremy Hellickson after all…Carlos Pena. Joe Maddon saw something he liked in Thursday night’s matchup and had Pena back in the cleanup spot. Pena responded with his first home run in 12 games…Dan Wheeler. Apparently giving Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano another night off, Joe Maddon turned to Dan Wheeler with 1 out in the 8th and the tying run at the plate. Wheeler came through getting the next two batters en route to a 5-out save.

THE BAD: Carl Crawford. We hate Carl Crawford right now. Before the season, we assumed it would be easy to see him walk away. Not now. Now it is going to suck. But what can the Rays do? Would he be worth $15 million in 2011? Yes. What about 2012? Yes. Heck, he might even be worth $15 million in 2013. But Crawford is going to want a 6 or 7-year deal. Do you want to pay Crawford $15 million in 2014, 2015 and 2016? No. No, you don’t.

THE TELLING: Dan Wheeler recorded his first save since last September…Ben Zobrist once again led off, going 2-3 and scoring twice. Look for Zorilla to lead off against right-handers for the time being with BJ Upton the likely choice against lefties.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 52-33, 2 games behind the Yankees and 3 games ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card race. After 85 games in 2008, the Rays were 53-32.


  • Carl Crawford talks about his two big home runs (Video). [The Heater]
  • Cliff Lee might be close to joining the Yankees. [Big League Stew]
  • Joe Girardi said David Price is an “extremely strong” candidate to be the starting pitcher for the AL squad in the All-Star game. That would give the Rays three starters in the mid-summer classic. [Twitter]
  • Matt Bush, the former #1 pick turned pitcher, hasn’t pitched in over a month. According to the Stone Crabs, he is not injured, he is just working on his arm strength and the Rays are proceeding very cautiously.
  • Joe Maddon on Dan Johnson, who leads triple-A with 23 home runs: “He’s ready; he’s able to play here if opportunity knocks.” [Tampa Tribune]
  • Here is a cool story about a trespasser at The Trop. [Rays Renegade]


  • Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Richard de los Santos allowed 3 runs (1 earned) in 5.2 innings on 6 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 2…Elliot Johnson went 4-5 with his 6th home run and Justin Ruggiano was 3-5 with his 9th home run…Desmond Jennings went 2-4 with a walk. He is hitting .293.
  • MONTGOMERY: Alex Torres lasted just 1.1 innings after giving up 4 hits and walking 4. Five runs scored…Henry Wrigley hit his 3rd home run in 2 games and 4th in 11 games since being promoted…Leslie Anderson was 2-4 and is hitting .292.
  • CHARLOTTE: Nick Barnese is rolling. He hasn’t allowed more than 1 earned run in his last 5 starts and last night was his best of the bunch. He threw 7 shutout innings, with 7 strikeouts and no walks. His ERA is now 3.01 with a record of 7-4…Greg Sexton went 3-3 to raise his average to .310.
  • BOWLING GREEN: (no game scheduled)
  • HUDSON VALLEY: Robert Dickman made his first start of the season and gave up 2 runs in 3.2 innings. He struck out 4 and walked 1…Derek Dietrich went 2-4 with a double.
  • PRINCETON: Andrew Bellatti gave up 2 runs in 5.1 innings, striking out 3 and walking 2…Jeff Malm hit his first home run.




  1. Mike Grant says:

    Ugh. Seeing Crawford leave is going to suck, but it has been a joy having him here all these years.

  2. Sarah says:

    Cliff Lee to Yankees…..Noooooo! Please no!

  3. Amanda says:

    Cork, is it me, or are we seeing more managers leave pitchers in longer? I’m seeing Maddon go a little away from “situational pitching,” where he goes through four different pitchers in a late inning to get three outs. I’m also seeing more 100-pitch pitch counts from various pitchers around the league. Are managers finally realizing that the cause of dead arms for a good 15-year span was most likely because of steroids? What do you think?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I think teams have gotten smarter and are better suited to realize that not all pitches thrown are the same. For example, it is much different to throw 100 pitches over 8 innings (12-15 pitches an inning) than it is to throw 100 pitches in 4 innings where the pitcher labors the entire time. We also have a lot better training and medicine these days. And yes, steroids most likely played a roll also.

      • Amanda says:

        Very true, but also, do you see Maddon changing his M.O. when it comes to switching out pitchers every other batter? Seeing Wheeler make a 5-out save is out of Maddon’s norm, don’t you think? Or, is it just that the bullpen was stressed from a couple of games ealier in the week? I really don’t like seeing him switching pitchers constantly in late innings, because what if the game goes extras and you wasted two pitchers on one batter each in the 7th.

        Oh! I also heard on MLB Tonight last night that Davis is being mentioned in a deal for Cliff Lee. Thoughts?

        • Cork Gaines says:

          Maddon has gone back and forth with the bullpen. 4-5 outs used to be the norm in the past, but that was when JP Howell was his main guy. But you are right, recently he has been much quicker to pull a pitcher. Last night might have been a desire to give the bullpen some more rest. We’ll have to see if that changes moving forward.

          From what I understand, the offer to the Mariners is probably Upton and Davis plus a minor leaguer. Sounds like it is not good enough, and I doubt the Rays change it.

  4. DRR says:

    So, is the talk that Lee is close to heading to the Yanks going to change anything for the Rays? I mean, if they get Lee, we can pretty much hand them the World Series. Maybe the Rays become less of a buyer and more of a seller then?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      They would certainly be the favorites, but the wild card is still out there and once the playoffs start, anything can happen.

    • Sarah says:

      It really kills me that the Yankees can get Lee (and if you read the Big League Stew post, it notes that their motivation is at least as much to keep him from other contending teams as anything else). But the idea that the Rays throw in the towel if that comes to pass??? No way! It will just make it all the more rewarding to beat them.

      • Mike says:

        This is exactly what’s wrong with MLB and, in my opinion, the main reason the Rays will never sell the tickets they want, no matter where the stadium is located. The deck is stacked against the Rays every year from the time the Yankees/Red Sox load up on all the big name free agents in the offseason and again at the trading deadline when they fill in all their holes (or sign players just to keep them from their competitors).

        Who want to invest their hard earned money and time cheering for a team when the game is rigged against them from the beginning? MLB should take a page from the NFL and institute a salary cap for the integrity of the game. I know it will never happen but until it does we’ll deal with the same thing every year. Go Rays.

  5. Gus says:

    Cork: Why is it a good idea for Upton to lead off against lefties, an idea you keep promoting here? I like Zobrist better from the right side anyway. If he is a good lead-off man (and he sure appears to be better than anybody on the roster right now), than he should lead off every stinking day.

    Upton must stay in the 7-9 holes, where his horrendous at bats won’t kill us as bad. Upton leading off in 2009 was one of the most foolish decisions in team history. It cannot be repeated.

    Also, can we officially launch the “what happened to Bartlett’s approach at the plate” investigation? He looked so good from mid-2008 through 2009 that you thought it was real. He looks almost as clueless as BJ up there now. Swings at everything.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      As frustrating as Upton is right now, he is actually doing pretty well against lefties. He is getting on about 38% of the time versus lefties (29% versus RHP). On the other hand, Ben zobrist is hitting much better versus righties. His OBP is .404 vRHP but only .320 vLHP. Upton is still a better option versus lefties.

      Now Bartlett. That guy is a mystery.

      • Gus says:

        Cork. You are losing the forest for the trees. Batting lead-off is a full game commitment, not a one-time match up. Now that you’ve citied stats, I had to look deeper to confirm my empircal analysis: that the offense is killed when Upton is up top.

        If you look at Upton’s 2010 OBP in games “started” by lefties (.317) and started by righties (.320), you see that it is equally miserable and not getting on in front of the two best hitters — CC and Longo. Zobrist has a bit of split in 2010 — .363 v. lefty starters, .390 v. righty starters, but they are both way better than Upton. And over his career, Zobrist’s lefty/right obp splits are .351/.360, so he is not a guy you should think of as having a dominant “side”. Absent some data that shows Upton bats way better when he leads off than elsewhere (and I can’t find that, but have seen enough of the games to know it is not likely to be positive for BJ), he shouldn’t be leading off under any circumstances.

        Is Zobrist an ideal lead-off guy? Probably not. Is he way better than BJ no matter who starts the game? You bet.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          You bring up a good point. Is it better to have 2-3 advantageous matchups early in the game if it leads to 1-2 bad matchups later in the game when the at bats are more important? I don’t know the answer, but something worth looking at a little closer.

          • Gus says:

            Not to mention the extra at bat you get when up top v. down low. Over the course of the season, I think it ends up being pretty significant — like 50 plate appearances of so.

  6. Ro says:

    So if it’s so certain that Crawford is going to the Yankees, why haven’t we heard anything solid? Could Stu’s talk about money not being an object mean that we’ll re-sign Carl? I’m new to tall this craziness with trades and such, so maybe I’m just ignorant, or maybe I’m just hopeful, but my gut seems to think Carl’s not going anywhere.

    • Gus says:

      Don’t sleep on Houston for CC. The money is going to be tough for him to turn down from a bigger market, especially as he is having the contract year to end all contract years.

  7. John S says:

    I could also see the Angels, Mariners be in for Crawford.

    All this talk about Crawford going to the Yankees, people they actually do have a budget believe it or not… It is a huge one but one that is already expanded.

    They will not be able to afford both Lee and Crawford. They are going to have to make a choice. Their infield makes over $100 million dollars. And already have 2 pitchers locked into large, untouchable contracts. Granderson was signed to a pretty bad deal also. They need to resign Jeter also, he will want more money and he will get it

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