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: John Jaso. Recently, any time the Rays would get the bases loaded with no outs, our initial reaction has been “oh crap.” But JJ Dyn-O-Mite came through in the 6th. After being down 0-2 in the count, he battled back to a full count and then delivered a game-tying 2-run single…Maddonology. Last week, Maddon wouldn’t intentionally walk David Ortiz with first base open and Big Papi made the Rays pay with a big home run. Last night, with first base open, Maddon did go with the free pass. After a walk, Grant Balfour and Randy Choate teamed to strikeout the next two batters to get out of the 1-out, bases loaded jam and keep the game tied…Bullpen. Matt Garza put the Rays in a hole, but the bullpen picked up the slack. Six relievers combined for 6 innings and gave up just 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks. The only baserunner in the final 2.2ip was a broken bat single in the 9th. And how awesome is the lights out combo of Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano? We thought last winter that the Rays biggest need was a flame-throwing relief pitcher and World B. Friedman gave us two. This may be hyperbole, but when the Rays are playing well, they remind us a lot of the 1996 Yankees with Benoit and Soriano in the roles of Mariano Rivera and John Wetteland…CC’s Golden Glove. We didn’t think Carl Crawford was a gold glover last year, especially under MLB’s rules of not distinguishing amongst the three outfield spots. But they might as well give Crawford the 2010 award right now. He had another spectacular diving catch that kept the Red Sox 4-run 3rd from being any worse than it already was.
THE BAD: Matt Garza. Let’s hope The Garza Complex got that out of his system. The Rays are not going to win many games when their starter allows 9 baserunners in the first 3 innings, especially against the Red Sox and Yankees…Suicidal Squeeze. After tying the game in the 6th, the Rays still had a runner on 3rd with no outs. Ben Zobrist’s squeeze attempt ended with the runner thrown out at home…Willy Aybar. He was 1-4, but left 6 runners on base, including 4 runners in scoring position.
THE TELLING: Sean Rodriguez has started 23 of the last 27 games…Several of the Rays with the high-cuffed pants are no longer wearing stirrups and instead appear to have opted for striped socks…Former Rays (or Rays prospects) in the all-star game include Ty Wigginton (Bal), Evan Meek (Pit) and Josh Hamilton (Tex). Delmon Young is in the running for the final spot on AL roster…
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 49-33, 2 games behind the Yankees in the East and one-half game ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card. After 82 games in 2008, the Rays were 50-32.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Rays have re-signed Brian Shouse to a minor league deal. [Twitter]
- Randy Choate talks about how well the bullpen is performing (Video). [The Heater]
- The Rays future home could be dependent on the future of the passenger rail in the Bay Area. [St. Pete Times]
- Jordi Scrubbings interviewed the genius behind the Charlotte Stone Crabs’ recent YouTube videos. [Bus Leagues Baseball]
- Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria will both receive a $50K bonus for their all-star selections. [MLB Trade Rumors]
- Rayhawk Review argues that Rafael Soriano should be an all-star. [Rayhawk Review]
- The News & Observer has a feature piece on Justin Ruggiano and his quest to reach the big leagues permanently. [The News & Observer]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: Jeremy Hellickson threw 6 shutout innings, giving up 5 hits and 4 walks. He struck out 3. improving to 11-2 with a 2.21 ERA…Dan Johnson hit 2 home runs and drove in 4. He is now hitting .306 with 22 home runs…Justin Ruggiano went 3-5 with a double…Desmond Jennings was 1-5.
- MONTGOMERY: Heath Rollins made his first start since being demoted to Montgomery and gave up 4 runs (2 earned) in 4.2 innings…Emeel Salem was 3-3 with a double and a home run…Leslie Anderson had 3 hits including 2 doubles.
- CHARLOTTE: Joe Cruz threw 7 shutout innings in the conclusion of the suspended game from Sunday…Frank de los Santos gave up 3 runs in 7 innings in the regularly scheduled game…Tim Beckham was 2-6 with 3 walks in the 2 games combined.
- BOWLING GREEN: Alex Colome gave up 7 runs (6 earned) in 6 innings…Cody Rogers was 4-5 with 2 home runs in his first game of the year…Brett Nommensen was 3-5 and has 7 hits in the last 3 games.
- HUDSON VALLEY: Wilmer Almonte gave up 4 runs (2 earned) in 4 innings.
- PRINCETON: Eliazer Suero pitched 5 shutout innings with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks.