Joe Maddon hates when his players don’t give their all, yet it’s apparently good baseball for him to wave the white flag in the seventh inning down seven runs on a day when balls are flying out of the ballpark in record numbers.

Is there any explanation why Merlot Joe chose to strike fear in the Blue Jays by pinch-hitting Gabe Kapler for Evan Longoria after Dan Johnson just belted a two-run bomb to make the game 14-7?

Surely Maddon just learned the it-ain’t-over lesson at the Fruitdome on Thursday.

This Joe can hear every allegedly logical explanation for ending Longoria’s day. As a fan, it sucked.

Perhaps the ugliest fallout of this game will be James Shields’ confidence. Joe suspects he doesn’t have the grit to recover so fast from allowing six bombs in four innings . He and Garza are the starters who need that feel-good mindset to succeed, and unless Shields is a changed man, it might be a while until he bounces back.

As for Carl Crawford sitting out again to rest, Joe had to laugh at Maddon’s pre-game comments, per Roger Mooney, Tampa Tribune beat scribe: 

Maddon did say Crawford is available to pinch-hit, and he conceded it was hard leaving a player who’s hitting .302 with 38 stolen bases on the bench with the Rays struggling to find offense.

“Absolutely, it is,” he said. “But again, you have to look at the long term, and it’s like the old road sign (says): Temporary inconvenience; permanent improvement.”

Long term? Crawford has what, two months left in his final season with the team? Rest the guy after a playoff spot is clinched. If it even happens, that should be enough, along with any pain killers, to get Crawford through the World Series.

Losing four in a row in August and still just a game off the best record in baseball. Unbelievable.

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18 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Ok, I have to be the one who always take a swing at mediocrity/stupidy.....I'm not going to talk in specific cases..I do everyday.....I'm done...
    Maddman does NOT believe in playing his best players in ANY situation ....CC sits..Kaplar plays...pitchers stay in...better pitchers in minors...on and on..
    Listen, I'm tired of it, Maddman is going to screw this season up..I can feel it....Hopefully he will be gone...someone will be stuck with a bunch of min. wage players for 2011!

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  2. I, too, was miffed at Maddon's choice to sit CC. I'm guessing he's not completely right, but the Rays don't want to tip their hand to anyone.

    I think this week is a good example of why it's not a good idea to get cute with the roster. The Rays got real cute with the roster because of the Pena and Zobrist injury. They've been paying the price ever since.

    As for Shields, he used up all his good Karma last week against the Yankees. The Blue Jays sluggers evened the score.

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    • Longorikos says:

      Catwalk will cost us one game. The "mind of maddon" will cost us a dozen. Pinch hit for longo ? Sit cc 2 days for no reason? 80 different line up cards ? Enough papa Joe. Just play your best everyday all day and the rest will take of itself. Simple.

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  3. Gatorbuc15 says:

    There is really no point at all to try and talk about this game. But if I had to choose one word to try and describe this game it would probably have to be Horrid.

    Horrid-1.causing horror; dreadful
    2.extremely disagreeable; offensive
    3.repulsive or frightening

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  4. robert says:

    Someone want to tell James Shields that this is a playoff race? And yeah, give Hellboy his next start. What a 4 inning line, Jesus!

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  5. John says:

    Michael, great point with the roster and everyone else was right with the game yesterday. BUT! What got us here: front office. CC would not have helped yesterday but I have no idea what would have. Hellboy is not the answer, he will be just as inconsistent as Shields, though maybe with half as large an ERA over the past 12 weeks. The issue is that when they were winning all those games everyone drank the navy/baby blue Kool Aid like good cows to slaughter. We win with pitching and defense...and we were winning that way even though we were only getting 6-7 hits a game but striking out 10-11 times....per usual. Winning like we did early in the homestand proved the FO "right" that things would come together and we "didn't need another bat". Look where that got us: Yesterday, and Friday, and Thursday, and Wednesday (could have been Tuesday as well if we didn't have 2x 3-run hr's as 2 of our 5-6 hits). Plus, we got yesterday out of our system. I can't remember the team getting hammered like this in a long while.

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    • @John... I don't consider myself a koolaid drinker, yet I had no problem with the Rays not getting a bat before the trade deadline. Pitching and defense does, in fact, win championships. Come October, the pitching and defense *will* come into play much more than any extra castoff the Rays could've picked up at the deadline.

      Do I think the Rays need an extra bat? Absolutely. Do I think they should've mortgaged the farm to get one? Absolutely not. Let's be clear, the Rays offense is never going to match the Yankees or the Red Sox. It's not designed to. It's an offense designed to get just enough runs in a timely fashion while the pitching and defense keeps the game close. Like it or not, that's the way the Rays are built. Outside of a big, bad slugger... a trade deadline aquisition of a bat wasn't going to help the Rays that much. Let the Yankees get Lance Berkman. The Rays don't need him.

      The Rays will never be the Yankees. They will never be the Red Sox. Get used to it. Unlike Yankees and Red Sox fans, Rays fans will never have the luxury of dreaming about the Rays bringing in a big name at the trade deadline. It isn't going to happen. Teams see what the Rays have in their farm and will ask for that to get these guys.

      One more thing, the great Hellickson savior thing is a myth. The Rays are going to ride Shields and Garza all the way to the playoffs or out of it. A rookie in the rotation isn't going to change anything. We all saw how Shields pitched against the Yankees last week. Maddon's job for the next two months will be to make sure the Rays see that guy in the playoffs, not the one we saw yesterday in Toronto.

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      • Sarah says:

        Bravo, Michael! You've really summed it all up nicely.

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      • Stephanie says:

        I see both sides here. You are right about pitching and defense being key to the playoffs, but other teams have good pitching too. The Rays will need to bring their offense if they want to survive in October.

        I share John's frustration at all the low hit games. They have scored a decent amount of runs this year, but there are so many games when it appears the bats have taken the night off. I don't blame the Rays for not overpaying for a rental bat. The bigger issue for me is all the games when they can't seem to get their offense going. They are better than that.

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        • @Stephanie. I attribute much of the feast or famine offense to being young. Matt Joyce, Sean Rodriguez, Reid Brignac, and John Jaso may all someday be great Major League players, but they're still relatively young. They were all playing for Durham at this time last year (except for S-Rod who finished the season with Durham). Even Evan Longoria is only in his 3rd season. Compared to the Yankees lineup, these guys are babies. They don't yet have that consistency that you'd see from more "seasoned" lineups.

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      • Carey says:

        Re. your comments on Hellickson: Why does it always have to be one or the other extreme?

        I don't think that anyone in their right mind thinks Hellickson is the "savior," but I think it stands to reason that he would be a useful addition in the bullpen, IMO, as the long reliever. Don't you think it would have been nice to have him there yesterday in, say, the 3rd inning?

        I see a number of advantages to this.

        1. He's better than Cormier.
        2. Rays want to limit his innings and I see no better way to do that AND slowly break him into MLB in low-leverage relief situations and spot starts.

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        • @Carey Joe Maddon already said that they're afraid to "mess" with Hellickson by moving him to the bullpen. These guys are very careful with their pitchers and they don't want to waste a half of a season with a young pitcher coming out of the bullpen (think Yankees and Joba). I'm sure Hellboy will get some long relief duty and some spot starts once the rosters are expanded, but they're not going to waste a roster spot in the bullpen for a guy who they can't use anytime they want.

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          • Carey says:

            I knew Joba would be brought up and I can only say that this is non-comparable to Joba.

            They've already said they're going to limit him to 3-innings at Durham. Is that any different than working in low leverage situations out of the pen?

            As for Joba, totally different story. Joba was used as a setup man for Rivera, almost as a second closer. He was consistently brought in in high-leverage situations. So, basically trained as a closer, then moved to starter, then back to pen, then back to starter, etc. etc. etc.

            Totally different. Hellboy would work out of the long relief role, spot start and join the rotation in the offseason. Actually, other than the technicality of working out of the pen then moving to starting role, it's a completely different story.

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  6. Don says:

    More good the news: The much feared, once major league pitcher, comes up from the minors to help the Rays end the skid: Sun. feature...Andy Sonnenstein..
    The Blue Jays home run hitters were heard snickering in the clubhouse upon hearing the news....
    One of them was over heard, "I hope he doesn't throw that 85mph fast ball at me.....by the way.. what is the record for home runs in a game....Possible new record Sunday"
    I wish the Rays hitters would watch the Blue Jays hitters ATTACK the baseball at the plate...they do not wait for walks!

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  7. macgivens says:

    Who else thought of the ending scene of Summer Catch where Freddie Prinze Jr. gave up a bomb to Griffey, every time Shields gave up a homer? Artificial turf, sunny day game, the only thing wrong was the team colors were blue and not red.

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  8. steve says:

    Just my opinion...
    The Rays should bring up Jennings now and DFA Kapler.

    Against RHP

    RF B. Zobrist
    LF C. Crawford
    DH M. Joyce
    3B E. Longoria
    1B D. Johnson
    C J. Jaso
    CF B. Upton
    2B S. Rodriguez
    SS R. Brignac

    Against LHP

    2B Zobrist
    LF Crawford
    CF Upton
    3B Longoria
    1B Johnson
    RF Jennings
    DH W. Aybar
    C Jaso
    SS J. Bartlett

    Although I am not an Upton fan he may be coming around now, but I don't consider him a good leadoff man.

    Move Longoria back to cleanup with Johnson batting fifth.

    Let Jaso be the regular catcher and only play Shoppach ( he can't hit RHP or LHP)if certain pitchers are more effective with Shoppach behind the plate.

    I would go wth a four man rotation;
    Price
    Garza
    Shields
    Neimann

    Put Davis and Hellickson in the bullpen and use them as spot starters and in certain relief situations.

    SP D. Price
    SP M. Garza
    SP J. Shields
    SP J. Neimann

    RP R. Soriano
    RP J. Benoit
    RP C. Qualls
    RP D. Wheeler
    RP R. Choate
    RP J. Hellickson
    RP W. Davis

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  9. The last four games have been quite depressing. I'm still hopeful for today's game but we sure are starting off slow. I think we do need another bat. Adding a bat will make everyone else that much better as well. Also, I think the game Shields pitched last week as a fluke, because he really has struggled lately and yesterday has awful.

    I'd like to see Hellickson in the rotation and Shields moved to the pen. I know people probably think that's crazy but he's not been impressive this year.

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