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. Joe Maddon said it was the best performance he had ever seen from James Shields. Ever. Shields faced 28 batters on Sunday, retiring 22 of them. But none were bigger than striking out Alex Rodriguez to end the 7th inning. With only 1 runner on base, ARod couldn’t have tied the game, but if he had hit his 600th home run there, it would have made things a lot more interesting…Andrew Friedman. The only move Friedman made before the deadline was for a reliever with an ERA over 8.00. But that reliever can induce groundballs, and when the Rays needed a groundball in the 8th inning of a 3-run game, Chad Qualls delivered an inning-ending double-play. +1 for World B Friedman…Rodzilla. Sean Rodriguez once again proves that he is Ben Zobrist-Lite. With Pena leaving the game early on Saturday, Rodriguez moved to first base for the first time as a professional and then made his first start at first base on Sunday.
THE BAD: 53. With 57 games to go, the Rays magic number to clinch the Wild Card is 53. Why is that bad? The Rays are in a great position, but there is a lot of baseball left to play.
THE TELLING: With Jeremy Hellickson making his big league debut tonight, The Rays are the last team in baseball to use a starting pitcher that was not in the rotation to start the season…This marked the first time since 2006 that the Rays shut out the Yankees. And it was just the fifth time all season the Yankees failed to score…In July, Tim Beckham hit .340 with a .466 OBP in 94 at bats. He posted an outstanding 19-to-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio…The Durham Bulls tied a franchise record with their 11th straight win…CoolStandings.com gives the Rays an 85.9% chance at making the playoffs. The Yankees are at 89.3% and the Red Sox at 17.7%.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 66-39, 1 game behind the Yankees in the East and 5.5 games ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card. After 105 games in 2008, the Rays were 61-44.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- James Shields on his big game performance (Video). [The Heater]
- Prior to the trade deadline, the Rays got “Chad Qualls and an ERA that is large enough to crush infielders if it falls on them…and furthermore, bupkes.” But Gary Shelton argues that not making any more moves was the right move. [St. Pete Times]
- The Rays targeted 5 hitters at the deadline, none of whom were traded. Marc Topkin reports that the list included David DeJesus, Jayson Werth and Josh Willingham and possibly Adam Dunn and Luke Scott. Topkin writes that Lance Berkman was not targeted by the Rays. [St. Pete Times]
- The Tampa Tribune sums up the deadline moves by the Yankees and other teams. [Tampa Tribune]
- Jeremy Hellickson says he is ready. [St. Pete Times]
- “Matt Moore is striking out batters at a historical rate.” [Rays Prospects]
- Montgomery manager Billy Gardner on Jake McGee: His fastball command is impressive but “his slider is not where it needs to be.”
- Joe Bucs Fan has a bunch of images from Bucs training camp. [Joe Bucs Fan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: Heath Phillips struck out 7 in 5 innings, giving up 3 runs…Desmond Jennings (2006-10) was 2-3 with a grand slam. It was his 3rd home run of the year.
- MONTGOMERY: (no games scheduled)
- CHARLOTTE: Frank de los Santos got pounded for 8 runs in 5 innings, raising his ERA to 5.04…Tim Beckham (2008-1) went 1-4 with an RBI. He is hitting .247/.343/.358…Stephen Vogt (2004-4), who leads the FSL with a .336 average, was 1-4 with a 3-run home run.
- BOWLING GREEN: Aaron Dott (2009-31) gave up 5 runs in 2.2 innings…Ty Morrison (2008-4) hit his 5th home run a 3-run shot…Tyler Bortnick (2009-16) was 3-5 with 2 doubles and a triple. He drove in 2 and is now hitting .312.
- HUDSON VALLEY: Zach Rosscup (2009-28) made his first start of the year, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) in 4.2 innings. He struck out 4 and walked 2…Diogenes Luis hit his first home run of the year and drove in 3.
- PRINCETON: Eliazer Suero gave up 7 runs (5 earned) in 3 innings. Prior to this game, he had allowed only 9 runs total in 37.1 innings…Jeff Malm (2009-5) drove in both runs with his 2nd home run.