The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

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THE GOOD: Hellboy Is The Real Deal. Oh mama. Jeremy Hellickson is fun to watch.  He only needed 86 pitches to get through 7 shutout innings. In only 2 of the 7 innings did he need more than 13 pitches. And in 3 innings, he needed 10 or fewer. 61 of his pitches were strikes and 10 of those were swing-and-misses. Seven of the swinging strikes came on his changeup which was a strike 25 of the 27 times he threw the pitch. Many will find this blasphemous, but he reminds us of Greg Maddux, if Maddux had a 91-92 mph fastball (actually Maddux did when he was younger). Jeremy Hellickson and David Price are going to be a fun 1-2 to watch for the next 5+ seasons.

THE BAD: Wade Davis. The Rays have a problem. We speculated earlier in the season that when the Rays decide to trade a pitcher, it would be either James Shields or Matt Garza. We also speculated that the Rays could wait until after 2011 season to move a pitcher. Why? They love depth. Why go into the 2011 season with 5 starting pitchers when they can do it with 6. This week has proven how important that is. Davis would appear to be the odd-man out. Do they move him to the bullpen (where he would be quite effective)? Or do they send Davis back to Durham next season to get regular work as a starter until he is needed at some point to fill in for the Rays? In other words, we hope Davis enjoyed his time in Durham last year, because he might be back in 2011.

THE TELLING: Jeremy Hellickson is just the third pitcher since 1920 that pitched at least 7 innings and held the opponent to 3 hits or less in each of his first 2 big league starts…Dan Johnson tied the franchise record with 4 walks…Carlos Pena could be ready to return on Monday, the first day he is eligible…According to CoolStandings.com the Rays have an 85.9% chance of making the playoffs. The Red Sox are at 16.5%…Matt Garza faces the Tigers tonight for the first time since beating them with a no-hitter.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 69-44, one-half game behind the Yankees (1 in the loss column) and 4.5 games ahead of the Red Sox (5 in the loss column) in the Wild Card.After 113 games in 2008, the Rays were 68-45.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Jeremy Hellickson talks about his second big league start (VIDEO). [The Heater]
  • Joe Maddon has some choices to face with the rotation the rest of the week (Can Jeremy Hellickson just pitch twice every 5 days?). [Tampa Tribune]
  • Rays Prospects have updated the Rays draft signing board with a look at all draft picks that have signed as well as their signing bonuses. [Rays Prospects]
  • Bright House Sports Network spoke with Fred McGriff about the catwalks and the location for a new stadium. [Bright House Sports Network]
  • RaysRev.com has 10 reasons to be excited about Jeremy Hellickson. [RaysRev.com]
  • Tampa Bay Sports Emporium compares Joe Maddon to Tony Dungy and believes a new manager is needed to get the Rays over the top. [Tampa Bay Sports Emporium]
  • The athlete is often the last person to figure it out. In this case, Derrick Brooks announced his retirement from the NFL. [Joe Bucs Fan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Brian Baker gave up 4 runs in 5.1 innings…Desmond Jennings (2006-10) went 2-3 with a double and 2 walks. He also stole his 29th base. He is hitting .280…Justin Ruggiano went 3-5 with a double and 2 RBI…Dioner Navarro was 1-4 and is hitting .276.
  • MONTGOMERY: Alex Cobb (2006-4) gave up 3 runs in 6 innings, despite striking out 10 and walking just 1. His ERA is 2.80 and he has struck out 95 in 93.1 innings…Henry Wrigley (2005-14) went 2-5 and stole his first base. He is hitting .283.
  • CHARLOTTE: (postponed)
  • BOWLING GREEN: Kirby Yates struck out 6 in 5.1 innings, but walked 4. He allowed 2 runs…Brett Nommensen (2009-8) was 3-5 with 2 triples and 5 RBI. He also stole his 27th base.
  • HUDSON VALLEY: James Patterson (2010-18) pitched 5 shutout innings, striking out 4 and walking 1…Phillip Wunderlich (2010-12) was 1-4 with a RBI. He is hitting .321.
  • PRINCETON: Enny Romero held Kingsport to 1 run in 5 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.84. He struck out 4 and walked 1…Kevin Kiermaier (2010-31) went 3-5 with his 2nd home run.
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29 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Here's the dilemma... good ole boy Joe Maddman is in:
    Normally an everyday player or starting pitcher would NOT lose his job because he is injured....But how could any sane person (even a Mgt.) sent Hellboy back to minors or to bullpen....which he isn't a reliever...
    So does Joe do the "RIGHT" thing, or what is BEST for the team?
    His track record is not good on these decisions....Help AF?

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    • Leighroy says:

      First off, guys lose their positions all the time in sports because they get injured and the next guy steps up, so I don't understand your point there. Second, what IS Joe's track record on "these decisions" since you bring it up? I'm not sure, but frankly I can't remember a time when we had this kind of embarrasment of riches for there to even be a track record. And is it even Joe's decission to make or is it Andrew Friedman's? Or is it Jim Hickey's?

      Why the hate?

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    • Matt says:

      Smart person would put hellickson in the rotation as a sixth guy. Niemann comes back on the 19th so if hellboy isnt in the rotation, he would just have to spend 12 days in the bullpen. I say let him be the sixth guy. It gives each guy five days off. Perfect for Niemann who might be tired

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  2. Brixology says:

    What is going to happen when Carlos comes off the DL? Ekstrom goes back down and we are short again?

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    • Beth says:

      Can Johnson be sent down? Not that I don't like him -- just that he seems like the obvious person who Pena replaces.

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      • Gatorbuc15 says:

        I'm almost certain that Dan will be the one that get's the AX, when good old C-PAIN is back. Sending someone else down other than Thunder Dan wouldn't make much sense.

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  3. Sublime says:

    For the 2nd time in many years, I think Don has a point about Maddon's loyalty to his current rotation of players. Look at his parental-like loyalty he has to Gabe Kapler, no one in their right mind would have Gabe Kapler starting on any team, but yet, Maddon states, "He rakes Lefties". Gabe Kapler game is trash.

    I think Don may be pointing to this type of loyalty when he speaks of him keeping Big Dub in the line-up as opposed to having Hellickson.

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    • Beth says:

      Are you sure decisions about Hellickson are entirely Maddon's? I thought those were GM decisions -- I'm sure Friedman consults the manager, but I don't think Maddon decides.

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  4. Leighroy says:

    No I haven't met Don before, but I'm sure I would be made dumber for it if I did.

    Big difference between WD40 and Gabe Crapler. Crapler may not be "raking" lefties, but at least he has a hit against them this year, unlike Joyce.

    Don't be so quick to forget that Davis just had a 4-0 July with an ERA at about 3 before he had that 1 poor showing last week. If you want to talk about loyalty issues, then talk about loyalty to James Shields. This guy has seriously regressed this year, and I don't care what his K rate is. He hasn't pitched well since FREAKING APRIL.

    Demote HIM to the pen or AAA over anyone else.

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    • Sublime says:

      Unquestioned Loyalty _____________ insert whatever name you'd like. I wouldn't be surprised if he sends Hellickson back to Durham after Wade Davis comes off the DL. I wouldn't agree with it, but it seems that's how Maddon works.

      To your point Beth, I'm pretty sure Andrew Friedman is in on this process as well, but I would imagine him being there from a standpoint of, "We can't start his major league clock at this time..." dollars and cents kind of stuff.

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  5. Beth says:

    That Steven Strasburg got pounded last night made Hellickson's performance all the more satisfying to Rays fans -- we may not have the guy with all the hype, but we have the guy who can make experienced hitters like Damon look completely foolish. I loved the "no walks" more than anything else -- maybe we should treat "no walker" games with the same respect we treat "no hitters" -- they are almost as rare, and are perhaps the truer sign of a pitcher's mastery.

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  6. I just had an argument with a co-worker over the fate of Dan Johnson when Pena comes back. I've been told he's out of options. If that's true, the Rays are going to have to get creative in keeping him w/ the club. Some are suggesting that Kapler will have an "injury" until the roster expansion. However, I find it hard to believe that the Rays would go 2-plus weeks w/ a LH'd firstbaseman on the roster over a RH'd outfielder.

    I think if the Rays do keep DanJo, they'll have to get real creative. Otherwise, he's going to be the odd man out on the roster.

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    • leningan says:

      Aybar get a "sore roster spot" (to use Cork's phrase)... DanJo stays, aybar comes back and it's september. Johnson may not switch hit, but he has pretty equal splits and can actually spell people in the field without causing everyone panic attacks.

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    • Gus says:

      Aybar's roster spot is gone. Johnson is a better fielder (by far) and hits better and good lord he walks a ton and (most importantly to this team), he doesn't strike out much.

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      • Beth says:

        I would have to agree that Willy is most expendable. He's a decent hitter, but when a guy can't run and can't field he's got to hit better than .245 to justify taking a roster spot on a pennant contender.

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        • What's Johnson's batting average?

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          • Alex says:

            Just like I said when he was called up, a lot of you are going to be dissapointed when Dan Johnson hits under .200 just like he is doing. The walks are nice but we don't need walks. We lead the league in walks, steals, and strike outs. Plus we are middle of the pack in BA. There's no reason to keep Johnson. I don't get why people are still fascinated with him. Just like Joyce. Yes he's had some useful hits but other than that he's done nothing. He's completely and I mean completely useless against lefties. So right now we have 4 guys on the roster that have zero use against lefties: Joyce, Johnson, Shoppach, and Kapler

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    • Brixology says:

      Does anyone know conclusively whether or not Dan has an option left? If he doesn't, I think they work to keep him. They don't like to give people up.

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  7. Joe D. says:

    I guess I don't know who's decision it is to decide the rotation, but I'd think that since Hellickson is nearing his innings limit that would factor in.

    As far as as Maddon letting players get Pipp-ed Peña Pipp-ed Norton on '07, and Longo Pipp-ed Aybar in '08 I can't think of too many pitching instances for the Rays, Kaz got his role back from Hammel, twice I think... Sonny took Fossum's spot I think but was, and Hammel Jae Seo, maybe, bit I ready don't remember the circumstances, I know Fossum, and Seo were downright awful by the time they got bumped...

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  8. Don says:

    Dear Leeroy...let me see if I can make you "more dumber"...
    Baseball is not "all sports", at least 90% of current managers will NOT let a starter/pitcher lose his job because he WAS hurt
    Its the "unwritten law"....
    Let me give you Maddon's most recent decision of this type,
    I know its been a long time ago..maybe you forgot....
    When Bartlett got hurt and Brig. was hitting the cover off the ball....many so called fans said Brig should keep the SS job..
    But I said (look it up) that Bartlett would get his job back, which he did...Maddon decision as RIGHT but maybe not BEST!
    Maddons not 100% alone in these decisions....as my last comment was "Help AF?...
    As you can always say "help Don" if you don't understand something!

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    • Ken Kandefer says:

      AF has said on several occasions, he will not increase the number of innings pitched by a SP to more than 20% per year while a SP is under the age of 24 or 25. The Rays (AF) had stated that Hellboy was going to throw 35 pitches or 3 innings whichever came first for the rest of the season to keep him at the 20% increase for the 2010 season. AF has looked at the stat's of SP's under the age of 25 who pitch more than a 20% increase per year, and the numbers are stagering as to the probability of that young SP hurting their arm. It is not a surprise that our young pitchers the last few years under the AF watch have been the fewest to land on the DL. Hellboy is up here now only because we are in a penant race with 2 SP's on the DL. Once they are healthy, Hellboy will back at AAA until 9/1. If AF won't trade minor leaguers at the 7/31 trade deadline, he surly will not jepordize the next 6 years of a healthy Hellboy for 8 or 9 starts to finish up this 2010 season. Mark it down, Hellboy will be used like Price was in 2008, even if he pitches a perfect game this Sunday. SP is too expensive to buy, so AF has to play the %'s and not risk Hellboy's healthy future.

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  9. Gus says:

    Forget the Maddux comparisons, how about the corn-fed version of Pedro Martinez as Hellickson's comparable?

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  10. Mike says:

    I don't see how you can suggest Davis should lose his job. He has been pitching pretty well, especially since the break. Any rookie pitcher is going struggle his first year. Davis has done nothing that should jeopardize his spot on the team. He has all the makings of a really strong #3 starter and will be a huge part of the team going forward. Screwing him up by sending him to the pen or bouncing him back to Durham will only hurt his confidence and interfere with his development.

    Price struggled last year with inconsistency and Davis is going through the same thing. I don't remember anyone suggesting we send him down. Hellboy will struggle at some point as well once teams get a scouting report on him.

    I think we should keep using Hellboy for spot starts as needed and put him in the pen come September, hopefully in the role JP used to have.

    The future sure does look bright with a rotation of Price, Garza, Niemann, Davis and Hellickson next year. I just hope Shields returns to form this year so he can be an asset in the playoffs and we can get a good return when we trade him this winter.

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  11. Joe D. says:

    Hell Boy doesn't have the big power like Pedro, I think people forget (prof didn't) that Pedro had mid upper 90's stuff, and when Maddox was young he had low-mid 90's stuff, and thee thing that reminds me of Maddox is his fielding position after the delivery... I don't think that prof. comparison is all that crazy...

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  12. Carey says:

    The comparison is spot on. I saw Hellickson in a couple minor league games (Bright House Network showed a couple and the futures game) and he immediately reminded me of Maddux. Very similar delivery. Very similar.

    I wonder who his (or his father's) favorite pitcher was when he was young?

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