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: Garza’s Strikeouts. Matt Garza had the good fastball last night. That is, his 79 fastballs averaged 92.5 mph and not 94-95 mph. When Garza is amped up and has extra speed on his fastball, it has less natural movement and he tends to get hit. Last night he had the good fastball (9 of 55 were swinging strikes) and he had the even better slider (4 of 10 were swinging strikes). In the end, he had tossed 7 shutout innings with 10 Ks…Bossman. A pair of doubles and BJ Upton now has a modest 8-game hitting streak. In August he is hitting .322 with a .394 OBP. We have seen good months from Upton before. Let’s hope this one sticks…Evan Longoria. Three more hits and now he has 4 multi-hit games in the last 8. What was even more exciting was seeing Dirtbag drive the ball to the gaps. Longoria will hit home runs, but when he is on his game he is a gap-power hitter. Let’s hope this leads to big things down the stretch from the Longo’s bat.
THE BAD: Big Game. The Rays are riding a huge wave of momentum right now. But as they say in baseball, momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher. And that guy is James Shields who takes his 10-11 record and 5.65 second-half ERA to the mound today. Of all the craptastic pitching this franchise has seen, only 8 pitchers have lost more than 12 games in a season. And Shields already owns the franchise record for losses as a Ray (47). Of course, after today, Shields will be 1 start short of Scott Kazmir for the most games started in franchise history.
THE TELLING: Derek Holland starts this afternoon for the Rangers. It is his first start since May…The Rays magic number to clinch the Wild Card is now 38 with 43 left to play…Yankees Andy Pettitte has a groin strain and won’t return before September…With Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis who will throw another bullpen sessions today are likely to rejoin the Rays during upcoming 7-game road trip. We could see a situation in which 7 different pitchers start the 7 games (Thanks Thad)…The Rays 9-run margin of victory was their largest since a 10-1 win against the Blue Jays on June 9.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 73-46, tied with the Yankees and 5.5 games ahead of the Red Sox (6 in the loss column) in the Wild Card. The next closest Wild Card team is the White Sox at 8 games back. After 119 games in 2008, the Rays were 72-47.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Josh Sale and Drew Vettleson talk about signing with the Rays and starting their pro careers (Video). [The Heater]
- From Rays Renegade comes this disturbing image of the relievers wearing the “BRayser.” [TwitPic]
- Great read from Maury Brown on why expansion and relocation is no longer a viable option for MLB. And why the Rays can threaten to move out of the state, but probably won’t. [Fangraphs]
- Disturbing story about former Rays Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell. [Walkoff Walk]
- The Big Lead asks if Josh Hamilton is the best player in baseball. [The Big Lead]
- Michael Sheridan was named the FSL hitter of the week. [Rays Prospects]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: Richard de los Santos went 6 innings and gave up 2 runs on 9 hits and a walk. He struck out 4. He is now 13-5 with a 3.59 ERA…Desmond Jennings (2006-10) doubled and walked in 4 plate appearances…Elliot Johnson went 4-4 with a double and 2 home runs. He also walked. He now has 10 home runs on the year.
- MONTGOMERY: (no game scheduled)
- CHARLOTTE: Frank de los Santos gave up 9 runs (only 3 earned) in 7 innings. He did strike out 5 and walk none…Stephen Vogt (2007-12) went 0-4 but still leads the FSL with a .333 average.
- BOWLING GREEN: (no game scheduled)
- HUDSON VALLEY: (no game scheduled)
- PRINCETON: (game postponed)