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: Back on Top. Even if the Rays don’t win the East, they are probably still going to make the playoffs. But winning the division means the Rays could face the Central winner (Twins or White Sox) instead of the Rangers. The danger of facing the Rangers is having to deal with Cliff Lee 2 times in a 5-game series…BJ Upton. After the Twinkies had tied the game in the top-half of the 7th, Bossman delivered the big blow, a 3-run home run. He has struggled this season with fastballs from righties, and that is exactly what he got. But he unleashed his classic (for him) free-and-easy swing and launched a no-doubter…Jeff Niemann. It was not The Giraffe at his best. He gave up 8 hits and 2 walks (1 intentional). And in 5 of the 7 innings he allowed the leadoff batter to reach base. But he was able to work around a number of jams including a bases-loaded 1-out situation in the 5th to pick up his 10th win…Sean Rodriguez. Not only did he hit his own 3-run home run, but he also drew 2 walks. He only had 24 walks in 151 career games prior to last night.
THE BAD: Rafael Soriano. He ultimately closed the door on the Twins, but not before he gave up 3 basreunners and an unearned run. MFIKY looks like he in a bit of a funk right now. Let’s hope he straightens things out soon…A Rare Sight. With the Rays nursing a 1-run lead in the 5th and BJ Upton on first base, Carl Crawford hit an inning-ending double-play. There was a time earlier in his career when CC actually hit into a lot of double-plays (39 GIDPs from ’05-’08) but that was just his 2nd GIDP this season.
THE TELLING: If the Rays go 28-28 in their final 56 games, they will finish with 95 wins. No AL team in the Wild Card failed to make the playoffs with 95 wins…Ben Zobrist was available to pinch-hit but did not make an appearance. He could return to the starting lineup tonight…Carlos Pena hopes to return to the lineup this weekend. He has a slight tear in a ligament in his foot…The Rays now have 4 pitchers with 10 wins.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 67-39, 1 game ahead of the Yankees in the East and 6.5 games ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card. After 106 games in 2008, the Rays were 62-44.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- BJ Upton discusses his home run (Video). [The Heater]
- JB Long has notes from last night’s game, add a video of Jeff Niemann speaking about his performance. [Bright House Sports]
- Joe Maddon explains why Jeremy Hellickson can’t be used in the bullpen right now…Also, Marc Topkin reports that the Rays are tentatively set to open the 2011 season at home against the Orioles. [St. Pete Times]
- Dan Johnson feels as though he is a completely different player now after having spent a year in Japan. [Tampa Tribune]
- Buster Olney took a closer look at Jeremy Hellickson’s debut. [ESPN Insider]
- Here is a list of other pitchers with debuts as good as Jeremy Hellickson in recent year. [Baseball-Reference Blog]
- Readers in Des Moines, Iowa recollect having faced Jeremy Hellickson before he was drafted. The story includes a picture gallery. [Des Moines Register]
- The Governor of Iowa issued a statement congratulating Jeremy Hellickson. [Des Moines Register]
- Matt Garza was mic’d up for Monday’s game (Video)...Personally, we would just prefer they mic up David Price every game. [FS Florida]
- Former Bucs DE Steve White has some choice words for a pair of current Bucs. [Joe Bucs Fan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
- DURHAM: Without a starter available, the Bulls gave 4 relievers 2 innings each…Elliot Johnson went 2-4 with his 8th home run. He drove in 2 and is hitting .308…Desmond Jennings (2006-10) was 1-4 and is hitting .279.
- MONTGOMERY: Jake McGee (2004-5) only struck out 3, but he held Tennessee scoreless for 5.2 innings, giving up 3 hits and 1 walk…Leslie Anderson and Henry Wrigley (2005-14) were each 0-4 with 2 strikeouts.
- CHARLOTTE: Matt Moore (2007-8) dropped with 4-10 with a 4.07 ERA after giving up 2 runs in 4 innings on 5 hits and a walk. He struck out 4…Rocco Baldelli (2000-1) DH’d and went 0-2 before being pulled in the 6th…Tim Beckham (2008-1) was 0-4 with a strikeout.
- BOWLING GREEN: Albert Suarez lasted just 2.2 innings giving up 5 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks…Kyle Spraker (2009-34) hit a 3-run home run, his 3rd home run of the year.
- HUDSON VALLEY: Jake Thompson (2010-2) pitched 5 shutout innings, striking out 3 and walking none. In 26 innings, he has allowed just 1 earned run, striking out 22 and walking just 4…Burt Reynolds hit his first home run of the year.
- PRINCETON: Enny Romero struck out 6 and walked 1 in 6 innings…Bryan Fogle (2010-32) was 2-4 with his 3rd home run.