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 IV. Tonight, the immovable object meets the unstoppable force. The Rays are 2-13 in their last 15 Friday games. But the Rays will send Jeremy Hellickson will take his 3-0 record to the mound. Great pitchers prevent losing streaks. It’s time for Hellboy to be great…Evan Longoria. Dirtbag continues to rake, picking up 2 more hits and his 17th home run. He now has 8 hits in the last 3 games and 17 in the last 10.

THE BAD: CooCoo Crisp. Damn we hate that guy. With 1 run already in and the Rays holding a 3-1 lead. Crisp robbed Matt Joyce of a 2-run home run that would have likely put the game out of reach…Going Cold. This offense sure picks some terrible times to go cold. After Oakland took the lead in the bottom of the 6th, BJ Upton led off the 7th with a single. Reid Brignac then swung at the first pitch without giving Upton a chance to steal second, and grounded into a double-play. Upton would end up being the Rays last baserunner…Dan Wheeler. We’re not going to rag on the guy too hard because usually he gets the job done. But you have to kinda expect the occasional implosion. You just hope those don’t cost the Rays wins. Last night it did…Dan Johnson. In 12 games, Johnson is now 4-35 (.114). He does have 14 walks which is nice. But we warned you not to get too excited.

THE TELLING: BJ Upton’s 10-game hitting streak matches a career-high…Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis will pitch in a simulated game today…Chad Qualls is absent from the team due to a death in the family…The Pepsi Refresh Project awarded the Rays a $5,000 grant for the Moffitt Cancer Center. The Twins won the big prize.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 74-47, 1 game behind the Yankees and 5.5 games ahead of the Red Sox. After 121 games in 2008, the Rays were 74-47.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Brad Hawpe, a 2009 All-Star, will become a free agent on Monday. Ken Rosenthal lists the Rays as a potential landing spot. [Twitter]
  • The Rays are not the only local team with attendance issues. [Joe Bucs Fan]
  • Grant Balfour says he is ahead of schedule and will be ready in a week or so, but admits the Rays may wait until Sept.1 to bring him back. [St. Pete Times]
  • John Romano argues that the Rays are handling Jeremy Hellickson the right way. [St. Pete Times]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Darin Downs made his first start for the pitching-starved Bulls, giving up 4 runs in 4 innings on 8 hits…Brian Shouse gave up 3 hits and a walk in 1.2 scoreless innings…Winston Abreu picked up his 19th save with a scoreless 9th…Desmond Jennings (2006-10) had 2 singles and 2 walks, scoring 3 times…Leslie Anderson hit his first home run since being promoted.
  • MONTGOMERY: Alex Torres struck out 8 in 5.2 innings, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks…Nevin Ashley (2006-6) had 2 of the Biscuits 3 hits and hit his 5th home run.
  • CHARLOTTE: Joe Cruz picked up his 12th win after giving up 1 run in 5 innings…Tim Beckham (2008-1) went 3-6 and Stephen Vogt (2007-12) was 1-3.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Albert Suarez struck out 6 in 4 innings, giving up 2 runs on 2 his and a walk…Brett Nommensen (2009-8) hit his 10th home run and Ryan Wiegand (2009-25) added his 9th.
  • HUDSON VALLEY: Miguel Sierra gave up just 1 run in 5.1 innings. He struck out 3 and walked none.
  • PRINCETON: (postponed)
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19 Comments

  1. I still hate Coco Crisp. One of his teammates should take him aside and tell him that the afro look doesn't work so well with a receding hairline.

    As for Dan Johnson, I keep hearing that he's going to come around. Still haven't seen it. Seemed like a waste of lineup spot last night.

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    • Will says:

      What made it worse was that he robbed my favorite player of a homer. He literally jumped and reached above the wall to catch it. :(

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  2. Danny says:

    Hellickson will be a great addition to our bullpen after tonight's start and Thursday's game was a great example why - instead of having to use Wheeler, Maddon will have the option to bring Hellickson in to bridge an early departure by the starter to Benoit/Soriano

    Hellickson can pitch 2-3 innings every 3-4 days and stay pretty stretched out while keeping bums like Cormier/Wheeler/Sonanstine/Qualls relegated to blowout duty - nothing pains me more than watching our middle relievers come in and walk the first batter they face!! totally aggravating - here's hoping Hellickson adapts well, but i dont think that's gonna be a problem - GO RAYS!!!

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  3. Hal says:

    I was very pro-Dan Johnson, but brother you have to produce. The walks are ok, but we need run production - swing the bat and see what happens. His days are numbered at this point. There is no way we can justify a spot in the line-up for a guy 100 points below the Navi-line. And I get that he draws walks, but the 2 hole????? Brad Hawpe might look good in that roster spot.

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    • Gus says:

      Amen on DJ. I thought he was going to be a nice piece of the bench. Needs to get some base knocks.

      Hawpe is an LSU guy, so maybe the south would re-invigorate him, but after watching Blaylock, Kapler and now DJ throw away a lot of at bats, I'd be inclined to give a young AAA bat a chance. Jennings?

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  4. Beth says:

    I guess this is also where we acknowledge that we miss Balfour. At least if he'd sustained the injury a week earlier the Rays might have made some appropriate moves before the trade deadline.

    As for tonight, I'm optimistic: we've got Hellickson against one of the few A's pitchers who has not been fabulous. And over in the Bronx, it's King Felix against the hardly reliable AJ Burnett. So the Rays have a realistic chance of heading into the weekend tied for first.

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  5. Alex says:

    Thanks Hickey. Not having Balfour cost the Rays the win last night and probably others too. Our bullpen is pretty piss poor without Balfour. Who does anyone trust to realistically get outs in the 6th and 7th innings?

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    • Alex says:

      Maddon left Sonnanstine in there way to long as it is. Dude was living on the edge all night minus one inning against the crappy Oak offense. He was losing it in the 5th inning so Maddon should of had someone (Wheeler/Choate, Cormier/Choate) whoever, ready. I don't care what his stats read last night, I do not want Sonny starting anymore meaningful games for us. He's like watching a knuckleball pitcher that doesn't throw a knuckleball. He's not enough of a junk ball pitcher for how fast he's throwing either. Everything just looks the same from him. That stupid cutter looks just like his curve. I couldn't even tell you his other pitches because they all get there going about 84 mph. A guy like this should have a differential of low 70's/ high 60's to mid 80's. Instead I think his lowest speed was 74(?) and highest was 86(?).

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    • Actually, I thought Sonny did an excellent job in his 3 spot starts. He looked much better than he did last year. Compare what he did in those three starts to what Yankees or Red Sox spot starters did this year. I've never been the biggest of Sonny fans, but I give credit where credit is due. He kept the Rays in the game and gave them a chance to win.

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      • Beth says:

        I agree, Michael. Sonny isn't going to give you more than 5, maybe six innings. But it seems to me (and I'm too lazy to check) that he's given up maybe 1 or 2 earned runs in his spot starts in the past few weeks -- and if he's lost a few it's not because of anything he did wrong.

        Honestly, when Neimann went on the DL and Sonny was named his replacement, did anyone imagine he would fare this well? I assumed he'd mean a blowout loss once every 5 days, and he's been much, much better than that.

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  6. Maybe we can get the spitting cobra to either "buzz the tower" on Coco Crisp on Sunday, or put a nice drop of Cobra venom in his eyes.....Just sayin'

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  7. brian h says:

    Anyone else think it makes sense to keep balfour on DL till sept 1st. with the series right before that being the biggest of the year, and two recent games in which we have missed his presence quite a bit (cliff lee comeback game) and last night.

    Wheeler has been great but he has struggled last two weeks. we need this guy sooner than later.

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    • sunrisejeff says:

      Agree with you there. If Grant is healthy we need him to get back up as soon as possible. Although he hasn't been fantastic last night would have been a nice situation for Qualls if he was able to be with the team. Men on 1st and 2nd and 1 out is what he was brought here for.

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  8. KillaTapes says:

    Going to the game tonight, super psyched! was incredibly easy to get front row seats on the cheap right by the dugout. Hoping Helly is as impressive tonight as he has been, looking forward to seeing it in person!

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  9. Don says:

    West Coast .500 teams are the teams we can't be losing to...
    Hopefully the end of Sonn. era here...him and Kaplar can play cards at the old age home...Let the Kids play .....instead of these over the hill types..Qualls included...and live (and Die) with the kids....GO hellboy!

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  10. Gus says:

    KillaTapes -- save your ticket stub; this has the makings of a remarkable performance. Night game (heavy air), light hitting A's, big ballpark with lots of foul territory. You never know when he comes back to earth, but I like his chances tonight to be solid again.

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