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: Red Sox Roadkill. According to CoolStandings.com the Red Sox still have a 6.2% shot at making the playoffs. That’s being generous. In reality, the Red Sox season ended this weekend. Dan Johnson put them on life-support and Carl Crawford and James Shields pulled the plug last night. Even if the Rays go just 16-16 in their final 32, the Red Sox would have to finish 22-9 just to tie. How unlikely is that? The Rays still have 13 games against the Orioles, the Mariners and the Royals. Meanwhile, the Red Sox still have 16 games against the Yankees, White Sox and Rays. Yes, it is safe to say, the Red Sox are roadkill…Dan Johnson. It was shades of 2008. DJ just knows how to raise his game against the Red Sox when the Rays need it more. And now, 3 of his 4 home runs in a Rays uniform have come against the Red Sox. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t turn back into a pumpkin until after next week’s series in Fenway…BJ Upton. He was 0-4 last night, but we didn’t want to go without mentioning his home run from Saturday night which has been overshadowed by Dan Johnson’s big blast. If not for Upton double-clutching and then crushing a Clay Buchholz curveball, Johnson may never get a chance to recreate his role as Red Sox killer. Upton now has 5 home runs in August. That is his biggest single month since October, 2008.
THE BAD: Attendance. There were only 23,438 tickets sold for last night’s game, and there were probably less than 20,000 in The Trop. Of course, much of that can be blamed on ESPN moving the game to 8pm on a school night. The rest can probably be blamed on bandwagon Red Sox fans that have never even been to Boston and have now jumped ship.
THE TELLING: Carl Crawford is just the 8th big leaguer with 100 home runs, 100 triples and 400 steals…Yesterday was James Shields’ 145th career start and 56th career win. Both broke Scott Kazmir’s franchise records…The Charlotte Stone Crabs extended their minor league affiliation with the Rays through the 2012 season…Catcher Nevin Ashley was promoted to Durham.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 80-50, tied with the Yankees for first place in the AL East. They are 6.5 games ahead of the Red Sox in the wild card (7 in the loss column). After 130 games in 2008, the Rays were 79-51.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- We are traveling today. RI will return a normal schedule tomorrow.
- Dan Johnson talks about his walk-off home run Saturday Night (Video). [The Heater]
- Here is video of Dan Johnson getting the shaving pie treatment after is big blast on Saturday night (Video). [Sun Sports]
- Durham pitching coach Xavier Hernandez will join Houston Baptist University next season as an assistant coach. Hernandez had previously coached at HBU. [Houston Baptist]
- The Biz of Baseball explains how the Rays are an example of how revenue sharing works. And also notes that the Rays need new revenue streams (e.g. a new stadium) if they are to maintain their current level of success. [The Biz of Baseball]
- Noah Pransky argues that the Rays revenue problems are not a problem of the Tampa Bay market, but a problem inherent to Major League Baseball. [Shadow of the Stadium]
- Mark Simon compares the defensive abilities of Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre. Longoria has 54 “good defensive plays” this season. That is second only to David Wright (64). [ESPN]
- Jeff Niemann was mic’d up on Saturday night (Video). [Sun Sports]
- Joe Maddon said that the first of two waves of minor leaguers to be promoted after Sept. 1 will include 4-5 players, one of which will be a catcher (Dioner Navarro). Jeremy Hellickson and Brad Hawpe are also expected to be in the first group. A second group will join the Rays after the Bulls complete their playoff run. [St. Pete Times]
- Grant Balfour is battling some rust and may not be back on Sept. 1 as originally expected. [Tampa Tribune]
- JB Long sat down with Joaquin Benoit and talked about his strong comeback season (Video). [Bright House Sports]
- Manny Ramirez is expected to join the White Sox today. [MLB Trade Rumors]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]