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

click above image for boxscore

THE GOOD: Follow MFIKY, He Knows The Way. Rafael Soriano came in a shut down the Angels 1-2-3 in the 9th for his 38th save. But even more impressive was how he did it. 9 pitches. 3 strikeouts. He is the first pitcher to accomplish that feat this season…Bossman. BJ Upton stepped up to the plate against the guy that was his best friend on the Rays, Scott Kazmir. Upton didn’t waste any time, hitting the first pitch of the game for a home run…James the Better. Two runs and 8 hits got his pitch count up there (103) and he had to be pulled after 6 innings. But he did have his good stuff at times striking out 10 and walking just 1. His changeup spent a little too much time in the strikezone (20 of 25) but he did get 4 swinging strikes on the change. And that is what he needs to be successful…Chasing 95. The Rays now need only go 18-19 in their final 37 games to reach 95 wins. In the Wild Card era, every AL team that has won at least 95 games, went on to the playoffs.

THE BAD: Letting Kazmir Off The Hook. Once again the bats went cold. After getting 3 runs off of Scott Kazmir in the first, the Rays let the Angels off the hook, allowing Kaz to work into the 6th inning. In the Rays last 25 plate appearances, the Rays went 1-21 with 4 walks.

THE TELLING: The Rays magic number is 32 with 37 left to play…Mike Ekstrom was sent back to the minors to make room for Wade Davis who will start tonight…Evan Longoria was named AL Co-Player of the Week, sharing the award with Robinson Cano….For the first time this season, Joe Maddon used the same lineup for the 3rd consecutive game…Look for Manny Ramirez to be placed on waivers today by the Dodgers.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 77-48, tied with the Yankees for first place in the AL East. They are 5.5 games ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card (6 in the loss column). After 125 games in 2008, the Rays were 77-48.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Johnny Damon was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox, blocking the Rays from making a claim. But Damon does have a no-trade clause to Boston and is still deciding whether to accept the move. [The Heater]
  • The best question to arise from the leaked MLB financial documents is: Why should teams receive revenue sharing and turn a profit? Shouldn’t that money go back into the team or returned? [The Biz of Baseball]
  • Stacy Long has some of the names that will represent the Rays in the Arizona Fall League. The AFL is usually reserved for players that Rays think have a shot at the big leagues but aren’t a “sure thing.” Interesting to see Leslie Anderson’s name. Does this mean he will not be a September call-up by the Rays? [Biscuit Crumbs]
  • NESN weighs in on a potential Manny Ramirez-to-the-Rays trade. [NESN]
  • Might the Bucs actually trade Michael Clayton for Albert Haynesworth? [Joe Bucs Fan]
  • Stephen Nohlgren argues that moving out of the Tampa Bay area is a longshot for the Rays. [St. Pete Times]
  • The BRayser has been seen in the wild before. [Her Rays Baseball]
  • Marc Topkin writes about Evan Longoria’s recent hot streak. [St. Pete Times]
  • The Durham Bulls are 20-7 since losing Jeremy Hellickson to the big leagues. [Watching Durham Bulls Baseball]
  • Arash Markazi writes about Joe Maddon and his Angels roots. [ESPN]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Aneury Rodriguez struck out 3 and walked 3, allowing 3 runs in 5.2 innings…Rocco Baldelli (2000-1) went 2-4 with a double and 2 runs batted in…Elliot Johnson was 3-5 to raise his average to .319…Leslie Anderson went 1-5 with 2 RBI.
  • MONTGOMERY: Jeremy Hall gave up 5 runs (3 earned) in 3.2 innings. He struck out none and walked 5…Matt Spring (2004-4) hit just his 2nd home run, but this one was a grand slam.
  • CHARLOTTE: Shane Dyer (2008-6) came off the DL and made his first start in 2 weeks. He threw 4 shutout innings, giving up 3 hits and a walk. He struck out 4…Tim Beckham (2008-1) went 1-4 with a triple and an RBI.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Kyle Lobstein (2008-2) gave up 3 runs in 5 innings. He struck out 4.
  • HUDSON VALLEY: Zach Rosscup (2009-28) struck out 10 in just 5.2 innings. He did allow 2 runs in 5.2 innings…Junior Rodriguez hit his first home run, a solo shot. He drove in 2.
  • PRINCETON: Eliazer Romero worked 5.2 innings and gave up just 1 run, striking out 3. He lowered his ERA to 2.10…Bryan Fogle (2010-32) hit his 5th home run, a go-ahead solo shot in the 12th.

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11 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Of course… 2 more tough games with the Angels…BUT I’m feeling a real showdown with Boston this weekend…and a chance to give Boston a knockout blow…Bud getting cold…
    Blow the Red Sox off this weekend..7 games with the Yankees in Sept. determines the AL east…We’ll see how Upton, Pena, Longo ect. hold up under Sept. “real” pressure!

  2. Tone says:

    I was all for trading Kaz, but not the timing in which it took place. He could have helped them last year and I still think had they waited till the offseason the return would be good. But that is water under the bridge now, and seeing him do what I saw him do many times did not make me miss him at all. Watching him shut down the Yanks and Sox so many times was amazing, but everything else mostly sucked. Those walks drove me crazy and any other team would have tagged him for 7+ runs this game. Anyway, hopefully Davis has a good start to help ease the Hellboy void. Jake could be good, looking forward to that, and hoping to see Jennings too.

    • Stephanie says:

      I wasn’t crazy about the timing of the trade, but I think they had to do it when the opportunity presented itself. The Angels needed to get the Sox playoff monkey off their back and Kaz had a good track record against the Sox. I’m not convinced they find a taker for Kaz in the offseason without eating some serious $$.

      • John S says:

        Exactly the offer that the Rays got was not going to be at the same level that the Angels offered us. At that point from a straight business decision, the value was too great.
        I mean that Kazmir trade will go down as one of the largest fleeces in this decade easily.

        • Sarah says:

          As Kazmir’s trade to the Rays was long seen as really lopsided (this time with Kazmir being the more valuable asset), it’s sort of funny to think that trading him away will also go down as a very lopsided trade. The good news: it appears that the Rays did well to get him for his best years, and turn him into some very good prospects at the end.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          I do agree that the Rays got a good deal even if Sweeney is a bust (he looks like one now). But I’m not sure they couldnt have done just as well after the season and maybe better. At the time, there was only one team bidding for Kaz. After the season, they could have opened it up to several teams. And considering what teams give to young lefty free agents with less of a track record than Kazmir, I gotta believe getting 3 good prospects would have been easy. Especially if Kazmir is coming off a strong second-half.

          • Stephanie says:

            Yes, there was only one team bidding, but it was a playoff-bound team that thought Kaz could help. I just don’t see much demand for Kaz in the offseason. Okay, he is a LHP, but he is also not very durable and not very effective. I still say the Rays had to unload him at the first opportunity.

    • Hal says:

      Kaz was the only reason to go to the Trop for a couple of years and I think that we somehow forget that. The lost slider years were tough to take and I think that all of that stems from the arm problems the Mets thought were inevitable when they gave us Kaz for Victor Zambrano. I actually thought that he looked better last night than he has for some time. He had pretty good velocity on his fastball and he was actually throwing the slider.

      • Sarah says:

        I agree that he had some effective pitches last night — but further proof that even when he’s “on” he will still struggle with control and give you just 5 innings.

        But indeed I can recall in the pre-2008 years how often I timed my visits to the Trop to his turn in the rotation, because watching him pitch was one of the few pleasures one could get as a Rays fan.

  3. MFIKY is a man among boys!

  4. John says:

    The bats didn’t go cold, and the Rays didn’t let Kaz off the hook. Kaz’s defense bailed him out with a number of great plays, and many hard hit balls were right at people. If we keep swinging the bats like we did last night, we will go DEEP into the playoffs.

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