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: BJ Upton. Remember earlier in the year when we were all excited to see Bossman going the opposite way? And then we grew weary because he could no longer pull a good fastball? Well, it appears that Upton has fixed whatever problem Derek Shelton created with the oppo-approach. BJ went 2-4 with a walk including a no-doubt home run and a single. Both were to left field…Evan Longoria. Dirtbag is just crushing the ball right now. Yes, others are ahead of Longoria in the MVP discussion right now (eg Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton) but MVPs are made in August and September. If Longoria can replicate a few more 3-4 with 2 doubles, a home run and 4 RBI games, and the Rays win the division, he will make himself a case for MVP votes…Pitching. The Rays did give up 11 runs in 3 games, but they held Josh Hamilton to 1 hit in 12 plate appearances. If the Rays do face the Rangers in the playoffs, they will have to beat Cliff Lee and keep Hamilton in check. This series gives the Rays a lot of hope…James Shields. It was nice to see the “Ace” of the staff pitch like one. 7 innings, only 1 run on 4 hits and a walk.

THE BAD: Lance Cormier. There is a reason he is the Rays “down 10-2 guy.” He shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a mound when the Rays are protecting a lead against a good offense. He faced 3 batters, walked 1 and gave up a 2-run home run. As a result, Joe Maddon had to go to Rafael Soriano on a day Soriano should have been given off. In addition, (correct us if we are wrong) but didn’t Soriano warm up earlier in the game? The only thing worse than having to work on an off-day is when your closer has to warm-up more than once.

THE TELLING: Elliot Johnson is now hitting .319 for Durham, good for second in the International League. He is also 5th with 25 stolen bases…Once again, Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann had successful bullpen sessions yesterday and appear on track to return next week…According to CoolStandings.com the Rays have a 91.4% chance of making the playoffs. That is higher than the Yankees (89.6%).

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 74-46, tied for first in the AL East and 5.5 games up on the Red Sox in the Wild Card (6 in the loss column). After 120 games in 2008, the Rays were 73-47.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • The Rays signed Ramon Ortiz to a minor league deal. Ortiz has played parts of 10 seasons in the big leagues, but hasn’t appeared on a big league roster since 2007. With the Durham Bulls losing three starting pitchers recently, this move may have just been about filling out their rotation. But certainly the Rays wouldn’t mind catching lightning in a bottle should the need arise. [MLB Trade Rumors]
  • Evan Longoria talks about beating the Rangers (Video). [The Heater]
  • Joe Maddon’s postgame comments (Video). [Sun Sports]
  • Watching Durham Bulls Baseball breaks down Elliot Johnson’s strong season. [Watching Durham Bulls Baseball]
  • Cool piece at Creative Loafing on Todd Kalas. [Creative Loafing]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Aneury Rodriguez continues to fill in quite nicely in the rotation. Yesterday he pitched 6.1 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits and no walks. He struck out 8…Desmond Jennings (2006-10) was 1-4 with a walk…Elliot Johnson had 2 more hits and a stolen base, his 25th…Leslie Anderson went 2-5 and is now 19-51 (.373) in 13 triple-A games…
  • MONTGOMERY: Jeremy Hall gave up 6 runs (5 earned) in 4.2 innings including 2 home runs. His ERA is now 3.60…Emeel Salem (2007-6) went 4-6 in the 12 inning affair. He is now 8-15 in 3 games since returning from his brief stint in Durham…Chris Richard hit his 15th home run
  • CHARLOTTE: Matt Moore (2007-8) dropped to 4-11 after giving up 3 runs (2 earned) in 5 innings. He struck out 5 and walked 1…Tim Beckham (2008-1) went 0-5 with a strikeout…Stephen Vogt (2007-12) was 2-4 with a double. He is hitting .335.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Kyle Lobstein (2008-2) threw 7 shutout innings, striking out 7 and walking none. His ERA is now 4.20…Tyler Bortnick (2009-16) went 2-5 and drove in 3.
  • HUDSON VALLEY: Zachary Rosscup (2009-28) worked 3 innings and gave up 3 runs. He struck out 1…Phillip Wunderlich (2010-12) went 2-2 with a pair of doubles raising his average to .344. That is second in the New York-Penn League.
  • PRINCETON: (no game scheduled)

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12 Comments

  1. Jim says:

    TI, I mean BJ, looks pretty pimp in that Brayser. I like it.

  2. Sarah says:

    Yeah, that jacket looks a lot better on BJ than it did on any of the relievers. Maybe the bowtie and the shades make a difference.

  3. smelpy says:

    bj got his swaggaaaaaaaa on.

    FIND ME A PICTURE OF EVAN!

  4. Hal says:

    The Rays and the Brayser were getting alot of national love yesterday on PTI.

  5. Joe D. says:

    Ramon Ortiz “lightning in a bottle?” Guy had one good season 8 years ago… Nice thought, but I think it’s beyond wishful thinking…

    The Brayser does work for BJ…hopeful it keeps his hot streak going.

    I always wonder/worry about a good series like the one the Rays just had then going cross country, and playing a team like Oakland whose got nothing to lose, and they do have some decent talent, same thing for the Angels

  6. Gus says:

    Is that Andre 3000 or the Bossman?

    I think it was Hunsicker who described BJs offense as one of the most vexing he’s ever been around. Not sure if August 2010 (like June 2009 and October 2008) are just flukes or if there is something good coming the rest of the season.

  7. Scot says:

    1) By advanced metrics, Longo is one of the top 4 batters in the AL along with Hamilton, Beltre and Cabrera. Cano, after being hot early on, is returning to Earth.
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=141751

    2) Thanks for the link on Maddon. Hidden in the obligatory baseball cliches, there are nuggets of useful information on how he evaluates players and performance. I would like to see more of this.

    3) And thanks for the link to the Rays best TV announcer – Todd Kalas. Todd is intelligent, knowledgeable (he knew that, at one time, CC use to hit into a number of double plays) and can discuss the Rays without resorting to baseball cliches. If the TV station ever got smart, they would use Todd as the color person. At least they would have someone who doesn’t simply say, “the Rays need to get a run back here,” or “that was a nice at-bat.”

    • Gus says:

      I always assumed Kalas was play-by-play man in waiting, but Statts is like Dick Clark and is still very good. 12 years in, he is the voice of the Rays, and is doesn’t seem likely that he’ll leave anytime soon.

      Not sure why Todd didn’t get the radio job when it came open a few years back. I’ve always liked the TV coverage, but the radio has never been great for me.

      • Sarah says:

        I agree about Kalas’ talents, and I’m surprised he doesn’t have a play by play job somewhere in the majors — is the talent pool that deep that a very knowledgeable and professional guy like Kalas doesn’t get a call?

        But Gus, I don’t agree with you about the quality of the radio coverage — forgetting Rich Herrera (please!!) I think the two radio guys are very good. They bring excitement to the game without being the sort of “homers” one finds, say, broadcasting for the Yankees. Moreso than Staats they are quite willing to offer critical analysis of the Rays, too.

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