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: 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)