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: Briggy Baseball. First it was Dan Johnson against the Red Sox. Now it was Reid Brignac with the walk-off home run against the Yankees. Who says mid-market teams can’t have depth?…David Price. King David may not have moved ahead of CC Sabathia in the Cy Young race, but he proved he belongs in the conversation. Price matched Sabathia’s 8 shutout innings, giving up just 3 hits using almost nothing but fastballs. In fact, 98 of his 113 pitches were fastballs. Everybody knows what is coming and they still can’t hit it…Kelly Shoppach. OK. it was just Jorge Posada. But throwing out Posada trying to steal to end the 5th, was a big play. How often do we get to compliment Shoppy for his D?…Brett Gardner. Gardner may have saved the Rays in the 10th when he was picked off and thrown out at third to end the inning. Just a bonehead play…Joe Maddon. A lot of managers will shift against pull hitters. JoeMa is the only one that will do it against a right-hander (that we know of). Last night he used the shift against Marcus Thames. In one at bat, Sean Rodriguez fielded a groundball to the left of second base and threw out Thames.
THE BAD: Carl Crawford. CC was ejected in the 9th inning for arguing a called 3rd strike. He should know better. And yes, his spot in the lineup did come up again in the 11th inning. Oh wait. Nevermind. More importantly, was this the first sign that he might be feeling a little pressure heading into the postseason and playing on the big stage just prior to free agency? Seeing CC get that upset is indeed rare…Power Outage. The Rays 3-6 hitters (Crawford, Longoria, Zobrist, Pena) went a combined 0-15 with 8 strikeouts…No rematch. Certainly Joe Maddon would prefer the Yankees not see David Price twice this close to the playoffs. But unfortunately we won’t likely see a Price-Sabathia rematch next week as Price is scheduled to go on Sunday against the Angels. Maddon could use Andy Sonnanstine or Jeremy Hellickson in the Angels series, pushing Price back to Monday. But that would be 6 days of rest instead of the customary 4.
THE TELLING: The Rays optioned Mike Ekstrom to Durham for the Governor’s Cup Finals…The Rays are now 7-5 versus the Yankees this season. If they win the season series, it would be just the second time in franchise history. And it would also give the Rays a winning record versus all 4 AL East rivals this year.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 87-56, one-half game ahead of the Yankees and 7.5 games ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card (8 in the loss column). After 143 games in 2008, the Rays were 86-57.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Joe Maddon talks about David Price’s performance and Carl Crawford’s ejection (Video). [Sun Sports]
- Reid Brignac talks about his walk-off home run (Video). [The Heater]
- Carl Crawford on being ejected: “I didn’t want to get kicked out of the game right there,” Crawford said. “But games like this when your emotions run so high and you want to win so bad and you want to do good so bad, that stuff happens and it just takes a toll on you.” [St. Pete Times]
- Dave Scheiber talked to JP Howell about how his rehab is going. He will begin light throwing next week. [Sun Sports]
- Roger Mooney writes about Ben Zobrist getting hot at the right time. [Tampa Tribune]
- Why aren’t the talking heads in Bristol bitching about the attendance in San Diego? [Shadow of the Stadium]
- Jon Heyman calls Joaquin Benoit one of the top “pleasant surprises” of the 2010 season. Unfortunately, Carlos Pena and Jason Bartlett make the “unpleasant” list. [SI.com]
- Gabe Lacques asks if this series with the Yankees really matters? [USA Today]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- DURHAM: Governor’s Cup Finals begin tomorrow
- Tampa 9, CHARLOTTE 0 (Tampa wins series 3-1): The Stone Crabs lost the FSL championship with Joe Cruz giving up 7 runs in 4.1 innings. The big blow was a 3-run home run Tampa’s 5-run 5th inning.