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: Carl Crawford. Yes Carl Crawford. Normally, we would have destroyed Crawford for tagging up and getting thrown out at third to end the game. But we had zero problem with CC trying to force a play with 2 outs in the 10th. With Mo Rivera on the mound, you have to try and do something. Anything. And while the standard rule is never make the last out at third base, we like the idea of CC forcing a throw which in theory could have been kicked away. To us, that seems more likely than getting a 2-out basehit…The Bullpen. After Matt Garza and Jake McGee put the Rays in a 6-0 hole, Chad Qualls, Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano shut down the Yankees and allowed the Rays to erase the 5-run deficit and take a 7-6 lead…Postseason. If these teams do meet in October, we are in for an epic showdown. It will be Rocky vs Ivan Drago all over again.

THE BAD: Matt Garza. At what point do we start to get concerned about the “September Soreness”? And at what point does “September Soreness” turn into “October Costing-Rays-Postseason-Gamesiness”?…Joe Maddon. This is nitpicking a bit, because we understand why. But one thing we cringe at with Maddon is that he will give up on a game a little earlier than we would like. In this case, it was using Jake McGee in the 5th. And even worse was sticking with McGee in the 6th even though only 4 of his 13 pitches were strikes in the 5th. Certainly we would rather see JoeMa do his experimenting and confidence building in blowouts, but if the game was indeed a blowout, why not save McGee for the 8th or 9th inning when there is less of a chance of coming back.

THE TELLING: Durham lost game 1 of the Governor’s Cup Finals. Game 2 is tonight in Columbus…Carlos Pena was dropped to 7th in the lineup…Willy Aybar set a team record with his 15th pinch hit of the season, a home run.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 87-57, one-half game behind the Yankees (tied in the loss column) and 6.5 games ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card. After 144 games in 2008, the Rays were, yep, 87-57.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Matt Garza talks about his latest poor outing (Video). [The Heater]
  • Versus will broadcast the triple-A championship game on September 21 which will include the champion of the International League. The Bulls are currently down 1-0 in the Governor’s Cup Finals. [Durham Bulls]
  • Matt Garza says he felt fine, saying he just tried too hard. [St. Pete Times]
  • Jon Paul Morosi on the AL Cy Young Award:

    “I can’t tell you who should win the American League Cy Young Award…But I saw him pitch on Monday.” [Fox Sports]

  • It is behind the Insider wall, but Buster Olney breaks down how David Price dominated the Yankees. [ESPN Insider]
  • Ken Rosenthal points out that the Rays are 11th in batting average but they are not a bad hitting team. He notes that the Rays lead the league in slugging in September and are second overall in runs scored. [Fox Sports]
  • Ugh. TheSportsHernia, a writer at The Big Lead (normally a great writer) compares the 2010 Rays to the 1997 Marlins. [The Big Lead]
  • And look! More attendance problems in Cincinnati. Nobody is saying they don’t deserve a team, but at least people are starting to notice it is not a problem limited to the Rays. [Big League Stew]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Columbus 18, DURHAM 5 (Columbus leads series 1-0, best-of-5): Richard de los Santos started and gave up 5 runs in just 2 innings. Darin Downs and Brian Shouse then combined to give up 10 runs in the next 3 innings and the rout was on…Justin Ruggiano provided most of the offense, but it was too little, too late. He hit a grand slam, but the score at the time was 17-1.
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19 Comments

  1. Aaron says:

    I'm a bitter person today cause of this loss, DANG YOU WHEELER! BTW, i thought Granderson was pinch hit for in the top half of the 9th so how was he able to make that gem of a catch in the Bot 9th?!

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  2. Tone says:

    Why is Wheeler not in the bad? He has been bad for a while now. He is not throwing strikes. Remember the Oakland game? Red Sox Game? He sucks and should not have been in there. And Maddon was stupid in bringing back Jake to start after he sucked so bad. I don't get why you would have a kid's 1st MLB appearance be in that high leverage situation. Why not use Balfour in that inning? He is a total paradox. I remember him years ago spouting off at how games are won in the 6th and 7th innings and he used that to justify putting in his best earlier. Then why not now? Weird ass managing of that game, and the hitters were great to come back but I am kind of sick of only seeing them do something one inning a game. Still they came back huge, Son in Law killed it.

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  3. Sarah says:

    Can we all agree that the "Hellickson to the bulllpen" experiment is not working? Apart from the games he is blowing, I can't imagine this is great for his confidence. Give him a few spot starts and call it a season!

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    • Kevin says:

      Yes please.

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    • Gus says:

      I recall the braintrust saying Hellickson would only start innings in relief. Yet, I think almost every relief appearance has been with guys on base. With young dominating pitchers, this is a huge thing. Get him into the wind-up wiith the mindset, and let him go to work, not coming in out of the stretch. To have McGee start the 6th to take advantage of the lefty match-up was beyond idiotic when you have the future of the franchise's head at stake. But Joe was feeling his oats after the Aybar homer (which was a nice call that I didn't feel great about at the time).

      Give him a spot start in NY and give Garza a skip in the rotation, whatever.

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  4. Don says:

    You know I'm a CC mark....
    BUT..the was the single, most dumb ass move in a baseball game I have EVER seen.....You have to play what is given you... with one last chance to win/tie the game...ie 2 outs with the fastest man in baseball on 2nd...
    How in the hell can you take a chance on being thrown out and ending the game?? A hit scores him ...on 2nd or 3rd doesn't matter..STUPID...
    and Maddon thinks WE are all stupid...he says "if the throw hits Carl he scores...how the Hell is that?..are the Yankees just standing around...not going to pick up the ball on a bad throw..bullshit...Bad way to give up chances to win...but thats "Maddon Ball"... Give it Away!
    and CC.. I can't believe you..Quit hanging around with Upton...Stupid is.. as Stupid does! Forrest Gump knows that!

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    • Adam W says:

      I disagree. It was a smart play on CC's part that just ended badly. Which is more likely? A rookie right fielder throws a perfect shot, just in time, flat footed, to get his first major league assist of his career or one of the fastest (I'd vote THE fastest) players in the game either getting to third, or forcing an errant throw that he can then score on. I think out of 10 chances, he gets out 1 time there, is safe at third 6-7 times and gets home 2-3 times. I like those odds.

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      • Don says:

        How does he get home from 3rd without a HIT?
        Yankee error? What % of the time does that happen dumbie?

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        • Adam W says:

          Pretty often when a rookie fielder is trying to gun out a player from a decent distance.

          And thanks for keeping it civil. Name calling is really helping cement your argument. It's a technique that I'm sure was used by all the great debaters in history.

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          • Rob says:

            Somehow I think the stats favor getting a hit (.200 or 1 out of 5) vs. a throwing error or Wild pitch / passed ball (1 out of 20 maybe). It's funny how the stats geeks throw out the use of stats when it's a player they love.

            I think that if C.C. hadn't gotten tossed the previous game I'd be less upset about this decision.

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  5. Stephanie says:

    Having McGee start the sixth when he clearly had no command was just a terrible move in such an important game. But it was Garza's short start that put Maddon in a position where he didn't have enough trusty relievers to finish out the game. Cormier should have been included in the good even though the game was already lost at that point.

    I don't consider Crawford's play part of the good. Maybe you add a new section called the Understandable for plays like this, but making the final out at third is not good.

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    • Stephanie says:

      How often do you see a guy score on a bad throw in that situation? Not as often as you see a guy score from second on a hit or error with two out.

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      • Sarah says:

        I agree that Crawford's play wasn't the "good" but I still think it's a chance to take. Because look at it the other way: how often do the Rays really come through with a base hit with 2 outs, and esp. against Rivera?

        But I completely agree with your earlier point about placing the blame squarely on Garza's shoulders. We can nitpick whether Carl should have run, or whether Wheeler should have pitched the 10th. But a semi-reasonable start from Garza would have made those questions moot.

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        • Stephanie says:

          "how often do the Rays really come through with a base hit with 2 outs, and esp. against Rivera?"

          More often than outfielders make an error on a throw to third.

          Taking the bat out of anyone's hands in that situation is just a poor move. Justifying a poor play by saying you have more faith in the other team's ability to screw up than you do in your own team's ability to come through is something I'd rather not do.

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  6. ramedy says:

    So the anything that could happen with CC tagging for third:

    - Bad throw from Golson. Um, I guess. That's asking a bit much.
    - Wild pitch with CC at 3rd. Mo has 3 WPs since 2003.
    - Balk. Mo has 3 of those his entire career.

    Meanwhile, Rivera had allowed 4 hits in his last 3 games coming into last night's game, and Longoria crushed a ball about 10 feet away from a home run.

    I have no problem with Maddon saying what he said - he won't nor should he throw Crawford under a bus in front of the press. But it doesn't make it right.

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  7. MJ says:

    - for all the bullpen bashing going on, let’s not forget that Garza’s latest blow up is the reason we needed to use our entire pen. You can’t have a bullpen full of Soriano’s and Benoit’s.
    - Couple Crawford’s ejection w/ last night’s 9th inn snafus, and it seems like Crawford may be feeling the pressure of crunch time. While I dont think it was crazy to try and take 3rd, he does seem to be getting almost over-amped in this series.

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  8. Leighroy says:

    In a sport where losing 40% of your games is considered a resounding success, you people sure do knee-jerk panic. I don't think a lot of you understand baseball. This isn't the NFL. Teams don't have to go 11-5 to make the playoffs or go undefeated/play perfect baseball to be considered elite. Learn to take the bad with the good or enjoy your stress-induced heart attacks. I know it hurts to get let down in a big game, but I've never seen a bigger bunch of Benedict Arnolds in my life.

    Dan allowed a HR. Shit happens, get over it. He has a K per each inning pitched and his BA against was below .200. And you guys wanna toss him out of the bullpen? He usually gets his man. Occasionally he doesnt, and last night was 1 of those times. Who would you have rather run out there last night?

    And don't say Soriano, because his past has shown that when he gets overused, his arm problems flare up. It's what contributed to him going on the DL previously. Maddon is smart to manage his innings until the playoffs.

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    • Gus says:

      Why not Balfour? Fared well in the 11th the night before. Choate?

      Something has been up with Wheeler lately; he went a big stretch without pitching at the end of August and hasn't pitched much in high leverage situations in a while.

      He seemed to wear down at the end of 2008 and I thought it was Maddon protecting his arm. But Qualls seems to have gotten ahead of him in the bullpen, so he's now the 6th man down there (behind Soriano, Benoit, Balfour, Qualls and Choate). If Hellickson could pitch in relief, you wonder if he'd be on the post-season roster.

      You are right that you can't win them all, but these games are almost like playoff games in that I view home field advantage as vital for making the World Series and (perhaps more importantly) making the franchise the revenue they need on those home post-season dates to keep as much of the team together next year as they can. Let the Yankees rest guys; Rays have to empty the bench in these NYY games every night to go get the division.

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