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: David Price. King David picked up his 17th win, a Rays record (ties the franchise record) and lowered his ERA to 2.87. With CC Sabathia getting pounded by the Orioles at home, Price might have just snuck back into the CY Young race. And he did it in dominating fashion, hitting 100 with one of his fastballs and averaging 97.3 for his 46 4-seemers. And knowing he had a dominant fastball, he didn’t mess around. Of his 95 pitches, 79 were fastballs…Power. This Rays offense can be downright pathetic when everybody goes cold at the same time. But they can also be world-beaters when the offense is clicking. Last night they clicked to the tune of 5 home runs. The biggest was Ben Zobrist’s 2-run blast in the 3rd that tied the game and seemed to help the Rays relax…Carl Crawford. For the 8th time this season (most in MLB) CC had 4 hits. And for the first time in his career, he had 3 doubles in 1 game.

THE BAD: Early Price. If David Price has a flaw, it is his first inning struggles where he has a 3.81 ERA (only the 7th inning is higher). He also has 19 walks in his 26 first-innings. And last night was no exception as both Red Sox runs came in the first (1 earned).

THE TELLING: Mike Ekstrom has been recalled from Durham…According to CoolStandings.com the Rays have a 97.8% chance of making the playoffs. The Red Sox are at 1.1%…If the Rays go just 12-12 in the final 24 games, they will finish 96-66. To tie, the White Sox would have to go 19-5…The Rays magic number to clinch the Wild Card is 18 with 24 to go.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 84-54, 1.5 games behind the Yankees (1 in the loss column) and 7 games ahead of the White Sox in the Wild Card. After 138 games in 2008, the Rays were 85-53.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • David Price on his 17th win (Video). [The Heater]
  • Jim Hickey on David Price: “He’s really, really good, but he can be really, really better. I’m not exaggerating.” Ed Price writes about how Price is just “scratching the surface.” [Fanhouse]
  • If you thought Joe Maddon was done with his wild roadtrip clothing ideas, you’d be wrong. Marc Topkin introduces the “Loudmouth Pants Rowland Roadtrip.” [The Heater]
  • Gordon Edes on the Red Sox: “Sox manager Terry Francona, ever the realist, symbolically pulled the plug on the 2010 season…” Francona will not pitch Clay Buccholz on 3 days rest as originally planned.[ESPN Boston]
  • Jeff Niemann will make his next start. Wait until you read how

    apologetic Joe Maddon was for Niemann’s last outing: “Honestly, I was so involved [Monday night] that I didn’t realize they scored 11 runs with two outs yesterday. He was one pitch away from getting out of a lot of stuff.” [MLB]
  • Jim Hickey says he noticed several flaws in Jeff Niemann’s mechanics that are correctable. [St. Pete Times]
  • That Foul-ball lady from last week? She made her way to the “Early Show.” [Big League Stew]
  • MLB Trade Rumors calls Willy Aybar a non-tender candidate following the season. [MLB Trade Rumors]
  • Elliot Johnson was named the Durham Bulls’ MVP. [Watching Durham Bulls Baseball]
  • Rocco Baldelli won’t be hanging up the cleats after the season. [New York Times]
  • The Durham Bulls begin the first-round of the IL playoffs tonight. Rays Prospects offers a preview. [Rays Prospects]
  • Stephen Vogt was named the FSL player of the week.[Rays Prospects]
  • You can keep up with BJ Upton’s BRayser on Facebook. [Facebook]
  • Have you tried the Morning Cup O’ Joe yet? [Joe Bucs Fan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: (first-round of the playoffs begin tonight)
  • MONTGOMERY: (season concluded)
  • CHARLOTTE: The Stone Crabs fell in game 1 despite Matt Moore (2007-8) striking out 10 in 6.1 innings. He did give up 2 runs on 1 hit and 6 walks….Tim Beckham (2008-1) was 1-4.
  • BOWLING GREEN: (season concluded)
  • HUDSON VALLEY: (season concluded)
  • PRINCETON: (season concluded)

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14 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Give me David Price and 4/5 home runs and I will stop any losing streak…Rays you can end the Red Sox season TONIGHT!
    The offense goes as CC goes…people can talk about Longo being the “team” leader…maybe….but without CC leading the charge we have NO offense…and those Zo critics don’t realize how important he is at the TOP of the order…hopefully Maddon will keep him there for this one last run!

  2. Beth says:

    Great win last night, for sure, and reading that Francona has pulled Bucholz from tonight’s start is good news indeed.

    But anyone concerned about Hellickson’s so far failed efforts out of the bullpen? I don’t think this has any bearing on his future as a major league starter, but I do wonder whether trying to make him into a reliever for this month is in anyone’s best interests. He’s not helping the team, and what does this do to his confidence?

    • James says:

      Brian Anderson was saying that getting Hellickson these innings of relief is invaluable experience. Being able to come out of the bullpen and be useful will make him more versatile and valuable. Think Sonnanstine, but without giving up 4+ runs an outing. If there isn’t room in the starting rotation next season this could be his audition for next year possibly filling the role Sonny filled this year.

      • Beth says:

        Maybe, but I honestly can’t see taking the Minor League Player of the year, who has had — was it 4? — excellent MLB starts, and turning him into a mop up man next year. Is “the next Andy Sonnanstine” really the tag line we want for our top pitching prospect?

        • James says:

          If there isn’t a spot for him there isn’t a spot for him. If they trade one of the starters to make room then that’s a different story. I would rather use him as “the next Sonny” than let him toil away in AAA. At least in the majors we can get some use out of him.

          • John S says:

            I can promise you, that either Shields, Niemann or Garza will be traded.
            I would not be surprised if 2 are traded because we are very seriously looking at Japanese sensation, Yu Darvish.

            Hellboy is 100% in the rotation next year.

  3. James says:

    The game was really fun for me to watch. I was grinning from ear to ear. I sat through all of Monday’s blowout and Tuesday’s game was my reward. Hopefully Pena gets going he was 0-4 again. He hasn’t gotten a hit since August 30th.

  4. Charles says:

    Heard on WBZ radio this morning that the Sox were originally planning to start Clay Bucholz on 3 days rest if they had won both of the first two games, but that plan’s been scratched and Tim Wakefield will start tonight. The news radio sports reporter referred to that decision as the Sox “waving the white flag”.

    My luxury box tickets fell through last night (thanks, undeserving company higher up guy!) but it was pretty fun to watch on TV regardless.

  5. Beth says:

    Cork, thanks for directing us to the Big League Stew note on our “foul ball lady” and her trip to NY. But under the category of “Tampa Bay fans get no respect,” did they really have to end their entry like this:

    “She’s a real fan and it’s good to see a nice story about one of the Rays faithful who shows up at Tropicana Field night after night to see the team through good and bad instead of another one about the many who don’t fill the seats in the middle of another pennant chase.”

    So….even a blog post saluting a die-hard Rays fan can’t let it rest there, and has to return to the preferred trope about supposed Tampa Bay attendance problems. Sigh. Note to Duk and other national reporters: if I ever get whacked on the jaw by a foul ball, could you all report it and refrain from any comments on the alleged failures of Rays fans? Thanks.

  6. sunrisejeff says:

    Great win! I’m not worried about Helly too much……I think he is learning alot as he struggles and will continue to work on things to make himself a more complete pitcher. As of last night I really think the Cy is down to Felix and Price….if we can knock around CC and have Price be on his game during the next series I think some voters can be swayed to Price!

  7. Amanda says:

    Wow … I blinked and it’s now the White Sox that are 7 games back of the Rays. That absolutely jumped out at me. I was so busy looking at what the Red Sox were doing while the Rays were in that mini-slump, I wasn’t paying attention to anyone in the Central. I hope last night’s game starts a trend.

  8. Gus says:

    They’ve taken away Hellickson’s mystique. Not good. The kid had put about all-time first 4 starts, now he’s mop up? Either shut him down or let him start if he continues to struggle out there. A real question whether he’s on the post-season roster.

    If I were Upton’s agent, I’d get him thinking Boston when he becomes a UFA. Something about that park seems to agree with him.

    With Texas coming apart, I think winning the division is all the more important. Definitely want to play those guys rather than the team most like the Rays — the Twins.

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