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: Magic Numbers. The Rays lost, and looked bad doing it. But the good news is, the Red Sox lost also, lowering the Rays’ magic number to 24 with 30 to play.

THE BAD: Jeff Niemann. Things looked promising for the first 5 innings. It looked as though maybe Niemann shed the rust that plagued him in his first start back from the DL. But then the 6th inning happened. Niemann faced 6 batters in the 6th and retired none of them. All 6 would eventually score…Over-Aggressive. Dan Johnson’s double in the 5th gave the Rays a 3-1 lead. But with 2 outs, we still have no idea why he decided to stretch the double into a triple, considering Johnson was rounding second just as Aaron Hill fielded the relay about 20 feet in front of Johnson (Ben Zobrist was going to score easily).

THE TELLING: Andy Sonnanstine was demoted to short-season Hudson Valley to make room for Brad Hawpe. Since the Renegades’ season ends Sunday, the Rays won’t have to wait 10 days to bring him back…Grant Balfour will throw a simulated game today…Stephen Vogt, Matt Moore, Joe Cruz and Zach Quate were named to the FSL post-season All-Star team…Elliot Johnson joins Dan Johnson and Jeremy Hellickson on the IL post-season All-Star team.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 81-51, 1 game behind the Yankees in the East and 7 games ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East. After 132 games in 2008, the Rays were 81-51.


  • Joe Maddon on what went wrong with Jeff Niemann (Video). [Sun Sports]
  • Matt Bush will have surgery on a nerve in his throwing arm. The move will require 6 weeks of rehab. [St. Pete Times]
  • A scout on Jeremy Hellickson: “Minnesota, or whatever team they get [in the playoffs], would much rather see the kid [in the bullpen] than the prospect of seeing him start in a short series.” []
  • Peter Gammons is at it again. This time saying

    MLB screwed themselves when they put a team in St. Pete. [Shadow of the Stadium]
  • Rocco Baldelli talks about his experience rooting for his little brother in their quest to reach the Little League World Series. [Woonsocket Call]
  • The Rays hold the top spot in the Sporting News’ Power Rankings. [Sporting News]
  • Can the Bucs win 7 game this season? [Joe Rays Fan]
  • This Jason Bartlett bobblehead confused us for a moment. [USTA News]


  • Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Brian Baker picked up his 9th win with 5 shutout innings. He struck out 5 and walked none…Chris Richard hit his 18th home run of the year, a 3-run shot…Leslie Anderson went 1-3 and is now hitting .351 in 24 games with Durham.
  • MONTGOMERY: Alex Cobb (2006-4) struck out 5 and walked 1 in 6 innings. He allowed 1 run on 2 hits.
  • CHARLOTTE: In game 1, Matt Moore (2007-8) struck out 11 and walked none in 6 innings. He allowed just 2 unearned runs, lowering his ERA to 3.36…In game 2, Jake Thompson (2010-2) made his single-A debut, throwing 5 shutout innings, allowing 1 hit and 2 walks. He struck out 3…Stephen Vogt (2007-12) went 2-3 in game 1, raising his league-leading average to .336…Tim Beckham (2008-1) went 2-7 with a pair of doubles in the double-header.
  • BOWLING GREEN: Yorman Mayora made his first start for Bowling Green and gave up 7 runs (5 earned) in 2.2 innings…Burt Reynolds hit a grand slam in his only plate appearance.
  • HUDSON VALLEY: Omar Bencomo gave up 2 runs in 2 innings…Nick Schwaner (2010-30) had 1 of the Renegades 2 hits, a 2-run home run.
  • PRINCETON: In game 1, Andrew Bellatti (2009-12) allowed 2 runs in 2.2 innings on 2 hits and 4 walks…In game 2, Victor Mateo pitched 5 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits. He struck out 6 and walked none.




  1. Tone says:

    I am worried for what happens with Jeff, he looked okay for a little while but when he unhinges.... And why was he left in there? After that bad start and him looking like crap in the 5th, why not lift him? I remember Joe pulling him vs the Indians at the Trop after 5 and he looked WAY worse in this 5th inning than he did in that 5th inning. Joe and the front office are a paradox, nothing makes sense. Why is Grant having a rehab and both Davis and Jeff did not? They had to know that Jeff looked like shit and just started him anyway. I mean they just throw games away. They have done this now in all 3 of their winning seasons and it just makes me mad. But I guess we deserve it because no one goes to the games.

  2. Beth says:

    I can remember early last year when Niemann was struggling, Brian Anderson noted that when a guy is that tall it can be trickier to get all the mechanics working correctly. And indeed, Niemann has often seemed vulnerable to the total meltdown -- yes, I know he's been amazingly reliable for many months, but when it's not all working right it just seems to fall apart in a big way.

    So....why not let him have some rehab starts while there are still minor league teams to play with, and keep Sonnanstine or Hellickson for spot starts? I'm somewhat mystified right now -- mystified by the failure to get Jeff out of there last night much sooner, and mystified why they make the poor man fight his way back in the middle of a major league pennant race when there are other options, both for him and for the team.

    • Gus says:

      He loses his mechanics very quickly. Also, he's big and gets tired moving that giant frame around. Couldn't believe Hickey didn't get out to the mound and see him until it was too late. Give the Jays credit, they were aggressive and knocked him out of the game in a span of 5-6 pitches.

      I'd start Hellickson in one of the games in the Bronx. If he can handle the pressure there, he can't make it anywhere, and that would include some post-season starts. This may be the best chance any of these guys have to win the World Series. Need to go for it.

  3. Joe D. says:

    After reading The Hangover I was looking for more info on Jake Thompson, and came across this article on Matt Moore, He makes a lot of dudes strikeout...

  4. Don says:

    Think about this...Balfour who is a when he comes back and could pitch to as few as one hitter...he gets starts in the minors to see if he is "ok".....BUT
    Niemann who is a starter and is expected to pitch 5/6/7/ innings gets NO real live work before he starts in "real important" games...
    Does that make sense to anyone?....Plus Maddon/Hickey looked surprised when he got tired and gave up a million runs..... BOTH games...Go figure!

  5. Alex says:

    I'd rather see Hellickson start a playoff game instead of Niemann

  6. Connie says:

    the rays are darn good at making (manipulating) roster moves

  7. Hal says:

    Is Dan Johnson's walk-up music "Safety Dance?" Why? It does seem like an apt description of his play since he's been up.

    • Connie says:

      Speaking of which, anyone hear Kelley Johnson's walk up music yesterday? His teammates played a joke on him and played "It's Raining Men." Shoulda seen him give the look of death to his teammates while they were cracking up!!!!!


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