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: Rocco in Right. Rocco Baldelli got his first start in the outfield this season, making one nice running grab and going 2-3 at the plate. He still seems like a longshot for the postseason roster, but if he can play the outfield, it certainly opens the door to the possibility…Series Win. For just the second time in the Rays 13-year history, they won the season series against the Yankees. This one was important as the win gives the Rays the tie-breaker in the division should the Rays and Yankees finish the season tied atop the standings…Yankees Flag Is White. With the score 10-3 in the 8th, Joe Girardi did something we’d only expect from Joe Maddon. He threw in the white towel by pulling every hitter from the lineup before the 8th inning. With the division title and homefield advantage on the line and with such a potent offense, we were surprised by the move…Magic Numbers. The Rays magic number is now 4 to clinch a playoff spot.

THE BAD: Price-Sabathia II. Sequels rarely live up to the hype of the original and this one was no different. While David Price fought through 6 tough innings, giving up a 2-run home run to Marcus Thames, he outlasted CC Sabathia who finally fell apart in the 7-run 7th inning.

THE TELLING: The Rays are also 1 game behind the Twins for the best record in the AL. The Rays do hold the tie-breaker over the Twins having won the season series 5-3…Carl Crawford is hitting .333/.379/.526 batting third this season, compared to .299/.353/.480 batting second.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 91-61, one-half game behind the Yankees (tied in the loss column) and 7 games ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card race. After 152 games in 2008, the Rays were 91-61.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • BJ Upton talks about last night’s big win (Video). [The Heater]
  • Wade Davis will either be used in relief this weekend or he could have his next start moved up. [St. Pete Times]
  • According to an informal poll by Jayson Stark, Carl Crawford is the overwhelming choice as the top free-agent position player this winter. [ESPN]
  • Well, it wasn’t as spectacular as the last time David Price and CC Sabathia matched-up, but prior to the game Mark Simon wrote about just how special this matchup was. [ESPN]
  • Crisis averted at One Buc Palace, kinda. [Joe Bucs Fan]

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21 Comments

  1. Leighroy says:

    Javier Vasquez deserves to be in the bad even though he’s not a Ray. 3 hit batters in a row? My god.

    You could argue that he didnt have control. But after the pitching coach came out and talked to him I told my roomate, “watch they plunk shoppach in the head.” Sure enough, aimed right for him on the next pitch and got him in the back of the neck.

    The yankee’s were CLEARLY trying to start something in my opinion. They were getting rocked in the final matchup of the reg. season and wanted to try to punk us before the playoffs and maybe stir up some bad blood when we face up again in ALCS (assuming twins don’t knock ‘em silly in the ALDS). We didn’t bite AT ALL, and instead drove in a couple more runs. Now THAT is an attitude I love to see our team playing with, not lowering ourselves to the yankme level!

    • Tom says:

      I do not think Vasquez had a clue where the ball was going, I mean if you are going to start intentionally throwing at batters I do not think you would go after a guy hitting below the Mendoza line.

  2. Tom says:

    “Yankees Flag Is White. With the score 10-3 in the 8th, Joe Girardi did something we’d only expect from Joe Maddon. He threw in the white towel by pulling every hitter from the lineup before the 8th inning”

    Most managers, not just Maddon, will pull their starters in a blow out.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      With a week to go and homefield advantage on the line? I’m not so sure. Coming back from a 7-run deficit is rare, but it’s not impossible. Something the Rays know too well.

      • d-money says:

        Agreed the Rays had just scored 7 runs in the 6th inning.

        If the Rays can do it then It would not have been impossible for the Yankees to do it. They had already had the bases loaded on us twice.

      • Adam W says:

        Especially when your team is leading the league in runs scored. 7 runs is a lot, but it’s not insurmountable.

      • Stephanie says:

        I would say the chance of a key player getting injured was greater than the chance of coming back in that situation, especially given the strength of the Rays bullpen with Beniot and Soriano.

  3. MJ says:

    A few thoughts…
    - These last two games make me more comfortable w/ not winning the AL East and still being able to handle the Yanks in an ALCS matchup.
    - I wish Rocco had been getting the same kind of playing time Desmond has received this month. Is it because Rocco simply can’t take it?
    - Do you think the Rays celebrate (chamagne, etc) when they clinch a post-season birth, or do they skip the celebration as a message that they have their eyes on the division?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      They did in 2008. And they partied so hard that night, most of the regulars got the next day off even though the Rays were still battling for a division title.

      • Adam W says:

        I hope the leaders (Joe M, CC, etc.) put a squash to that this year. Someone needs to stand up and say “This isn’t our first playoff appearance, and it won’t be our last. Who cares about the wild card? That’s nothing to celebrate. We want to TEAR THE DIVISION OUT OF THE YANKEES DEAD LIFELESS HANDS.”

        • Beth says:

          I agree, Adam W. There’s something unseemly about celebrating something other than, you know, an actual championship of some kind. I forgave them in 2008 because simply getting to the wild card was so unexpected (but as one of the chumps who had tickets to the following day’s game, I was not so happy). But they are big boys now.

      • Tom says:

        I am not saying the Yankees COULD NOT come back from 7 down, I am saying that it is fairly standard practice for managers to pull the starters (I am not saying this is the correct or incorrect strategy) when they are down by 7 runs late in the game. It is not something that only Maddon does.

  4. Tone says:

    I would take Rocco on the post season roster over Shoppach any day, Kelly is just bad. Anyone that thinks he adds more value is delusional. You only need two catchers and Navi is better behind the plate, probably better offensively vs lefties too. Shoppach has sucked, and sucked, and sucked more. He sucks in a very good sample size. Sucks. Rocco is just better since they will face 2 strong lefties with either the Twins or the Rangers(Lee, Liriano, Wilson, and Dunsueng(?)). Shoppach is a waste of space. ROCCO! ROCCO! ROCCO!

  5. Don says:

    Rays answered hit batters the correct way…score more runs..
    Girardi gave up when he kept Vasq. in….game over…
    Media better be careful on Rays have an advantage with the “easier schedule”…the Rays have two Fri nights left where they suck..long flight last night..hopefully not all drunk,
    Pitching this weekend…Niemann, Garza Shields…and they will pitch again next week…thats 6 out of ten starts with pitchers who haven’t been able to beat ANYONE!
    Yankees lose 4 probably at worst…so Rays can only lose 3…It can be done…but “easy” don’t think so!

    • Amanda says:

      Good point on the “easy schedule.” I don’t think it’s going to be a cakewalk, but I don’t think it’s going to be as rough as the Yankees. But the Orioles freaking scare me right now. They’re one of the best teams in baseball in the second half, and still playing like it.

      From a pure observational standpoint, the six games between the Yankees and Red Sox should be amazing, as long as the Sox don’t throw in the towel. Could you imagine the implications if the Sox sweep those six games?

      • Don says:

        Believe in longshots…maybe the Yankees are punch drunk from Rays beat down… IF Red Soxs sweep all six games with the Yankees… they have 68 loses… and the Yankees 67 with three games with Tor…. Red Sox 3 with slumping Chi who have nothing to play for….. maybe Yankees out of playoffs?
        Also, the times has wild card race between Rays/Red Sox..What …..Yankees an automatic pass??

  6. Gus says:

    The Good II: Missing King Felix on the Mariners visit to the Trop.

    The Good III: Upton delivering in the clutch.

    The Good IV: Price facing the precipice (3-1 bases loaded, 1 out) and pitching through it and the offense rewarding him with an explosion.

    The Good V: Grinding all the at-bats. Even the poor hitters had at bats that went 6-8 pitches early in the game, leaving Sabathia with nothing in the tank when he came into crisis mode. That bodes well for the post-season.

    The Good VI: Free Rocco. He’s good karma.

  7. Beth says:

    Also, in the good: having confidence that you can beat Sabathia We already know that the Rays can beat Lee. Heck, we even know they can beat Halladay! Not saying these guys on their good days can’t shut the Rays down, but there’s something to be said for knowing you’ve gotten to them.

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