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: The Great Pumpkin. Apparently Dan Johnson can produce against teams not named “Red Sox.” With 2 home runs last night, including a huge 2-run go-ahead shot in the 7th, one has to wonder if Johnson is playing himself on to the playoff roster…Surviving. James Shields struggled in the first four innings (7 hits), but he got a bases loaded double-play to end the first inning with only 1 run on the board. Then Matt Joyce saved Shields’ heiny in the 2nd by cutting down Austin Kearns trying to leg out a double. He finished with his best performance in a long, long time. Of his 117 pitches, Shields got 15 swinging strikes (12.8%). His season average to this point was 9.7%…Our Ticker. We have no idea how we will survive a potential Rays-Yankees matchup in the postseason. Sure both teams have to get by the Twins and Rangers, but it is hard not to feel like Rocky-Drago II is coming. ALCS 2010.
THE BAD: Der-ek Cheat-er. Clap, Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap. Listen, Jeter wasn’t the first player to act like he got hit by a pitch. That’s fine. But he had the nerve to have the trainer check his hand to make sure it was ok. We expect that crap from players like Alex Rodriguez and AJ Pierzynski. Not Jeter. Still, claiming something that didn’t happen is a part of baseball. If anybody deserves blame, it’s the ump that missed such an obvious call…Joaquin Benoit. Why is Ben-wah in the Bad? Because he had the nerve to pitch 3 straight days and not be available last night. And as much as we love The Mad Australian, Grant Balfour scares the shite out of us sometimes.
THE TELLING: Rafael Soriano’s strikeout of Alex Rodriguez gave him a team record-tying 43 saves…The ejection was the 16th of Joe Maddon’s career…David Price was moved up a day and will now pitch Saturday on normal rest. The Yankees also shuffled their rotation, so we will get Price-Sabathia II…Thanks to JB Long of Bright House Sports, we learned that in addition to players, teams can add a coach in September. That is why Don Zimmer is in the dugout during this homestand. Stan Boroski (asst. pitching coach) will be in the dugout on the road (thanks Ryan)…The Red Sox are only 6 games behind the Yankees and have 6 games remaining head-to-head.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 88-57, one-half game ahead of the Yankees and 6.5 games ahead of the Red Sox in the Wild Card. After 145 games in 2008, the Rays were 88-57.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Dan Johnson on being clutch: “There is a calm that comes over me in those situations that I can’t really explain” (Video). [Sun Sports]
- Joe Maddon on being ejected: “I was just trying to present logic” (Video). [Sun Sports]
- Derek Jeter admitted to some “acting” during the controversial non-HBP. [St. Pete Times]
- Carl Crawford on people that criticized his decision to tag up on Tuesday night: “To me, they are dumb people because if they watch us all year they would know that that’s what we do.” [St. Pete Times]
- Here is a look at
the Rays as a “Chernoff Face.” We previously saw something similar for Joe Maddon’s managerial tendencies (thanks Ryan). [Bay City Ball]
- It’s your fault the Rays don’t score more runs (we don’t have enough space to go over how faulty this study is, for example, bigger markets sell more tickets, make more money, can buy better players, that score more runs). [Wall Street Journal]
- Matt Klaassen takes a closer look at BJ Upton’s recent power surge. [Fangraphs]
- Martin Fennelly examines Joe Maddon’s decisions in Tuesday’s loss. [Tampa Tribune]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Columbus 4, DURHAM 0 (Columbus leads 2-0, best-of-5): Aneury Rodriguez gave up 4 runs in 5 innings. Three came via solo home runs to put the Bulls on the brink of elimination.