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: Expanded Rosters. With the Rays trailing 12-2 in the 7th, the expanded roster gave Joe Maddon the opportunity to pull 6 starters and get them a little extra rest prior to the final two games of the series.

THE BAD: Jeff Niemann. For only the second time this season (ignoring his injury-shortened start), the Giraffe failed to work 5 innings, and both have come since his return from the DL. In his 3 starts since the DL-stint, he has given up 23 runs in 10 innings on 19 hits and 8 walks. When Niemann loses his mechanics, he loses them big time. One has to wonder if he needs to take a week or two off and just throw simulated games until he gets his groove back. Because this Niemann won’t be on the post-season roster.

THE TELLING: Andy Sonnanstine was added back to the roster after spending the past week on the Hudson Valley roster as part of the September roster expansion…The Rays magic number to clinch the Wild Card is 19 with 25 to play…If the Rays go just 12-13 in the final 25, the Red Sox would have to go 18-6 just to tie…David Price is 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA in 4 career starts against the Red Sox, but tonight will be his first career start in Fenway Park.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 83-54, 2.5 games behind the Yankees (2 in the lost column) and 6 games ahead of the White Sox in the Wild Card. After 137 games in 2008, the Rays were 84-53.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Rocco Baldelli homered in his first at bat back with the Rays on Sunday. Here is video of him talking about the blast. [The Heater]
  • The 6 pinch-hitters used by Joe Maddon in the 7th inning tied a big league record. [St. Pete Times]
  • The Pirates have designated Aki Iwamura for assignment…We expect this means he will be back in Japan next season. [Twitter]
  • Evan Longoria’s web gem on Saturday gave him

    the overall lead on the Web Gem leaderboard (thanks Mark). [Web Gem Leaderboard]

  • Joe Maddon thinks MLB should go back to a balanced schedule…Facing the Red Sox and Yankees less would be nice, but keep in mind, a balanced schedule would mean more west coast trips with late nights. [MLB]
  • Gary Shelton thinks you guys are too hard on the Rays. [St. Pete Times]
  • When Joe Maddon was given his honorary doctorate last week, he presented the audience with some of his favorite inspiration quotes. Here is the selection. [Lehigh Valley Live]
  • Rob Neyer speculates on which starting pitcher the Rays may trade this off-season…We still think the Rays will keep all 6 until at least the all-star break with one either in triple-A or the bullpen as insurance. [Sweetspot]
  • Tommy Rancel takes a closer look at James Shields confusing season. [Bright House Network]
  • Here is a visual comparison of the Rays and Yankees. [Hardball Times]
  • Yankeeist argues against the Yankees signing Carl Crawford. [Yankeeist]
  • It is probably a good thing LeGarrette Blount doesn’t play defense. If he did, there is a good chance that either he or Jerramy Stevens would kill the other within a week. [Joe Bucs Fan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]
  • DURHAM: Bobby Livingston gave up 3 runs in 6 innings. He did not strike out any batters…Fernando Perez (2004-7) went 2-5 with his 24th steal. He is hitting .223…Elliot Johnson was 2-6 and is now hitting .319…Joe Dillon (9) and Omar Luna (1) homered for the Bulls.
  • MONTGOMERY: David Newmann (2007-4) started but was pulled after 2 scoreless innings…Henry Wrigley (2005-14) hit his 9th home run.
  • CHARLOTTE: (regular season concluded, playoffs begin tonight)
  • BOWLING GREEN: CJ Riefenhauser (2010-20) made his second start since being promoted and allowed just 1 run in 5 innings. He struck out 1 and walked none…Ty Morrison (2008-4) went 0-5…Dustin Biell (2007-5) was 4-5 with a double and his 6th home run.
  • HUDSON VALLEY: (regular season concluded)
  • PRINCETON: (regular season concluded)
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18 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Niemann had nothing last night -- you could tell not only by the dismal results, but by watching him take about 30 minutes between pitches. I thought Brian Anderson did a good job pointing out the depths of his discomfort. But this leaves me confused. Do you let him work it out between starts and hope for the best in five days? Do you have Niemann miss his next one or two starts, and slot in Hellickson, even if he ends up pitching more innings than you'd like this year?

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  2. sunrisejeff says:

    IMO Niemann definetly needed some rehab starts down in the minors to work his control issues out. We know the guy has the stuff....we saw that before he went to the DL. Now he just needs to get his confidence back. Won't be surprised to see him put on the DL again followed by a short rehab stint.

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  3. Brixology says:

    Is Nando still trying to switch hit? If so, what are his splits? That is a disappointing batting average.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      As far as I know he has only batted right-handed this season. This move was done at least in part because of the shoulder injury he suffered during spring training. So it is unclear if he will go back to switch-hitting next year.

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  4. Tone says:

    What about putting Shoppach in the bad, he is so bad I can forgive all the other bad. Are we done using this washed up catcher that cost us a very good starting pitcher? Who by the way, would could have been hella better than most in our pen including Sonny. I am so sick of watching Shoppach suck like a hoover. Zobrist needs some bench time, he has been asking for it by the way he has hit all season. What a joke of a game. I love how Maddon gives up. Yet I see other teams battle through games where they are down 10 runs and make it at least interesting. Pinch hitting for Sean was stupid and just shows his disdain for playing to win. I could see replacing people later, but all in one inning? And with the bases loaded? Fuck Maddon.

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    • James says:

      I thought it was strange that he pinch hit for everyone except for the 2 worst hitters we have(right now) Pena who is 2 for his last 25 and Shoppach who is batting .181. If you're going to pinch hit for Longo and Crawford why not Pena and Shoppach?

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      • Cork Gaines says:

        Just guessing, but I think JoeMa is trying to get those two going. So he
        Might have been hoping they got some slop pitches late in a blowout to boost their confidence.

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  5. Hal says:

    Ths Shoppach trade combined with taking Beckam over Posey is quickly shaping into the worst series of events in the Freidman era.

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  6. Don says:

    No use commenting on a massacre..where would you start?
    Seeing Sonn. coming in was enough for me..turn the station..
    Now we will see how far Maddon carries on with "I'M the boss and Niemann is going to continue to pitch no matter what"!
    Oh yea Joe..how about losing a chance for the playoffs and your job at the same time...think about that Joe...there has to be another Showalter out there...
    If Rays lose the next two to Bos., the Yankess will kill them in the seven game match up....then out of playoffs...

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  7. Gatorbuc15 says:

    I starting to wonder whether or not Jeff is fully healed yet. He shouldn't be pitching this bad.

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  8. Sarah says:

    Also, can we spare a moment to mourn the fate of poor Aki? What happened to him? Did he just never fully come back from his injury? He certainly played an important role while he was with the Rays, and as he turned the last out of the 2008 ALCS he'll always have a place in my heart.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      The report earlier in the year was that his knee still wasn't 100% and the front office was taking some heat for not doing enough homework before signing him. It is sad. Guy always had a smile on his face. Completely remodeled his game when he came over to the states.

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      • Sarah says:

        Yeah, and even his interpreter seemed to get along with everyone. Can we say they were "good clubhouse guys?"

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        • sunrisejeff says:

          Very sad indeed. I always thought Aki was a pretty solid, (not great), player and I don't think he's ever been the same since his injury. Still have the photo of the Rays celebrating with him right up front smiling ear to ear.......good times.

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          • Sublime says:

            Aki was definitely one of my favorite Rays Players. Not great, but just a real good solid player!

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  9. Indiana Rays Boy says:

    The Good: None. The Bad: Jeff Niemann's pitching and Joe Maddon's lineups and pluging and playing with extra players on the roster. The Telling: Will the White Sox or Red Sox will knock the Rays out of the wild card position?

    Next road trip vs. Yankees they will wear John Daly loudmouth pants. The wacky pants gimmick is the tribute to former Red Sox manager Pants Rowland. WTH!!! BAD!!! Instead of focusing on clinching a playoff spot, JoeMa is concentrating on more cute gimmicks that has no relation to baseball.

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