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: Jeff Niemann. Joe Maddon indicated earlier this week that he had already settled on his 4-man postseason rotation. The logical conclusion was that it would not include The Giraffe who had struggled since coming off the DL. But yesterday’s performance was more indicative of what we saw from Niemann earlier in the season when he was clearly one of the Rays 2 or 3 best starters. So did 4 hits and 1 walk against the Orioles in 7 innings do enough to change Joe Maddon’s mind about the postseason? We’ll find out soon…Free Stuff. During our worries about whether or not the Rays would be able to give away 20,000 free tickets on such short notice, several people told us not to underestimate the power of free stuff. They were not wrong. The Rays gave away the 20,000 tickets in less than 90 minutes and later announced a “sell-out” of 36,973.
THE BAD: Not Exactly Murder’s Row. It is hard to get hits and score runs when the starting lineup includes six batters hitting under .240 and only one hitting above .270…The Effin’ Bat. On the same night the Rays were shutout on 3 hits, Pat Burrell hit another home run, this one a 3-run job in the Giants 3-1 win helping them maintain a 2-game lead.
THE TELLING: As we speculated, the Rays did where their “BRayser” caps during last night’s game…Evan Longoria took batting practice on the field yesterday but will not play today…David Price will not start Sunday, but Joe Maddon said he will be used at some point this weekend.
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 94-64, a half-game ahead of the Yankees. After 158 games in 2008 the Rays were 96-62.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- If you give the Rays $100, it will guarantee you postseason tickets. [St. Pete Times]
- Joe Maddon says the postseason rotation will depend on who the Rays’ opponent will be. [Tampa Tribune]
- The local chapter of the BBWAA named Carl Crawford the Rays’ MVP and Wade Davis as the top rookie. Interestingly, Evan Longoria wasn’t even in the top 3 of the MVP voting. [St. Pete Times]
- JP Peterson made an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show and did a great job of explaining the Rays poor attendance to Dan Patrick (Audio). [SI.com]
- Buster Olney says some executives believe the Red Sox will pursue Carl Crawford…Wouldn’t CC in Fenway’s left field be kinda like storing a beautiful painting in a vault? A waste. [Twitter]
- Somebody gets it! Will Leitch on Rays attendance: “They’re hardly alone. (The Reds and the Padres haven’t exactly been filling the stands during their playoff chases, either.) And the problems with the Rays’ attendance aren’t about having lousy fans, or distant management…it’s about location.” [New York Magazine]
- The New York Times also sees other playoff contenders struggling with ticket sales and notes that attendance in baseball is way down this month. [New York Times]
- Patrick Rishe also gets it. He wrote a piece explaining how important the location of a stadium can be to the success of a team. [Forbes]
- Jon Paul Morosi says the Yankees shouldn’t try to win the division. [Fox Sports]
- In the Center of the Roof writes about the excitement of the Rays clinching a postseason berth. [In the Center of the Roof]
- Darren Rovell wrote a piece calling the free tickets a bad idea. He offers 5 other promotions the Rays should have done instead. Looking at the list, we still aren’t sure it is supposed to be a humorous piece. [Sports Biz]
- SBN Tampa Bay takes a look at the emerging mix of athletes and social media. [SBN Tampa Bay]
- Ronde Barber at Free Safety? [Joe Bucs Fan]