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: Matt Garza. He gave up 5 hits to the first 10 batters he faced and 3 of those baserunners would score (thanks in part to some shoddy D). But Garza settled down to not allow a hit to the final 19 batters he faced. What was encouraging was that he didn’t seem to have his best stuff, but he was still getting outs. Only 6 of his 106 pitches were swinging strikes. Even more astonishing was that he only got 2 swinging strikes on his 68 fastballs, a pitch that he usually lives and dies by…Carl Crawford. He never did develop the amount of power that many thought he would generate with the Rays, but last night he did match his career-high with his 18th home run of the year.
THE BAD: Defense. Hey, we expect this team to struggle offensively from time-to-time. But they should always play good defense. Last night, they looked like a team that just doesn’t have their head in the game and could care less about winning the division…Offense. Is it a coincidence that the Rays are 1-4 in their last 5 games, all of which did not have Evan Longoria in the mix? This team isn’t going to go far with a progression of .200 hitters after Carl Crawford in the lineup.
THE TELLING: The Rays have now lost 4 of 5 just after Joe Maddon said they were playing the best he has seen all year…Evan Longoria missed his 7th straight game. Ben Zobrist started at 3B for the first time this season…Wade Davis will start Sunday which means there is still no scheduled starter for Saturday which we assume will be Andy Sonnanstine or Jeremy Hellickson…Joaquin Benoit was back with the Rays after missing 2 games to be home for the birth of his child…The Rays magic number to win the division is still 3 (they hold the tie-breaker over the Yankees)…
WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 94-65, tied with the Yankees in the AL East. After 159 games in 2008, the Rays were 96-63. The Rays need to win their final 3 games to match their 2008 record of 97-65. The Rays are also 1 games ahead of the Twins for best record in the AL and hold the tie-breaker.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Now it is looking like Evan Longoria may not play again until the playoffs. This is starting to eerily remind us of Carl Crawford in 2008. And the way Joe Maddon is trotting different guys out at 3B each night, it sure seems like guys are auditioning for the postseason. [Tampa Tribune]
- Is there a chance James Shields isn’t in the postseason rotation? We would be shocked. [St. Pete Times]
- Rafael Soriano has hired Scott Boras as his agent. This is a big deal if you thought Soriano had a chance to be re-signed before the switch. For us? We say the chances of re-signing Soriano just went from “not likely” to ” stop asking stupid questions.” [The Heater]
- Rays first round draft pick Justin O’Connor talks about his transition to catcher. [MLB]
- An interesting look at demand for Rays tickets over the last couple of weeks. [The Huffington Post]
- The executive that was going to court to get his AL Championship ring back from a pawn show now has his ring back. [Bay News 9]
- “Did ticket giveaway prove St. Pete is OK for Rays?“…As one commenter noted, sure, as long as the Rays give away all their tickets. [10 News]
- Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio declared that today is “Rays Day,” whatever that means. [Rays Report]
- Her Rays has a couple of pics of the rookie hazing. [Her Rays!]