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: Jeff Niemann. The Giraffe worked an inning of relief, striking out all 3 batters he faced and reaching 96 on the gun. 11 of his 15 pitches were strikes and an outstanding 10 of those were swinging strikes. Was this foretelling of a relief role in October, or does it at least give Joe Maddon something to think about? On the other hand, his appearance didn’t come until the 11th inning, so it is not like Maddon had planned to give Niemann a look in relief…Dominance. The Rays finished the regular season with a winning record against every AL team except the Royals. And they split their games with the Royals.

THE BAD: It’s About The Ratings. The Rays will play at 1:30 on Wednesday and 2:30 on Thursday. Why the crappy timeslots? Because they aren’t the Yankees and because the Rays and Rangers wouldn’t draw nearly as many TV viewers nationally as the Twins and Yankees will…Long Stretch. With Evan Longoria sitting the weekend series, Wednesday’s ALDS game 1 will mark his first live action in 13 days. Let’s hope his return comes without the rust.

THE TELLING: Turns out the catwalks didn’t cost the Rays the division after all…On the year, the Rays were 4-2 against the Rangers, losing 2 of 3 in Texas back in early June and then sweeping them at The Trop in mid-August. The Rays were also 3-0 this season against probable game 1 starter Cliff Lee…According to CoolStandings.com the Rays have a 100% chance of winning the division.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays finished the season 96-66, one game ahead of the Yankees in the AL East. After 162 games in 2008, the Rays were 97-65.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Don’t forget to check out the Morning Cup Of Joe over at Joe Bucs Fan. [JoeBucsFan]
  • Evan Longoria talks about winning the division (Video). [The Heater]
  • Andrew Friedman talks about how important it was to win the division (Video). [Bay News 9]
  • JB Long has footage of the locker room slip-n-slide during the Rays celebration (Video). [Bight House Sports]
  • Dominick Tao has footage of the Rays returning home to a celebration at the airport with more than a thousand fans… No word on whether Mayor Bill Foster tried to greet the team on the tarmac. [St. Pete Times]
  • Marc Topkin takes a look at how the playoff roster may shake out. [St. Pete Times]
  • BJ Upton may bat second during the playoffs. [St. Pete Times]
  • It is one thing when the national media slips up and says “Tampa Rays.” But it is something else entirely when the local media does it in a headline. And a bit ironic when it is on a story about how the city of Tampa celebrated the Rays: “City of Tampa celebrates “Tampa Rays Day.” [Bay News 9]
  • Here is the entire postseason schedule. [Tampa Tribune]

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14 Comments

  1. RivalsTees says:

    Yeah, MLB really screwed me. I spent $400 in tickets for game 1&2, it never crossed my mind we would be playing day games. Now I’m probably going to have to try to sell my tickets to other fans who can’t get off work.

  2. sunrisejeff says:

    I was able to get out of work for game one but I won’t be able to make game 2 sadly. I do have a TV and cable in my office though so at least I’ll be able to watch them still. If we come out weds and thurs and take care of our business at home I love our chances to advance. Still surprised to see Shields get the Game 4 start but who knows we may get the “good” James to show.

  3. d-money says:

    “Tampa” Rays Day meaning it was Rays Day in the city of Tampa

    • Cork Gaines says:

      They used quotes in the title which suggests they are citing the actual title of the celebration. And the mayor called the celebration “Tampa Bay Rays Day.” If she had called it “Tampa Rays Day,” St. Pete would have thrown a fit.

  4. zenny says:

    “According to CoolStandings.com the Rays have a 100% chance of winning the division.”

    I’m still nervous.

  5. Don says:

    I know stats are stats…. but If I was the (Rays) media I would cool it about being 3-0 aga C. Lee….he might read it!… In fact if I was in the Texas media I might remind him of the fact! GO Price …THE PITCHING MATCH UP of the early playoffs…

  6. Jim says:

    I understand we don’t have the draw of NY, but that timeslot really sucks. It’s obvious the Rays have had issues with attendance, so they schedule our games during the day so people have to take off work? I could see getting one day off, but not both. That really blows.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      It is an interesting situation. From what I understand, the networks get to pick the time slots. But I wonder how much influence MLB has. I would think it would be better for baseball to get a chance to showcase the Rays and try to build their fanbase. That is not happening at 2:00 on a weekday. So I would think if MLB had a choice, at least one of the games would have been at night.

    • Beth says:

      And then, of course, if there are empty seats, we’ll get another chorus of “see, Rays fans don’t even show up for the playoffs.”

      I know it’s TV-driven, but MLB should step in and try to even things out a bit — let the Yankees have one of the afternoon games. Or why not have a game at 3 or 4pm? Better chance of being able to leave work early enough to catch one of those.

  7. Gus says:

    Rays played one of the ALDS games in the afternoon, but maybe not this early.

    Just glad to see Rays are not having to play on a Friday. For that we should all be thankful.

    I know it all worked out, and I know Yankees fans are also bemoaning the management of their team down the stretch, but some of management decisions in the final week were just bizzare. I view the division title as the key to winning the world series, so thus the following decisions brought me to wonder how much Merlot Joe has been ingesting lately:

    Brad Hawpe on Sunday? No Jaso? Rocco led us in from the desert, or they might still be playing). Brad Hawpe isn’t a major leaguer, and hasn’t been for a long time.
    Sonny starting on Saturday? Batting practice for the light hitting Royals, as we knew it would be.
    DJ trying to play 3B all during the week? Love him, but not his skill set. S-Rod please.
    Using Price on Saturday, but only for 13 pitches? Why just one inning.
    Not DHing Longo so the he’ll have 2 weeks without live pitching coming into the playoffs?
    The refusal to give Hellickson a start along the way. The secret weapon has been squandered.

    I’m not a Maddon basher and generally love him, but man, did have to be this hard?

  8. Matt says:

    Well with Shields pitching game 4, I think its safe to say that game is a loss.

  9. Amanda says:

    Back in ’08, I saw two different boys out in public wearing mohawks (the year of the Rayhawk) during the early part of the playoffs. There were no other reason for two 8-to-10-year-old boys that I passed in parking lots in Concord, NC, to be wearing them except that they saw the Rays in the afternoon games they had in the playoffs and thought they were cool. For growing a fanbase, I’d much rather have an afternoon game than a game that starts at 9:30 p.m. Granted, 1:30 start time is absolute bunk, but the 2:30 p.m. start is going to be good for the kids.

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