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: Top O’ The Order To Ya. At the beginning of the season, we never imagined a batting order that would start Fuld-Damon-Joyce-Lopez. But that group combined last night to go 9-16 with 2 doubles. Fuld and Joyce each had 3 hits…Wade Davis. Wade Davis’ fastball was consistently in the upper-80s last night, averaging just 90.1 MPH. His fastball is typically 91-92. And while easing up last night was by design, he did have the extra gas when needed. Of his 4 fastballs that were 92 or faster, three came with 2 strikes. The result was 7 innings, giving up just 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks.

THE BAD: Joe Maddon. C’mon, do we really need to have people at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon picking the Rays’ lineup? Is it too much for Joe Maddon, to you know, do his job?… Felipe Lopez. Here is Felipe Lopez “sliding into second base” on BJ Upton’s ground ball. Lopez obviously took one for the team. Too bad he took it for the Twins, allowing Michael Cuddyer an easy toss to complete the double-play.

THE TELLING: The Rays were 0-6 with Manny Ramirez. They are 5-2 since he retired…JP Howell will throw his second batting practice session today. He is scheduled for one more before he will begin a rehab assignment in a week or so…

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Here is a happy sight: Video of Evan Longoria taking groundballs at third base. [The Heater]
  • Are the Orioles the new Rays? Are the Rays no longer the Rays? (thanks Bryan) [CBS Sports]
  • John Sickels says it is too early to worry about Jake McGee, but that we need to keep an eye on his velocity. [Minor League Ball]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • DURHAM 8, Norfolk 3: Edgar Gonzalez picked up his first win, striking out 4 and walking 2. He allowed just 1 unearned run…Rob Delaney struck the side in a scoreless 8th inning…CF Desmond Jennings homered and walked twice. It was his second HR and he has been on base 18 times in the first 9 games…C Robinson Chirinos continues to struggle, going 0-3. He is now 1-31 to start the year.
  • MONTGOMERY @ Tennessee: postponed
  • St. Lucie 5, CHARLOTTE 4: Merrill Kelly struck out 4, walked none and allowed just 1 run on 5 hits (including a solo HR)…2B Tyler Bortnick went 1-3 with a walk…RF Bret Nommensen was 3-5 and is now 15-34 (.441) in 9 games.
  • BOWLING GREEN 11, Lake County 7: 1B Phil Wunderlich gave the Hot Rods the win with a trot-off 10th inning grand slam, his first home run of the year…This was after 3B Steven Tinico tied the game with 2 outs in the 9th with an RBI-single…George Jensen lasted just 3 innings, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks, striking out 2…SS Derek Dietrich continues his hot start, hitting his 3rd home run in just his 7th game. He was 3-5 and is now 11-23 (.478)…


Matt Joyce (via TampaBay.com)

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17 Comments

  1. John S says:

    What happened to today’s gametime?!?!
    Last week it was 7:10 pm and now it is 4:10 PM?!?!

    Did it get optioned for the National TV game?

  2. Sarah says:

    Re: Maddon at Chamber lunch — oh, come on, give him a break. He gets called on by the front office to play nice with the business types whose support is the only way we get to have a team in this area. He comes up with a gimmick that makes them feel important. Is there really any harm in that?

    • Amanda says:

      The harm is that one of his top criticisms (and justly so) is his ability to fill out a lineup card. The team quickly putting together a Fuld giveaway to capitalize on his popularity (and to replace the Manny bobblehead) is a gimick. Letting the chamber fill out a lineup card is bush-league. Yes, it’s vitally important to have the chamber’s ear, but I’m with Cork: It goes a little too far.

      • Disagree, it was one time and will more than likely never happen again, and the lineup picked worked out beautifully.

      • Sarah says:

        The reporting on this (see Big League Stew, for example: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/A-little-help-here-Rays-beat-Twins-with-lineup-?urn=mlb-wp3608#remaining-content) is quite sympathetic and doesn’t treat it as bush league. To me, anything that generates national attention about something other than Rays attendance is a good thing.

        • Amanda says:

          If it were in the spring when it didn’t count, that’s one thing, I wouldn’t mind so much. I think you’ll find the idea will find mixed reviews, though. I put Cork on par with Big League Stew and any other national blogger, and he thought it was rediculous as well.

      • Scot says:

        I suggest you read “Baseball Between the Numbers” by Baseball Prospectus authors – chapter 1-3 titled: “Was Billy Martin Crazy”. In this chapter the author looked at Billy Martin’s decision during the 1972 season as manager of the Tigers to, after a series of losses, pick his lineup-card out of a hat. The Tigers won the game.

        The study looked at gobs of data (and there are gobs of data) and came the conclusion, that unless you have a couple extremely outstanding batters (not in the case of the Rays), picking the lineup out of the hat all year long wouldn’t cost a team hardly a game in the standings.

        Oh, the author of the study is James Click, who now does baseball analysis for … the Rays.

        In short – it doesn’t make a difference. What makes a great difference are the players a manger chooses for the starting 9.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          I did read that. And yes, over the course of 162 games it makes only a marginal amount of difference. But in a single game, against a specific team and a particular pitcher, a batting order can make a difference. And yes, it worked for Billy, and it worked in this case. But it is not something I want to see a manager making a habit out of.

          • Scot says:

            Sorry Prof, when I said “you”, I was referring to the person making the comment. The data is pretty clear, the link between batting order and outcome is so low, it can practically be ignored.

            You might not have liked what he did, however I feel that Maddon’s move was brilliant. It made the people of the audience feel they had a personal stake in the outcome of the game. This gets them more excited about an opponent that puts most fans to sleep. And not surprisingly, most people are so conservative, so unwilling to try something radical, that their changes were near zero. What it does say is that by and large they agree with Maddon’s batting lineup philosophy. It also tells me they like Joyce.

            If you remember the article, after the Tigers win the first game of the double header, 3-2, but Martin returns to the traditional lineup and the Tigers get crushed 9-2.

          • Scot says:

            If your argument that for an individual game a batting order makes a significant difference (either positive or negative), but that over an entire season it makes little difference, then that means a manager is constantly selecting lineups that are either helpful or harmful. But importantly, they KNOW which is which and intentionally pick either the good or bad line up so that after 162 games, it makes no difference. This must be the case because for a true random walk with two choices of (helpful vs. harmful) (+1 vs. -1) where a flip of the coin is used to make the decision, there will be large variations after 162 steps or games. Since we don’t see great variations and since we suspect the first case is not true, then the second case can’t be true hence daily lineup choices make no effect.

          • Cork Gaines says:

            If you are simulating different lineups over the course of an entire season (which is where we see lineups have little impact) you are assuming the other variables (opposing pitcher ability, opposing pitcher handedness, opposing defense, opposing manager tendencies) are either constant or even out over time. But those factors vary greatly from game-to-game. And there are things a manager can do to take advantage of those variables or at least try to counter them.

  3. Neal says:

    Can’t say I liked the method but I liked the result. Joyce got his chance in the three-hole and made it work. Fuld and Damon are locks for the one and two spots – I hope. Please, Joe?
    Still don’t like Lopez at clean-up but it’s obviously temporary and the guy is getting on base. We get Dirtbag and the Dude back and we may, in fact, be competitive for a while this year.
    Not sure what SRod’s problem is. If him and Dan Johnson could hit anything, we’d be all good.

    • Neal says:

      One more comment – how long til we worry about the Giraffe? We won’t see Torres or Archer anytime soon so do we give the Duke another shot?

  4. Don says:

    You don’t realize it… but Maddon HAS been picking a lineup out of a hat for 3 years NOW…It is birth right as THE manager and he plans on using it …no matter what anyone says..Its the first requirement for “Manager of the year ” award …..

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