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: BJ Upton. Sometimes results is more than just ability or lack of it. If you have watched BJ Upton closely over the last couple of seasons, you saw a different BJ yesterday. When he is going well, maybe more than any other player on the Rays, you can just see his confidence change. He walks/stands more upright. His swing has more purpose. His face looks more determined. Who knows how long it will last. But right now, BJ’s head is where is needs to be…James Shields. We knew the offense was going to struggle at times. Well, we hope it is just “at times.” But if the Rays were to be successful this season, they needed a dominant James Shields. It was just one start, but last night he was dominant.

THE BAD: So Close. As bad as the offense has been, the Rays came within inches of tying the game in the 9th and within a couple of feet of winning it when Ben Zobrist had his long flyball caught at the wall to end the game…Offense Continues To Sputter. Last season, the Rays were held hitless for at least 5 innings on 8 different occasions (by our count). Last night was the first of 2011 as the Rays didn’t pick up their first hit until the 7th inning. It has now been 2 games, and the Rays have a total of 2 runs and 8 hits in 18 innings…Jake McGee. Want to know why McGee is not ready to be the closer? Fastballs alone won’t get the job done even if it is 97mph. It definitely won’t get the job done when it is your only good pitch and it is 92 mph, as it was to Brian Roberts who hit a 3-run home run…As If That Wasn’t Bad Enough. Evan Longoria was pulled from the game early with a “sore left oblique.”

THE TELLING: The way things are going, we fully expect Manny Ramirez to quit on this team at some point today…Elliot Johnson will start today. It will be his first start since April 20, 2008. Also Sean Rodriguez will start at 3B in Evan Longoria’s absense…Elliot Johnson was named the Rays top rookie in Spring Training, winning the Al Lopez award. It is the second time he has won the award.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Evan Longoria hopes to avoid the DL, but is still expected to miss at least a week.  However, Joe Maddon wouldn’t rule out a DL stint saying Longo will be reevaluated today. [The Heater]
  • We may have linked to this already, but here is the David Price bobblehead that the Biscuits are giving away on Friday. [Biscuit Crumbs]
  • Understandably, it’s financially reasonable to keep old equipment if it still works. But considering how brand-conscious the Rays are, it is strange to see the old logo still hanging around the Trop. [James Shapiro]


James Shields on his first start of the year (via TampaBay.com)

Evan Longoria on his sore oblique (via TampaBay.com)

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19 Comments

  1. Tone says:

    I don’t expect anything from this team anymore. This is the kind of game they won in 2010 and 2008; not a good omen. Keeping my expectations very low. I watch baseball for fun and entertainment, they are neither right now.

  2. Charles says:

    Despite the loss, I saw a lot of good things last night – working the counts in at-bats (to get a guy throwing a no-hitter out after 6 innings means he’s throwing plenty of pitches), Zorilla & Shields looking more like the 2008-2009 versions than last year’s versions, and guys who did get on base getting into the heads of the pitchers. And McGee aside, the bullpen through two games is not as agita-inducing as we probably all expected.

    Today’s not getting any easier for the offense, Zach Britton was probably the O’s best starter in spring training. In some ways though, if they’re going to lose, I’d rather see the games be tight than the bombings the Red Sox are having.

  3. robert says:

    Ugh! Major League rotation, minor league team. In case you were wondering, Baltimore isn’t Philadelphia and they don’t have the same pitchers, except the Rays made them look like they do. Pathetic, really. And why pull Shields when he keeps (at least last night) the ball down? Let him work through the inning. Damon has no bat speed left. Gamer, sure, but what’s the point? Sorry folks, but the game wasn’t even close despite what you saw in the 9th inning. And yeah, the empty seats… And now with Longoria home polishing his gun collection I’ll be hard pressed to tune in this afternoon–though I will…

    • Scot says:

      If Baltimore were in any other division, they would be considered a lead candidate for the division title. They added a number of wins above replacement and several of their exciting younger players (e.g. Adam Jones) are on the upside of development. I would not be surprised that they finish the season with a winning record.

  4. Manny can’t quit today… it’s his first game in the light blue jersey. This is the moment where #Mannysbay comes to fruition for me!

  5. Also, I fully expect Longo to go to the DL. I wonder if that means Kotchman is on his way from Durham right now… ending the Dan Johnson 1st base experiment after just 2 games.

  6. Don says:

    IN 2008 when I seen ZObrist swing a bat…it took 2 years and NOW in the start of 2011 Zobrist is our BEST player (CC gone/ Longo Hurt)….

    Someone said “spring training doesn’t count”…Well it certainly doesn’t with our hitters they look like the haven’t seen a bat since last OCT.

    How about baseball mgts. who said
    IT doesn’t matter that much..they don’t make that many decisions..Well I guess SHOWALTER taking the last place COokies in 2010 to respectability by the end of 2010 to leading the league in early 2011 and sweeping the “League champs” at home on oppening weekend, doesn’t count…….
    Can ZO and DJ save us from total embarassment on openning weekend?

  7. CC says:

    Taking Shields out to put in Magee is a bad move. This is the best Shields has pitched in a long time but he reached Joe’s 100 pitch count. His arm is going to fall off we better take him out. I know its only the second game but your going to start to see some pissed off pitchers this year. if Joe continues to take out the starter in the middle of an inning with the score tied or with the lead and our bullpen cant hold its not going to be pretty. I’ll take my chances with any starter with 100 pitches over any bullpen guy we have.

  8. Mark says:

    there needs to be a groundswell to get a new hitting coach…the offense can’t be this bad two years in a row!!! I have a facebook page called fire derek shelton. I don’t do much with it so if you want to take it over and make it great post a message on there.

  9. Alex says:

    I’m pretty sure McGee used multiple sliders to strike out the next batter did he not? I don’t get why you are judging him after ONE batter. He had no problems on Friday.

  10. Joe says:

    Neither one was gonna get a hit so I wonder the thinking behind playing Fuld over Joyce in RF today. I guess defense but Matt seems fine to me.

    • Joe says:

      I guess I retract this comment since Damon has been scratched, whats wrong with him now? Joyce and Fuld will both play. I think this squad needs a early and often dose of Jennings

  11. Ro says:

    Wow, no wonder ESPN and everyone has already written us off. The fans have too. I don’t care if they’re in 5th place in June, I’m still watching every game. I might yell a lot but…

    And wow, think about how deep this organization is? The Rays will always be a threat no matter what anyone says.

    No one can expect them to play like they did last year with so many changes. Though the offense sure does look the same haha. The found ways to win that division last year though. It’s only the third game today people. Wow.

  12. Ro says:

    Oh yeah, it sucks that we can’t just consider the O’s the team to roll over on this year. Remember the end of last season when Buck got there? That team changed. No one is giving the O’s any credit here. Of course I don’t want to either and yeah they aren’t the Phillies, but they don’t suck this year.

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