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. You gotta like what you see right now from Bossman Junior. In the first 4 games, Upton has 5 of the Rays 17 hits including 2 doubles and his first home run last night…Sean Rodriguez. Getting his first start versus a righty with Evan Longoria on the shelf, Rodriguez made an impression with a walk and a solo home run. He also moved to LF late in the game as a defensive replacement for Johnny Damon.

THE BAD: Bad Start. Jeff Niemann put his teammates in a hole with his 35-pitch, 3-run first inning. It was an uphill battle after that in which there was little hope with the way the bats have been going…Where’s The Beef? BJ Upton’s 2-run HR masked what was yet another anemic hitting performance with just 5 hits. That is 17 hits in 4 games.

THE TELLING: This team needs a slump-buster in a bad way. Got any ideas?…Johnny Damon was back in the lineup after missing Sunday’s game with a sore calf…Grant Balfour blew a 1-run lead in the 10th for the A’s when he gave up a 2-run walk-off HR without recording an out…Meanwhile, Rafael Soriano gave up 4 runs in just two-thirds of an inning, walking 3. After the game, he was nowhere to be found

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Don’t forget, if you want some immediate game reaction, or a place to discuss the Rays after the game, check out our “Postgame Shot of Joe.” [Rays Index]
  • Joe Maddon and BJ Upton came to the defense of Manny Ramirez who was booed last night…Our thought is, if you pay money to go to the game, you have the right to boo. We don’t agree with it, but that is your right. Besides, Manny is a very wealthy man in his late-30s. He should be able to handle it. [TampaBay.com]
  • JB Long writes about Jeremy Hellickson’s calm approach and what Joe Maddon expects in the kid’s first start of the year. [BayNews9.com]
  • Bud Selig says Major League Baseball has not discussed contraction. [The Heater]
  • $95 million over 7 years for David Price? That’s what MLB Trade Rumors calculated as the going rate for if Price were to sign an extension. [MLBTR]
  • Yet another post explaining why contraction won’t happen. [ESPN]
  • Andddd another. [Hardball Talk]
  • MLB Trade Rumors takes a look back at the Jason Hammel trade. [MLBTR]
  • Joel Poiley had a Q&A with Matt Joyce. [BrandonPatch]
  • Just how bad were the living conditions for David Price and Evan Longoria this spring? [Onion Sports Network]

<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=cd11ca41-b2e1-4199-a66f-041dc53987e4" target="_new" title="">Behind the seams: Rays miss Longoria</a>


Rays post game (via TampaBay.com)

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50 Comments

  1. Tone says:

    Pathetic.

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  2. Phil says:

    Cork - In The Good section you left out the bullpens performance.

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  3. Brian says:

    I seem to remember back in 2008 someone stepped up when CC and Longo where on the shelf. Does anyone remember who that was? I seem to think it was Pena. This team is playing with 0 urgency and 0 confidence. Did Longo condition himself in the off-season? Dude looks about 30lbs heavier than last season.

    Cold and rain in the forecast for their trip to the Cell. I hope to God that Mark Buehrle isn't pitching.....hello no-hitter.

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  4. Andy says:

    Everyone has the constitutional right to be a ####. Only a select few exercise it.

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  5. Jason says:

    Why the hell does it bother you that 10 drunks booed one strikeout when this team has sucked so bad for 4 games? Who the eff cares. At least those guys were good enough to buy an effing ticket and show up.

    There were only 13,000 of us there last night. If you weren't there SHUT UP. I tip my cap to those that showed up. Those are the real fans whether they booed or not.

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    • Andy says:

      It doesn't bother me when people show their stupidity. If anything, I prefer that they open their mouths so I can confirm for myself who the idiots are.

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      • Tone says:

        You just opened your mouth so we could know...thanks.

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        • Andy says:

          He came into camp in great shape, worked his butt off, has done everything asked of him, and kept his mouth shut. If you're gonna boo him on the basis of 4 games, I am gonna question how much you know about, and/or whether you have every actually played baseball

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  6. Derek says:

    Did Maddon tell people to shut the hell help? or was he asked about the boos, and then gave an answer as to how he felt about them? I think he has the right to disagree with them, if we have the right to use them in the first place.

    This is all Shelton's fault, or we are off to a slow start. I can't decide which is more logical.

    Jaso is terrible. More Shoppach. Less Damon, Less Lopez. More Matt Joyce and his perfect swing. More EJ and his surprise eye/power? Less undervaluing of DanJo's defense. More Zobrist, every time him and Joyce are at the plate, visions of extra base hits appear in the pitchers mind. More of BJ hitting fastballs, behind in the count.

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    • Tone says:

      A hitting coach does not have that much of an effect. I think whoever they put out there the line-up will suck. Face it, this team cannot hit. We saw this last year with a better line-up. Hopefully BJ and Shields keep raising their trade value and they get a bunch of hitting prospects. This team is toast. Looking forward to the kids making it up, probably not till July, maybe some in June if were lucky.

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      • raysfan137 says:

        On what do you base your statement that a hitting coach doesn't have much of an effect ? Then why pay for one ?

        Regardless of whether you're right or wrong on that point, firing a hitting coach can have an effect. Even it is a placebo effect, it can serve as a wake-up call to the team that changes and improvements are expected. And, although it is sometimes not fair, making him the scape goat can also say to a bunch of guys that have probably been pressing for a year now and don't even know that they still are, "Relax, we know it's not you, we're getting someone who offers a better approach and perspective".

        If not firing Shelton, Rays management should do something to show the team and the fans that they are not happy (or complacent) about this offense and are willing to try some things to improve it.

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        • Tone says:

          I agree with you. But my point really was that I personally don't think this team is close to a contender, so to me it really does not matter. As far as Rays Front Office doing something for the fans to show they care...well, I think they have shown nothing but indifference(at the least) or contempt(at the most) for Rays fans. The comments from players, management, and Stu are not haphazard; MLB teams are very careful about things they say(except for Ozzie). They are in the process of trying to create leverage for the stadium. They want ESPN ect.. to dump on the Bay area. Dirty business.

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      • Derek says:

        This is partially true. I think a hitting coach has more ability to help than hurt. These guys have been playing baseball for how long? And how many different hitting coaches have they had? How many of those tried to retool their swings? At this stage, it's nearly impossible for a hitting coach to ruin a hitter, but he can make small changes to a stance, or in BJ's case, the cocking of his front foot, that can help harness power, or time a pitch better. (if you watch BJ's home runs, he has that foot in perfect time with the ball. It's like. Click-Click-Boom, but when he misses, It's like. Click.....Click-miss.) But a coach at this stage can not teach a guy to not swing at this or that pitch. The team's "problem" is that they fail to notice their pitch to hit, and I don't think that's a teachable skill.

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        • raysfan137 says:

          You're speaking as if all a hitting coach can do is work with an individual's swing mechanics. There's a LOT more to coaching hitting than that. I am talking about at bat philosophy, a strategy specific to today's starting pitcher, etc. (make him throw lots of pitches since he struggles with pitch count, attack first pitch fast balls because he never walks people, etc.). I don't any evidence anything like that is coming from Shelton. The evidence to me is that the Rays have one strategy, and one strategy only, take pitches and get behind in the count - regardless of what they guy on the bump's stats show.

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          • Derek says:

            But can you provide evidence that proves team a's hitting coach has prepared his team successfully? As a counter point, how about game 1 this year. Everybody knows Price has an insane fastball, and he can have a hard time locating it at times. It being the first start of the year, a hitting coach should tell his guys that they need to lay off of the fastball until he can prove he has his location, but the O's were swinging at his fastball all night. Why? Because a lot of them swing for the HR ball every time, and a fastball, to them, is seen as a easy pitch to hit out, contrary to what they know about Price. Price threw 9 more pitches than Guthrie. He threw 11 more balls, but walked only one batter, the same amount as Guthrie. Go look at each pitchers heat maps for that game, Price was all over the place with his fastball against right handers. Guthrie was destroying the away part of the zone with his slider! and! his fastball to lefties. No hitting coach on earth can prepare a guy for that kind of accuracy.

            If a pitching coach is talking to his team about Shields, he will say, don't swing at the change and destroy his fastball. How did that work out?

            I'm not sure why you feel the need to blame Shelton. Most of these players are very young, and if you can't get guys like Derek Lee and Vlad to listen to your game plan, how can you get a Reid Brignac to listen?

            The fact remains that the guys who know what there are doing out there have remained successful, the problem is, we have so many young guys, that we require them to be elite right out of the gate. There is no room for a learning curve. Shelton can game plan till 3 am, but when Jaso steps up to the plate, it's him vs Haren, and Haren has been out smarting hitters a lot longer than Jaso has been adjusting to big league pitching.

            Shelton came in here to fix BJ. So far so good.

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  7. Mike G. says:

    This is what is holding Rays fans back. A few fans show some passion built out of higher expectations, and other people call them idiots or morons. Was it a little silly to boo Manny in his 4th game of the year? Probably. But at least they were there showing some passion for the team and wanting something better than they have seen so far. This fanbase's biggest problem is apathy. And if this team keeps up this sh!t show, they will get worse than boos. They will get empty seats and silence.

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    • Tone says:

      Your comment is good. Thank you sir.

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    • raysfan137 says:

      Mike G., you rock. A-freaking-men. We need to build this fan base and we need to build some passion among it. AT LEAST PEOPLE CARED ENOUGH TO BOO!!!! Now let's channel that passion into something else.

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  8. St. Aug Ryan says:

    Has someone ever sat down and interviewed the hitting coach and asked him what his philosophy is on hitting, his ideas, his approach, what he tries to teach? I would love to hear his answer. It is very obvious that this team will not be in the top half of the AL in batting. I think the hitting coach is part of the problem but I also think that they have several bench/role players starting that are either not ready to be everyday players or they are what they are, a bench/role players.
    So frustrating watching this every night.

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  9. Dan Johnson does nothing for me.

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    • Tone says:

      I concur. For me, Zobrist at 1st makes sense. Sean at 2nd. Lopez at 3rd(sigh). Brig at SS. Damon at LF(sigh). BJ at center. Joyce at right. Both our terrible catchers can catch I guess. This line-up will not light anything up, but it would be nice to see Maddon just put a consistent one out there and let sink or swim. What he is doing so far has already sunk, like in a Titanic way, so what's to lose.

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    • Derek says:

      There's no better option.

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  10. CC says:

    To all the a-holes who complain about attendance. Last night we outdrew
    Cleveland 9000 people,Toronto 11,000, Florida 10,000, KC 12,000. Hey Selig bite me.

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    • Derek says:

      None of those teams hung a banner last weekend. Only two of those teams have a chance to hang a banner in the next few seasons.

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      • Norm says:

        I understand that winning influences attendance, but it doesn't create wealth. Going to games still costs something. Fans have the flexibility to be selective about whether to go or watch the game on TV so many of them probably decide that the Tuesday night battle with the Angels isn't the best option.

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        • Derek says:

          The attendance is now trending in the opposite direction of the economy. If my team is going through a bad stretch, I'm more compelled to go to a game. A win now means more to me and my team. I feel more satisfaction because I witnessed my team turn it around. I'm not going to spend too much time harping on the first week's attendance, because just like the 0-5 record, things should turn around. But that doesn't mean we should be happy that we outdrew the Indians.

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  11. Don says:

    AFter 4Games...heres how I see it...the Rays are NOT making the playoffs with the team they have NOW..2nd place won't get in because of #of wins..
    BUT I"M going to Games anyway...just like I used to do when they were no good and I had no expectations of them to win...
    AND I am going to drink beer, eat hot dogs,have fun, and BOO,and BItch
    because if they can't hit the ball..and I don't give a Damn what JOE Maddon& BJ upton say or think......

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    • Mark E says:

      Don, I hate it when fans boo the Rays. Especially in only the 4th game of the year. There were fans near me last night booing Manny. But if you bought a ticket to the game and are supporting my team still being here in 3 years -- MORE POWER TO YA, BOO AWAY!

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  12. CC says:

    Don, my feelings exactly. One thing tho, 2nd place is not going to happen either.

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  13. Mike says:

    The loudest boos came from a group of people sitting in the row behind me. Two of them were wearing Pink Sox shirts. Some other folks, including some Rays fans, followed their lead after the K.

    Along with most Rays fans, I am not ready to boo Manny yet. That said, he took some terrible swings last night. He needs to get better, and quickly. Damon on the other hand, I am just about ready to boo every time I see. I never liked him and never wanted him on the team. His defense is TERRIBLE. Now he isn't hitting anything either. If he doesn't start hitting soon you can expect to hear Desmond Jennings chants every time Damon steps to the plate.

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  14. Ro says:

    Slump busters hmmm...all I can think about is "Bullpen Gospels' when I think about slump busters.

    And I have to agree with the fans who boo'd were at least at the game argument. I hate that I'm way out here in Arizona and can't support the guys at the Trop. I'll be going to Anaheim in June though; that's the closest they'll be to me. Keep in mind the Rays have fans all over this country.

    I so wanted to turn the game off last night but I just couldn't do it. I love this team win or lose. They made me a baseball fan in '08 and I'll never leave them.

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  15. Ro says:

    Oh yeah and amen to the bullpen needing to be in the good section. Impressed with them so far.

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  16. robert says:

    They fiddled as Rome burned...

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  17. Mark E says:

    I think Peralta looks almost as good as Soriano. And I hope we don't have to overuse him.

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  18. CC says:

    Derek, what's your point? Do you think we have a chance to hang a banner this year?

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    • Derek says:

      None of those teams won anything last year was my point. I do think we have a chance. We got beat by the O's and the Angels. Neither of those two will be around in September, so why would me measure ourselves against them?

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      • CC says:

        Don't underestimate the O's. We need to measure them against every AL East team. And is you think those teams are not playoff material, guess what we have beaten them.

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  19. CC says:

    I watched every game and have been to 2 in person. They are recognizing the pitches to hit they are just missing them.

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    • Derek says:

      They are not swinging at the pitches that they should be swinging at. I love how some of them are fighting off some pitches, and that will lead to the offense coming around. A slow start is a slow start.

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      • CC says:

        You must not be watching the same games as me. How many times do we have to hear our announcers say, I bet he wishes he could have that pitch back.

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  20. MJ says:

    Not sure why rays fans boo manny after 4 games but wouldn't boo burrell for an entire season.

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  21. Gus says:

    Let's see:

    1. Convicted cheater
    2. Former star of hated rival
    3. Unattractive personal appearance
    4. 1 for 16 with no walks (no walks means the book is out on him -- he is not to be feared and can't turn on the inside fastball)

    He's going to get booed unless #4 turns around in a big way.

    Why no reporting on why he missed the dress rehersal game last Wednesday? Given the stinkbomb he's put up in Week 1, it seems to be a fair question to ask (although he'll probably pretend he doesn't know english).

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    • raysfan137 says:

      1. Convicted, sentenced and paid the price given to him.

      2. He's here now. Get over it.

      3. Are you Tom Cruise ?

      4. TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY AGREE.

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  22. Professor Twain says:

    People who boo a Rays player after 4 games are not Rays fans.

    I was at the game last night, i was disgusted by the people who were booing manny.

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  23. Alex says:

    I'm sorry but if your number four hitter is giving you swings like that you have every right to boo. This team sucks guys. Dan Johnson, Matt Joyce, Manny, Damon, Jaso, Shop, Brignac....They all look like crappy 4a guys and platoon players or players past their prime.

    Glad we banked on DJ because he sure looks like a complete player. Last years .199 batting average was obviously just a down year. Not something to be expected from a 30 + year old guy who has had 1 decent year in the majors.

    None of our lefties can hit lefties worth a damn. Brignac, Joyce and Johnson look lost against them. Jaso is just popping everything up. Shop just strikesout. Manny looks like he's barely even trying. Damon looks really old.

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  24. Alex says:

    Another thing. When your team that's raising a banner goes:

    0-5
    7 runs scored total....7 RUNS TOTAL IN 5 GAMES
    4 of those games they scored 1 run
    4 of those games we had 4 hits
    1 game we had 5 hits

    You have every right to boo who ever you want. Maddon, Shelton, Manny, Damon whoever.....
    Not only will this team be historically bad. They'll be historically boring. At least the Devil Rays teams kept things exciting

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  25. Chuck L says:

    When does the regular season start? I'm sick of spring training. Oh it's started? Then why the gosh darn heck is Joe "resting" Manny? Pressing too hard? Stop trying to overthink everything Joe...

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  26. Ozzie C says:

    Jose was the best DH we ever had, although he did run the bases like he was in high heels

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