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: Winning Series. Before the series, if somebody would have offered us a 3-1 series win, we would have signed for it and asked “when does the plane leave for Toronto.”

THE BAD: Offense. We need to temper our excitement. Just as this team wasn’t as bad as their 1-8 start, this team isn’t as good as their 8-1 record over the 9 games prior to last night. And while we are confident in the pitching, the offense is going to continue to cause problems. Last night, the Rays managed just 2 runs marking the 10th time in 19 games that the Rays scored 2 runs or fewer. That’s not good…Missed Chances. The Rays were 1-6 with a walk and 2 strikeouts with runners in scoring position. One big blow was in the 2nd when the Rays loaded the bases with 1 out, only to have John Jaso ground into a 1-2-3 double-play. Then in the 4th, with the score 5-2 and runners on the corners, Johnny Damon missed a double down the right field line by inches. That would have scored 2, pulling the Rays within 1. Instead, Damon struck out to end the inning…Jeff Niemann. Teams love tall right-handers. But really tall pitchers can more easily have their mechanics come out of whack. Niemann is a mess right now.

THE TELLING: Johnny Damon was back in the lineup…Evan Longoria hit off a tee yesterday. When asked how he felt, he said “great”…Sam Fuld has 7 stolen bases. The Cubs have 2.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Matt Joyce credits a shorter swing for his hot start. [TampaBay.com]
  • John Romano writes about how important this homestand was. But what is fun is just read all the quotes by the Rays and see how many different ways they can basically say the same thing. Not really Romano’s fault as the Rays often love their clichés. [TampaBay.com]
  • A couple of Rays showed up on this list of “surprising American League leaders.” [ESPN]
  • C’mon. What your excuse? It’s only $9.95. [Joe Bucs Fan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Charlotte 6, DURHAM 4: Alex Torres took the loss, but continues to dominate triple-A. He struck out 10 in 5 innings, giving up 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits and 4 walks. He now has 27 strikeouts and just 6 walks in 15.1 innings. Oh yeah, and he is a 5’10″ lefty…RF Brandon Guyer had a 2-run double…DH Robinson Chirinos was 2-3 and was hit by a pitch…CF Desmond Jennings did not start, but was used as a pinch runner in the 8th.
  • Jackson 7, MONTGOMERY 3: Joe Cruz gave up 7 runs in just 3 innings, and has now allowed 19 runs on 20 hits and 9 walks in just 11 innings this season…3B Daniel Mayora was 2-4 with his 3rd home run, a 2-run shot…LF Stephen Vogt singled, doubled, and tripled in 4 at bats.
  • St. Lucie 10, CHARLOTTE 7: Alex Koronis gave up 4 runs, including a 2-run home run in 6 innings…SS Hak-Ju Lee continues to hit well early on, going 2-5. He has 8 hits in his first 5 games…2B Tyler Bortnick had a single and 2 walks, along with his 3rd steal…RF Brett Nommensen was 2-4 with a triple and a walk.
  • Lake County 9, BOWLING GREEN 5: George Jensen struck out 6 in 3 innings, but gave up 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks…LF Cody Rogers hit his second home run…SS Derek Dietrich went 0-4.



White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson is annoying. Apparently, he can also be creepy (0:11 mark)


Jeff Niemann

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9 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    How much danger is Niemann's rotation spot in? Durham's got 3 starters with ERAs under 1.20, at least one of whom is a legit prospect. Any chance he gets sent down for some time to work on his mechanics? It would suck for him, but how long do they let him try to work things out in games that count?

    I suspect that if he did get sent out, we wouldn't see either of the Alexes anyway - they could bring Dirk up without starting the service time clock on either of those guys, or just move Sonny into his spot and bring up someone like Ekstrom for the pen.

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    • Andy says:

      I think your last option (Sonny in the rotation for a few turns) is the most likely as it avoids waivers on anyone (assuming they claim Niemann is injured), and starts no ones arb clock. Can't believe Sonny hasn't pitched since 4/10.

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      • Charles says:

        Yeah, I agree - I think the only reason they wouldn't do that is that it leaves them short a long man in the pen. But given that the starters in general have been going long innings so far, that might not be an issue for the short term.

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      • Don says:

        SONNY hasn't "pitched" since hes been here........

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      I think they will be patient for now. But if we don't see much improvement in maybe the next 3-4 starts, Niemann could develop one of those mystery injuries and earn a trip to the DL and a rehab stint in the minors.

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  2. Alex from Durham says:

    As we were watching the MLB network after the game last night, I couldn't help but notice that since last August, Jeff Neiman has the worst ERA in the majors for any starter with 10 or more starts since August by more than 2 runs (his ERA is over 8 in that stretch). Alto boy es messed up and needs some time down here to get himself fixed.

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  3. Tone says:

    Nieman can't be sent down, he's out of options. The only way to avoid his starts would be to switch him with Sonny or put him on the DL. If they DL Nieman, then expect them to bring up the Garfoose; Garfoose or Sonny in Nieman's spot. I hope they can win this series. If they can get a couple games above .500 before Longoria gets back...well, that would be huge.

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  4. Jason W says:

    I wonder who taught Joyce the shorter swing. I know it wasnt SHelton, the only thing he teaches is how to look at a bunch of pitches whether stirkes or not.

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