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: Silver Lining. Let’s assume that the Wild Card will ultimately come from the AL East. And let’s assume that the Orioles are not the real deal (yet). Then at least one playoff spot will go to either the Rays or the Red Sox. Well, the Rays are 0-5. But they are still tied with the Red Sox in the standings who also are 0-5 after losing last night. And both teams are only 3 games behind the Yankees. Those numbers are far more important right now than actual win-loss record.

THE BAD: No Manny. One day after being booed, Joe Maddon gave Manny Ramirez the afternoon off after originally penciling him as DH (he did pinch-hit in the 8th, and was cheered). This despite being 19-38 with 3 HR and 6 walks against Dan Haren in his career. Manny will also sit on Thursday to tend to the same “personal matter” that kept him out of the lineup the last spring training game. Maddon also mentioned that he thought Manny was pressing too hard and that he thought he needed a break…Getting Ugly. For the 4th time in 5 nights, the Rays had 1 run on 4 hits. And in doing so, they became just the 4th team in the last 25 years to have 5 consecutive home games with 5 hits or fewer. The other 3 teams: 2001 Orioles (finished 63-98), 1989 Tigers (59-103) and the 2009 Mets (70-92).

THE TELLING: According to CoolStandings.com the Rays still have a 25.1% shot at the postseason, which is actually greater than the Red Sox (14.7%). Although, to be fair, early in the season, some of the CoolStandings calculations are influenced by last season’s results…Mike Ekstrom has cleared waivers and will report to Durham. He was Designated For Assignment to make room for Felipe Lopez on the 40-man roster…JP Howell could be ready to throw live batting practice in the next week or so.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Manny Ramirez did not seem bothered by the boos. [The Heater]
  • Rafael Soriano was forced to apologize to the media for avoiding them the night before. [NYDN]
  • Geez. Even Maury Brown is cracking jokes about the Rays attendance. Keep in mind this was a weekday game with schools still in session. [Twitter]
  • Lots of teams are seeing unusually small crowds the first week of the season. [stltoday.com]
  • And Tom Jones takes a look at the Yankees attendance woes. [Tom Jones 2¢]
  • If you are interested in catching today’s season opener for the Durham Bulls, here is the info. [WDBB]


Joe Maddon talks about the hitters pressing (via TampaBay.com)

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35 Comments

  1. Tone says:

    You can put in on the board!!!! Yes!!! Yes!!!…Hawk Harrelson is going to have a field day this weekend. 40 RBI’s for the White Sox already, 7 RBI’s for the Rays. Quite a difference there. Danks owns them; Jackson owns them; and they just happen to be in the worst funk imaginable. That all sounds like a magical experience. I am actually foolish enough to get up at 3am(my time here) to watch this monstrosity continue. Hawk will be yelling enough to keep me awake.

  2. WeNeedOurStudsBack says:

    For all of you fans that want to get rid of Joe Maddon, the Rays ownership wants to get rid of you (the fans)! LMAO.

    Ownership is begging to move this team from the God aweful streets of St. Pete. And I dont blame them.

  3. CC says:

    Joe Maddon is a joke. Manny is hitting .500 off Haren and he benches him right before the game. That is a bunch of BS. Put your BEST 9 guys on the field and play the damn game. Joe’s BS is getting old. His answer to the offense is to try “easier”. Cut me a friggin brake.

    • Derek says:

      38 at-bats…..

    • Michael says:

      I am going to agree here. If you want Manny to boost his confidence, why not off a pitcher he has had sucess off of?

    • Gus says:

      The Manny you describe (18-36 against Harden) is not walking through that door anytime soon.

      Since LA waived him, Manny is 19 for 86 (.221) with absolutely no power, 1 double, 1 HR and 3 RBIs. With more than 100 plate appearances, is that a fair sample to say who he is now? In 2011, he’s not even walking, which is probably what made him of interest to the Rays to begin with.

      He should have a very short leash. Maddon is doing the right thing here giving him a chance to clear his head. While I expect a second half collapse from Manny, even I was expecting more than this in April.

      Next up: picking the order out of a hat (ala Billy Martin 1978 — Bucky Dent still drew the no. 9 hole).

      Hoping the road trip lets them all see the ball better. Since July 2010, the Trop has turned into a place where bats go to die. Somebody check the humidity levels in there.

    • Tom says:

      Fuld replaced Manny in the line up (with Damon moving to DH) and had a pretty decent day.

    • Indiana Rays Boy says:

      CC, you are dead on about Maddon. Right now, he has no clue what he is doing and Derek Shelton shouldn’t be the Rays hitting coach. It looks like this team is lifeless and doesn’t want to be there. Their personality looks like the manager and it is a bad sign. Rays ownership should start lightening a fire and it is going to be a long year.

  4. Derek says:

    Hey look, the Rays have a hitting philosophy, and Maddon mentions he and his coaches are trying to make sure the players stick to this philosophy.

  5. The standings provide some level of comfort, but more concerning is the Sox have yet to play a home game, while the Rays have already squandered 5. Going .500 on the road would require a .644 winning percentage in the remaining 76 home games to hit the 90 win mark.

  6. robert says:

    Manny? Personal reasons? Not wanting to play? Needing rest? This might not last until the All Star Break. This team might not win 60 games but at least we have the Manny drama to divert us. Hm– maybe I’m on to something…

    • Mike says:

      I am thinking he probably has a family member who is seriously ill or something similar going on in his personal life. The team clearly has no problem with him missing these days, and Joe said he supports him in dealing with the personal matter, so I don’t think Manny he going to the spa or something. You should keep that in mind before bashing him about missing a game or two. I would think you will feel pretty shitty if you find out he missed the game because his mom is very ill and had surgery today.

  7. Mark E says:

    I would give some validity to Maddon’s excuse “they’re trying too hard” if I didn’t see the players joking around and “having fun” in the dugout in the midst of a 0-5 season start at home. I’m competitive… I’ve coached very competitive-natured people, and if an athlete has a competitive personality, who gives a crap about the current competition and game situation, it’s not in him to embrace the “let’s have fun and relax” philosophy of the laid-back management.

    I’m all for keeping it relaxed and not getting uptight to the point where it hurts your game – controlling your competitive nature is part of success, but I have a hard time believing that I would be guffawing around the dugout during another, consecutive embarrassing performance.

    Something is very wrong about the philosophies, goals and purposes of this team. I believe in the Rays, and I’m holding out hope for a 85+ win season, but I’m not sure their competitiveness is being nurtured by this manager. I know this makes no sense that an athlete who’s devoted his life to achieving and winning would CHOOSE to be non-competitive and hurt his own career and future. I know that sounds stupid. I know they’re trying. But it is hard to understand the outward appearance of complacency and concern for the current situation that I’m seeing in the mannerisms in some players in the dugout.

    Let’s have some ACCOUNTABILITY. Let’s see some leadership — somebody!

    Go Rays! Go Maddon! And please examine your tact and re-evaluate the philosophy that nurtures the appearance of competitive decline.

    • Carey says:

      Not sure if you’ve ever played baseball before, but “getting all pissed” rarely if ever helps one out of a bad slump, especially a hitting slump. This isn’t football.

      Ever hear the phrase “whistling past the graveyard?” I think the joking around is akin to this. No matter what, you’ve got to stay loose or it’s just going to get worse.

      • Beth says:

        Carey, I’m with you.

        The idea that the Rays are doing poorly because they are not taking this seriously makes no sense to me. Look how worked up we are — and this is our entertainment! The idea that these men, for whom baseball is both a livelihood and a passion, are just saying “oh, whatever” is not logical at all.

  8. Mike says:

    This is starting to get really depressing and we’ve only played five games. Don’t we face Edwin Jackson today, who threw a no hitter against us last year? I sure hope we bring the sticks today.

    • Mark E says:

      Rays need to get their hits in the early innings. Jackson is known for slow starts and strong finishes. They need to attack early and often. I hope BJ is batting early. Would’ve been nice to see Manny in the lineup today — I think he could take Edwin outa the park.

  9. Don says:

    Well Lets see…. We have our “all star pitcher” “best pitcher in the world” by his own account (Price) pitching against a pitcher we GAVE AWAY for an outfielder hitting .067 (Joyce incase you forgot)
    Any body want to make any bets??

  10. Mark E says:

    Today’s lineup :-( This must strike utter fear in Edwin Jackson

    Fuld LF
    Damon DH
    Zobrist 2B
    D. Johnson 1B
    Upton CF
    Joyce RF
    Rodriguez 3B
    Shoppach C
    Brignac SS

    Price P

  11. Rob says:

    I don’t think that it is just a coincidence that BJ Upton went outside of the organization and received one-on-one hitting instruction from Rod Carew this winter and that he is the only one doing anything at the plate.

  12. Phil says:

    its about time Damon/johnson/joyce and brignac started hitting!

  13. Hal says:

    No need for panic – we have 4 guys hitting .250…….Combined!!! Damon, Manny, DJ, and Joyce’s combined batting average.

    • St. Aug Ryan says:

      No need to panic, Edwin Jackson has struck out 10 through 5 innings, a 1 hitter. We freaking suck!!! Ugggg, the nightmare continues

  14. MikeJ says:

    I think the biggest thing that scares me is how over-matched (overmatched?) the hitters look. We’ve faced some good pitching, but not great and we are making these guys look like Cy Young candidates. I know it’s early, but hitters are usually ahead of pitchers at this time of year and we are getting shut down. No one is hitting the ball hard (except BJ) and everyone is swinging wildly at bad pitches and missing the good ones. This team is a mess and needs a lot of work offensively.

  15. LoLJFH says:

    I have to confess I am traveling and did not watch or listen to the game today…thankfully. Appears more of the same and repeats from last year. I am so perplexed why most people are glossing over the real issue here: Derek Shelton! Yes we scored more runs than any Rays team last year, but we had some blowouts and as many “anomalies” as Joe would put it in scoring as not. We also had a slew of none, one, two, three and four hit shutouts last year as well. Oh, right, but we did lead the league in walks (we could walk the bases loaded but couldn’t hit anybody in, I remember…) Someone posted earlier about BJ going to c
    Carew and his hitting being “fixed”. Ok, so there’s a start. Now, look at the years Pena, Upton, Zobrist (he says he had a sore neck), Bartlett, Aybar, Longoria and Navi had last year – considerably worse than they had the year before. Then guys we claimed off the junk pile like Shoppach (allegedly overweight and “not himself”) barely batted his weight. Now in ’011 they are even worse! It’s not like we are battling, we look bad at the plate and lazy and swinging late and at bad pitches and hitting weak flies and grounders. Everyone in section 305 on Saturday was talking about it that was sitting around us! Whose responsibility is that? Who’s job is this? Shelton’s! He has GOT to go. I am not saying bring back Steve Henderson because we didn’t think he could do a great job either at the times but he sure looks a helluva lot better than what we have! Getting rid of Shelton HAS to be the answer – it should have been the first thing the team did after last season!

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