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Rays 10, A’s 8 (click image for boxscore)

The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

THE GOOD: Desmond Jennings. He hit his first big league home run. That was nice. But what we loved was how he reacted. He knew the ball was gone. It was a no-doubter. But watch his first few steps out of the box. Dude is booking. And before he even looks up, he slows into a home run trot. There are some guys on the team that could learn from that…But More Importantly. The Jennings home run was nice, but that just made the game 5-2. Still a blowout. The bigger hit was his single in the 7-run 7th inning. It was Jennings’ single that gave the Rays a 6-5 lead…Big Dub. Wade Davis gave up 5 runs before there were two outs in the first inning and it didn’t look good. But then he settled down. He struck out the final two batters in the first.  Those were the first two of 17 straight batters that Davis would retire before being pulled from the game in the 7th inning.

THE BAD: Wavis. Evil Wade allowed 6 straight batters to reach base in the first inning. Eventually, five of them would score and the game looked over early.

THE TELLING: Mike Ekstrom was called up for yesterday’s game, replacing Rob Delaney. And the carousel continues…The Cubs face the Cardinals today, and the starting pitchers will be Matt Garza and Edwin Jackson.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • The Rays made a trade! They sent Felipe Lopez (you forgot he was still in the organization didn’t you) to the Brewers for cash, in order to pay for all those plane tickets between Durham and the west coast.
  • The Pirates have Casey Kotchman on their wishlist. [Twitter]
  • If it means anything, Joe Maddon and BJ Upton think there won’t be a trade. What else were they supposed to say? [The Heater]
  • Does Matt Moore tip his pitches? Better to find out now. [Rays Prospects]
  • Are the Bucs really players for Nnamdi Asomugha? [JoeBucsFan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

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20 Comments

  1. Tone says:

    I actually would be cool if BJ stays. Desmond in left, BJ in center, and Joyce platooning in right with Guyer is pretty solid. A long term deal with BJ would be key in that happening. Trading Jeff Nieman or Alex Cobb or Wade Davis ect.. could net the Rays a MLB ready young bat. It seems like offers are not great for BJ, which means he likely has more value going forward. I am very much in the minority in these thoughts, which is why I will add that if they could bring Pena back next year on good deal, I would be pumped. Not many of you will dig those thoughts, but my opinion is my own. To me, those above moves mixed with maybe Damon DHing again, resemble the magical 2008 team.

    • Joey says:

      I agree Tone, where would this team be if we had Pena’s 20 plus bombs in the lineup. I think they way our staff has been this year that if we had Carl and Pena still in the lineup we would be at a minimum in first place for the wild card. I like your outfield mentioned above that would be sweet.

      • Tone says:

        Pena just needs to do what he is doing for the Cubs to be valuable. Hit .220 with 30+HRs. Even when he was awful, he posed a threat and pitchers would have that in their head. The line-ups we have seen this year strike no fear, not even in any abstract sense. The Rays need power next year and Pena provided that; plus he scoops balls good, which sounds dirty.

        • Gus says:

          Tone: I think the Stockholm Syndrome may explain your BJ thoughts.

          But watch for the late season push (assuming he gets past the trade deadline) for his arbitration numbers. If he ends up with another 8 or so HRs, he is going to get just too expensive for these guys.

  2. Don says:

    Looks like to me the Rays management staff had their best hitter sitting in the minors all year while the ML team had a bunch of .200 hitters
    YOu think one of those geniuses would have thought of bringing him up before the all star break while the Rays still had a chance for the playoffs
    OH well it… could have cost them Millions with no playoffs…

    • Tone says:

      It’s a dead horse at this point. The ownership had no real intention of contending after Manny “retired”. Their calculations told them this team was a .500ish club, even when it “over achieved”. Plus, politics have played an obvious role in their handling of 2011. Stew stinks like poo.

      • Scot says:

        Of course the Rays want to compete. Making the playoffs makes a significant difference in the income for the team.

  3. LoLJFH says:

    Tone, I don’t dig your thoughts but that is the beauty of sports and opinions! No BJU here please. Funny that people the last few days want to bring back Pena and Henderson – two guys people said should go the past few years! Stop living in the past. Pena is a great presence in the clubhouse and a tremendous 1B, but do w e really need a guy striking out 108 times in 92 games and batting .220? Don’t we have 5-6 of these guys already (sure none have 20 homer power, but….)? Trade for Cincy’s 1B stud in AAA – but that takes Shields. We have the pitching resources and we aren’t going anywhere this year. BUT, after Kotch gets traded or he gets a FA deal somewhere else in 2012 we STILL won’t have a slugging 1B that can protect the plate – and is relatively CHEAP. We need to move on and look at what we can do, not what we can get back from “old days that were better than we have now”.

  4. Gus says:

    Does the extra 2% include taking the best starting rotation in the league and completely messing it up by going to a 6-man rotation? The Rays have had more bad starts in the couple of weeks in the 6-man than they did in the prior 90 games in the 5-man. These are big strong guys. Let them pitch.

    • Sarah says:

      Like many, I assumed that the “6 man rotation” bit was in anticipation of a trade that may, at this point, never happen.

      But that being said, I wonder why it should matter so much. I know that the norm is a 5 man rotation with each starting every 6th day. But how often does this really happen? We have days off, rain delays, the all star break….do you think a starting pitcher would normally have all his starts on exactly 5 days rest? 75% of his starts? 50%? In short, it’s probably quite normal for pitchers to have an extra day between starts every few rotations, and yet we talk about the extra day due to a 6 man rotation as some kind of aberration guaranteed to throw a pitcher off his routine.

      • Joe says:

        I think it WAS about a trade and they tried to trade one of the starters for Rasmus, just once again the Jays took our guy.

      • Gus says:

        same thing applies now, only instead of 6 days, they’ll get seven days on the off day rain out occuring. Hellickson got 14 days over the break and hasn’t looked the same. Price looks all messed up. Shields gave us his worst start of the season out of it.

        Even in spring training these guys pitch every 5 days. It is in their DNA by now. As Crash Davis said about hot streaks — respect the streak. Here the pitching staff was cruising and they tinkered with it — and messed it up it looks like.

        I understand arm health and innings loads. But just manage that within a 5-man rotation. Otherwise these guys aren’t as sharp (the early stuggles seem to indiciate a particular rustiness for Hellickson, Shields and Davis). (Price may have other, deeper mechanical and pitch selection issues.)

        • Sarah says:

          Wonder also if this isn’t a concession to a piss-poor bullpen. You manage innings in a five man rotation by going to the pen earlier. But with this bullpen….Yikes. When was the last time even Kyle Farnsworth had a clean inning?

        • Scot says:

          The Rays are a data driven team. There is no data that supports the argument that moving from a 5 pitcher rotation to 6 makes a significant difference. In April they run a fixed 5 person rotation. With the extra days off it is equivalent to a 6 pitcher rotation. If your argument is valid, you should be demanding a 4 person rotation in April (which Bobby Cox use to do.)

  5. Joe says:

    You gotta love this OF as it is. If we got Rasmus, I’d drive Upton to the airport myself but if you trade Upton now? You go back to the Fuld/Ruggiano platoon (if Ruggiano is actually still alive, that is) because Guyer is hurt even if he is a future every day player which I am not so sold on.

  6. Beth says:

    Desmond Jennings has an amazingly sweet smile. Love the picture of him getting greeted by Martinez.

    • Joe says:

      Straight happiness, no faking it there.

      They didn’t show it really but I think he got the ole silent treatment because they seemed to just be sitting there when he got to the dugout and later on they show everyone congratulating and hugging him. Man, that was awesome when they did it to Guyer after his 1st AB. Miss you Guyer but I can’t complain now because you’re hurt.

    • Gus says:

      To have any Rays hitter tailor his approach to the situation is a complete miracle, as if somewhere in the system there is some coaching going on (or maybe DJ read Ted Williams hitting books on all of his bus rides in the minors).

      Down 5-0, he takes an inside pitch and turns on it. Down 5-4 bases loaded, he goes the other way and drives in 2.

      Between him and Kotchman, it is nice to see two players aware of counts and situations and trying to adjust just to get on base.

      Too early to declare the “Take and Rake” approach to hitting dead (after all, Shoppach and BJ are still on the roster), but at least there is some variation in the line-up now. The last week has the best offensive line up they’ve had since 2008. They have gone with lots of “Option Z”, DJ at the top of the order and got Chirnos some abs at C, let Matt Joyce face some lefties (he has a sweet swing; he’ll hit them eventually). Nice to see Maddon and the 2% guys finally follow the suggestions espoused in Rays Index for months (years). Now if we can just put one of those starter arms in the bully to pitch the 7th or 8th.

      • Mark E says:

        DJ has a really unusual swing which seems to keep the barrel in the zone a lot longer. PLEASE Shelton, don’t “fix” him! Let’s ride the promotion wave while we can.

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