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Red Sox 1, Rays 0 (16) (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: Jeff Niemann. Wow. Just wow. If Niemann is going to be successful, he needs the curveball to be working. Of his 118 pitches in 8 scoreless innings, 31 were curves. Of those, 21 were strikes, 4 swinging and 17 looking. On the night, he had 14 swinging strikes in what may have been Niemann’s best start ever.

THE BAD: Historic. According to Baseball-Reference, no team had ever gone more than 15 inning with less than 4 hits (since 1919). The Rays got 3 hits in 16 innings. So hey, they set a record!…Evan Longoria. If the Rays needed a big hit from a particular player it was Longoria. And if anybody needed a big hit for himself, it was Longoria. And there was Longoria in the bottom of the 9th with a runner on second and 2 outs in a scoreless game. He watched a slider down the middle. Then he popped a lazy flyball to right field. And then in the 12th, he displayed his warning track power. Whatever it is, Longo ain’t right, right now…Justin Ruggiano. If you could sum up Ruggiano’s entire career with one pitch, it would be the ball he hit to the wall in the 10th. For a moment it looked like a trot-off home run. Instead he was robbed…Josh Beckett. In his last 2 starts against the Rays, Beckett has thrown 17 innings, given up 2 hits (both of the infield variety), struck out 12 and walked none. Next time the Rays face Beckett, they should just forfeit and save the energy.

THE TELLING: Joe Maddon was ejected for the 5th time this season. Dave Martinez was later ejected. It was the 12th time this season that a member of the Rays was ejected…Matt Joyce was scratched from the lineup last night after fouling a ball of his knee on Saturday, but did pinch hit late in the game…Alex Cobb has been called up and will start tonight’s game…Tonight’s game will be on ESPN and marks the third straight game to be televised nationally…Desmond Jennings returned from the disabled list on Saturday and went 3-4 with 2 doubles…Tim Beckham’s error on Saturday was his 11th of the year and only the 2nd since June 4th.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • RJ Swindle is the latest minor leaguer to opt-out of his contract with the Rays. He is now a free agent. [WDBB]
  • Stuart Sternberg on the attendance: “I’m tired of thinking about it.” Also, at the end of this column, Sternberg comments on all the speculation that Andrew Friedman might bolt for the Astros. [TampaBay.com]
  • Marc Topkin spoke with Andrew Friedman about the trade deadline. Some of Friedman’s comments seem to contradict his comments in a recent radio interview that we will discuss later on this morning. [TampaBay.com]
  • The Rays did try to add Francisco Rodriguez before the Brewers swooped in. The only surprise here is that we hadn’t heard this before. The Brewers got an improved bullpen and two draft picks (KRod will be a Type A free agent) for the paltry sum of $3.5 million and 2 middling prospects. [MLBTR]
  • In one sentence John Romano says the Rays have been successful because “they have been aggressive,” but then later says “they should be more aggressive than ever before when it comes to the non-waiver trade deadline.” So he acknowledges that the Rays have successful model, but he wants them to deviate from the model at the deadline. We’ll let you guys reconcile the differences. [TampaBay.com]
  • Buster Olney speculates that the Giants could be a potential landing spot for BJ Upton. [ESPN Insider]
  • Bill Chastain spoke with Jose Lobaton about his promotion and what he did to get back to the majors. [MLB]
  • Rays equipment guru Chris Westmoreland started the trend of using stickers on the knobs of big league bats. [ESPN]
  • Sam Fuld went to high school with Mark Zuckerberg. [Buster Olney]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • DURHAM 13, Pawtucket 3: Brian Baker allowed 3 runs in 5 innings. His ERA is now 5.91…2B Felipe Lopez had 3 hits and drove in 5 runs, including a 3-run home run…DH Desmond Jennings had a double and a walk in 6 plate appearances…3B Daniel Mayora went 4-5 and scored 5 runs.
  • MONTGOMERY:
  • Lakeland 4, CHARLOTTE 2: Kyle Lobstein allowed 4 runs (3 earned) in 6 innings. He struck out 3 and walked 1…SS Hak-Ju Lee was 2-4 with 2 stolen bases. He is hitting .328…2B Ty Bortnick went 0-4.
  • Quad Cities 8, BOWLING GREEN 4: Braulio Lara gave up 7 runs (6 earned) in 4 innings…CF Cody Rogers had a double and a triple and drove in 1…SS Derek Dietrich went 0-2 with a walk and committed 2 errors, his 17th and 18th of the year.
  • Connecticut 8, HUDSON VALLEY 4: C Gerardo Olivares hit his 2nd home run of the season.
  • Johnson City 6, PRINCETON 4: 1B Cameron Seitzer had 2 more hits to raise his average to .358.

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32 Comments

  1. catsondbs says:

    sad sad news for Raysindex,

    Lobaton sprained his left kne and is going to the DL……

  2. Edward says:

    I believe they are sellers now.

  3. Don says:

    Gotta feel for Nieman..holds the best hitting team in baseball to no (0) runs for 8 innings and you have a bunch of poor (no) hitters behind you scoring No(0) runs in 16 innings…. what the hell….
    I said weeks ago ..something is not right with Longoria..and its not minor injuries….now everybody including National Media are jumping on the band wagon…Longoria is a mess…don’t depend on him for anything better in 2nd half…couple of defeats by NY and its pretty much over anyway…Maddon heads to the showers when things get tough…..Martinez right behind him…beautiful! WHo is running this circus..

  4. Hal says:

    SELLERS.

  5. Rob says:

    Pathetic.

  6. Sarah says:

    I think playing on national TV has become as much a curse as wearing stupid hats on national holidays. Whenever the Rays are on one of the national broadcasts they lose in some humiliating fashion, and something odd happens involving catwalks, giving the announcers an opening to dump on Tropicana Field. Sigh.

    But as for the broken lightbulb — in theory that could happen at any stadium, right? I mean even outdoor stadiums have lights.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, but they are not hanging over third base.

      • Jay says:

        I thought the same thing about happening at another stadium, but then again, it was right over third base. But I’m sure there is another partially closed stadium where this can happen, what about Minute Maid Park? I knew once that happened, and with the lapse of time with the grounds crew coming onto the field to clean the glass, the announcers would torch Tropicana Field. And that they did! Out of all the games they play, it is rare that a ball hits the catwalks, much less breaking lights (even more rare). And on ESPN none the less, good grief!

      • Gus says:

        Better to have them breaking over the field of play than falling over innocent bystanders in the stands.

        Kudos to the fans who stayed for all 16 last night. That was painful. By my count, 12-14 balls were caught on the warning track. Never quite seen that before absent wind.

        Why is Alex Cobb and not Hellickson starting tonight?

        • Sarah says:

          I was wondering that as well about Hellickson – I figured they are stretching out his starts to keep his pitch count down. Why they have him slotted for tomorrow rather than today, however, I don’t know — perhaps they’ve got some grand plan for the next couple of series?

          • Ken says:

            Joe said they are trying to keep Hellboy between 160-180 IP this year. That would be a 20% increase from last year. The team game plan is not to allow a SP to increase his innings pitched by more than 20% until he is 25 years old. He is at about 103 IP so far. They would like him to be able to pitch all the way to the end of September when 13 of our final 19 games are against Boston and NYY. So by spreading out a start or two in July and August and maybe skipping a turn in early September when we have call ups, the Rays should be able to keep him in the 160-180 IP for the year.

          • Gus says:

            We have plenty of games in August to rest Hellickson. July games against Yankees-Red Sox require all hands on deck. Also, sitting a guy in rythym doesn’t make any sense at all. This game tonight reminds me of the late-season start of Sonny at the Trop to replace Kazmir in the rotation. Just a tough spot to put somebody in. I like Cobb and all. Just would rather see him later in the series.

    • Sarah says:

      Oh, and PS — the ESPN announcers were so busy trashing the Trop they didn’t even acknowledge how cleverly the PA system staff started playing the music from “The Natural.” Do you think they have that music on hand just in case? I thought that was great.

    • Steve says:

      The Green Monster has a vestigal ladder attached to it – - I assume because it is quaint – - why is that so different?

  7. Michael says:

    I feel like Niemann’s domination was overshadowed by this horrible offensive show and its too bad. He was crushing people.

    I watched all 16 innings of this game and I am basically mesmerized at our offense. They can’t put together innings. After the 10th they basically all started trying to swing for walkoffs.

    I understand not getting a lot of walks off of a hot ace… but once you are 7 innings into the bullpen, there is no excuse.

    And to not cash in on back to back HBP’s… ugh.

    The only thing that game was missing to be truly awful was a BJ Upton GIDP, but he was too busy first-pitch swinging.

  8. werD says:

    Need to get seitzer at high level A, if not AA ball, ASAP. hes already in his 20′s, and did well in college. great with the glove, and could have some real potential, but not doing much with him stuck in rookie ball.

  9. Joe says:

    I just…

    I am trying not to but all I can think about is how we could of easily swept this series and came up short twice. They all say they want the postseason, well, you need to hit the ball to make it there and good job backing up one of the best starts of the season. 2 hits to the Red Sox over 8 innings, wow Neimann and Gomes is a stud who of course, is getting sent down.

    • Zack says:

      Yeah I really agree with you. Gomes has been solid for almost all of his time up, when JP Howell obviously looks like he needs some extra time in Triple-A. Sending JP down and keeping Gomes up in the Rays pen could be a great decision if the Rays are looking for a consistent bullpen.

      • Sarah says:

        Does JP have options, or would this have to be a DL/rehab assignment?

        Personally I wish they’d had him on a more extended rehab assignment back in May. How can someone miss more than a full season and then be ready to return after a few outings at AA?

        • Daredevil says:

          Actually Howell had about 8 rehab games, but it’s looking like that wasn’t enough. They aren’t going to demote JP, but I agree, we can’t keep demoting Gomes, who looks outstanding. Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos are at best mediocre, and either of them should be demoted or outright released instead of sending down Gomes again, to make room for Cobb tonight.

          • Sarah says:

            I don’t know about Ramos, but I’m pretty sure Russell is out of options — that’s why they keep him.

  10. Caity says:

    I think we’ll still be buyers at the deadline. We almost got K-Rod, which would of helped us. Losing 2 out of 3 to the Red Sox is frustrating, but we kept the Red Sox scoreless for 15 innings, I doubt any team’s gonna come close to that this season- espcially with that lineup. Also, Gonzalez didnt do anything in this series, and he’s one of the best hitters in baseball, I doubt any other team’s pitching staff is gonna come even close to that again this season since he’s so dangerous. (but Pedoria and Ellsbury dominated this series.. well Pedroia did, we gotta find a way to get those guys out, and every other Red Sox out.) Niemann pitched fantastic, I wasnt expecting that out of him at all considering I feel like were gonna lose everytime he comes and pitches.

    As for our offense last night, It was downright pathetic (well both team’s offenses were downright pathetic, Red Sox left 17 men on base). I know Longoria has that foot injury and it does sound painful, and Im glad he’s tough enough to play through it, but let’s face it, he’s not doing anything not even on defense where you used to count on him for that (and you still probably could, but…) Honestly, we need to win this series with the Yankees, or at least get a split so that way we stay in contention. I dont know if we’ll make the playoffs this season, but there’s still 2 months left of baseball, and anything can happen.

    Hey Cork, I have an idea for a trade, What about Heath Bell & Jason Bartlett from the Padres. We might be able to give them Torres and maybe Brignac or Elliot Johnson. Heath Bell would improve the bullpen a lot, (they pitched well too.. well except for Russell and JP) I don’t know how Barlett’s doing this season, or how expensive his contract is, but he would be a nice welcome back addition. Or maybe Chad Qualls since he’s pitching really well this season, but he gave me nightmares last year whenever he pitched so Im not sure if I want him back or not. It’s gonna take a lot to get Heath Bell, but it was just a suggestion. It would give us a shortstop, and it would give us a proven closer(altough Kyle Farnsworth is doing great this season). I think we need a leftfield bat and while we wont get someone like Carlos Beltran, we could get someone like Ryan Ludwick or Josh Willingham, they would defiently help the Rays push for the playoffs. Like I said, I dont know how much they will cost, but both would be an improvement over Fuld/Ruggiano.

    This is just my analysis on everything. While these two series are important for our playoff hopes, people still have to remember, we play them in September, and that might be more important than these series are (if were still in contention). I think the advatage that the Rays have is their starting pitching, The Redsox’s rotation is depleted since they dont know when Bucholtz is going to be back, and Lester’s on the DL, and Lackey pretty much sucks. The Yankees pretty much have CC, and the rest of that rotation is unproven, altough they’ll probably get a starting pitcher at the trade deadline. Their pitching staffs could collaspe at any point between now and September.

    Sorry this is so long, but hopefully I made my point. :)

    • Gus says:

      Were you following this team in 2008-2010? We don’t buy when we are in 1st place. We are definitely not buying when we are in 3rd place (which is a shame, because this team has starting pitching to win in the playoffs — not alltogether different from the 2010 Giants).

      Rays deadline or post-deadline deals:

      Chad Bradford, Chad Qualls added, Scott Kazmir traded away. With a fat contract for the next 3 years, sad to say it, but I’m not sure Shields makes it past 7/31. Feels like a Kazmir “sell high” moment.

  11. Don says:

    PLAYOFFS, PLAYOFFS,..did someone say something about playoffs…..
    I’ll let you know after Thurs. night game
    Time to put up or shut up Rays…that esp. goes for offense!

  12. Some good things are overshadowed by our own lack of offense. We kept the Red Sox to one run in sixteen innings. Neimann was Cy Young worthy last night and stood toe to toe with Beckett. Our bullpen was absolutely solid last night save for Howell and Russell with the latter being the killer. i saw very promising things, unfortunately none of that was offense, I don’t know what it was it just seemed like every time the Rays hit a ball hard it died near the warning track, was the AC on extra hard last night? Overall, I think this was a good game and show we can hang with the big boys pitching and defensively, now if we can only get that dang offense working.

  13. Jay says:

    I’m not sure the Rays can emotionally reload after that series to play the Yanks… which is sad because we’re about to be out of the playoff race.

    You don’t make up 9 or 10 games on two teams that will make moves at the deadline to improve their weaknesses (hell, even improve their strengths!?!?). We all know our pitching has been outstanding, but this is a team sport that requires you to score runs to win… and barring a miracle run where EVERYONE starts hitting, it’s just not feasible to think we will make up that much ground.

  14. Matt says:

    Just read that Alex Torres has been called up because Juan Cruz is heading to the DL.

  15. Hal says:

    Juan Cruz to the DL and Russell DFA’d. Wow. I mean I love that they didn’t do the obvious and send down Gomes – he’s been really good and was an absolute stud last night (3 great innings and putting Marco on his back after his bat throwing tantrum, he must be related to Johny), but this seems to be out of the ordinary for the Rays. Russell has tools and we usually give a ton of patience to tool guys. He will absolutely be picked up by somebody.

    • Sarah says:

      So, do these moves say “we’re in the hunt for a playoff spot” or “we’re throwing in the towel and letting some prospects get a chance?”

    • Alex says:

      Let someone else enjoy Russells constant blowing of games. JP Howell is out of options everyone. He has been for years now. We can thank the Royals for that. He is very frustrating to watch right now. At times he can look absolutely dominate, but during other times he looks like hes afraid of hurting himself again so he barely throws the ball. We need JP to start throwing the ball with conviction again

  16. Steve says:

    Psych 101, passionate fans tend to remember the bad performances more and forget about the good. Just a couple weeks ago Niemann hardly went 3 and blew a 3 run 1st inning lead against HOU. Some of the same folks killing the bats now were ready to dump Jeff for Cobb. If you guys remember the bats salvaged a 14-10 win behind 2 bombs from LONGO. Stop having such knee jerk reactions. With that said, still a very frustrating offensive game. Give Beckett and the Sox pitching SOME credit.

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