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.
- 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.