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Rays 5, Yankees 1 (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: We needed that. Admit it, you were worried about this series. Now imagine how tight the sphincters of the players would have been if Niemann went out there and took a dump on the mound?…Jeff Niemann. No dump. Just dominance. And for the first time in over a year, Niemann worked into the 8th inning, allowing just 1 run and he did with Uncle Charlie. Niemann threw a whopping 37 curveballs. He only got 2 swinging strikes, but the Yankees never seemed to get good wood on the bender…Ben Zobrist. Three hits. Two walks. And his home run in the 3rd inning allowed us and the team to breathe a little easier…BJ Upton. He is starting to get that swagger back. In his last 13 games, Bossman is 15-47 (.319) with 6 home runs and 14 driven in. We all know this is not going to last, but let’s hope he can ride this wave for a while. At least until the Nationals up their offer… Sean Rodriguez. Derek Jeter might already have hit #3,000 if not for Rodriguez making a great backhanded stop down the third base line in the 5th and then making a charging Longoria-esque play in the 9th to end the game (helped by a nice Casey Kotchman scoop)…Speaking of Kotchman. Remember when he lost out to Dan Johnson for a roster spot? Yeah, us neither. Show of hands, who misses Carlos Pena? *crickets*

THE BAD: Still not close. The Rays may be within 3 games of the Yankees. But according to CoolStandings.com the Ray still only have a 17.7 percent shot at making the playoffs.

THE TELLING: Evan Longoria got a half-day off, serving as the DH. Sean Rodriguez played third base…Johnny Damon may be back in the lineup tonight.

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Hey, Joe Maddon drives us nuts sometimes. But how many times in the last four seasons has this team come up with a big win just when everybody was about to count them out?

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Ben Zobrist finished fifth in the voting for the final spot on the AL All-Star squad.
  • Jeff Niemann talks about his strong outing. [The Heater]
  • James Shields and David Price visited the Fan Cave yesterday. Here is a video clip of their visit. [MLB]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • DURHAM 5, Norfolk 4: Alex Cobb struck out 9 and walked 2 in 6 innings. However he did allow 4 runs, 3 coming via 2 home runs…CF Desmond Jennings hit his 12th home run and stole his 17th base…1B Leslie Anderson went 3-4…C Robinson Chirinos hit his 5th home run.
  • MONTGOMERY 4, Tennessee 2: Chris Archer tossed 7 shutout innings with 6 strikeouts and 3 walks…SS Tim Beckham was 0-3 with a walk.
  • CHARLOTTE 2, Jupiter 1 (gm 1): Alex Colome struck out 7 and walked just 2 in 7 innings. He allowed 1 run and 3 hits…SS Hak-Ju Lee went 0-2 with a walk…2B Tyler Bortnick walked 3 times and stole 2 bases.
  • Jupiter @ CHARLOTTE (gm 2): Suspended
  • Lake County @ BOWLING GREEN: Postponed
  • HUDSON VALLEY 2, Tri-City 1 (10):
  • Burlington 14, PRINCETON 6: RF Drew Vettleson went 0-4…DH Justin O’Connor was 1-5 with his 3rd home run…LF Josh Sale went 2-3 with a double and a triple. He also drew a walk, but is still hitting just .185.
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13 Comments

  1. Nick says:

    Forget coolstandings dire prediction of 17.7% of making the playoffs. Just 2 days ago their prediction was 14.2%. Just win! If the Rays would just play as hard against the rest of the league as they do against the Yankmees & Red Sux, they would be in 1st now. They need to learn to get up for every team not just these 2. Once they can get that ability they will be dominant and one of the big payroll teams will be on the outside looking in come playoff time.

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  2. Don says:

    It finally dawned on Maddon to move up in the lineup our best contact man...Kotchman is a natural 3rd/4th man in batting order..it took a while but the Rays finally have a hitting 1st baseman....not a HR/strike out man (PENA)
    DO not rush DAMON back, let Longo DH, RODZ is fine at 3rd,let Zobrist run out the leadoff while he is hot....
    Zobrist IS the ALLSTAR on this team....you D man ZO...

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    • mary says:

      Heh Longoria's stat not much different from Zobrist in 30 less games. He's not that much better than Kotchman and Bj. You sure have a strange view of alot of the Rays players. Pretty much a team game and I think they all have their good and bad points. Everyone down on Joyce now that he is struggling a little and also Sam Fuld.You see , everyone struggles at some point. Zobrist has alot of experience over some of the yound guys.And Longoria is their 3rd baseman, dont kid yourself

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      • Don says:

        DID you see that Rodz kid at 3rd last night...maybe longo would be better if he just had to worry about hitting..(and of course what/who to do in NY city tonight)

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      • Beth says:

        Mary, I think your obsession with defending Longoria is a little weird.

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  3. Beth says:

    Cork, that base-running blunder by Longoria and Upton should be in "the bad," no?

    I looked at the MLB video of Shields and Price, and I have to say, they are one cute couple. Remember last month they were talking about how when one of them gets stressed the other tells him to "hug it out?" and in this video they talk about how special it is that they are going to the All Star game together. I don't mean this to be in any way snarky - I'm really touched that they have such a good friendship.

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    • Jim says:

      I found that play unbelievable, by the time I got out a "What the f--- are you..." I broke off to start yelling at Bossman. Longoria's mistake was pretty stupid, but BJ's was even dumber. Did he really think he was going to advance to second on that play?

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      • td32 says:

        Both were boneheaded, but Longo's was far worse. No reason to try and advance in that situation when you are already in scoring position. Longo's responsibility, once he messed up, was to stay in a rundown long enough to get BJ to 2nd. He didnt, and BJ misread it.

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  4. MJ says:

    he only had 2 swinging w the curve but several called strikes w it.

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  5. werD says:

    why does AAA have a 30yr old SS? is it not worthwhile to send Briggy down to get some quick ABs, while they still hold options on him???

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  6. Gus says:

    Pena has 19 HRs, and that is missed (what are their respective WARs?).

    But I do think Kotchman's professional hitting approach and quality at bats are a nice counterbalance to the take and rake philosophy in the rest of the line up. I can count 8 or 9 times where Kotchman has gotten the first hit of a game for the Rays. For a team that is so vulnerable to the no-hitter, Kotchman at least keeps that off the table ("so you are saying there is a chance we can score a run today?").

    I see Slowinski and DRays Bay have finally got off of the Sternberg worship altar and taken them to task for burying talent in AAA at the expense of winning. When the Rays lose the adoring blogosphere, you know they are off the reservation.

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    • Beth says:

      Indeed, I wanted to add that I miss Pena -- he's strong fielding, his power and his smile. But none of those are worth the $10 million the Cubs are willing to pay, but I'm happy for him that he's having a good year.

      And I agree about Kotchman's professional hitting. I feel the same way about Damon - his average isn't as high but his power is better. These two are the only Rays you feel can adjust to somehow get a ball into play. The other Rays hitters, it seems, need to wait on the perfect pitch.

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