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Rays 7, Blue Jays 6 (12) (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: Honey Nut Chirinos. The Rays came from behind twice in extra innings before winning it in the 12th. And two of the big hits were delivered by Robinson Chirinos, who is having himself a hell of a series. In the 11th, he tied the game up with a 2-out single. And in the 12th, his 2-out single to left was the game winner…Desmond Jennings. Flash picked up the first comeback hit with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the 10th, his 3rd of the year…Big Dub. Once again, Wade Davis was slow out of the chute, giving up 2 in the first. But between that and the Bautista home run in the 8th, Davis retired 22 of 25. And it wasn’t his fault he had to face Bautista.

THE BAD: Pitching to Bautista. In the 8th inning, with the Rays nursing a 3-2 lead and Wade Davis sitting on 106 pitches, Joe Maddon had Davis pitch to Jose Bautista for the fourth time. On the season, when Bautista is facing a starting pitcher for at least the third time in a game, he is hitting .348 with 9 home runs and a 1.163 OPS in 92 at bats. Bautista homered, tying the game. That boneheaded decision by Maddon almost cost the Rays the game…Evan Longoria. Longo also barely escaped being the goat of the day. With the bases loaded and 2 outs with the score tied in the 11th. Longoria hit a groundball of the leg of the pitcher that he probably beats out if not for sliding head first into first base.

THE TELLING: This was the first time ever that the Rays overcame two separate extra-inning deficits…Yesterday was the Rays Tweetup. Here is a GIF of that group….The event was hosted by Darren Rovell of CNBC, who sang both national anthems, and even had a Twitterific personalized jersey.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Poor Reid Brignac. Gets demoted to Durham. And now on Saturday, he will have to wear this monstrosity. It is for a good cause. But eek. [Durham Bulls Star Wars Jersey]
  • Gary Shelton looks at the Rays future, which was on display Thursday. [TampaBay.com]
  • Scroll down on this link for a look at how the triple-A pitchers have performed so far. [WDBB]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Lehigh Valley 5, DURHAM 3: Andy Sonnanstine allowed 5 runs in 6 innings. His ERA is now 4.06 in 4 triple-A starts…SS Reid Brignac went 1-4 and DH Dan Johnson was 4-4 with a double…C Stephen Vogt had 2 more hits, his third multi-hit game in his first 5 triple-A games. He is now 9-24.
  • Jacksonville 4, MONTGOMERY 2: Nick Barnese gave up 4 runs (3 earned) in 6 innings. He struck out 5 and walked 2…2B Cole Figueroa was 2-5 with his 4th home run. It was his fifth multi-hit game in the last 8 games…SS Tim Beckham was 0-4 with a walk.
  • CHARLOTTE 2, Palm Beach 1 (14): 14 innings, and Charlotte won the game on a wild pitch. Sucks for the other guys…CJ Riefenhauser allowed 1 run in 5 innings…SS Hak-Ju Lee was 1-3 with 3 walks.
  • BOWLING GREEN 4, Fort Wayne 1: Enny Romero gave up 4 hits and 4 walks in just 3.2 innings, leading to just 1 run…SS Derek Dietrich went 1-4.
  • HUDSON VALLEY 3, Batavia 2: Andrew Bellatti allowed just 1 run in 5 innings. He struck out 6 and walked 1…C Kyle Holloway hit his 4th home run and added a double.
  • Danville 10, PRINCETON 1: 1B Cameron Seitzer was 1-3.
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14 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    I don't know if this goes in the "bad" or the "good" but what about Shawn bleeping Camp? I spent so much of 2007 dreading his appearance! I actually went back through the RI archives thinking it would be great if he'd happened to have blown a game FOR the Rays exactly 4 years ago, but apparently he'd been demoted to Durham by August 2007. Oh well.

    And while this blog is not dedicated to worrying about the opponent's strategy, did anyone else find it odd that the Jays intentionally walked two hitters to load the bases in the 11th? With 1 out? That suggests an awful lot of faith in Camp. Even Elliot Johnson might have been able to draw a walk.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      That is a lot if faith in Camp. But the thinking is that Camp is an extreme groundball pitcher. If anybody can get a hitter to hit into a double-play, it would be Camp. And yes, he was awful with the Devil Rays, but a little bit of that was that the infield defense was so horrendous in 2007 that we probably were a little too hard on Camp in the moment (me included). A groundball pitcher plus a horrific infield is just a disaster waiting to happen.

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      • Sarah says:

        Cork, that's a great point -- and indeed I do realize that Camp has managed to stay in the majors since 2007, so clearly his poor performance that year was some sort of outlier, and losing games in late innings for the 2007 Devil Rays was a complete team effort.

        But darn you for wheeling out the logic -- I think many of us who were Devil Rays fans pre-2008 have one or two players that for us symbolize the futility of those years, and for me Camp has always been one of them. If you force me to think about it more reasonably I'm going to have to replace him in my mental "Hall of Shame" with someone more deserving.

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        • Mark E says:

          Sarah, how about Brian Stokes! He could definitely be the ugly face of one of the worst bullpens in baseball history. One of the most frustrating things about every Stokes appearance was having to hear Joe Magrane pontificate on the great "potential" of Stokes and the puzzling lack of success in every single appearance.

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        • Gus says:

          Camp is a special source of frustration. And to blame the infielders in 2007 for his struggles is really not my memory of it. My memory was a guy who couldn't throw his slider/sinker for a strike. Ever. And Maddon had so much faith in the "Camper". He wasn;t ready to be a major leaguer, but management had calculated they were keeping costs as low as possible that year, which was a shame, because that team could have been .500 or better with any kind of bullpen.

          The bitter irony is that since then, Camper has given the Rays some fits, as they chase him outside the zone (his control is better, but he still is outside the zone a lot).

          Is "Cruz" spanish for "Camp"?

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          • Cork Gaines says:

            Definitely not giving Camp a pass. He was awful in '07. His FIP was still 5-something. Just saying the infield made it look even worse. His 7.20 ERA should have been more like 5.20. Still terrible.

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  2. Beth says:

    One moment that stood out for me yesterday -- Kotchman scoring on Chirinos' single in, I guess it must have been the 11th. Watching Casey, the world's slowest human, chugging around third with the tying run -- my goodness, I thought he would have needed oxygen after he slid home. Heck, I needed oxygen just from watching him.

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    • Mark E says:

      Ahahahaha! That guy's an anomaly. How can he be so smooth at first base, yet so un-athletic? I watched him during warm-up, in between innings and pitches Wednesday night. That guy is constantly stretching and doing yoga moves. I think it's his ball-player-"twitch". He never stops. I hope they can keep him.

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  3. Mark E says:

    Has there ever been a thread on RI discussing theories of why Rays pitchers seem to falter in the first two innings? All the way back (at least) to Edwin Jackson -- the most consistent thing about most Rays pitchers is the slow starts. As great as this rotation is, if you removed first inning stats, I think they would be even better. I don't want to start conjecture, am I imagining this?

    Could it be that Maddon, being the uber-conservative pitch count overseer, limits warm up pitches for his starters? Could one of the most formidable pitching rotations be even better with a different warm up approach? Or has conservative warm up been part of the success of the Rays rotation?

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    • Sarah says:

      I actually think it's common to many pitchers, not just those on the Rays. Often when I'm watching Rays broadcasts the announcers will comment that the Rays better take advantage of their first inning scoring opportunities, because Pitcher X's first inning ERA is high, but then he settles down after that. I would imagine that it's hard to start sharp, even if you've warmed up. That's true for all of us. For example, I'm supposed to be writing an important report this morning, but instead I'm reading Rays Index. But once I get my head into the report, I'll be fine.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Rays ERA by inning:

      1st 4.05
      2nd 2.72
      3rd 3.80
      4th 3.55

      That's a pretty stark drop from 1st inning to 2nd inning. But as Sarah mentioned, that could be normal. I need to dig deeper. And of course, you typically face weaker hitters in the 2nd inning. But still seems like a big difference.

      When I was in college, we had a guy that always got blown up in the first inning and then pitched great. So we had him throw about twice as many warn up pitches in the pen before the game. Then he dis better in the first inning. The trade off was that his pitch count was about 15-20 less each game. But at least we stayed in the game.

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      • Gus says:

        The early inning performances have been very sketchy since they went to the 6-man rotation. Not saying that is the cause, but muscle memory is fading by 20% with that extra day. I know last week some guy was saying in the comments that the Rays are "a data driven team" 9as opposed to the other 29, who just wing it) and "there is no data" that proves guys pitch worse in a 6-man than a 5-man. To that I would say, (1 ) there is no data proving it has no impact because no good team has ever done it before and (2) baseball players are creatures of habit, and anything that messes with their routines should be done very carefully.

        But in our small sample since early July, I think the Rays era in the first 3 innings is much higher (if you exclude Andy's starts of course).

        I see they are skipping Hellickson, and I think that is the better approach. Keep guys going on the 5-man, but if they need to limit innings, do it that way, and then you only have 1 guy disrupted, not all 6.

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  4. Chris says:

    Ah C'mon. We've got LOTS of your stars who will be wearing those jerseys besides Reid Brignac. We've got (that is, the Bulls have) Andy Sonnanstine. We've got Adam Russell. We've got Cesar Ramos. We've got, wait for it, LANCE CORMIER! I'll try to get a group photo for you Cork.

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  5. Scot says:

    More Bad: Dwayne "I don't understand" Staats.

    When Jose Molina hits only his 3rd triple in his career which consists of more than 1700 at-bats, BA correctly points out that such a hit is extremely unlikely for Molina, Staats responds with something like (I paraphrasing) "yes, unlikely or quite likely depending upon how you look at it". Yes, if you look at it incorrectly DS. I suspect DS thinks that if an event has not occurred in some time, the mythical "law of averages" rears its ugly head and the event is very likely to happen. Sigh. Hey Dwayne - I haven't won the lottery, so it must be very likely I'm going to win it soon!

    Now why was I listening to BA and DS after urging readers to listen to the alternative feeds? Because Buck "I'm a former manager who is clueless" Martinez and his side kick on the Toronto feed are actually worse.

    So lets hear it for BA and Staats! (At least I can listen to the Athletics broadcast tonight.)

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