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Rays 4, Royals 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: Jeff Niemann. Is Jeff Niemann making himself the great pitcher we always hoped? Or is he just making himself into a winter trade candidate? In his last 7 starts he has an ERA of 1.65 and has worked into the 7th inning 5 times…Joel Peralta. Where would the bullpen be this season without Peralta? After JP Howell did his best to make an easy win more difficult, Peralta came in with 2 on in the 7th and got a big strikeout. He then got a big double-play to end the 8th…Double-Play D. The Rays got two huge inning-ending double-plays. In the 7th, on a strikeout with 2 runners stealing, Kelly Shoppach threw out the runner at second rather than try for the runner at third. Then in the 8th, with a runner on first and a groundball to first, Casey Kotchman took a huge step towards the mound before throwing to second, making sure that the throw would easily clear the runner and give Elliot Johnson a clear look back to first base.

THE BAD: JP Howell. This is where Joe Maddon drives fans nuts. At this point, why is Howell even a consideration in high-leverage situations? He has zero confidence in himself. And the opposing hitters know this. And when your fastball is upper-80s, it is hard to be successful without any confidence in your stuff.

THE TELLING: If the Yankees go 23-23 down the stretch, they will finish 94-68. The Rays would need to go 31-14 to tie…

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • A young Rays catching prospect had himself quite a season, setting records and winning league MVP in the Venezuelan Summer League. [Biscuit Crumbs]
  • Here are the draft picks that have until Monday to sign with the Rays. [Rays Prospects]
  • The New Jersey Star-Ledger spoke with some of Andrew Friedman’s Wall Street co-workers. [NJ.com]
  • David Price got quite the sunflower seed shower during yesterday’s game. [VIDEO]
  • The police have made a second arrest in the burglary of the Rays spring home. [TampaBay.com]
  • The police in Riverside, California arrested 20 gang members recently who identified themselves by wearing Rays caps. [Rays Prospects]
  • A former member of The Village People is going to sue the Rays. Seriously. [TampaBay.com]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • DURHAM 6, Rochester 1: Matt Torra gave up just 1 run in 7 innings on 5 hits and no walks. He struck out 3…SS Tim Beckham went 1-4 in his triple-A debut…C John Jaso went 1-4…LF Stephen Vogt went 1-3 with an RBI.
  • MONTGOMERY 6, Carolina 4: Jim Paduch gave up 4 runs in 5 innings on 9 hits and 1 walk. He did strike out 7…SS Hak-Ju Lee went 1-4 in his double-A debut.
  • Palm Beach 3, CHARLOTTE 1: Jake Thompson tossed 6 shutout innings giving up just 1 hit and 1 walk. He struck out 4. In his last 3 starts, Thompson has allowed just 1 run in 18 innings…C Jake Jefferies went 2-3 with a double and scored the Stone Crabs only run.
  • Fort Wayne 3, BOWLING GREEN 0: Braulio Lara gave up 3 runs in 6 innings…SS Derek Dietrich went 2-4 with a double. He is hitting .291.
  • HUDSON VALLEY 6, Lowell 5: Stayton Thomas made his first start and held Lowell to 1 run in 4 innings, striking out 3.
  • Bluefield 6, PRINCETON 2: SS Jake Hager homered for the second straight game.
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15 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    I'm so glad the Rays are not realistically in the pennant race this year, because if they were I'd be really stressed out by their weak bullpen. It's possible to imagine many good things happening in this last stretch of the season -- Longoria could get hot, BJ could get less cold. But I just can't picture this crew of relievers really getting the job done consistently. The only hope for sustained winning is to have every starter go at least 8 innings.

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  2. Tom says:

    I think you are being a little tough on Howell. He got the 1 batter he faced to hit the ball on the ground unfortunately, it found a hole.
    I think a potentially bigger play was the inning before where the ball was hit right a Johnson and he was unable to get a throw off.

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  3. Hal says:

    What exactly does Elliott Johnson bring to this team? He can't hit, he seems to have no range in the field, and he runs a touch faster than prancing Pat Burell.

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    • Beth says:

      Which is why I was mystified to see him used as a pinch runner the other day.

      My take on EJ or Ruggiano is this: most teams will have one or two bench players that you draw on only occasionally -- e.g. when there's a short term injury (and the DL isn't used); when you find yourself in a 15 inning game. You don't want to put a real prospect in this role -- you'd rather have your prospects playing regularly. And if you are the Rays you don't want to pay veteran wages for this guy. When you are lucky, you get Sam Fuld, who can run, play defense, and deliver the occasional clutch hit. When you are lucky you get Johnson.

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  4. Gus says:

    If the Rays were to sweep the Yankees, would anybody care to ask Sternberg if that promised help to the team and additional payroll that he talked about in July would be coming via a waivers deal?

    They are closer than they even realize, and with these starters, would be a VERY tough postseason team if they could get there. But the bully is thin and they could use another veteran IF (a guy like Furcal would have been nice) so Elliot Johnson never plays again.

    Howell's 2011 usage is very similar to Shawn Camp in 2007. Almost unfair to the player, who just doesn't have it (Howell's injury is a legit excuse). Would prefer Russell or almost anybody else.

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  5. Blake says:

    I'll take Briggy not hitting with great defense of EJ not hitting with mediocre-at-best defense.

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    • Alex says:

      I'd hardly call Brignac's defense great. Elliot has shown he can play just as well on defense. He can run well enough and he can actually put the ball in play. We obviously need an upgrade for our back up infielders next year though. We need a Omar Vizquel type. Who can play very good defense and bring the stick every few days.

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  6. Don says:

    TONIGHT: Price put up or shut up...Lets don't hear anymore about what a good pitcher you are....Hold the Yankees to less than 3/4 runs in the first couple of innings and last longer than 6...and you did your job(then up to hitters TO SCORE OFF SABATHIA)
    Otherwise put your tail between you legs and go back to the bench to play the fun and games that you do when your sitting there!

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    • mary says:

      Really!!?? David Price is a great pitcher. Your posts are so annoying. If your not calling someone out for playing around or calling them a moron. Why DO you watch this team or baseball for that matter?

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      • Don says:

        are you switch hitting now mary?? Price....really? you got off Longo now he's hitting better you trying to sink Price..besides he likes dogs .....

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  7. jim says:

    mary, you have to excuse don. the wind is blowing out of the west today and with the red sox playing in seattle, he just got a small whiff of carl crawford's jock. this site really needs an ignore button.

    the red sox or yankees would give their left "don" to have price on their team. don't buy into don's BS.

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  8. jim says:

    here's a questions cork? why not put howell back on the DL and claim he's having arm issues? he has little to no trade value, so we wouldn't be hurting that. and isn't he on a one year deal with an option for next year? so why is he getting his rehab(but isn't it a little late to call it that) at our expense?

    let him get his "confidence" back facing inferior talent. i truly think it's more than that though. jp's best years could easily be behind him by far, and that means we're left with a left handed batting practice pitcher that can't find the plate. a left handed andy sonnanstine you will.

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  9. Lauren says:

    As a California resident and proud Rays fan, I was relieved to hear that the gang, the 1200 Blocc Crips chose the Tampa Bay Rays only because of the TB on the caps, TB = 1200 Blocc and not because they considered themselves to be fans. I was disturbed when I first heard about the gang and "Operation Tampa Bay" but I am thrilled many of their members are now behind bars.

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    • Scot says:

      As a fellow Californian and Rays fan of multiple years (I enjoyed 2006 and 07 more than this year in some ways), all I can say is that the 1200 Blocc Crips might have doubled the number of TB caps sold annually.

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