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Rangers 2, Rays 0 (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: Hellboy. Let’s just pretend that Josh Hamilton home run never happened. And yes, we hate it when managers defend an outing by saying “he made one bad pitch.” In this case, that one bad pitch didn’t make a difference. The Rays weren’t scoring last night if the game went 18 innings. And any pitcher will take 6 innings and 2 runs against the Rangers offense. If there was a black mark it was the walks. Once again Hellickson struggled with his control walking 4 (1 intentionally). When Hellboy is great, he is a control and command wizard. But this season his strikeout-to-walk ratio is only about 2-to-1. He needs to be at least 3-to-1 and maybe more like 3.5-to-1.

THE BAD: Sunk by the Sinker. Prior to the 9th inning, the Rays hit a grand total of 3 balls out of the infield. And one of those was a groundball single…Not My Longo. It is not often you see Evan Longoria get cheated on swing. But with 2 outs in the 9th, two runners on base, and 2 strikes, Dirtbag got a cutter down-and-away and while just protecting the plate, hit a weak groundball to second base for a game-ending double-play.

THE TELLING: It looks like Jose Lobaton is the catcher the Rays want to call up on Thursday, but he might not be ready…It is not even September, and the 8 teams that lead the playoff chases all have at least a 79.4 percent chance at making the playoffs. That means there is a 60.1 percent chance that all 8 playoff spots in baseball are already decided. It is going to be a boring month…Tim Beckham will be one of the seven prospects that will participate in the Arizona Fall League.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • 3B Russ Canzler was named International League MVP. Prior to last night, Canzler was 4th in the IL with a .312 avg, and leads with a .932 OPS. Canzler joins Dan Johnson, Kevin Witt, Toby Hall, and Steve Cox as Rays prospects to win the IL MVP award. [@SteveCarney]
  • Dirk Hayhurst writes about his release by the Rays. [DirkHayhurst.com]
  • John Romano jumps on the Desmond Jennings-for-Rookie of the Year bandwagon. [TampaBay.com]
  • Dave Schoenfield of ESPN.com wonders if Desmond Jennings should have been called up earlier. [ESPN]
  • Jonah Keri and Bill Simmons debate the same question. We would like to think that the correct answer is somewhere between their two arguments. [Grantland]
  • Joe Maddon spoke with Jayson Stark about what he calls the “second renaissance” in baseball (the use of technology). And Stark refers to Maddon as “a visionary kind of guy whose embrace of technology, info and outside-the-box thinking has made him, for all intents and purposes, the Steve Jobs of managers.” [ESPN]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • DURHAM 4, Gwinnett 3: Lance Cormier made the spot-start and gave up 2 runs in 2 innings on 5 hits and 1 walk…SS Tim Beckham had 3 hits including a double to raise his average to .277 at triple-A…CF Brandon Guyer had a double in 3 at bats.
  • Carolina 7, MONTGOMERY 3: Frank de los Santos gave up 3 runs in 4 innings…SS Hak-Ju Lee went 1-5.
  • CHARLOTTE 8, Jupiter 3 (gm 1): Game was the completion of a previously suspended game. 2B Tyler Bortnick finished the game 2-3 with 2 RBI and a walk.
  • Jupiter 4, CHARLOTTE 3 (gm 2): In 5 innings, Jake Thompson gave up 4 runs on 8 hits and 1 walks…C Jose Lobaton went 1-1 with a double and a walk, but was pulled after just 2 plate appearances…2B Tyler Bortnick went 1-3 with a double.
  • BOWLING GREEN 3, Great Lakes 2: Braulio Lara struck out 6 and walked 1 in 5.2 innings. He gave up 2 runs…SS Derek Dietrich was 0-3 with a walk.
  • Connecticut 5, HUDSON VALLEY 0: Andrew Bellatti gave up 5 runs in 4 innings. He struck out 2 and walked 3. His ERA is now 2.63.
  • Elizabethton 10, PRINCETON 6: LF Josh Sale hit his 4th home run and went 2-2 with 2 walks.
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20 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    In fairness to Hellickson, that was one tight strike zone last night. So yeah, 4 walks is bad, but one was intentional and at least one can be blamed on the umpire. On the other hand, in addition to the walks there were seemingly a dozen full counts.

    I hate Texas. I swear that nothing good ever happens when the Rays go there. It's always 200 degrees. Josh Hamilton always does something to ignite the discussion about whether failing to protect him was Friedman's biggest mistake ever. And the Rays offense makes whoever is pitching look like Sandy Koufax. I'm already writing off the next two games, just for those reasons.

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    • LoLJFH says:

      Both starters had 4 walks and both pitched 6 innings. I'd say they saw the same thing from Laz. No way we have a chance for this season and all this talk in fish wrap and from players about "a run" is ludicrous, we just don't have consistent approach at the plate. Forget the Rockies and others, at least they had an offense and could outhit their pitching, we have no such luxury.
      I take great pleasure in continually seeing Maddon state things like "too many 1-0 and 2-0 games....we gotta get beyond that...". Bye bye Shelton! Take Reid, Kelly, BJ with you too.

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  2. Tom says:

    I would not write off those next 2 games just yet, The Rays did pretty in the playoffs in Texas.

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    • Sarah says:

      I know that, Tom, but they were clearly outliers -- I tell you, Texas is a place of doom for the Rays.

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  3. Hal says:

    A 2-0 game with THAT strikezone? Kudos to all who pitched last night. At least he called it both ways, but really?

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  4. Don says:

    QUESTION OF THE DAY WHo would you rather have at the plate in the 9th inning with two men on and one out, two runs behind:
    SHoppach, longoria or bj upton
    HINT: they all swing alike
    SHELDON says don't worry when they hit it it really goes a long way?
    Longoria's rolled all the way to the 2nd baseman, SOMEBODY please help these Rays hitters they are all lost!

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    • mary says:

      Please stop talking. Your comments are the same everyday. If someone
      comes up and doesn't get a hit, they are lousy and shouldn"t be allowed on the field. You are a horrible fan

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    • mary says:

      Do you ever think that a qualitypitch is made. You know the old saying, good pitching beats good hitting all the time. I think your right though, Longoria stinks, BJ stinks and Shoppach.... well I guess your right,The whole team stinks according to you. Lets just leave it at that .

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    • mary says:

      You do know that the supposed best player in baseball, Albert Pujols
      leads all of baseball in hitting into double plays. You should know that,
      you know everything else. so how do you explain that. And the Cardinals, even with King Albert, aren't even close to making the post season. So explain that to all of us. Is albert a terrilbe player

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  5. Gus says:

    As Hamilton circled the bases last night, I wondered who were those bottom of the roster players on the 2006 (for 2007) 40-man roster who were so valuable that the 2% crowd left Hamilton off the 40-man (after protecting him the year before when he was just off the suspension) and exposed to the Rule V draft (as the biggest name exposed "in some time" according to Baseball America at the time).

    #38-40 were: Mitch Talbot (well, okay I guess), Elliot Johnson (that really hurts) and Elijah Dukes (ouch).

    Can get them all, I realize, but wow that hurts.

    http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20061120&content_id=1744106&vkey=news_tb&fext=.jsp&c_id=tb

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    • Sarah says:

      Stop, you are killing me!!!! Can we just concede that failing to protect Hamilton was really stupid and not revisit just how stupid each time he clobbers us?

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      • LoLJFH says:

        In Hamilton's book "Beyond Belief" he is surprised (when he started his comeback) that the Rays left him unprotected but also didn't blame them either as they had already invested $3.96mill in salary and tons of flights and rehab stints, etc... Still it hurts.
        SALT IN WOUND ALERT: the Reds used him after that first year to get Volquez and another pitcher from Texas because "they had excess pitching prospects". We COULD have gotten him back to play RF for a Mitch Talbott or Wade Davis or both.
        :)

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        • LoLJFH says:

          Let me clarify my remarks about Red and Rangers and Rays - MY personal take is we could have gotten him back for Talbott/Davis or others - this was NOT in the book. If they were going to deal for these guys from Texas, they would have dealt with anyone (potentially) for young pitching talent - and we have been stacked for quite some time "waiting" to call them up. I did not want it implied we had failed to pick him up.

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      • Gus says:

        Subject is now dead.

        I just was curious who was so compelling that they would have done that. I remember there was some belly-aching that the Reds (via the Cubs) had violated some unwritten rule of taking a drug suspension guy when, in fact, the Rays had kept him on the 40-man the prior year. They exposed him for the big 3 in that article you might surmise.

        Elliot Johnson was a 23 or 24 year old in AA and with his toolbox? Oh lord.

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        • Sarah says:

          My husband has a bad habit of tracking stocks he already sold and bemoaning when they go up, or looking for sales on big ticket items we've already bought and then beating himself up if he sees the item for a lower price two months later. Josh Hamilton to me is the Pfizer stock we sold just before they came out with Viagra. Who knew?

          My guess is that they failed to protect Hamilton less because Elliot Johnson is so compelling and more because they doubted that he would ever 1. overcome his addictions and 2. still have the skills to develop into a great ballplayer. While I'm sorry they made this particular decision, they rightly surmised that the odds against such a comeback were huge.

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          • LoLJFH says:

            They took a chance to expose him and it cost them. They were very good to him for a very long time. Maybe we look bad in 2 years with same about BJ (hope hope hope). Happens all the time in pro sports.

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          • Gus says:

            You guys are right that he was a huge risk at the time, but looking at the articles from the time period, it wasn't totally unforseen he might come back and it was a big deal. When Baseball America says Hamilton is the biggest name in the Rule 5 draft "in some time" they had to know he was getting picked. They just weren't patient enough. They let him go after 15 games where he was not spectacular, but demonstrated (to the Reds at least) that he could still play the game after an extended lay-off.

            Maybe worked out best for him, getting into a new organization and starting over. Just an interesting historical twist that two players who torment most of us (Johnson and Shoppach (acquired for Talbot)) and the infamous Dukes were the players kept directly or indirectly instead of Hamilton.

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  6. Alex says:

    A lot of you are missing so many worse players that the rays kept instead of Hamilton. For instance: Travis Harper, Shawn Camp, Casey Fossum, Chad Orvella....need I go on?

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    • Gus says:

      Of course, few from the D-Rays 2006 MLB roster would be justified in saving, but they had to field a team in 2007. I was just looking at the bottom, who were the late adds in the minor-league system deemed worthy of protecting from vulture organizations that got Hamilton exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. That is the autumnal dance organizations do every year. The final 3 adds were Talbot-Johnson-Dukes.

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