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Tigers 5, Rays 2 (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: The Giraffe. The line wasn’t pretty (4 runs allowed), but he didn’t get the wide zone that Verlander enjoyed (see below) and he was solid outside of the 8th inning when things started to unravel and Juan Cruz couldn’t strand the runners…Dirtbag. He is still hitting below .230 since the All-Star break, but Longoria did hit his 10th home run since the break. Only two players have more (both have 11)…Sweet Swingin’. Starting pitchers will often groove a few pitches to the first batter of the game as they get their feet wet. Usually that is ok because the first batter of the game is not often a home run threat. Well, with Desmond Jennings getting the night off to rest his 24-year old legs, Matty Joyce led-off and took a fastball from Verlander and deposited it in the right field seats for an early lead.

THE BAD: Star Treatment. You guys know that we rarely bitch about strikezones unless it is just too egregious. Especially if it is just a pitch or two. Bad calls happen. But last night Justin Verlander got the Michael Jordan star treatment and got all the calls. Verlander had at least seven pitches called strikes that were out of the strikezone (VERLANDER STRIKE PLOT). That is about 10 percent of Verlander’s 73 strikes. For comparison, it looks like Niemann just got one of those calls last night (NIEMANN STRIKE PLOT)…Juan Cruz. With the bases loaded and 2 outs, Cruz was called on to get one out. Instead he gave up a 2-run single. And all of a sudden, a 2-1 deficit is a 4-1 game. Game over…Bossman’s Shoulder. The last thing in the world BJ Upton needs is another shoulder injury. He has already had 6 or 7 in his pro career. But up until this point, they all occurred while swinging the bat. Last night, Upton had to be removed from the game after straining his shoulder reaching for a flyball.

THE TELLING: Lightning knocked out some lights prior to the game and caused some speakers to malfunction early in the game…Niemann worked into the 8th inning for the 5th time in his last 11 starts. He worked into the 8th inning 5 times in the previous 33 starts…Jim Hickey, explained prior to the game that Jeff Niemann’s increased command of his fastball has helped make Niemann’s curveball more effective, allowing him to use it more often…Derek Dietrich was named the ML’s player of the week, and Chris Archer was named the pitcher of the week in the SL.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • CHART OF THE DAY: Take a look around. Almost all of the playoff spots are already locked up with more than a month to play. [Business Insider]
  • A cool look at how the pitching prospects are performing so far this season. [Rays Prospects]
  • The Durham Bulls are starting to run away with the IL South Division. [WDBB]
  • Here is Brandon Gomes showing off his new bullpen gear. [@RaysRepublic]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • DURHAM: (no game scheduled)
  • Mississippi 8, MONTGOMERY 5: Chris Archer struggled again with his control walking 5 and giving up 5 runs on 6 hits in 4 innings. He struck out 3…SS Hak-Ju Lee went 2-5 with a triple…RF John Matuliahit his 7th home run at double-A, a grand slam.
  • CHARLOTTE: (no game scheduled)
  • BOWLING GREEN 4, Great Lakes 1: Victor Mateo allowed just 1 run in 6 innings on 6 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 1…SS Derek Dietrich went 0-3 with 2 strikeouts.
  • HUDSON VALLEY 4, Vermont 2: Trevor Shull allowed 1 run in 4.1 innings on 4 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 3.
  • Pulaski 4, PRINCETON 2: RF Drew Vettleson went 2-4 with his 7th home run.
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16 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    On the "new bullpen gear" -- hah, hah. Does anyone remember the pink backpack that Rudy Lugo used to wear to the bullpen? Rudy Lugo, for me, is ALMOST as much a symbol of 2007's futility as Shawn Camp. The Rays 2011 bullpen has a few too many 2007-like meltdowns for my comfort, so please let's lose the Rudy Lugo accessories!

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  2. Don says:

    Theres a way to combat balls an inch off the plate if your the hitter.....batting against a "star"....my best advice is to swing at those 7 pitches "off the plate" OR you can wait for "never coming" walk

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  3. Amanda says:

    Generic reply about not putting the best lineup out to win down the stretch and resting professional athletes in a non-contact sport. (Sorry, I'm sick of beating a dead horse, so I just went for a stock answer.)

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    • KillaTapes says:

      I was pissed when Desmond wasn't in the lineup, but even more so when they brought in Brignac and shifted 4 players rather than simply letting Des replace Upton.

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      • Gus says:

        The 2 run single by Peralta was just under the glove of Brignac. If too-clever by half JoeMa leaves Sean Rod at SS, that is probably an out as well as he has been playing. 4-1. Ballgame.

        Why Juan Cruz in that situation? You can get to Detroit's tired and shaky bullpen, that is as high-leverage as it gets. Fanry or Peralta had to be the call there.

        The no Des in CF is just some kind of stubborness. May have been the Rays' Wally Pipp moment, however, especially if they can get Guyer up and in LF.

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        • Beth says:

          My reaction to BJ's injury is a big "meh", and I feel a little guilty about that. With possible September call ups available next week, we won't have trouble filling the outfield with equally effective hitters, and Desmond in center field means not much of a drop off defensively. Just hope it doesn't limit his trade value this off season (for any teams not already put off by the .225 BA).

          As for the "why Juan Cruz" in that situation -- honestly, is there anyone in the bullpen other than Farnsworth who can deliver a reliable out? Juan Cruz was as good a choice as anyone.

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        • Tom says:

          I do not think Sean Rod gets that ground ball.

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    • Amanda says:

      The Rays are 5-2 in their last seven. The two losses came when Jennings was not in the lineup. The first of those two losses came when Maddon felt the need to rest Jennings after the team had two days off because of a rainout and no game scheduled the next day. Oh yeah, he really needed the rest after that tough stretch. I'm not saying Jennings is Superman and is the reason why the Rays lost, but I am saying that when he's in the lineup (with Kotchman, Longo, and Damon batting behind him), the team actually produces offense.

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      • Tom says:

        The one knock on Jennings is that he has been fragile, he may have some nagging injury issues.

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      • Gus says:

        I think maddon's thinking was he was hiding Des from a tough RH pitcher like Verlander. of course, Fuld struck out the first two times, so didn't work out.

        But Des needs to play everyday. Obvious.

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  4. Alex says:

    I'm not defending Maddon but you guys/girls do have to remember a few things: Baseball isn't a contact sport but players still can get tired and worn down. In the past few games Desmond has stolen a lot of bases and he's been hit by a few pitches. Also he has had a history of injuries and it's not like his season just started when he was called up. He's been playing in Durham all year as well. The Trops crap turf can always be to blame. I'm sure everyone remembers Carl complaining about the turf destroying his legs.

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    • LoLJFH says:

      1) Completely different turf than the one CC played on.
      2) CC usually got a day off AFTER a long homestand, not 4 games.
      2) 2 off days (re: no games) and sits 2 of last 7 = 4 days off in 1.5 weeks. He better be fresh!
      3) PROFESSIONAL baseball.
      4) DJ's SB's are on dirt, like every other stadium.
      5) Best team on the field day in and day out. Goes for baseball, soccer, football, la crosse, hockey, basketball.......

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      • Beth says:

        Well, with BJ injured I assume we'll be seeing Desmond pretty much every day from now on, so it's moot.

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        • LoLJFH says:

          Last I checked "day to day" did not mean "almost every day".
          They are going to baby him the rest of the way.

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  5. Hal says:

    Joyce hits Verlander for some reason. Batting him leadoff last night paid off. Verlander is settling in and Joyce is swinging for the fences - it worked. I love Des, but sitting him against Verlander at least makes a little sense. Putting Des in for BJ seemed to be the obvious play, but BJ had just hit in the bottom of the last inning so his spot in the order was not going to role around any time soon.

    I think Joe wanted to save him in case anyone got on (it was a one-run game at that point before Cruz gacked it up). Someone gets on and Des manufactures a run with his wheels. Briggy's a better SS than SRod, SRod is great at second, and the outfield of Joyce, Fuld, and Zobrist more than holds its own.

    I also hated Cruz in that spot. Peralta had pitched the last 2 days, but why not Farnsworth? It would have been really nice to steal that win last night.

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    • Beth says:

      I could see trying to get Farnsworth in there if the Rays are protecting a one run lead -- he's gotten 4-out saves before, why not 5? But to put in your closer just to stay in the game -- that's not what closers are for. Rays bullpen is really weak. The fact that some of them are sometimes good doesn't cut it -- a good bullpen needs to have at least 2-3 guys who are nearly always effective. I know we talk a lot about the often anemic offense, but I still think the stinky bullpen is what makes them a 3rd place team.

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