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.