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 Good News. The good news is that one loss doesn’t kill the Rays hopes. We knew when this series started that a sweep was nearly impossible and the best hope was win 3 of 4…Defense. First there was the routine 5-6-4 around-the-horn double-play (VIDEO) in which Evan Longoria took a hard bunt, went to Reid Brignac covering second who relayed to Ben Zobrist on first base. Then there was the diving grab by Longoria that not only saved a run, but he literally landed on the third base bag doubling the runner-up.
THE BAD: The Bad News. The bad news is now today’s game is the most important of the season and the matchup is Jeff Niemann against Jon Lester. Not exactly confidence-inducing…Lost Opportunities. If you score 3 runs early against Josh Beckett and you’ve got James Shields on the mound, that should be a win…Umpires. We hate to bitch about umpiring. It is a cliché. An easy target. But last night was bad. BJ Upton was called out on a pitch that was in the other batters box (see below). And Johnny Damon struck out on a pitch that hit his foot…Game Plans. James Shields struggles in Fenway, so maybe a change was in order. This led to a game plan in which Shields relied much more on his curveball early on and only threw a handful of changeups in the first 4-5 innings. Our problem with that is James Shields has been better than ever recently. Why mess with what was working?
THE TELLING: Joe Maddon was ejected for the 6th time this season tying him with Mike Quade and Ron Gardenhire for the MLB lead. It was also the 13th ejection for the Rays as a team which is tops in baseball. The Nationals are next with 10…Kyle Farnsworth hopes to return next week.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Joe Maddon called the strikezone “egregiously bad” and “one-sided.” [The Heater]
- Matt Moore was named to Baseball America’s Minor League All-Star team. [The Heater]
- Astro is now the Rays’ good luck charm. [MLB]
- Here is a solid interview with Matt Moore with a lot of emphasis on mechanics and pitching philosophy. [Ryan Fagan]
This is strikezone for BJ Upton’s 5th inning at bat. The red square on the right was the called third strike. It is about 14.5 inches from the center of the plate. The edge of the plate is 8.5 inches from the center. In other words, that pitch was six inches outside.