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Red Sox 4, Rays 3 (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 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.

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11 Comments

  1. Brian says:

    Perhaps I am in need of a rules refresher here: If Damon did indeed swing at strike 3, the ball hit him and rolled away - why doesn't he have the chance to run to first?

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Obscure rule...

      Rule 6.05(f): a batter is out when he attempts to hit a third strike and the ball touches him

      So they actually have an exception. If it hits the batter the catcher doesn't have to catch it.

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  2. Rg says:

    Also interesting in Wendelsucks pattern of calling balls and strikes, is all the balls being called on Shields that fx show to be in the strike zone.

    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/location.php-pitchSel=448306&game=gid_2011_09_16_tbamlb_bosmlb_1&batterX=&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=.gif

    He did the same thing with Beckett. Hunter is just a crappy ump. I know, I'm being redundant.

    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/location.php-pitchSel=277417&game=gid_2011_09_16_tbamlb_bosmlb_1&batterX=&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=.gif

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    • Dre says:

      yeah, he definitely sucks. but Shields didn't catch one called strike out of the zone and Beckett got 5. Beckett got about 5 balls that should've been strikes and Shields had double. Still a bit one-sided

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  3. Don says:

    Let me ask you so called hitters like Upton,Zobrist,Jaso,Joyce, brig. when you KNOW the umpires are giving beckett the benefit of doubt and calling srikes outside the zones WHY ARE YOU NOT SWINING...Longo, Jennings,kotch..got the Idea early and get hits.... You are NOT going to walk so why not swing?
    Maddon once again heads to the Showers when his team is in trouble...Hey Joe are you helping anyone BUT the Red Sox by Yelling at the umps... Strike Zone really got big after that...
    But Joe got his wine early..

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  4. Mark Q says:

    The reality is this, the umpires really have no accountability for their performance and often even for their actions. Look how fast Wendelstedt pulls off his mask when BJ has some thing to say, he's ready or a fight. Why?...cause no one is going to hold him accountable

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    • Dre says:

      This. It is so frustrating to me. If I remember correctly it may keep them from umping playoffs but that's not really a penalty - just missing an opportunity. there really should be some accountability.

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  5. jerry says:

    Did the catcher or the umpire appeal the check swing on Damon?

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      It is always the umpire. The catcher can ask the home plate umpire to check. But the umpire doesn't have to. It is always the umpire's discretion. In this case, I do not recall if the catcher asked.

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  6. Sarah says:

    There's no thread up for Saturday's game, so let me post this here. I just read the Boston Globe's account of yesterday's game, and I was really amused to find Jon Lester blaming his loss on Fenway Park, and seeming to prefer Tropicana Field!

    “We had a 300-foot fly ball that goes out for a homer. That’s the difference in the game,’’ Lester said. “That’s the joy of playing at Fenway Park. It takes some away and gives some to other guys. If we’re in Tropicana, that’s an out.’’

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  7. Don says:

    But the Trop is a dump..just ask the morons in Tampabay, media included...

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