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: What Is Left To Say? James the Greater, being James the Greater. Yet another complete game, with 124 pitches, and 85 for strikes. And of course, it was the changeup. A whopping 41 changes, 28 for strikes, including 9 swinging. It was his 11th complete game, and the 14th for the Rays. Shields is the first pitcher since 1999 to have 11 complete games in a single season. And the reason Joe Maddon is OK with Shields going over 110 pitches for the 12th time this year and over 120 pitches for the 3rd time, is because Shields is cruising through these wins, without a need to go max effort and put extra stress on the arm. Where was this guy in last year’s playoffs?…Two Out Runs. The Rays are only hitting .223 with 2 outs this season, but yesterday, both Evan Longoria and BJ Upton homered with the bases empty and 2 outs. A team is only expected to score in those situations less than 10 percent of the time (think just the opposite of bases loaded with no outs), so both of those runs were like bonus runs.
THE BAD: The Big Snooze. With four weeks remaining, 7 teams have at least a 97 percent chance of making the playoffs, and the 8th (Rangers) is sitting at 86.3 percent. That means there is an 80.1 percent chance that all 8 playoff spots have already been decided. If the last month of the regular season fell in a forest, would it make a sound?
THE TELLING: Ben Zobrist returned to the lineup after missing two games with a minor neck injury…Evan Longoria has 4 errors in the past 7 games…If Jeremy Hellickson does get shut down after 3 or 4 more starts, that means Andy Sonnanstine will likely make 2-3 starts to wind up the season.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Who needs Jim Hickey when James Shields can teach David Price how to throw a changeup? [TampaBay.com]
- Jeremy Hellickson is likely to be shutdown once he hits about 180 innings (he is at 164.1 innings pitched so far). That leaves him 2 or 3 more starts this season, and would put him in line for a full load of 200 inning mark next season. [TampaBay.com]
- Anwar S. Richardson writes about the Rays
minor league system and how it has contributed to the Rays this season. [TBO.com]
- The stars of Sunday’s game might have been the pigeons. [TopProspectAlert.com]
- MLB Trade Rumors looks at the possibility of the Rays giving Desmond Jennings a contract extension. [MLBTR]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Norfolk 8, DURHAM 5: Final game of regular season. Will begin best-of-5 playoff series tomorrow…Brian Baker gave up 8 runs in 5 innings, striking out 7…SS Tim Beckham went 1-5 with his 5th home run with Durham. He finished .255 with 5 home runs in 24 triple-A games…C Stephen Vogt was 4-5 with his 4th home run with Durham. He finished .290 in 31 triple-A games…RF Russ Canzler went 3-5 and finished his MVP season at .314 with 18 home runs…1B Leslie Anderson ended the season at .277 with 13 home runs and a .314 OBP.
- MONTGOMERY @ Chattanooga: (cancelled; season over)
- CHARLOTTE: (season over)
- Lake County 4, BOWLING GREEN 1: Final game of regular season. Will begin best-of-3 playoff series tomorrow…Wilking Rodriguez gave up 2 runs (1 earned) in 4 innings…SS Derek Dietrich went 0-5 and finished the season at .277 with 22 home runs.
- HUDSON VALLEY: (season over)
- PRINCETON: (season over)