The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

RAYS 6, Twins 2 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Flash of Power. We call him Flash because of his speed (duh), but also because when the Rays needed some offense last summer, Desmond Jennings was called up and was saviour of the Rays universe just like Flash Gordon. And much of that offense was generated with some pop in his bat. While the rest of the Rays lineup yesterday was busy playing “my sac fly is prettier than your sac fly,” it was Jennings’ 2-run shot in the 5th inning that put the game away. And really, how pretty is this?…Jake McGee. With the bases loaded in the 6th, it was nice to see McGee come in and strike out Justin Morneau…Evan Longoria. We had a feeling Longo was about to go on a tear, and he appears to be on it. He has hit safely in six straight, and has 7 hits in the last 4 games, including 2 home runs…Jeff Niemann. The velocity is still not there, with the fastball averaging just 89. And that is a concern. But once again, the mix was there, with Niemann throwing 5 different pitches at last 11 times each…Rays Fans. 26,507 was the paid attendance yesterday, giving the Rays 58,281 combined for the Saturday and Sunday games. Last year, the biggest Sat/Sun was 53,991 for a Red Sox series in July.

THE BAD: Interfering Fans. If you haven’t seen it yet, here is video of former NBA player Matt Geiger interfering with a pop-up yesterday. One thing we rarely (if ever?) do around here is criticize fans. We sometimes come down hard on the team and players, but never the fans. Some of you might remember when Troy Percival got upset at a fan that did something similar. We vehemently took the side of the fan. Hey, we wish all fans would know better and be quick-thinking enough to stay out of the way. But fans get caught up in the moment. People love catching foul balls. Whatever. Move the fan. You can even give him some good-natured booing and heckling. But let’s not get carried away and start screaming obscenities and calling for the fan to be banned for life. Baseball’s problem, not seen in other sports, is that there is ZERO separation between the fans and the players. These things are part of the game…Interfering Catwalks. The Rays first hit of the game was also our first catwalk appearance of the season when Longoria doubled off one of the rings. Watching Longo argue for a home run was a bit humorous as either he a) didn’t see which ring the ball hit; b) doesn’t know the groundrules; or c) was trying to pull a fast one over on the umpires.

THE TELLING: The Rays have now won 4 of their last 5. And now all four teams at the top of the AL East are either 9-6 or 9-7…After Philip Humber’s perfect game and Jeff Niemann’s start yesterday, Rice’s “Big Three” starting pitchers now have 51 career wins, combined, since being drafted in 2004. And of course, Wade Townsend had none…Click “Read More…” below to see Fernando Rodney’s new commercial.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Martin Fennelly writes about Desmond Jennings and BJ Upton back together in the outfield…On a side note. Something we have wondered. Could Jennings and Upton cover the entire outfield if needed? For example, if the hitter is an extreme pull hitter or extreme groundball hitter. Just a thought. [TBO.com]
  • Joe Maddon talks about why he was willing to stick with Jake McGee in a high leverage situation. [TampaBay.com]
  • The NFL Draft is this week. Be sure to keep checking in with JBF for all the info you need. [JoeBucsFan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

DURHAM @ Pawtucket. (postponed)

MONTGOMERY 7, Pensacola 3. Frank de los Santos gave up 2 runs in 5 innings. He struck out just 1…SS Hak-Ju Lee went 1-5 and stole his 3rd base. But he also committed his 5th error...CF Brad Coon hit his first home run.

Palm Beach 11, CHARLOTTE 1. Grayson Garvin was pounded for 6 runs in 3 innings on 8 hits and 2 walks…2B Derek Dietrich went 0-3 with a walk, and CF Mikie Mahtook had a single in 4 at bats.

BOWLING GREEN 4, Quad Cities 3. Felipe Rivero allowed 3 runs, but all were unearned, keeping his ERA at 0.00 in 4 starts, despite giving up 6 runs…1B Cameron Seitzer went 4-4, all singles…RF Todd Glaesmann hit his 2nd home run, a solo shot.

The Rays’ dancing groundskeepers…

 Fernando Rodney is now doing pistachio commercials, and he likes to crack nuts…

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7 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Every starters velocity is down. Makes me think it's intentional and they've been instructed to go lightly in the early weeks

    Price was hitting 97 on opening day but in his last start it looked like he lived around 93-95

    Matt Moore is 94-97, was pretty much 91-94 in his last two starts

    Shields is physically capable of 97, can average in the low 90's, was comfortably 88 on Saturday

    All part of the plan?

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    • Beth says:

      Good point, although the "Shields is capable of 97" -- hmmm, maybe with a very generous radar gun. I would just say that the drop off in velocity has been more evident with some of the other pitchers than with Shields, who seems to be working closer to his normal range.

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      • Michael says:

        I've seen Shields finish games with 97, definitely.

        When he's angry he can do it

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        • Cory says:

          Pretty sure Shields has never hit 97 on a radar gun his entire career.

          Highest I've seen him hit is 94. That happened last start.

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          • Michael says:

            http://cdn.brooksbaseball.net/player_cards/card_imgs/448306.mph.L.png

            Brooks Baseball says 96+ as recently as 2010 as his top speed on his four seamer.

            So whatever, 96.5

            The point is he's only lofting it in at 88 right now. I think it's strategic. They're telling the guys to pace themselves.

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  2. don says:

    Maddon ..finanlly looks like you got the idea of hitting Sac flys across to the players: Now they can do...
    NEXT UP: how about bunting practice..none of them know how to bunt, batting practice is the time for this...go Joe

    FANS: Geiger was drunk, having flash backs to being an athlete, but when a player goes INTO the stands...game on...Pena you can't out muscle a 40 something over the hill basketball player?

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  3. Connie says:

    LOL, I always think "Honey Badger" now when I see Rodney. Love the name

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