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

Blue Jays 3, RAYS 1 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Matt Joyce. Don’t look now, but Matt Joyce is hitting lefties. Let’s not go crazy yet. It is just 14 at bats. But he already has 4 hits off of southpaws, including a home run. But Joyce only had 20 hits off of lefties in all of 2011. With BJ Upton on the DL, Joe Maddon has probably played Joyce against lefties more than he would like. But with Joyce hitting, Maddon may have to keep Joyce out there even when Upton returns.

THE BAD: Starting Pitching. The Rays’ starters have a 4.14 ERA so far, 8th in the AL. Sure, it’s early, and it will get better. But to get better, they need to cut down on the walks. The starters have issued 32 walks in 11 games, the most in the AL. And as a result, their 1.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio is also the worst in the AL. That number needs to be closer to 3.0. And until that happens, the Rays are going to struggle…Longo’s Brick Glove. Three errors last night is bad. And if it was just one game we wouldn’t be too worried. But Longo wasn’t fielding well in Spring Training either, and right now he is in a mental slump with the glove.

THE TELLING: The Rays will pick 25th and 88th in the June draftStephen Vogt is now 0-13 to start his big league career…BJ Upton is still expected to rejoin the Rays for their homestand on Friday.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Joe Maddon has officially “made it.” He is the subject of an article in The Onion. And more importantly, the premise is actually believable. [Onion Sports Network]
  • Joe Maddon re-emphasized his love for Fernando Rodney and the crooked cap. [USA Today]
  • BJ Upton bought all his double-A teammates an Outback Steakhouse dinner. And before you rag on him for going chain restaurant, keep in mind that they are in Montgomery. We’re sure Montgomery is great. But there might not be a Ruth’s Chris. [Biscuit Crumbs]
  • Here’s a photoshoot of James Shields for ESPN the Magazine. [thefoggedlens]
  • It is not entirely clear, but it seems like Tom Verducci of SI.com saying the Rays are one team that has reinvented the modern bullpen. But he also notes that Rays closers all break down. [SI.com]
  • The Bucs 2012 schedule is out. Here are a few thoughts. [JoeBucsFan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

Charlotte 3, DURHAM 2. Jhonny Nunez gave up 2 runs in 3 innings…Cesar Ramos tossed 1.2 scoreless innings with 2 strikeouts and no walks…John Gaub retired all 5 batters he faced, striking out 3…SS Tim Beckham went 1-3 with a triple and a walk…1B Leslie Anderson added 2 singles and a double. He has 19 hits in the first 10 games.

Mobile @ MONTGOMERY. (postponed)

St. Lucie 6, CHARLOTTE 1. Enny Romero struck out 5 and walked 1 in 5 innings. He gave up 3 runs…SS Derek Dietrich was 1-3 with a walk…CF Mikie Mahtook went 0-4 with a K.

Great Lakes 1, BOWLING GREEN 0. Felipe Rivero struck out 7 and walked none in 6 innings. He allowed just 1 unearned run on 3 hits…RF Drew Vettleson was 0-3.

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9 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    I seem to remember Longo being pretty rusty at the start of last year too.

    But late in the year he was pretty good.

    Sometimes I feel he tries to get a little too fancy with his moves

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  2. DRR says:

    The Onion link isn't right, it goes to the Upton story.

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  3. s says:

    Who would have thunk it? A couple of weeks into the season and the topics of concern are hitting with runners in scoring position and whether or no JP Howell should be on this roster.

    Hey Joe and Shelton, enough with the working the pitch count crap. Once again, we’re near the top in walks and strike outs. How disgusting was it watching Gimenez taking strike 3 right down the middle when we could have easily been right back in the game? Let the hitters swing at early pitches instead of letting them get late in the count. Taking pitches against quality pitchers doesn’t work. We had 15 first pitch strikes that were looking last night. This forces the batters in a hole and they are left to swing at bad pitches. With veterans up there, you can make up for it later in the count, with youth, you had better swing at the strikes instead of chasing bad pitches or watching strike 3 also. The BOOK is out on the Rays, throw first pitch strikes, get the batters in a hole. Get behind and we walk, it’s a pretty simple gameplan. We don’t swing and we strand runners.

    JP Howell, 2 strikes, 4 balls, wild pitch. We’re waiting on all that was promised by you and the front office. He used to be a quality reliever, now he’s not even a LOOGY.

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    • s says:

      PLAIN AND SIMPLE. Without quality pitching from both the starters and the bullpen. We will fail horribly with this hitting strategy. Our bullpen has been overachievers for a couple of years and our young starting pitching has been outstanding.

      This year, it appears that one or both of those may not happen. We may have to change the "take pitches" offense away to be remotely successful. It looks like we may actually have to score runs to win games. And not just pile on runs that make ours run total in the final stats seem to look not bad. Without quality pitching, we need offense.

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      • s says:

        OBP, the most overrated team hitting stat in baseball. I could really care less if sommeone got on base if the rest of the team can't get him in. A team can have a great OBP and without a decent SLG, then they stink on offense. We don't get the man in, we take tooooooo many pitches.

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  4. Beth says:

    On Matt Joyce: not sure whether his HR off Romero really "counts" in this analysis -- that is, Maddon sees Romero has having reverse splits and he purposely had a lefty-heavy line up for that reason. So I'm not sure he'd see Joyce's HR as proof that Joyce can really hit lefties, rather than proof that Romero really does have reverse splits.

    So, remind me why Leslie Anderson is never seen as a real MLB prospect? Whenever I glance at Durham results he seems to hitting.

    And a million thanks for the Onion link. If not for the bit about paying Longoria to appear in the video, I could have easily believed it. And could you think of a better infield position than "thwartstop?"

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  5. Political Man says:

    His hat never really bothered me but he does make a point that it has a practical purpose of creating some deception for a runner at first base trying to determine how much attention is being paid to him. It's not something I would have thought about.

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