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

RAYS 4, Mariners 3 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Jeff Niemann. Once again we got crafty Niemann, throwing 6 different pitches at least 10 times, and none more than 24 times. On top of that, he actually had a little extra mustard on the fastball, reaching 93mph…2-Out Rally. Kevin Millwood retired the first 5 batters he faced. But then, with 2 outs in the 2nd, 6 straight batters reached base leading to 4 runs…Bullpen. Where would the Rays be without their bullpen? Jake McGee and Fernando Rodney combined to face 10 batters, and retired them all. They struck out 3 (all by McGee).

THE BAD: Injuries. Hey, if they are going to happen, this is a point in the schedule where it might do the least amount of damage, this is it. Still, yesterday’s lineup resembled a split-squad spring training trip to Jupiter, with names like Allen, Rhymes, Keppinger, and Gimenez…So, When Is Hideki Coming? We had heard good things about Brandon Allen’s defense. But that wasn’t on display yesterday when he appeared to jog in and allowed what looked like a catchable blooper to fall in front of him.

THE TELLING: The Rays now have the best record in baseball at 18-8. They are 14-3 in their last 17…BJ Upton is expected to be in the lineup today…Maybe it was already part of the plan, but interesting to note, that with Tim Beckham suspended, Reid Brignac played second base last night.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Mariano Rivera tore his ACL. His season and his career may be over. [BI Sports]
  • Matt Bush had his bail reduced. [TampaBay.com]
  • Don Zimmer has been released from the hospital. [TampaBay.com]
  • David Price chews a LOT of gum. [MLB.com]
  • The Rays are not one of the 20 cheapest teams in North America. However, the Bucs are. [BI Sports]
  • Bucs mini-camp starts today. Joe will be there and will have it all covered all day long. [Joe Bucs Fan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

Louisville 4, DURHAM 3 (11). Chris Archer struck out 6 and walked 2, giving up 3 runs in 6 innings, and lowering his ERA to 6.52…Reid Brignac played second base and hit his first home run going 2-5.

MONTGOMERY 7, Tennessee 4. Shane Dyer tossed 6 shutout innings, striking out 1 and walking 1…SS Hak-Ju Lee was 0-5…CF Brad Coon hit his 2nd home run, and DH Kyeong Kang added 3 hits, including his 7th home run. That is tied for the Southern League lead.

CHARLOTTE 3, Bradenton 2 (16). Grayson Garvin struck out 10 and walked 2 in just 5.1 innings. He allowed 3 hits and 1 run…CF Ty Morrison was 4-6 with 2 stolen bases…3B Riccio Torrez hit his 2nd home run.

South Bend 5, BOWLING GREEN 3. RF Drew Vettleson went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts…C Alejandro Segovia went 2-2 with 2 walks, but also committed 2 errors (although 1 was just catcher interference).

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19 Comments

  1. angrybuddha says:

    Everybody get out of the way for the Hak-Ju train!!

    First Beckham, now Brignac. Hak-Ju Lee is the SS of the future and everyone else is being forced aside.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      We'll have to see if Briggy at 2B is a regular thing. But if it is, it sure would seem that Lee is on his way up sooner, rather than later.

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  2. don says:

    Dear Maddon: keep keppinger on the bench...keep playing Roriquez, Johnson, Allen,rymes anyone else you can find....
    just adds to your legacy

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    • Jason C. says:

      Legacy of the only 3 playoff appearances in Rays history? Having the best record in the league despite one of the toughest schedules? Sweeping a team while starting at least 4 or 5 guys that were in the minors last year (or earlier this year for some). Im just curious which legacy youre talking about...

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    • Dave L says:

      waaa?

      Kepp gets substantial play the first 3 weeks at 2B and DH bats 200 and knocks in 1 run a week.

      Then the last week he gets spot situational work and gets on a streak and is productive.

      And this is somehow reflects negatively on how he is being used? They only feel comfortable with his fielding at 2nd and Scott is locked in at DH. Expect him to get more chances against RHP at 3rd if his bat stays hot when Zobrist is at 2nd

      Even when recent play on the field leaves no reasonable criticism of Maddon or BJ available, do you just have to dream stuff up to satisfy the negative narrative you love to weave about them? We know its your story and you are sticking to it but during a streak like this you look plain silly.

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      • don says:

        See if MAddon is seeing the light on Kepp. it took me two years to tell him and everybody else Zobrist was not a "utility player"
        But HE finally got it..now a .300, no strike out man on the bench for EJ, ROd,Allen, RYmes...I rest my case...actually I had it in a dream

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        • brianknowsbest says:

          OH DON........

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        • Jason C. says:

          Ever think that maybe Kepp is hitting .300 BECAUSE maddon doesnt use him in every situation? Just a thought..

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          • Dave L says:

            Yes, that was my original point. he was a 200 hitter batting regularly.

            i think he's better than 200 but not a 300 hitter. hes definitely a better hitter than our other middle infielder options but not as versatile defensively. I think Maddon is finding his situations where he can best perform.

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        • Patrick says:

          Zobrist plays both positions well. I dont care for him at 2B, but... Not a big fan of Kepp - his defense & base running is not much of an asset.

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    • Alex says:

      Why would you question Maddon? Really why? He's the best manager in baseball

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      • Dave L says:

        Of course we can question him, especially when things arent working. But when they are working, you have to provide sound reasoning. Then most of the Maddon criticisms come from an old school mindest that can't accept that what he does works, usually but not always.

        There are no absolutes in a sport where the even best fail much more often than not.

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        • Patrick says:

          I disagree. He does many things well, too many to list. He could do better on the offensive side. I personally feel our defense would get better if most of our players were designated one position. Allen in the OF - what was that all about? Seeing him play there the first time & his size alone is enough to know he is a DH/Pinch hitter. Joe does things like that a lot - he is a bit extreme.

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  3. Alex says:

    Keep an eye on Cole Figueroa. He just got called up to AAA. He may be the best hitter in the Rays system. Why? He knows his strike zone really well. More walks than strike outs every year but one in the minors 2008-2012. OBP above .374 every year. Not a lot of pop but he puts the ball in play and he plays the infield (2B and 3B).

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  4. Gus says:

    We are allowed to question Maddon here (what use would a team blog be anyway without it). I'd like more Keppinger, less Elliot Johnson myself. He earned more at bats with his fine spring training.

    I don't like to see moving guys mid-game. Baseball is a hard game. especially the ways the Rays defense with shifts. Playing baseball and moving positions every 3 innings may produce errors like we saw out of S-Rod at 3b. But it may have to be this way until someone wins the job (more or less) in Longo's absence.

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    • Beth says:

      I was surprised by the moves Maddon made in I think the seventh inning. You do see managers making some moves like this, say, in the 9th with a one run lead, with the idea of getting your best defense on the field. But I was surprised that he took out Keppinger in favor of Johnson so early -- he would have at least one more at bat, and I wondered whether anything we gained have Johnson at short was counteracted by losing Keppinger's last at bat.

      I figured he took out Brandon Allen because he just looked so lost out there.

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      • Dave L says:

        Yeah he was all in with banking on the 1 run lead holding up that he went defense that early you are exactly right.

        Luckily it worked. We were playing the M's after all. Dont think he would have done that against the better teams.

        The funny thing is that Allen play happens almost every night in the NL somewhere, we are just so spoiled. Damon for example may turn out to be an acceptable fielder where is now because the bar is much lower

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        • don says:

          Damon was an "acceptable" out fielder for 15 yrs with the best teams in baseball (WS and all)...Yankees, Red Sox, Detroit..only when he got to the Rays did he forget how to play the outfield..ala Burrell...

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          • Dave L says:

            For most of those 15 years he was much younger and had more range and a little more arm. Look at the AL east now. Virtually every starting outfielder(not including injury fill ins) is a plus fielder. He wasnt given a chance here to play very long cause he looked so horrible. A couple of more May keystone cop outfielder plays by Allen and he may suffer the same fate. As did Burrell you are correct.

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