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

RAYS (off-day)

The New York Times has a solid read on Joe Maddon’s use of the defensive shift. The piece talks a lot about how the Rays use the shift in unconventional ways against players and in situations that are not necessarily a typical threat.

But the best part might be this stat: Last year the Rays saved 85 runs with their defense, and that was a lot. But according to John Dewan, co-author of “The Fielding Bible,” the Rays have already saved 28 runs in 29 games this season. At this rate, the Rays would save about 156 runs with their defense. That would be worth 15-16 (!) wins in the standings.

In other words, if the Rays had the pitching staff and the hitters of an 81-81 team, this defense, along with the defensive shifts would turn that team into a 96 or 97-win team.

Wow.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Desmond Jennings has a knee sprain and is day-to-day. He is also with the team on their roadtrip. [TampaBay.com]
  • Kyle Farnsworth is playing catch, and Jose Lobaton will see action in extended spring training this week. Also, Hideki Matsui is expected to play in an extended spring game in Port Charlotte on Wednesday. [TampaBay.com]
  • Rays minor leaguer Drew Vettleson already has 10 outfield assists this season. That is tops in all of baseball, majors or minors. [Biscuit Crumbs]
  • Jeremy Hellickson and Joe Maddon discuss the young hurler’s new cutter and how he needs to use it less. [TBO.com]
  • Gary Shelton explores the Rays’ latest off-season of bargain shopping. [TampaBay.com]
  • Joe Smith writes about the opportunities that Chris Gimenez and Will Rhymes have received with the Rays. [TampaBay.com]
  • The Rays are 4th in this MLB.com experts+fans power ranking. [MLB.com]
  • The Rays are second in Phil Rogers’ Power Rankings. [Chicago Tribune]
  • The Rays have one of the best records in baseball, but they are only tied for eighth in run differential. This shows how good the bullpen has been as the Rays are winning the close games. [BI Sports]
  • Deadspin has now countered their claim that Jonny Gomes is a douchebag. [Deadspin]

DOWN ON THE FARM

DURHAM @ Syracuse. (postponed)

Chattanooga 5, MONTGOMERY 3. Jake Thompson allowed 5 runs in 5 innings, but did strike out 7 and walk just 2…LF Omar Luna went 2-3 with 2 walks. He is now hitting .294 and also added his 10th stolen base…SS Hak-Ju Lee was 1-4 with a walk and 2 strikeouts.

Clearwater 6, CHARLOTTE 5. Wilking Rodriguez struck out 6 and walked 2 in 4.2 innings. He allowed 5 runs…RF Mikie Mahtook went 2-4…LF Cody Rogers hit his first home run of the year, and C Mayo Acosta added his 3rd.

BOWLING GREEN 4, Lake County 0. Jake Floethe gave up just 1 hits and 3 walks in 6 scoreless innings. He struck out 3…Drew Vettleson went 1-4 with a double and 2 RBI. He also threw out a runner at home…Josh Sale went 2-3 with a double and his first stolen base.

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13 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    the nature of the run differential is wrapped up in three games

    those two massacres against boston, and maybe that one A's game

    if you exclude those three games the run differential evens out

    I'd rather get blown out three times than lose by one run nine times

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Definitely. And i think that's a testament to the bullpen. A bad bullpen and your record will be worse than the run diff. suggests. A good bullpen does the opposite and you are winning a lot of the 1 and 2-run games.

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  2. Dave L says:

    In the first Yanks series alone I think the shift saved 4 to 6 runs and maybe another run by just getting into thier heads. They were clearly frustrated.

    It will be interesting to see how they adjust this weekend.

    But now with our new found lefty power lineup getting always tough on us Nova and the new righty maybe we can get a hit show going in the Bronx.

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  3. CC says:

    If Jennings is out. I hope the Eliot Johnson in left field experiment is over. That is one move that Joe makes that drives me nuts.

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    • Beth says:

      I believe Maddon already said he'd use both Zobrist and Joyce in the outfield if Jennings couldn't play.

      How many games would Jennings need to miss, do you think, to bring up Guyer?

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    • Hal says:

      Yes, yes, and yes again. That double on Sunday is caught by any left fielder of reasonable skill.

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  4. Beth says:

    I'm actually pleased to hear the Yankee hitting coach dismissing the success of these shifts as "luck." As long as the rest of the league believes that, the Rays continue to have an edge.

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    • Gus says:

      Yanks batting coach is straight out of the old school as portrayed in Moneyball. Glad he is running his guys down as well.

      Problem for the Rays is the wind tunnel to RF in Yankee stadium cannot be defended.

      Elliot Johnson cannot play. He's had 244 Plate Appearances in MLB and is hitting .185 with a .250 obp and no power (slugging .310). My favorite stat: He's been thrown out 8 of 17 attempts (yet Joe thinks he runs well). Nice guy, hopefully he qualifes for some pension benefits, etc. But he's 28. This is who he is. We have to have somebody better. Leslie Anderson?

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      • Beth says:

        I've always wondered why Leslie Anderson is never given a chance. He's always done reasonably well at AAA.

        I applaud Elliott for becoming as versatile as one can be -- he's figured out how to maximize his chances of staying in the MLB despite a real AAAA profile. I hope he's developing the leadership skills to become a coach somewhere.

        But there's got to be a better player somewhere in the organization, doesn't there? I keep reading how the Rays have an improved lineup over last year's but I won't believe that until this is a team that has no room for Elliott. And he does seem like a nice guy, and I hope he figures out what he wants to be when he grows up.

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        • DRR says:

          I have seen this here a few times, and I don't get it. What are you basing the "done well" comments on Anderson on? We have seen a lot of good players come through here in Durham. I have never thought Anderson was one of them.

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          • Beth says:

            Here's his slash line from 2 + triple A seasons: .296 .338 .416

            Do I think he's out future starting 1st baseman? At age 30, no. But isn't anyone in the front office curious to see if he can hit major league pitching? His AAA stats are similar to the AAA offensive production of an Elliott Johnson a Justin Ruggiano, or a Russ Canzler (although granted the latter two have higher slugging %) and they've all had their chances at the major league level.

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  5. phil says:

    Is Brndon guyer hurt? He is putting up good numbers at AAA..why is he not in the Majors?

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