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, A’s 1 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Alex Cobb. Another day, another strong pitching performance. Cobb gave up just 1 run in 7 innings with the classic 7-1-1 (SP, setup, closer). He struck out 6 and walked 1. It was easily his second best start of the year, only surpassed by his 10 K, 7 shutout innings against the Marlins. But I am still not sure this is enough to bump Jeff Niemann to the bullpen when he returns. It could however, give Joe Maddon an excuse to go with a 6-man rotation for a couple of weeks just to give some of the guys a little extra rest…Carlos Pena. We always start to perk up a little bit when El Gato has a good game at the plate. This one had two hits, including a home run. And he now has 3 multi-hit games in the last 7. But we’ve been down this road too many times. I’m going to hold off on the excitement a little longer.

THE BAD: Day Off Needed. I cannot remember a series ever being as exhausting as this one for the fans. The one most will point to is the Red Sox series last year that included the 16 inning, 6-hour marathon. But that game was over before 1:00 am, and it was the final game of a weekend series. In this case, the first game of the series ended at 3:00 am and it was followed by another late game the next night and an early game the day after that. Usually I hate off-days. But man, today’s break is a welcome one.

THE TELLING: Josh Lueke was optioned back to Durham after the game. Rays will likely call up a bat tomorrow (Will Rhymes? Reid Brignac?)…Luke Scott could start a rehab assignment next week…The Rays are now 55-50, 1.5 games behind the A’s for the second Wild Card, tied with the Tigers and Orioles.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • If you are curious, here is some of the Olympics coverage I am doing over at BI Sports. I literally spent tens of minutes putting this image together. [BI Sports]
  • Hideki Matsui was officially granted his release after declining an offer to go to the minors and stay in the Rays organization. But we all knew that was going to happen. [Marc Topkin]
  • Fernando Rodney is doing some pretty badass things this year. [HardballTalk]
  • Well, this makes Carlos Pena’s RAAYS jersey seem not so bad. [RotoAuthority]

DOWN ON THE FARM

DURHAM. no game scheduled

MONTGOMERY 7, Mississippi 1. DH Kyeong Kang went 2-4 with his 13th home run…SS Hak-Ju Lee went 1-4 with a triple and 2 RBI…RF Mikie Mahtook had 2 singles and stole his first base since being promoted.

Tampa 6, CHARLOTTE 1. CF Kevin Kiermaier walked 3 times and is hitting .330.

Great Lakes 9, BOWLING GREEN 2. C Alejandro Segovia hit his 12th home run of the year…3B Tyler Goeddel was 0-2 with a walk, but stole his 25th base…RF Drew Vettleson was 1-4 with a double. He’s hitting .288…LF Josh Sale went 0-4.

HUDSON VALLEY 4, Staten Island 2. C Jake Depew went 2-3 to raise his average to .180.

PRINCETON 6, Pulaski 0 (6).Blake Snell tossed 5 shutout innings, striking out 6 and walking 3. His ERA is now 1.79 in 9 starts with 46 Ks in 40.1 innings.

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11 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    A six-man rotation for a while seems like something the Rays would do when Niemann comes back. I just hope they consider Price’s chance of reaching 20 wins when they implement the plan. He has a shot at the Cy Young this year, but I think it will take 20+ wins for him to win it as a few others (Weaver, Sale and Verlander) have slightly better top line stats, but fewer wins.

  2. Hal says:

    Why is it such a state secret as to who we’re calling up? Maddon’s Belicheck-like press conference comments are curious. Friday night: Hitting third at DH, Evan Longoria.

  3. Chris D says:

    Do you really think the Rays will go to a 6 man rotation when Shields pitches well off short rest and is perhaps coming into his own again? I don’t think so. I suspect in a desire to keep Hellickson’s innings down, they’ll maybe skip him once or twice.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Joe Maddon did it last year and James Shields was pitching pretty well then.

      Also, James Shields by days of rest: On normal 4 days rest, his career ERA is 4.04. On 5 days rest, his career ERA is 3.64. On 6 days rest, it is 2.12. He has only made one start in his career on short rest.

    • Sarah says:

      It’s not as though Niemann will come back and be ready to pitch 7 innings every 5 days — even at his best he benefited from extended time between starts. Add to that the need to limit innings for Hellickson and for Moore in anticipation (hopefully) of potential postseason action, and I see very good justification to go with 6 starters, at least during stretches with no off days.

      (Slightly off topic – I was looking at the Rays schedule and realized they have a rare off day on Sunday August 26, when of course the RNC has its welcome event at the Trop. I had assumed that MLB would have planned ahead for the Rays to be on the road just before and during the convention, but apparently not. I can’t imagine the chaos of the RNC’s security preparations mixing with regular game operations for the game on August 25).

    • Dave L says:

      It won’t be a true 6 man.

      It will be more like a 2 plus 4.

      The Rays will juggle the rotation just as they did in the first go around through the AL East and our wild card competition.

      Notice how the big two had 4 starts each early in the year against the Yanks and Sox? Nobody else shuffled the cards like that

      Who the hell else juggles his rotation like Maddon to make sure his starters match up against the AL East and our rivals for the WC?

      Nobody

      Who else juggles his starters to make sure our aces face thier aces?

      Nobody.

      I did a breakdown of who the rotation faced this year and it’s pretty interesting. Sure all teams do it but the Rays take it like everything else to a new level

      Price and Sheilds will get as many starts as any other top ML starters don’t worry.

  4. don says:

    DOn’t really care for Pena as a hitter (big secret) but if anyone can’t see he is more relaxed swinging the bat at 6 hole in the lineup. the pressures off, Maddon thinks he is doing players a favor by showing confidence, in a poor hitter putting him 2nd in the order, what he really is doing is putting more pressure on them to perform, result is worse………. with the Matsui disaster and Pena hard telling how many games Maddon COST the Rays But fans don’t know that so its ok Joe..

    • Gus says:

      For a guy who is so often shifted defensively and defeated by it, to bat Pena 2nd when the odds are about 65% he will bat at least his first at bat with nobody on base makes no sense. Deeper in the order, you maximize his times to come up with runners on. Now he can hit through that hole when the 1B is holding, or the defense has to protect against a steal of 3rd. It was somewhat emasculating to put him in the 2 hole. Actually nice to see the rays bunt and score on a bunt yesterday in the 1st inning (any productive Upton at bat is a good one, and he seems to be able to bunt, which would be a great skill for him to develop).

      Rays may be in the midst of a Pena “hot” stretch which would be nice. Jennings is also much more comfortable in the lead-off slot it seems. Nice to have the speed up top and the power in the middle. Regardless of Joe’s wacky theories, I think the players like it better this way. And that should count for something.

      • Sarah says:

        And if Des could just learn to take a walk now and then I’d say we have our lead off man for life. I’m fine with his being a .250 hitter but I’d like to see that OBP a tad higher. Jennings has walked 27 times this season; in contrast Pena has 61 walks and Zobrist 68 (and Jennings did miss about 20 or so games with an injury, but that scarcely accounts for the low BB rate)

        With his speed, he should be doing whatever he can to get on base.

  5. John A says:

    I really don’t see this area’s fascination with Carlos Pena. He is a 190’s hitter that would be laughed out of every town in MLB except here. He strikes out time after time after time and yet, when he gets his two hits a week, all seems forgiven.
    Two years ago, he batted .197 and got 10 million from the sucker Cubs. They didn’t want him after a .228 year so we take him back for 7.5 million so he can get back into his usual .190 groove. Am I the only one that remembers when a power hitter batted .250 was chastised for a low average?
    Of course there is an upside; if the power ever goes out at the Trop, we can all rest assured that someone can pitch to Pena to keep the air moving around. Then again, with all the lights out, he just might make contact.
    I VOTE FOR THE WINDMILL!!!!

  6. s says:

    don says carlo has cute dimples, they make him feel all full of glee!!!

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