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

Mariners 3, RAYS 2 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Matt Moore. It certainly wasn’t double-nickel’s fault as Matt Moore continued the Rays dominant pitching ways, striking out 9 and walking just 1 in 7 innings. That is 4 straight starts having allowed 1 run or less, and 6 straight giving up 2 runs or less. In 6 starts since the All-Star break, Moore has a 1.43 ERA and should be 5-1…Hitting Like A Boss. BJ Upton had a big hit early, with an RBI triple (probably should have been a double). And he now has hits in 10 of the last 11 games and has scored in 8 runs in the last 8 games.

THE BAD: Ugly Offense. For the first time since Evan Longoria returned, the ugly offense reared its ugly head. Despite a fast start with 2 runs in the first inning, the Rays failed to score again. In 3 separate innings, the Rays had runners in scoring position with less than 2 outs and failed to score. That included the top of the 9th when Jeff Keppinger doubled to lead off the inning, but was followed by Carlos Pena and Ryan Roberts striking out…Ugly Defense. One of the keys to the great pitching of late has been the suddenly improved defense. But then Carlos Pena, typically one of the dependable defensive players, got caught in between on a sac bunt in the 9th inning, unable to decided whether to get the runner at second or first. His indecision led to his throw going into right field…Ugly Pitching? Should we get on Joe Maddon’s case for pitching Fernando Rodney 4 days in a row and 6 of the last 8? Probably not. If JoeMa goes to Kyle Farnsworth, and Farnsville blows it, we would all be screaming about how he should have used Rodney. That being said, Rodney clearly didn’t have his A+ stuff. And while Pena’s error was the big blow, Rodney did give up 2 hits (although maybe the 2nd doesnt happen with normal defense). And more importantly, he had no strikeouts on a night that he really need strikeouts [As several have pointed out, in the late-night air, I apparently blacked out the strikeout just before the game-winning hit. So he had 1 strikeout when he needed 2].

THE TELLING: Jeff Nieman made his 2nd rehab start (see below)…The Rays are now tied with the Orioles for the Wild Card lead at 63-53. The Tigers and A’s are 1.5 games back.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Luke Scott will rejoin the Rays on Thursday in Anaheim. [TBO.com]
  • Here’s a look at the AL East since the beginning of the season. It is remarkable how the Rays and Orioles have had almost identical seasons. [BI Sports]
  • As we have speculated, Joe Maddon hinted that he might use a 6-man rotation when Jeff Niemann returns. I would be surprised if it lasted very long, but 2-3 weeks would be good to give some guys a little extra rest. [TampaBay.com]
  • If you have been off the grid, here’s the epic meltdown in Boston. I’m far from the only person that thought this at the time, but why in the world did anybody think Bobby Valentine was a good fit for that team? And no, it’s not all his fault, and quite frankly, he and the players deserve each other now. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • The City of St. Pete will not sue the developer that wants to put a new baseball stadium in the Carillon area. [TampaBay.com]
  • The Bucs will be blacked out on Friday. [JoeBucsFan]
  • Joel Peralta sounds surprised by his success this season. [TampaBay.com]
  • Joe Smith talked with Ryan Roberts about his tattoos and his charitable work. [TampaBay.com]

DOWN ON THE FARM

DURHAM 6, Columbus 3. Matt Torra worked 6.2 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and no walks. He struck out 3…SS Tim Beckham went 0-5 and is hitting .255…RF Leslie Anderson 3-4 raising his average to .314.

MONTGOMERY 4, Huntsville 1. Merrill Kelly improved to 7-2 with 5 shutout innings. His ERA is now 3.21…RF Mikie Mahtook went 0-3.

Bradenton 5, CHARLOTTE 4. Jeff Niemann allowed 4 runs in 3.1 innings, striking out 3 and walking 2. Of his 64 pitches, 41 were strikes…DH Luke Scott homered in what was likely his final rehab start.

BOWLING GREEN. no game scheduled

HUDSON VALLEY. no game scheduled

Burlington 8, PRINCETON 2.

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9 Comments

  1. Hal says:

    I thought Rodney was fine – the first hit was hit well, then Carlos screwed him, then the sac fly to tie. Then he DID get a huge K with the 5 man infield. The bloop single won it for them. Just gonna happen sometimes.

    But really, this is on the offense and specifically Carlos. We keep getting fed that we don’t need to pay attention to batting average and I’m fine with that, but his OPS is .667 and OBP is .322. He has struck out 143 times! 3 more last night in key spots. His defense hasn’t been anything better than average.

  2. KT says:

    Rodney did have a strikeout. He struck out Olivo which was huge at that point. Really can’t put this on him, he was forced to pitch with his back against the wall because of Peña’s play.

    Speaking of Peña, he is absolutely lost in all regards. When he came up after Kepp’s double I was furious he didn’t bunt. And then he struck out and I was reallllly furious.

    Look- I know, and I get (to a certain degree) the notion that a bunt doesn’t increase your chances of winning, but with Peña up and a runner on 2nd with no outs, a bunt would’ve given us a solid chance at getting an extra run for breathing room. Bunting is pretty much the only thing I’ve seen Peña do with consistency anyway. Have to call a spade a spade, this team needs the small ball to score sometimes. Zobrist had it right a few games back, look how well that worked out.

  3. bill says:

    rodney did have a strikeout

  4. Beazy says:

    Pena, COM’ON MAN…

  5. Gus says:

    Tough loss with King Felix due up.

    Rodney has let lead off guys on in the last few appearances. I’m thinking giving him some rest is a good idea. I also had a flashback to a blown save in Seattle in 2009 when Joe was pitching JP’s arm off that was a killer in that season. This team is better.

    Carlos’ defense hasn’t been as good this year (and last night was just dreadful), but we don’t have anybody better. Could we sneak Kotchman back through waivers?

    I’d also note that even though S-Rod was covering over there okay, the revolving door of defense sometimes rears its ugly head. I was nervous before that bunt was even laid down just because of everybody but Pena and the catcher were new to their position that inning.

    • KT says:

      The revolving door of defense also had me worried. When they showed each of the faces at their new positions in the 9th, they all had this uncomfortable look to them.

      • Gus says:

        Zobrist dropping an easy ball in RF the other day (after 5 days at SS) had me thinking Jack of all Trades, master of none. Specifically, I don’t mind moving positions between games so much as mid-game changes across the board (not just one defensive sub for a lesser defender). Baseball defense is hard, a thinking man’s activity. To be really good at it, I think you need to at least be comfortable. We didn’t look comfortable all around last night in that last inning (maybe Carlos throws to SS if Zobrist is there instead of EJ? who knows).

  6. don says:

    I used to cry about Pena hitting 2nd finally a light when on in Maddons head and he dropped Pena….look how thats turned out, Now I have one more idea for you Maddon…Pena to the bench at least 50% of the time…I know that makes you & AF look bad for signing him….but I guarantee you it would improve your team…If that is important to you?

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