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

Yankees 6, RAYS 4 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Matt Moore. Anytime a rookie works into the 7th inning, strikes out 9 and walks just 1 Yankee, that is a good night. And if he had better defense behind him, he wouldn’t have given up 6 runs (4 earned). Double-nickel deserved a better fate. Then again, he was tipping his pitches (see the video here)…Ben Zobrist. Is there another good hitter in baseball with an uglier swing than Zobrist? Maybe Hunter Pence? But the list is few. And last night, it was a 2-run triple that had many thinking the Rays were going to pull this one out.

THE BAD: Elliot Johnson. Sometimes a player just has one of those days. And poor EJ is having one of those weeks. First was a failed safety squeeze. Then, on a play in which he probably should have deferred to Sam Fuld, he dropped a pop-up in shallow center. But the worst play came with Ichiro on third base. EJ, playing in, assumed Ichiro would stay at third, but by the time Johnson realized Ichiro was breaking for home, EJ rushed his throw which went to the backstop. Of course, Jose Lobaton didn’t help matters when he got a case of the alligator arms (he was apparently worried that Ichiro might run him over), and a 2nd run scored.

THE TELLING: Rays are now 75-62, 2.5 games behind the Yankees and 1.5 games behind both the O’s and A’s. The Rays need to go 17-8 in the final 25 games to get to 92 wins, or 15-10 just to get to 90 wins.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Bobby Valentine defended his tardiness to a recent game by mentioning that Joe Maddon arrives at the park at 4:00 pm (he actually gets there earlier). Well, Maddon then took some shots at Bobby V.. [TampaBay.com]
  • Were Joe Maddon’s comments in reference to Bobby Valentine a cheap shot? One blogger thinks so. [HardballTalk]
  • Melky Cabrera, suspended for using steroids, might still win the batting title even though he doesn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify. [BI Sports]
  • MLBTradeRumors takes a look at Jeff Keppinger’s value in the free agency market following the season. [MLBTR]
  • The Bucs are now begging fans to support the team. [JoeBucsFan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

DURHAM. season completed

MONTGOMERY. regular season completed. playoffs begin tonight.

CHARLOTTE. season completed

Lake County 5, BOWLING GREEN 4. (Hot Rods trail 1-0 in best-of-3) Parker Markel was pounded for 5 runs in just 2.2 innings…RF Drew Vettleson went 3-5 and DH Cameron Seitzer had 2 hits and 3 RBI.

HUDSON VALLEY 3, Tri-City 2. 3B Richie Shaffer was 2-3 with a double in the final game of the regular season. The first game of the playoffs is tomorrow.

PRINCETON. season completed

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11 Comments

  1. CC says:

    EJ is a minor league player at best.

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  2. Raysfan137 says:

    First, the throw was 6 feet up the line and tailing, not 3 inches. Jose diving into it and not catching could result in obstruction call, injury, or both.

    But… I will repost a comment I just made elsewhere were your fellow negative energy junkies are making it get rid of EJ day:

    All you people ready to burn Elliott Johnson in effigy should go read game recaps from 5/13, 5/25, 6/3 and 6/10 to name a few. And then think about what comments you made or would have made after those games. He is a key part of this team and contributed big time early when Evan went down.

    Is he Ryne Sandberg at second, no ? But he works hard to win. He didn't make those errors from lack of work or effort. He also didn't put a gun to anyone's head to be here or to be in the lineup. Physical errors happen, and they happen more with utility guys moving around. And that's what we must do to compete. It is what it is.

    Game was tied when he made the bad throw, by the way. We didn't score a run after that. Whose to say we would have won ? If you blame anyone, question why Maddon insists on resting hot players when he could go for the jugular (e.g. BJ and Tats). But 2 of 3 against the Yanks is still a good step forward here.

    Disappointing and frustrating - yes. Get rid of EJ ? For whom ? At what cost ?

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    • Sarah says:

      I see little benefit from piling on, and I agree that Johnson seems like a hard working guy. We want him to succeed.

      But his defensive miscues in a number of games have been really problematic, as well as puzzling. I recall when he was brought up last year, and made the team this year, he was promoted as someone whose hitting was questionable, but whose good base running and reasonably strong defense at several positions made him an asset.

      Lately, however, he seems unable to throw the ball. That he "only" has 14 errors (which, for a part-time player, is pretty mediocre) is thanks to some first basemen who have been able to scoop some of these throws. Having an infielder who is going through some sort of defensive slump is really a problem, and pointing to a few games in May where he came through on offense doesn't address the concern that he's turning routine ground-outs into adventures.

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  3. Dave L says:

    The rosters have been expanded and we have other choices at middle infield. Johnsons issues have not been limited to the past week. Initially early in the year I thought I was wrong about him after he hit .275 and .295 in May and June.

    But his fielding and decisionmaking have been horrible too often. He is not a very accurate thrower. So many of his throws, even if not recorded as errors are just plain off target.

    Lobaton was bracing for a play at the plate and setting up to block the plate and recieve the ball from an infielder who fielded it cleanly. If it were coming from an outfielder you could blame him but not from the infield. He is assigned minimal blame on that play. It may have been off by 3" on someones TV screen. But as Raysfan says it was 6 feet up the line in the path of the oncoming runner albiet a bite sized runner.

    Since the all star break EJ is batting .160/.220/.235 (AVG, OBP, SLG)

    He seems like a really nice guy and apparently is a good clubhouse guy to have around but his playing time should be reduced and I dont wish to see him in the infield late in close games anymore.

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  4. Gus says:

    I am not piling on. I've been consistent here all season begging the Rays to not play Johnson where his arm is a problem. Ironic that they move him to 2b (to hide his arm?) and guy misplays one and throws one wild in a crucial stretch (he did it twice Monday night and they escaped) I am sure he is a nice man and for a while this season was a decent hitter for a stretch from one side of the plate, but his defense and base running are dreadful. His throwing mechanics need work. Rays have better options. It is the Rays fault -- Elliot has shown an inaccurate arm all and shaky overall defense season and it was inevitable that his defense would come back to bite them.

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    • Sarah says:

      I heard that Maddon said something about Moore being a "fly ball pitcher" in explaining his use of Scott at first base (and perhaps his justification for sticking Johnson at second), but even fly ball pitchers occasionally need their infield!
      I've heard some say that Johnson's been asked to play several different positions, and hasn't played second in months, but I didn't think his errors yesterday (and I'm including the Jeter "hit" in that category) were readily attributable to someone playing out of position - a short shop could easily have been called upon to make a variation of both those plays.

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      • Andy says:

        Tho I was very upset w/EJ at the time, I was also very agitated at Maddon for creating this situation!! Yes, as a SS, he could have (& probably has) had similar plays to make, but changing sides of an infield can NOT be easy, especially where the Trop's dome is concerned. People always talk about the pitchers' release point; couldn't this apply to players as well? Just a shift in a degree or more might account for the botched throw.

        Seems like JoeMAD sometimes sticks w/a decision just to make a point or to validate the initial choice. Ok, so he wants Zo at SS! Does that mean he should put other guys in odd positions to accomodate this? Before his recent few starts at 3rd recently, I can't recall even seeing EJ there this year at all. Gary Shelton w/the Times reported he hadn't played 2nd since May 11th. Decisions like this just don't seem wise, especially in important games like this!!!

        What's more, BJ could have kept playing, hopefully continuing his hot streak, & rested tonight!! Just sayin . . .

        SMH!!!!

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  5. MJ says:

    Bobby V is so overmatched that its awkward to keep reading and hearing all of these stories. Clearly the Boston media smells blood and they must realize like everyone else that Valentine is on the way out, so they just keep digging for a sound bite or story.

    Just an all around ugly and pathetic situation in Beantown, and I'll admit that it is somewhat enjoyable to witness.

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  6. MarkE says:

    You people DO realize that all the public complaining about EJ is going to result in Maddon playing him MORE, right?

    Better watch out, EJ will be batting lead off and pitching on Friday.

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