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, Yankees 3 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: James Shields. Defensively, the Rays tried to give this game away. But thanks to a workmanlike performance from James Shields, the Rays are now 8-5 against the mighty Yankees this season. And like he has done in recent starts, Shields went heavy on the fastball (well, heavy for him). Of his 121 pitches, 55 were fastballs. And of those, 6 were swinging strikes, which is huge considering it is not a very good fastball and considering how good the Yankees are offensively…Chris Gimenez. Of course the new guy did something big. And not only did he single home the first run in the second inning. But he capped off the biggest game of his young big league career with the go-ahead RBI single in the 8th.

THE BAD: Shouldn’t Have Been This Close. Neither was ruled an actual error, but both were mental errors. With one out in the 4th, Ben Francisco dove for a ball in the gap, missing it by several feet and allowing A-Rod to score all the way from first base and allowing Raul Ibanez to go all the way to third. He’s gotta know the runners and keep the ball in front of him. It was an unnecessary risk taken too early in the game. Then, the very next batter hits a ball between first and second fielded by Jeff Keppinger. He looked at Ibanez on third who froze, but did not head back. So when Keppinger then decided to run back to first base, Ibanez broke for home and scored. And to make matters worse, Keppinger didn’t even get the runner at first base, diving in late. On those two plays, the Yankees went from trailing 2-1 to up 3-2.

THE TELLING: Evan Longoria was pulled early, but says the move was precautionary. A day game after traveling the night before probably played a factor in the decision…Joe Maddon was ejected for the 3rd time this season. You have to go frame-by-frame, but Rich Thompson was out. And you can always tell when Maddon is going to get kicked out when he does this moveMark Topkin says catcher Stephen Vogt and RP Dane de la Rosa will be added to the roster on Wednesday, and that Chris Archer could join them…The two players placed on waivers this week, Will Rhymes and Albert Suarez, cleared waivers and will remain in the Rays organization…The Rays are now 2.5 behind the Yankees (3 in loss column) and 1.5 games behind the Orioles for 2nd Wild Card.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Jeff Niemann has inflammation in his shoulder and is out indefinitely. He is hoping a couple days rest will help, but there is also the possibility that he will be shut down for the year. Based on the rotation and a Monday off-day next week, Niemann wouldn’t pitch before next Tuesday anyways. And even then, Alex Cobb will be available on extra rest. [TampaBay.com]
  • Joe Maddon acknowledged after the game that umpire Bob Davidson got the call right on Rich Thompson’s slide at second base. [TampaBay.com]
  • However, Joe Maddon says that he “didn’t say anything bad.” However, a closer look at the replay suggests that Maddon dropped several F-bombs, including a “you f***ing blew it Bob!” [MLB Video]
  • Sean Rodriguez sounds confident that he will be back this season. [TBO.com]
  • Did Mark Dominik know what he was doing this offseason? Kinda looks like it. [JoeBucsFan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

Charlotte 5, DURHAM 3. Lance Pendleton gave up 5 runs in 3.2 innings on 6 hits and a walk…SS Tim Beckham went 2-4 and RF Stephen Vogt was 2-3 to raise his average to .272.

Huntsville @ MONTGOMERY. cancelled

CHARLOTTE. season over

BOWLING GREEN 5, Fort Wayne 4 (gm 1). C Alejandro Segovia hit his 15th home run and 3B Cameron Seitzer was 1-2 with a walk and 2 RBI.

Fort Wayne 5, BOWLING GREEN 2 (gm 2). Drew Vettleson went 1-2 with a walk. He’s hitting .275.

HUDSON VALLEY 2, Tri-City 1 (11). Taylor Guerrieri tossed 5 shutout innings on 2 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 4 and finished the season with a 1.04 ERA.

PRINCETON. season over

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15 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    Cork: On head-to head record. If Yankees and Rays finished tied at the top of the division, would the Rays' edge in head-to-head give them the division title? I think this was the old tiebreaker, but given the stakes of division v. wild card now, I sure hope it is the new tiebreaker. What about if O's win division and Yanks-Rays tied for wild card? Do we play it off then to get into the 1-game play-off?

    Elliot Johnson at 3b with that arm is asking for trouble (wouldn't Roberts be the better 3b defender). Please make it stop, Joe.

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    • DRR says:

      I could be wrong, but my understanding is that ties for the division now require a tie-breaker game.

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      • Dave L says:

        OOPs i mean you are correct about the playoff sorry

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        • Gus says:

          Good Lord could this get complicated, but there is a tiebraker for the division, even if the loser would be the wild card . . .

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball_tie-breaking_procedures

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  2. Dave L says:

    You are correct.

    The weirdest thing about this years wild card is the winner then hosts the first two of the LCS, against the highest seed with the 3rd seeded division winner hosting the 2 seed, then the Final 3 at the higher seeds park.

    Next year back to 2-2-1.

    Never heard the reasoning behind that anomaly

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    • DRR says:

      I think the reason is the schedule. They needed to squeeze in the WC playoff game this year (since they didn't announce the 2nd WC until after the schedule had been announced) so they went with 2-3 instead of 2-2-1 for the first round because it uses one less travel day. Next year they will schedule in the extra day for the WC game from the start and can get back to 2-2-1.

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  3. Sarah says:

    Both the best and worst thing about being a Rays fan: your season hangs on whether some marginal AAAA guy can come through with a big hit. Dan Johnson, Chris Gimenez....

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    • Gus says:

      I actually felt good about Giminez there (against all logic). Those guys have been in the minors so long, when they get another taste of the show, they tend to rise to the occasion (in limited samples).

      I've never seen a diamond combo look as slow to ground balls as Jeter and Cano were yesterday. Unless it was hit right at them, the ball was through. Put it in play Rays and expose those guys.

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      • Sarah says:

        Indeed, which is why being a Rays fan can be hugely satisfying. I still remember Rich Thompson's first (and thus far only) MLB hit -- which drove in a game winning run, if I recall correctly.

        Cano was slow to that ball, and also slow out of the box on his grounder to Johnson. But Rays weren't exactly flawless on defense. They were lucky, really, to win that game.

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      • Alex says:

        Cano is actually a really good fielder his problem is that he BJ Upton's way too much (see yesterdays game). But most of the time he's so damn good overall that no one really cares. It'd be the same way with BJ, but he's so mediocre for a large majority of the season that his lazy/stupid plays stick out more.

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        • Beth says:

          I'm sorry, but this "BJ Upton is lazy and mediocre" meme is tired and can't be substantiated.

          Upton is an excellent fielder. I'm not conversant with defensive stats so I can't easily back that up quantitatively, but I watch a lot of baseball and can't think of many balls, if any, misplayed by him over the last 2-3 seasons. I can, however, think of a lot of challenging plays he's made.

          A few years ago Maddon publicly got on his case for failing to run all out to first base, and he had a year or two when his pick off and caught stealing numbers were too high. I don't believe that's the case this year, however. His steal percentage is around 80%. If you want to look for a player who has had continual brain farts on the basepaths this year, it's actually Ben Zobrist. His successful steal rate is closer to 60%, and I can recall one or two close games lost because of boneheaded things he did running the bases.

          Yet, for too many fans, and for the national media, the "BJ is lazy/stupid" refrain gets repeated.

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          • Alex says:

            Really because everytime he gets picked off I think: "Wow he has zero baseball instincts". But really my favorite is when he tries to throw a guy out that he has no chance to get and then he allows other baserunners to move up.

            And that's just it. There is no defending BJ and if you do you have no idea what you are talking about. His baseball instincts are terrible. BJ is such a mediocre player that if he played for any other team no one would care, but he plays for the Rays so he's one of our best players. Trust me if we had a guy like Cano, or Trout or Pujols the difference would be night and day.

            BJ has the talent but he doesn't put forth the effort enough to fulfill it. He's had years to change that stupid hitch in his swing and he hasn't. Which has led to his crap average and high k numbers.

            I'd rather have 9 Ben Zobrist's than 9 BJ Upton's. Zobrist isn't as fast and he may get thrown out but he probably isn't calling his own steals. Unlike when BJ gets picked off. Zobrist gives 100% everyday. BJ? Not a chance

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  4. Dave L says:

    I think the pre 2011 Sheilds would have come unglued watching all that wacky infield play behind him.

    It was interesting to see him joking around with EJ in the dugout after watching him boot the ball all over the infield.

    I think Sheilds has become a real team leader and has matured and doesnt let his emotions get him off track like in the past.

    It is going to be an interesting final month.

    I think all the Rays realize we are seriously lacking in talent in and experience in alot of areas. Its not like we have a bunch of budding Josh Hamiltons who are disinterested and need a kick in the pants or to be hollered at.

    Guys are playing in positions they just arent used to in an attempt to put some sembelence of a potent offensive lineup out every night so its not always going to look pretty on defense.

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    • Beth says:

      I would also imagine that pitchers know that for every error made, there may be two great, hit-stealing plays made (well, maybe not by Johnson). Your fielders may occasionally let you down, but more often they save your skin.

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  5. Ken says:

    Add a little mojo and moxie, mix them up with some mo from a series win over the Yanks and you have Raysball at it's frustrating finest. Hang on to your hats.

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