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

RAYS 5, Orioles 3 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Alex Cobb. It was the biggest start of his young career, and he gave up just 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings. It was the 6th time this season that Cobb worked at least 7 innings and allowed no more than 1 run (23 starts). Jeremy Hellickson (4), Matt Moore (2) and Jeff Niemann (1), did that just 7 times combined (69 starts)…Fernando Rodney. With a scoreless 9th inning, Honey Badger now has an ERA of 0.605. That is 0.009 better than Dennis Eckersly in 1990 (0.614). If he does not give up an earned run in the final 2 games, he will set the record for lowest ERA by a reliever, minimum 50 innings pitched.

THE BAD: It’s Over. When the Rays game ended, the Rays were still alive. They had done their part, winning 11 of their last 12 games. But the Rangers didn’t come through, losing to the A’s on the West Coast, eliminating the Rays…In-Game Interviews. I like in-game interviews. And 99.9% of the time I think Sun Sports does a great job. But it was a little weird that they would suddenly try an in-game interview during game 160 with the score tied 0-0 and the Rays still alive for a playoff spot. In doing so, Dewayne Staats and Brian Anderson completely ignored nearly an entire half-inning of action. Making it worse was that the interview wasn’t even about the game or the playoff chase. It was an interview with David Price about winning 20 games and whether he should be the Cy Young. Which brings up…David Price’s 20 Wins and Cy Young hopes. I was happy David Price won 20 games. And I believe Price should win the AL Cy Young. But why was that the only topic of conversation on Monday? The Rays were still fighting for a playoff spot, and all anybody could talk about is the Cy Young award. It was maddening. I’m not saying we can’t talk about it. But the Cy Young Award should have been the secondary topic until the Rays were eliminated.

THE TELLING: What are the chances Evan Longoria will be in the lineup tonight or tomorrow? 0%?…Want to know why the Rays have such a good run differential and yet are going to miss the playoffs? They are an MLB-best 24-11 in games decided by 5 runs or more (the 11 losses are the fewest in MLB). And they are 21-26 in 1-run games. That is 21st in MLB…According to CoolStandings.com, the Rays now have a 0.0% chance of making the playoffs.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Be sure to click the <Read More…> below for a couple of entertaining clips from last night’s game…
  • A new stadium is one factor in attendance. But as the Mets have shown, it is no guarantee. [BI Sports]
  • David Price still has a slight lead over Justin Verlander in the Cy Young Predictor. Fernando Rodney has fallen to fourth. [ESPN]
  • David Price is the 15th member of the “The Black Aces.” [Big League Stew]
  • Adrian Clayborn is going to be out a while. [JoeBucsFan]

Joe Maddon thought the umpires missed a check-swing call and let them have it: “YOU CAN’T MISS THOSE CALLS RIGHT NOW. LET’S F***ING GO! WAKE UP!”

Reid Brignac and Sam Fuld have a well-choreographed handshake…

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14 Comments

  1. KT says:

    A season of what-ifs, should-ofs, and could-ofs comes to an end. Remarkable that it even lasted this long considering how bad the offense was when dealing with all the injuries and just overall bad luck. Hopefully they can piece together a strong team again next season, but I think it will be a while until we see a Rays team with the potential that this team had.

  2. Gus says:

    A tough season where they lost so much productive time from Longo, Keppinger, Joyce, Jennings and Upton. The handling of the pitching staff was a master work, even down to the spotting of breaks in September when fatigue started to show up. The bullpen and Rodney’s usage was fantastic. The loss of Neiman (2 times) was overcome with no loss in performance. The workloads were appropriate for almost everybody (except maybe Wade Davis being underused and the 8th inning being exclusively Peralta when perhaps there were better options). Kudos to all involved on the pitching side.

    The downside: While the injuries to the position players were unavoidable, Maddon’s insistence on playing Elliot Johnson so much may have been the one managerial thing that was in his control of that he got flat wrong. Consider:

    In games where Elliot got 3 or more plate appearances (roughly his starts), they were 38-37; in all other games they were 51-34. I know there are a million other variables (and that corresponds to some degree to Longo being out), but that is a pretty damning stat to me. He was an outright disaster at the plate, on the bases and in the field; I can excuse being limited physically; but to survive in the majors, Elliot had to be smart and fundamentally sound and he was neither (stop asking him to bunt or steal; he can’t do those things). They fact that it took Maddon so long to realize that (he had only one at 3 PA game in September) is the season’s biggest regret.

  3. Alex says:

    Pena and Scott didn’t work out this year unfortunately. Two of the biggest reasons our season failed. Longo obviously being the biggest. Hopefully they can find some more gems next year, Longo will stay healthy, Rodney will stay dominate and the pitching will be just as good.

  4. Political_Man says:

    I have to disagree with those who point to the offense as the reason this team failed to reach the playoffs. At times this team was below average defensively and struggled on the base paths. The offense could have preformed much better however these were two areas the Rays have excelled in past seasons. Clean those two areas up and the Rays are resting the starters tonight.

    • Jay says:

      Fair point about the D, but you cannot win games with 2 or 3 hits and 0 runs scored. We had plenty of nights where the only offensive potential was a walk.

      • Political Man says:

        Again, the offense needed to score more runs. There is no doubt about that. There were times with Longoria and others on and off the DL that the offense looked pathetic. However I would submit this was still a 95 or 96 win team were it not for defensive lapses and egregious baserunning mistakes.

        And I think part of the defensive lapses can be blamed on a failed management experiment where this team tried to look at the spray charts from game to game and move the better defenders into those zones. That’s why you had games in which Sean Rodriguez and Will Rhymes played 3rd and 2nd respectively and then the next night they played 2nd and 3rd respectively. Unfortunately what we ended up with were players who had trouble adjusting.

        Just a very disappointing season especially when you look at what the pitching staff was doing this year.

        • Gus says:

          This is a point I’d forgotten about — the defense got much better when Zobrist took over SS and we stopped moving everybody around like a fire drill in the infield.

          Most people on the team ran the bases well (Upton’s pick offs and Elliot Johnson’s total baserunning being the exception) and most people fielded well (Pena and Upton were not great like they used to be; the journeymen in the infield were below average and Molina let an alarming numbers of balls get by him).

          More than anything, we got great years out of the starters pretty much and have no playoffs to show for it. Need to find some offense this off-season.

  5. Jay says:

    This one will have a little sting to it – IF ONLY WE COULD HIT will be the mutterings as we watch the rest of the playoffs. I would have loved to see our pitching in the playoffs. We have a record-setting kind of year from the pitching staff and it still wasn’t enough to get it done.

    This team needs a new hitting philosophy. They need to re-define what they are looking for and what stats they are looking at because it just is not working. We can all point to the streak at the end with healthy Longo, but the big picture is what matters and this offense is so flaming hot or ice cold it just doesn’t make sense. And ultimately when we needed it, we couldn’t muster ANY OFFENSE.

    Hopefully a new philosophy at the plate will equal a different kind of player acquisition and a different outcome than the past couple of years.

  6. Amanda says:

    Cork … the Rays’ offense picked up at the end when Maddon told the team to relax and don’t show up to batting practice if you’re not feeling it. Can you read into that that Maddon was in essence telling the team to stop listening to the batting coach? I don’t think that’s necessarily what Maddon was thinking, but the thought crossed my mind.

  7. Alex says:

    I think for a lot of this year the hitting philosophy that the coaches talked about, working the count and taking walks, really wears on some of the guys. You don’t want everyone swinging at every pitch but when you pound it in their heads to take more pitchers the players are going to end up taking good, hittable pitches. Look at Desmond Jennings. He got back in the groove when he started going after pitchers early in the count. The problem with the Rays current philosophy is that 22/25 of their hitters are awful with 2 strikes other than Kep, Longo, and Zob. Sean Rodriguez is a guy that would benefit immensely from a Keppinger like approach.

    Another problem for the Rays other than the two I touched on in my early post, was the failing of Matt Joyce and Desmond Jennings. Jennings picked it up and played much steadier but Joyce was an auto out for most of the year especially near the end. Seeing him come up with men on was a waste of time.

    Ultimately the Ray just have to many parts. Guys that can only hit lefties or only hit righties. Unfortunately I don’t see Keppinger coming back because I’m betting the Rays think he’ll go Casey Kotchman on them.

    • Rob says:

      Jennings hasn’t had any out of this world seasons, in the majors or in the minors. I think he is a fast .250, 15 HR, 60 RBI type guy. You are not going to get much more out of him than that. And I don’t think he currently has the ability to play CF every day. His reads and jumps off the bat are average and his arm is below average. I think you see a big drop off in CF when Upton signs elsewhere.

      I think they keep Kep due to his versatility – they put a premium on that, and Kotchman couldn’t play anywhere but 1st.

      Going into this season I thought Joyce was going to have a breakout year. I was thinking .275, 27, 85, but that obviously didn’t happen. Maybe he will always be relegated to a serviceable platoon outfielder.

  8. Alex says:

    I didn’t want this to get lost in my long post up there but maybe someone can explain this to me. I played baseball for a long time and I’ve watched it my whole life. I understand the in’s and out’s pretty well but there is one thing I will never understand.

    Why is it that a guy like Jose Lobaton will switch hit even though he is awful left handed? He’s batting .178 lefty and .310 right handed. He may be just as bad hitting right handed vs a right handed pitcher but it may get him in a comfort zone at the very least. Rather than having to worry about his mechanics from both sides. One of which is failing him horribly

    • Rob says:

      I have always wondered the same thing. He can’t hit much worse than .178 if he closed his eyes. I have seen many times where a switch hitter is awful from one side of the plate and wonder if maybe they just aren’t very good using the non dominant side. The only thing I can think that it does is give the opposing manager something to think about regarding match ups, but I hardly think that small benefit is worth it when there is such a disparity.

    • Don says:

      DO you think its Labatons job to determine he can’t hit lefty and hes a decent hitterRight handed or is that something that should be determined by someone else….coaches or batboy..
      I guarantee you one thing if he was playing for Showalter, he wouldn’t get close to the plate batting lefty…answer your question?

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