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

RAYS 8, Orioles 7 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Kyle Farnsworth. As big as Joyce’s home run was, Farnsworth was just as important. After the Orioles had retaken the lead in the 7th, Farnsville came in with 1 out and runners on 1st and 3rd. But he got the groundball double-play the Rays desperately needed and kept the game close…Matt Joyce and Shelley Duncan. For all the talk about the offense, what we really mean is that there is a glaring lack of power. And that is especially true with Luke Scott on the shelf and Wil Myers in the minors. So it is nice to see Duncan go deep to tie the game in the sixth and even better to see Joyce go deep to win the game…Balanced Offense. Outside of the power, the Rays need to find balance in the lineup. What I mean is that there are some glaring holes offensively. Most managers will clump all those guys together at the bottom of the order. The problem with that is that you give the opposing pitcher a break for 2-3 batters. But at the same time, you want to make sure guys like Evan Longoria are protected. Last night there was good balance. The top 3 hitters in the lineup had 5 hits. The middle 3 had 4 hits including a home run. And the bottom 3 had 5 hits and a home run (that’s including pinch-hitters). If a team gets production, any production, from each of those three sections, they will win a lot of games.

THE BAD: Fernando Rodney. El Tejon blew just two saves in 2012. But after just one appearance in 2013, Rodney has already blown a save. Was it just an off night? I hope so. Rodney’s fastball started slow (94). But by the end of the inning it was back up to 98. So it is hard not to look back at how he was used in the World Baseball Classic (too much) and how Joe Maddon had to shut him down just prior to the season starting. And now Rodney is being asked to re-ramp up the arm. That is a lot to expect from a max-effort pitcher like Rodney.

THE TELLING: BJ Upton is off to a rough start with the Braves. He is 0-8 with 5 strikeouts, including an 0-4 with 4 strikeouts last night…The Durham Bulls open tonight with Chris Archer on the mound…Roberto Hernandez will make his debut today.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • As expected, Evan Longoria’s comments have reached James Shields who is “disappointed” and thinks Longoria should “be worried about his own team.” That last quote is the troubling one. That one makes it sound like Shields is not giving Longoria the benefit of the doubt with the quote. And if that is true, it makes it sound like there might have been some underlying tension between the two while they were teammates. [TampaBay.com]
  • And now the national media is starting to pick up on Evan Longoria’s comments. [CBS Sports]
  • Some people are protective of others. And some have the natural instinct to protect themselves. It might be something that is hardwired in us when we are born. And this guy is definitely part of the latter group. [BI Sports]
  • The Montgomery Biscuits have a new cap. [Biscuit Crumbs]
  • Who will the Bucs draft? [JoeBucsFan]

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7 Comments

  1. Don says:

    How’s all those “we are really going to miss BJ fans doing” haven’t heard anything.. Early, but I will take Jennings in CF and at the plate anyday besides the Strike out KIng…
    Duncan is the Power answer to the Rays Power Problem:
    Hit: Jenn. ZO, Longoria, Duncan….you got it….. Scott who?
    Shields gets His “SHOT” April 30th …Longo got his cheap one in the Media,
    More to come…

    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      Duncan is the answer to the power problem?? You need to distribute that crack you’re on because that’s obviously some good stuff.

  2. Dave L says:

    The CBS sports headline was Did Longoria say James Shields and B.J. Upton have a ‘losing mentality?’

    No Mike Axisa and your editors, he did not say that. To put it in quotes was misleading. Longoria never uttered the words ‘losing mentality’ then you have the lazy misleading headline which fabricates a quote that never happened.

    This is how things get blown up. A guy makes an admittedly clumsy but nuanced point and you infer and blatantly make up a lie of a quote.

    Shame on Mike Axisa and his editors for making up quotes

  3. Alex says:

    Poor Shields is probably still made that he got traded to the Royals. I’d be mad too being stuck on that team

  4. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    Rodney undoubtedly suffered from the abbreviated shut-down as a result of the WBC over-use, but the ump robbed him of a few strikes and you could immediately tell that his emotions got away form him…

    Lobaton was really good behind the plate and pretty good next to it too- he was definitely improved at framing (no doubt with help from The Slug).

    BJ will need time to adjust to not being the best outfielder on the team… he’s not even the best outfielder in his family… in fact he may be #3 of the 3 Braves’ OF’s. That reality may be the shot in the arm he’s needed for the last 5 years. I hope he works it out.

  5. Gus says:

    I’m not going to lie — after watching more Rays spring training than is probably healthy (and sounding the alarm here that the Rays were not looking good at all the last two weeks of the spring) — I was thrilled to see Duncan (who showed that power all spring) hit it out, and hope we have a Norton-Pena thing here with Scott-Duncan. He reminds me of a poor man’s Mark Reynolds. Good to have a big player out there. The Rays are pretty short most days — that is the source of their power deficit at its core.

    Joyce hit off of lefties in the spring, so my new cause is going to renew my campaign here for Joyce to get at bats against lefties. He has too good of a swing and is too good defensively, to be platoon only for a lineup as thin as the Rays. But he needs to change their perception of him as platoon only.

    I’ll close my eyes today with Hernandez-Carmona — I didn’t see what the Rays and their worshipping media saw from him all spring. I saw him melt down like a little leaguer on the bump and lumber around the mound like a 40-year old (he really can’t field, which is a bad thing for a guy who is supposed to be a ground ball pitcher). I trust that they’ve seen something with his velocity and movement that I can’t see as a fan, but it better be a pretty short leash with this guy who seems better suited to the pen (2nd and 3rd time through the order he was not looking good).

  6. Ken says:

    The most interesting post game comment came from Kelly J. when asked about the Rays locker room. To paraphrase he said that he’d heard it was crazy but was amazed just how crazy it was. Also read that Escobar felt the need to film it on his cell. Let’s celebrate again today. Go Rays.

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