uspw_7223950The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

Orioles 7, RAYS 4 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Evan Longoria. Boy he looks healthy. Just 1 hit, but three outstanding diving stops, twice throwing a player out from his knees, and once from his butt…Sam Fuld. Little Sammy Fuld was all over the place. If it weren’t for Longoria and Fuld, the Orioles would have scored 12 runs…Ben Zobrist. The swing ain’t pretty, but it just keeps on producing runs. We’ll miss that guy someday.

THE BAD: David Price. Price wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t dominant. He struggled with too many pitches (23 in the 1st, 75 in the first 4 innings). He never seemed to find a rhythm with his fastball (66 of his 100 pitches were fastballs). And the result was that he was out of the game after just six innings. And that will be a problem this year without James Shields pitching the next day. The bullpen needs Price to go deep…Jake McGee. In 2012, only one relief pitcher (Dane De La Rosa) gave up 5 runs in a single appearance. Jake McGee did it on opening day. And yes, McGee was just one strike away from closing out the 7th inning. But he was already struggling at that point having given up 2 hits to the first 3 batters he faced. And because of that, it was more difficult for him to waste a pitch with the 0-2 count on Adam Jones, who ended up doubling and driving in 2. Two batters later Chris Davis, a first-pitch fastball hitter, took a first-pitch fastball and went deep and the game was over.

THE TELLING: Joe Maddon used Ryan Roberts to pinch hit for Matt Joyce late in the game, pushing Ben Zobrist to the RF and Sam Fuld over to LF. Maddon also pinch-hit for James Loney with Shelley Duncan when the Rays needed runs. When Luke Scott returns, that will probably be Sean Rodriguez’ job, god help us all…

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Yu Darvish just missed a perfect game. Here’s video of how close he came. [BI Sports]
  • Stuart Sternberg met with the media before the game. Here are some of his quotes. [TampaBay.com]
  • Stuart Sternberg also spoke briefly with St. Pete mayor Bill Foster. [TampaBay.com]
  • It was “Opening Week” on the field for the Rays. But not all teams follow the same pattern. Here are some examples. [BI Sports]
  • The largest contracts for pitchers in baseball history. [BI Sports]
  • JoeBucsFanTV. [JoeBucsFan]
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16 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Best Pre Season ('xpert") comments:
    "The Orioles won't be as good as they were last year"
    "the Rays are Favorite to make it to the WS"
    Reality: with out Zobrist, and a new Improved Jennings the Rays Offense is Nothing......WS really?

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  2. Hello...I'm a recent follower on twitter and I love the blog. As a huge Rays fan with little discretionary time, this is perfect!

    You're dead on about Longo's defensive, but I was always impressed with Loney's glove. Just wish we could have Myers up right now. I know it's a business, but I really think he would be an impact bat now.

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    • Typos galore. My apologies...hammered that response out while trying to do several other things. I meant to say, I'm always impressed by Longo's defensive prowess, but was also impressed by Loney. Since most of his career has been with the Dodgers, I haven't seen much of him.

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  3. Mark says:

    Jake McGee got two immediate strikes on the first two batters also which makes me wonder if they wound up calling the wrong pitches after that or he just was having an off day putting hitters away. But what really drove me crazy was when our ninth place hitter didn't bunt twice when we needed baserunners and the Orioles gave him the third base line. It used to bother me when Carlos Pena wouldn't do it and it really bothered me when a number nine hitter wouldn't do it. Not sure if he can bunt or not, or if that is the fault of the coaches but a number nine hitter in the major leagues needs to be able to take what the other team is handing him in a situation when the big need is baserunners.

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    • Bill says:

      Kelly squared around twice on one at bat, and got a 2-0 count. The defense did not adjust, and yet he swung away on the third pitch for a weak out. Scratching my head there if he took it off himself or if Foley did. Very frustrating. We are supposed to be the masters at employing the shift. Shouldn't we be the masters at defeating it ? If I was a lefty who they shifted on like that I would practice bunting down 3B all day every day until I could do it in my sleep. Also, work on keeping your hands and right elbow close to your chest for short stroke opposite way single into that hole where short stop used to be when they take way the bunt. This is little league stuff, not rocket science.

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  4. Rick says:

    Maddon should have never let Mcgee pitch to Jones in the first place. As much as Maddon loves his matchups, it would have been much better to go with Peralta, who was warming up, to face Jones.

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  5. Gus says:

    Price's delivery looked different to me. More side saddle than normal, maybe a little short on the stride? Or maybe it was the lasers flying over his head all day which made it look weird. 2 runs in 6 was quite a gutty performance with that level of stuff.

    In the last year or two, the Rays seem to have no answer certain Orioles hitters -- Adam Jones in particular and Weiters. Need to change the approach.

    Loney and Molina and the SS batting in a row will continue to be an inning where you can run an errand, catch up on some work or change the channel. When you throw out his work against pitching poor and high-altitude Colorado (which is for some reason quite exceptional), Loney may really be the worst hitter to start at 1B in a generation. I don't think you can win a world series that way, but I guess we will see.

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  6. Rob says:

    Both the Times and the Tribune used the phrase, "the good, the bad, and the ugly" in columns today to describe the game. Just glad they didn't use the "telling".

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  7. Alex says:

    Does Molina understand that McGee has more than one pitch or is he just too lazy to even throw down another pitch? He did the same crap last year in Detroit. He called nothing but fastballs to Miguel Cabrera of all people. Unless McGee specifically said his slider wasn't working, this is half molina's fault.

    Also Molina's defense was atrocious yesterday. How many balls did he drop or get by him yesterday? This lazy catcher thing is getting old already and we're only one game in

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  8. Bill says:

    I questioned bringing in McGee in the first place. The Os were getting hits off of Price's fastball. So why bring in another fastball throwing lefty ? Especially wonder why did McGee give hitters anything to hit when ahead in the count ?

    On the offensive side, I'll be the first to go Donny Doom on Shelton. And don't tell me the hitting coach can only do so much. This isn't about swing mechanics, it's about plate approach and game strategy. A hitting certainly could/should be making suggestions during the game on that. Here's my observation. Hammel was not sharp in the first inning. He got ahead of a couple of hitters then missed badly to go 3-2 and t 2-2. Jennings stroked a 3-2, just right at someone. Ben hit him pretty hard as well. Consistency was not there for Hammel in the first. So what do we do to start the second ? First two batters swing at the first pitch each for weak outs. Let him off the hook. If they guy was throwing darts we probably would have been up there taking pitches.

    I'm sorry, but if you're going to argue the Shelton isn't to blame for any of this nonsense, you haven't been watching the Rays the lat couple of years. I maintain the argument that I always have. If we're not built with good, strong, natural hitters, than we need a hitting coach who knows how to use his brain to get the most out of what we do have. And to me, that means being able to make adjustments on game day, based upon what's happening. Swinging at the first two pitches after a pitcher showed some lack of consistency is not that. And we still see checked swings on first pitches and 2-0 counts. That means not sitting on a certain pitch and/or no pitch recognition, which equals no strategy whatsoever.

    Going to be a long season offensively no matter who they picked up or bring up with the random, "you're on your own up there, flail away" offense applied to a bunch of mediocre hitters. Thank god we saw some good leather. Going to need every bit of it.

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    • Jay says:

      Thought the same exact thing -- well said Bill. I'm very disappointed in the Rays Brain-trust who seem so creative at times and so blind at other times. You can already see this lineup failing short again just like the last 3 seasons.

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    • Mark says:

      Exactly what I have been saying. The hitting coach should be making decisions on approach and strategy. Ultimately Maddon's responsibility but a better hitting coach could take some of that off of Joe's shoulders. See the above comment about Kelly Johnson at bats.

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    • Rob says:

      Trust me, I am not a Shelton apologist. I have been calling for a new batting coach as much as anyone else. With that said, could one take the opposite tact knowing he is struggling with control (or a particular pitch) and will be throwing meat on the first pitch to get a strike? With that mentality, those batters could have been looking for a pitch in a particular spot and got it, but failed to execute.

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      • Bill says:

        That's always possible, Rob, except for two things. First, there have been and will be many more examples just like this. Second, when a guy is struggling with consistency, you typically want to take a pitch or two, not go up looking for something. If that's what they were told, then that's just wrong. Plus, it's the opposite of the Shelton ultra patient approach. 2011 playoffs when went up there looking against Ciff Lee, who had only walked 18 batters all season. No, the more like scenario is that they got no guidance or strategy from Shelton.

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  9. CC says:

    I know its the first game, but. I think Neimann would have been the perfect choice to come in after Price.Give the hitters something from the opposite side with alot of movement. I think you really need to coach the first game like its the last.Especially playing a game in your division. 1 win could make a difference in the East this year.

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