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

Blue Jays 8, RAYS 7 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Evan Longoria. Where would the Rays be without Longo’s bat right now? He is 15-39 (.385) over the last 9 games with 5 multi-hit games. And his grand slam was his 7th home run of the year, which places him among the top ten in the AL.

THE BAD: Joe Maddon. Joe Maddon freely admitted that Fernando Rodney wasn’t used to throwing more than an inning. We all know Rodney was overused in the spring. We all know Rodney has struggled early on this season. And yet Maddon brought Rodney in for a 5-out save. It was a move that smelled of desperation. A little too much desperation in early May. And it backfired. But the problem is, who do we trust in the bullpen right now? Not Jake McGee. Not Kyle Farnsworth. Joel Peralta might be the only reliever we should trust in a big situation. And he can’t pitch 4 innings when Jeremy Hellickson can only work 5 innings. Speaking of which…Jeremy Hellickson. Immediately after being given a 7-0 lead in the fourth inning, Hellickson came out and had a 39-pitch 4th inning. The result was that Hellickson couldn’t work past the 5th inning. And that meant Jake McGee was needed for the 6th inning. Speaking of which…Jake McGee. McGee threw 17 pitches. And surprise! All 17 were fastballs. And Mark DeRosa, a guy hitting near .200, who couldn’t hit a breaking ball to save his life, catches up to a fastball and hits a 2-run home run. Does anybody miss BJ Upton more than Jake McGee right now? It’s to the point that I fully expect somebody to write a story saying Rays fans only hate Jake McGee because he is black…Yunel Escobar. What exactly happened between the 1st inning and the 6th inning that suddenly made Escobar ready to play? With his left hand wrapped, he came into the game in the 6th inning. Well, if he was healthy enough to play 4 innings, why wasn’t he healthy enough to play 9 innings? Instead, he came into the game cold and booted everything. In fact, I’m pretty sure he went home after the game and booted about three glasses just trying to get a glass of water.

THE TELLING: The Rays blew yet another lead, this time a 7-0 lead. It was the largest blown lead ever at home…Ben Zobrist was away from the team to attend the funeral of his grandmother. He is expected to be back today…9,952 paid attendance was the smallest crowd for a divisional foe since April, 2008 (also the Jays)…The Rays are now 14-17, 6.5 games behind the Red Sox.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Chris Archer was pulled from his start in Durham due to a bruise from a come-backer in his last start. Rain may have also been a factor. [Adam Sobsey]
  • This Bryce Harper ejection reminded me a lot of the run-in between David Price and an umpire recently. [BI Sports]
  • If you missed it yesterday, James Shields is selling his Clearwater home. Here are some pictures. [RaysIndex]
  • About that Josh Hamilton contract with the Angels: Not so good so far. [BI Sports]
  • Ronde Barber says his decision on whether to return to the Bucs in 2013 is “imminent.” [Joe Bucs Fan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

Syracuse 5, DURHAM 0. Wil Myers went 1-4 with 2 strikeouts. He is hitting .275…Leslie Anderson was 1-3 with a double and a walk. He’s hitting .314.

MONTGOMERY. no game scheduled

Brevard County 4, CHARLOTTE 2. Richie Shaffer was 1-3 with an RBI…Drew Vettleson went 0-3 with a walk.

BOWLING GREEN 4, Bowling Green 2. Jeff Ames tossed 6 shutout innings with 4 Ks and just 1 walk. Ames has now allowed either 1 or 0 runs in 5 of his 6 starts…CF Andrew Toles had a double and a triple and is now hitting .328.

HUDSON VALLEY.

PRINCETON.

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44 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Lets see who can paick out ONE fall guy out in this fiasco….maybe you can pick out 4-5-6 or 7….but ever see a team in disarray…..your seeing one….
    Who’s to blame….
    Remember when we (I) used to go watch the old Devil Rays and they had a 7 to 2 lead over the Red Sox (or anybody) and we would laugh,high 5, have another beer and in the end the Devil Rays would lose 9 to 7….who cares! We had fun…..
    Well Have another beer folks your getting Joe Maddons DEVIL RAYS…enjoy it, there will be a magician tonight for your entertainment..all 7000 of you..

    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      Who are you trying to fool? You weren’t around when they were the Devil Rays. You jumped on somewhere mid-season 2008, and you know it.

      You can’t wax nostalgic if you weren’t actually there.

      • Don says:

        Son, I was here long before Longoria, so I know you weren’t….. You and Him were still “Dirtbags” and still are

  2. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    Remember the days when the Devil Rays would have a big lead, but we all knew that the bullpen would blow it and you’d go to bed with a broken heart every night…

    This was about as painful of a loss as the one in Cleveland a few years back where we watched a 9 (I think) run lead disappear (or was it 11 runs)? Either way, it’s a crappy feeling to go to bed with that kind of loss on your mind. I hope it annoys the players as much as it annoys me!

    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      See Don, I can do that because I was actually a fan in the “bad old days”.

      • Rob says:

        That actually happened in 2009 against Cleveland, so it wasn’t the “bad old days,” but it is the year they finished a distant third.

        David Price was the starter, his major league debut as a starter by the way, and lasted 3.1 innings while walking 5 and throwing 100 pitches. Price was called up from Durham to replace Kazmir, who went on the DL.

        Last night’s game was almost as painful as that one. Not only did they give up a 10 run lead, they had an 8 run lead in the 8th and a 6 run lead in the 9th. Ironically, Roberto Hernandez was the Indians’ starter and only last 1.1 innings.

        Check out the win probability chart:

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE200905250.shtml

        • Rob says:

          A couple more interesting connections:

          Mark DeRosa scored two runs for Cleveland in ’09 and he hit the 2 run homer off Magee last night.

          Ben Francisco scored the tying run and knocked one in that night.

        • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

          Yeah, I wrote that quite poorly… the bad old days was a reference to Don pretending to have been a fan in the DR days and the Cleveland thing was a connection to the heartbreak of last night… the big loss in Cleveland was not supposed to be connected to the bad old days.

    • bbmern says:

      This was indeed heartbreaking. It did remind me of that game in Cleveland where, I believe, they blew a 10 run lead. I was extremely disappointed then, and last night was just horrible. I don’t believe Escobar’s hand is completely healed and yet they threw him out there. I’m still shaking my head over this game. I hope the hangover does not continue and they right this ship somehow. I have faith in this team and we’ll rebound.

      • Beth says:

        I also remember that night in Cleveland, and this was reminiscent. Pre-2008 blown leads were the norm, but in 2009, just as now, the Rays were considered a contending team, so that kind of collapse seemed uglier — I mean, this wasn’t Rudy Lugo or Shawn Camp getting pummeled. My husband and I had gone to bed, believing the game was pretty much a wrap, and then my son knocked on the door to let us know the Rays had lost. After that, I couldn’t even get to sleep – which probably shows my unhealthy obsession with baseball!

  3. Rick says:

    Well now we have an offense, but no pitching. Escobar really isn’t cutting it at this point. The experiment has failed both offensively and defensively. He can’t even field a simple groundball that im pretty sure my 8-yr old son could. I’m tired of the excuses for this guy. He’s kind of like BJ, has loads of talent but just cant put it together. Every year we’re left hoping these guys can unleash their potential but just get more of the same.I know its still early and they can very easily put a winning streak together to near the top of the division, but at this point we might finally get an active trade deadline, but instead of buying we’ll be selling.

    • feck says:

      agreed. Escobar is perhaps the worst fielder I have ever seen. And he sure can’t hit. Can’t believe I miss Reid Brignac.

  4. Anthony says:

    At what point do we blow this thing up Marlins style??

    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      Certainly not when you have a team that despite coming back from a super-long road trip currently sits a whopping 3 games under .500 just 31 games into a 162 game season and 6.5 back of a Boston team that is over-achieving.

      Put that panic-button away.

  5. Scotty McNoodle says:

    If I never see Jake Magee on the mound again it will be too soon. One pitch in the arsenal and he can’t even command that. Grant Balfour had one pitch when he was here, but he could locate and if he came in close you better not charge the mound on that guy. He was like a human can of Red Bull. No one fears Magee except Rays fans. Missing James Shields and his ability to go 8 innings, like he did yesterday. Wouldn’t need to see Magee. And Escobar, where to begin? What a disaster. The best play is not to play him. Put Zobes at Short, Roberts/Rodriguez at 2nd and Joyce in Right. Dump Escobar and get a freaking right handed bat……PLEASE. Been asking for that one since 2008 when the best answer they had was dig up ol’ Rocco for one more failed attempt.

  6. Gus says:

    Dwayne Stats noted last night that Maddon thought the Rays slow start was “a carry-over from a bad finish to spring training.” Those of you who read here might remember me sounding the alarm far and wide about what an abomoination the Rays last weeks of spring training were. I blame that squarely on management. While most teams were fielding lineups of 6-7 starterts the week before the season, the Rays barely had 1 or 2 in the lineup. Too player friendly. Escobar and Hernandez and Molina all were terrible in that week when they did play. This isn’t some reversion to the mean — those are 3 reclamation projects who can’t play anymore (I think Hernandez could be a servicable reliever).

    There is never a sense of urgency. I am all for the long view, but the roster and the starting lineup must be based on merit. It was refreshing to see the Rockies GM state this weekend during the coverage that in calling the 21-year old Arrenado up to the bigs, the Rockies goal would be to put the best 25 players they have on the field. Rays are not doing that. The Rays are being too clever by half with all of this service time delay. Get the best guys you have up in the bigs — Archer or Ordorozi in the rotation, Giminez behind the dish, Myers in RF. This team could win a world series this with Price and Longo in their 27 year old seasons. They will finish last in their division if they don’t turn it around soon.

    Finally, how cheap do you have to be to not get a SS on the roster during Zobrist’s bereavement? Why would you not do that. If you watch the game, you realize Rodney’s 5 out save would have been easy if Escobar handles the routine DP in the 8th inning. It was the play that turned the game becuse of the steam it took out of Rodney.

    • Beth says:

      I thought Maddon commented on this – the MLB’s bereavement policy only kicks in if a player is missing 3 games. Zobrist thought he’d only miss two, and they decided that they’d rather have him back in two days than force him to miss three and bring someone up.

      Possibly they would have handled that different had Lee not been injured, don’t you think?

      • Gus says:

        I did not see that it was a 3-day minimum. My apologies for calling the Rays cheap in this instance. Even so, with the starting SS at the hospital Saturday night for x-rays and howling in pain, the better play ther was call up Beckham and get a real SS for a few days. You never know — for a team that purports to be all for playter development, Durham seems to be a location where every day players go to end their careers. Des got out, Joyce got out, Longo was barley there. Durham produces more starters for the Marlins than it does for the Rays it seems.

  7. Gus says:

    The Rays finished the 2012 season at 30-21 after switching Zobrist to SS on August 9th. Of those 51 games, only once did he not play any SS (Aug 12 just in RF). The rest of it, he was the SS. People seem to forget this very important part of the 2012 season because this move was close to the return of Longoria (also an important thing for sure). He played well at SS, there was no drop off in defense, and the boffense was the better for it.

    For the life of me I cannot understand in an off-season in which the Rays acquire a franchise RF player, they would take the SS job away from Zobrist and hand it to a journeyman with a bad attitude and a fat (for the Rays) contract. Escobar’s contract — the 4th highest paid player on the team! — is the only reason I can fathom that he’s starting. At this point, they need to bench him (if he pouts, then ship him out like the other teams before all have done), put Zobrist back at SS and get another OF bat in the lineup. it is the one move today that Maddon can do to stablize this ship.

    • OriginalTom says:

      Escobar had been a league average hitter and an above average defender from 2007-2012 so I can understand why the Rays acquired him in the offseason. He has been a major disappointment so far this season. As others have stated above, I wonder if it was wise for him to be playing last night due to his hand injury. Also his bat was heating up before he got hurt.

      Also, how do you find a Shortstop who you only plan to use for 3 days?

      • Gus says:

        You call up your AAA SS, like any other team. It is a free roster move for bereavement. Idiotic not to do it. Should have had one Sunday in Colorado, where S-Rod was struggling a bit too.

        The Rays cannot afford to blow $5M on an average defender, even if he was Suzy Sunshine in the clubhouse, which this guy is not by his past press accounts. Moreover, that was not a need for this team. Zobrist was a better than average shortstop, was a better than average defender and the team won with him at the position. Much easier to allocate that $5M for another bat or maybe a competent catcher who can field.

        Most of the Rays commentariat is so enamored of the Rays front office that they don’t look at what is plain on its face, for fear of being cast as “behind the times” and old school. Escobar and Hernandez were risky moves. I would be okay if they made those moves and at least required them to show they earned the jobs. Escobar has had an awful two months with the Rays (counting srpinr training). They need to earn it. Real competition with the guys from Durham (Archer outpitched Hernandez by far). Instead, spring training is disregarded. It should not be — especially in this era of PED use and testing, who you are in the spring is a very good indicator of who you will be that season. What Escobar and Hernandez did in the past doesn’t mean as much to me as it means to you all, especially as they are in their 30′s when steep decline among all players likely occurs.

        What good is a great farm system if the best players get blocked by fat contracts for retreads? Molina, Escobar and Hernandez are three prime examples where a better option is in the organiation today. To watch them cost the Rays games night after night is maddening.

        • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

          They don’t have a legitimate AAA shortstop… so the move would be lateral at best

          • Gus says:

            Zobrist is the best answer they have at SS in the organization. You can pretend he can’t play the position, but I’d pint you to the last third of 2012 season as evidence to the contrary.

          • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

            You said they should call up a AAA shortstop, but who?

            Zobrist is the best option as a fill-in for Escobar, but he’s not the long-term solution for the remainder of this season or any other. I am a huge Zobrist fan, but you have to stop trying to make him something he’s not. You cannot deny that his value is as an uber-utility player.

            To dismiss Escobar after a 31 game sample is ludicrous just like the using Zobrist filling in at the end of last year as an argument is ludicrous. There is no doubt that he can fill the hole at SS in a pinch, but so did Brendan Harris… that’s a band-aid not stitches.

            Escobar has enough time in the bigs from which to draw a reasonably large sample and his numbers show that he is a major league short stop. Again, offensively his numbers are nearly identical to Longo’s (in regard to BA and OBP).

            Please put your hands in the air back away from the panic button.

          • Gus says:

            The SS is Zobrist; the replacement is an OF taking Zobrist slot in RF, either on the current roster or at AAA.

          • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

            Well sir, we will have to agree to disagree on this one, because I love Zobrist but do not think he is the solution at short stop. I feel patience in regard to Escobar is the obvious solution and you do not… time will tell.

        • Dave L says:

          Escobar is here he isn’t going anywhere. Just be patient.. He gets to some balls no one else healthy in the Rays org can get to. There is nobody past Zobrist. HJ Lee is out. As soon as you put Zobrist at short, the dominoes fall and we get weaker in the outfield.

          I will take Escobars hitting/SS fielding over Fulds hitting/ OF over the long run.

          • Gus says:

            Not Fuld. I am postulating a use of somebody from Durham in the OF spot vacated by Zobrist.That is an upgrade in a major way over Escobar who was in steep decline before the Rays fell for the bait. Now it is free fall.

            Whatever range advantage Escobar might have over Zobrist is negated by his sloppy play — bad hands, casual hot dog approach. I’d rather have Steady Eddy out there than an unreliable guy who has not only misplayed many more balls than his error total shows, but has also looked bad under pressure.

  8. CC says:

    Joe gets out coached again. Hellickson pitched a quick perfect 5th inning and was at 101 pitches. Still had a 4 run lead. Why not let him back out in the 6th knowing you have a short bullpen? And to bring in Magee, you know is like waving the white flag. Please Joe no more Magee in the next inning after we take out our starter. ITS NOT WORKING! He continues to use him in the same situation. And the guy has a 10+ era. Then why bring in Escobar. If he was not able to start why in the hell is he coming in halfway through the game. Brilliant move Joe. Instead of needing 27 outs to end the game, they had to get 30. And can they please get rid of Molina. They say he is great at framing pitches. BFD. Who can’t. Last night he was dropping pitches that were in the strike zone. Joe has a double standard for him. Hes the only guy on the team that can get away without running out ground balls. C’mon Joe/Andrew he sucks. Worst catcher in the league. Joe needs to get his s**t together or the season is going to slip away real fast.

  9. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    Its high time to bring up a bully arm form the farm…

    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      *from

    • Dave L says:

      With McGee becoming unglued on a nightly basis, don’t be surprised if Torres is called up soon. Last year he fell apart but they fixed him up and he’s doing very well in Durham.

      I would go back to giving Jake 1 or 2 lefties in a big lead/deficit and let him work his way back into an important role.

  10. Dave L says:

    Alot of panic here and over reacting…..

    We were short handed Zobrist is coming back just relax.

    Its hard to put the blame on anyone in the bullpen since they are all having problems

    also GOOD is Luke Scott

    He came off the DL on a tear. Its a small sample but he’s on a roll with a whopping 1.456 OPS. He wont keep that up but lets hope he stays healthy and continues to contribute.

  11. Don says:

    I enjoy “winners” , I don’t enjoy excuses, Maddon is the Best at them, but you and coach soak them in….so you are Happy?, I’ll be Happy when Performance is important…and demanded of the Players who are PLAYING, So far in 2013 thats not happening…Time for changes or do you think they will just happen….ala Joe Magicman, and bird man and peguinman and whatever

  12. Ken says:

    Great comments and a great spirited debate on the state of the Rays and how to fix them. I’ve been out of the country for the last 20 days ( Costa Rica) catching Rays updates sporadically. Last night’s game was the first I’ve watched since 4/16. So here’s my two cents: Maddon is still being Maddon. He continually tries to put the square peg in the round hole. When he’s moderately successful he’s a genius and when he’s not he’s as frustrating as any MLB manager. It won’t change.
    Panic time: not yet but close. Seems like forever since we fans have been treated to this much offense and so little clutch pitching. Will this team ever become truly balanced?
    Fernando’s folly: the guy was overused this spring, came in with an inflated ego, tried to manipulate a contract extension and looks totally miserable on the hill right now. His mechanics suck, what’s with the left foot stutter step during the wind up? This isn’t the WBC Fernando, start listening to Hickey and do your job.
    Escobar’s errors: I agree with Mr. Smith’s assessment. He’s been a decent SS since arriving on the MLB scene. However, as I noted over a month ago, he’s also a BJ wanna be. To paraphrase a line from West Side Story: this guy don’t need a shrink he needs Longo up his ass.
    The relief corp: McGee remind me of the first time I saw Balfour pitch, also against the Jay’s in 08. A buddy and I were at the game and watched him throw 37 straight fastballs in 1 2/3 innings. My buddy turns to me at the end of the inning and says ” I’ll give him two years before he starts getting hammered unless he develops another pitch. RIP Mr. Howe, right again.
    Help on the way: Furhget about it!!! Myers not even close to ready. Archer/Ordorizzi may work, sending Fausto to the pen for long relief. Other than that show me a Durham guy with a WAR worth bringing up.
    Silver lining: Loney and KJ are pro’s. They’re not Perez/Morgan but are much better than Pena/EJ.
    Finally, I know this is a long post, the Price ain’t right but ain’t broken either. Let’s face it, he misses Shields, so do I. Shields manned up for all the tough games last year, David isn’t there yet. Longo’s dumb ass remarks were only 1/2 right and Myers better be worth the wait.
    GO RAYS.

    • Gus says:

      “Other than that show me a Durham guy with a WAR worth bringing up.”

      Anderson: .314 with a .397/.520/.916 on top of a nice 2012 and his 2013 spring training would seem to fit the bill. Nobody knows for sure if the “slow bat” rap is real, but he is worth a look. Release Molina, call up Gimenez and clear a spot on the 40 for Leslie (bonus: he may bring his fellow Cuban Escobar back onto Planet Baseball). Done.

      Myers: .275/.372/.422/.794 on top of his 2012 37 HRs with a dumpster fire in the bigs would get you called up in every organization but this one.

      • Ken says:

        Where does Anderson play Gus? You can’t bench Loney, why bench KJ, Scott hitting better finally. That’s my only problem with bringing him up, that and he’s a 30 year old that’s out of options. If you’re willing to release Fuld ( I would be) then sure I agree.
        As for Myers, the only way he comes up is as the regular RF. To put him in a JoMa platoon situation would be a huge mistake. So then what happens to Joyce and Zobrist and Johnson and…as you suggest Anderson? The big mistake made by MGT off season was signing/keeping so many left hand hitters. What to do?

      • Dave L says:

        Did you watch Leslie in Spring? He has no place in the field to play. He is a slow footed and not much with a glove.

        So he’s a lefty DH.

        We have one and he’s raking right now.

        Myers has 3 HR in 129 PA in Durham.

        Patience please.

        • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

          Yeah, Myers has 40 K’s already… against minor league pitching. Another month will do him good.

          Anderson is a bit of an enigma.

          Lueke is the best option as a call-up for the ‘pen right now IMHO.

          Giminez may be a nice little spark plug, but then they’re gonna have to send Lobaton through waivers (which works for me).

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