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, Astros 0 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Chris Archer’s New Gameplan Is Working. Young Archer threw his first shutout and the key was a recent switch in his pitch selection. In his first 6-7 starts of the season, Archer threw both his 4-seam fastball (faster, less movement) and his 2-seam fastball (more movement) about the same number of times. But in his last couple of starts he has nearly given up the 2-seamer and is now sticking exclusively with his 4-seamer. Control has always been a problem for Archer. So it looks like the Rays have told Archer to throw the 4-seamer more often, a pitch that he can command better. It is still a great pitch, reaching 97 in the 9th inning, and has good natural sink to it. The result is no walks in his last 2 starts after walking 21 in his first 7 starts…Evan Longoria. His 2-out RBI double in the 2nd inning was all the offense Archer needed…Yunel Escobar’s Glove. It seems like ever game Escobar makes an amazing defensive play in which he covers half the infield. Yesterday it was ranging over the middle. He snagged a grounder just a tad behind and instead of trying to throw across his body, made an easy 360-pivot and made an accurate throw to first from the second base side of the bag.
THE BAD: Depth Is Good Thing, Right? Alex Cobb is coming back at some point. On a side note, Cobb participated in the postgame starting pitchers jump-and-bump suggesting that he is completely over his equilibrium problems he had after being hit in the ear with a linedrive. So Cobb is coming back and somebody will have to go and in all likelihood Archer will be back in the minors. The other possibility is they move Roberto Hernandez to the bullpen. But they can’t send Hernandez down and they won’t release him. So Archer will likely be the odd-man out. And that stinks.
THE TELLING: The Rays finish the first half 55-41, 2.5 games behind the Red Sox. The Rays are also now tied with the Rangers for the top Wild Card spot, 1.5 games ahead of the Orioles. According to CoolStandings.com, the Rays have a 72.4% chance of making the playoffs…
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- If you haven’t seen Carly Rae Jepsen’s first pitch from Sunday, here it is in all its glory. [BI Sports]
- Alex Cobb threw batting practive and feels he can be ready for a rehab assignment in a couple of weeks. [TampaBay.com]
- The Rays are up to 4th in latest power rankings. [ThePowerRank]
- The Rays’ 6th round pick, RHP Stephen Woods, has chosen to go to college. He is the only player among the Rays’ top 11 picks that did not sign. [MLB]
- Nuke has finished last in all 21 Durham Bull mascot races. [WDBB]
- The Bucs are still pointing their fingers as specific media members for columns they have written. [JoeBucsFan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
DURHAM 2, Gwinnett 1. JD Martin tossed 5 shutout innings, striking out 5 and walking 1. His ERA is 3.02…Leslie Anderson went 3-3 and hit his 12th home run. He is now hitting .329, third in the IL and has a solid 35-to-35 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Pensacola 7, MONTGOMERY 0. Jake Floethe gave up 4 runs in 5 innings. His ERA is now 5.27 in 8 starts since being promoted…Kevin Kiermaier was 2-4.
CHARLOTTE 8, Clearwater 1. Jesse Hahn allowed 1 run on 3 hits and 1 walk in 5 innings. He now has a 1.74 ERA in 17 starts. All Stone Crabs had at least 1 hit and 7 of the batters had at least 2 hits including Drew Vettleson (2-5) and Richie Shaffer (3-5 with 2 doubles).
Cedar Rapids 7, BOWLING GREEN 6. Andrew Toles went 3-4 with a double and a triple. He also stole his 45th base, tops in the Midwest League.