USATSI_7340294_154511044_lowresThe 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.

HUDSON VALLEY 4, State College 2.

Danville 4, PRINCETON 0.

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16 Comments

  1. KT says:

    I hate the thought of sending Archer down so that Roberto can stay in the rotation. He’s just started getting his feet wet and settling into what it takes to being a MLB pitcher and then he has to go back down to the minors? I think it’s a terrible move for both his confidence and his stability. Ranting, sorry

  2. ljk says:

    A prospect or two for Hernandez at the trading deadline? He is stringing together some “quality starts”.

  3. Gus says:

    By the time Cobb gets back in mid-August, they’ll be within site of the Sept. roster expansion and they can send Hernandez to the DL for 2 weeks, and bring him back as a reliever. There is no way on this earth this team should be giving starts to Hernandez over Archer. It was enough of a joke coming out of spring training. Rays fans should be outraged if they pull that again.

    Also, people should not just assume Cobb is going to be the same, especially right away. The beaning is a tough injury to recover from on lots of levels.

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks, exactly. I’ve seen more anticipatory anxiety over the question of what to do when Cobb returns than makes sense. He’s at LEAST a month a way; we have no idea whether he will be able to pop back into the rotation immediately; for all we know there will be another injury before then that we can’t anticipate; and if there isn’t surely someone can find a problematic hangnail on Roberto that could justify a 15 day DL stint that will get us to September 1.

      This is simply not a real problem!

    • Allen says:

      Herb Score was never the same.

  4. mp645 says:

    We can’t keep Archer down on the farm again. He is now 24 and not a green kid! We can trade Hernandez or bull pen him.

  5. Ken says:

    Gus and Sarah have it right. Rays brass have always found a way to juggle rosters when needed. 6 man rotation, DL, whatever, Archer won’t go down. Yesterday was his “here to stay” day and Fausto’s last few outings have proved his value. When Cobb’s ready, the right move will happen.

    • Dave L says:

      Yeah I think they brought up Archer just the right way this year (as they did with Myers). As Cork notes he had some things to work out in Durham and in his early starts with teh Rays throwing strikes and keeping pitch counts down and now he seems really ready.

      I was shocked when they said that was the first time he had ever gotten into the 8th inning ever in his career at any level.

      We really have an abundance of riches of starting pitching options for the post all star break. The pen is rested and I dont see any holes to fill. Usually there is a role what i think of as a 2nd starter as when the starter gets injured in the first 3 innings or is getting bombed mercilessly early and we have alot of innings to cover that day.

      We have done that quite a few times to our opponents but its rarely happened to us. I just dont want to rush Cobb. He’s the toughest pitcher on the team but im comfortable being cautious and I know we will be.

      Guys like farsworth, wright, even gomes can be effective if they are called on in limited roles and not expected to do too much.

      Torres and McGee are lefty assasins right now.

      Peraltas is getting his due as a team leader and Rodneys controlled wildness has hitters really nervous when he lets it fly.

      Has there ever been a picther to consistantly generate the velocity of Fernando high 90′s pitching out of the most miimal stretch in every situation with almost zero leg kick….. ever?

  6. Scot says:

    So the Rays are now ranked 4th on the “Power Rankings”; however, it is not clear what this means. The formula for the ranking is not described in any detail and he never explains how to implement the end product, “the margin of victory”. Heck, there aren’t even any units. Would a biology professor accept this graph? I know a physics professor wouldn’t, regardless if the guy has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford.

    I have more acceptance in the calculation of Baseball Prospectus (adjusted) Hit List which can be used to predict outcomes of games. Note, there the Rays are ranked 3rd behind Boston and Detroit. St. Louis is 7th because historically, NL teams are measurable worse than AL teams. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/hitlist/

    • Ken says:

      Thanks, unaware of that site. Go Rays.

    • Mr Smith 1980 says:

      Power rankings are historically a subjective art, so it shouldn’t come as a shock or surprise that no real matrix is used or given.

      • Scot says:

        I am assuming the Power hitter person has developed a formula to calculate the relative positions. Problem is that he provides no documentation as to how this is done so I don’t know if there is some validity in the list. The subjectiveness comes in creating the formula.

  7. Scot says:

    For a look back at the first half of the semester, FanGraphs has an article on the “most clutch” hit of the season so far. I bet we remember it well. Rays vs. Padres at the Trop on May 11. The Rays get out to a 6-2 lead by the 2nd inning. By the end of 6, there is a 96% probability the Rays will win the game. But the bad version of Hellickson is pitching. He proceeds to give up a walk and 2 singles and then lets Jesus Guzman (who?) hit a grand slam to tie game. Then Wright comes in. After an error by Zorby, he hits Will Venerable with a pitch and then proceeds to walk the next 2 batters so that the Pads lead 7-6 which they carry into the 9th. With 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth and no one on, the Rays are down to their last strike. But Padres catcher Hundley drops a foul tip and Zorby stays alive. He ends up walking. Longo makes them pay with a 2 out, 2 run homer that wins the game. It is the last clutch hit by Longo this season. The probability of the Rays winning increased 92% on the homer.

    See: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-seasons-most-clutch-hit-so-far/

  8. Dave L says:

    All Star game tonite and who knows if and when our boys will see much action. MM as a substitution could be the starter they hold back in case of an extra inning affair. Hopefully he gets an inning like the 5th.

    Zobrist as a managers choice so what will happen?

    a) Doesnt play
    b) Defensive replacement but never gets an AB
    c) Gets some swings also
    d) Gets a hit or a walk or does some damage!

    I’m hoping for D but prepared for A

    Should be a nice game— alot of matchups. The only All Star game in sports worth even weatching IMO.

    Lets hope our Rays make a difference, in a good way.

    Enjoy!

  9. John S says:

    I agree there is no way Archer is sent down. Unless there is a quote that someone knows, Archer can’t go back down.

    Hernandez should be traded for a quality low A player of which he should be the return… Being cheap and a league average arm…

    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      So in your world a legitimate #5 big league starter is equal to (or lesser than) a low A player?

      Take another toke.

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