USATSI_7332977_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 3, White Sox 1 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: King David and his Merry Men. In his last start we were hesitant to give Price too much credit since it was the Astros. And while the White Sox are not much better, they do have some big league hitters and Price looked just as dominant. It was Price’s 5th career complete game and he needed just 98 pitches. And what was most impressive was the control. He has not walked a batter in his 2 starts since returning. In fact, of the 55 batters he has faced, only 1 has even reached a 3-ball count. And in the last 14 games, Rays starting pitchers are now 9-3 with a 1.95 ERA. That’s what we were expecting when the season started. And they have done that without Alex Cobb…Jose Molina. The one area where the Rays really struggle defensively at times is behind the plate. Yes, they do some things very well. But there are some glaring weaknesses, and throwing out runners is one. Only the Angels (70) have allowed more stolen bases this season than the Rays (67). And yet on Sunday, Molina threw out both would-be basestealers. The first one likely saved a run as the batter would later single. It also meant David Price only had to retire 25 batters instead of 27. Molina has now thrown out 4 straight basestealers overall.

THE BAD: Ben Zobrist Is Lone Rays All-Star. This is not a knock on Zobrist. It took 4 years to get his second All-Star selection and it is well overdue. But at best, he is the 4th most deserving player on the Rays behind Evan Longoria, James Loney, and Matt Moore. Longo is 4th among AL position players in WAR and should have been a no-brainer (not that I expect those picking to use WAR). So why Zobrist? Maybe Jim Leyland wanted a utility player. Or maybe this is Leyland’s way of apologizing for Zobrist being hit by a pitch last week. There is a part of me that thinks (hopes?) Leyland regretted how things shook out in the last series between the two clubs. In his post-game comments he basically ordered Rick Porcello to hit somebody after Fernando Rodney buzzed Miguel Cabrera. But even Leyland had to know that hitting a guy is not the right response for a brushback pitch. OK, maybe that wasn’t the main reason Zobrist was chosen, but I wonder if it was a contributing factor. A tie-breaker if you will.

THE TELLING: After returning to the leadoff spot, Desmond Jennings is running again. He is 4-4 in steals in the last 6 games…Taylor Guerrieri will not pitch in the All-Star weekend Futures Game after all. The Rays want him to get some extra rest….The Rays are now 49-40, tied for 2nd with the Orioles and 4.5 games behind the Red Sox. The Rays and Orioles are now tied for the 2nd Wild Card, 2.5 games behind the Rangers who lead the Wild Card. According to CoolStandings.com, the Rays now have a 59.1% chance of making the playoffs.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • David Price called his injury a “blessing in disguise.” [TampaBay.com]
  • The Rays will listen at the trade deadline as they always do, but Joe Maddon says they don’t need anything so don’t expect any major moves. [TampaBay.com]
  • It is sounding more and more like we will see Alex Cobb pitch again this season, but it won’t be anytime soon. [TampaBay.com]
  • It looks like the Rays will be playing the Cardinals and the rest of the NL Central in 2014. [stltoday.com]
  • Double-A prospect Leonardo Reginatto made a great catch. Here’s the video. [Biscuit Crumbs]
  • And Chris Gimenez made a great diving grab in left field for the Bulls. [WDBB]
  • The Bucs go to their website to defend Greg Schiano against a Tampa Bay Times reporter. [JoeBucsFan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

DURHAM 1, Gwinnett 0. Merrill Kelly tossed 7 shutout innings on 3 hits and 3 walks lowering his triple-A ERA to 2.03. In 5 starts since being promoted to Durham, Kelly has allowed 2 runs or less in 4 starts…Tim Beckham was 1-4 and is hitting .268…Mike Fontenot  went 3-4 with a double.

MONTGOMERY @ Mobile. postponed

CHARLOTTE 9, Bradenton 6. Felipe Rivero struck out 9 in 5.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks…Jeff Malm hit his 8th home run…Drew Vettleson went 1-5 and Richie Shaffer was 0-5. They are hitting .270 and .245, respectively.

BOWLING GREEN 7, Lansing 1. Matthew Spann made his first start and allowed just 1 run in 5.1 innings with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks.

HUDSON VALLEY 4, Vermont 2.

Pulaski 2, PRINCETON 1.

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12 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    So Price pitched a complete game no-walker!

    I wish people made as big a fuss about that as they do about no-hitters; it may not be as rare, but it’s hard to do….and Price’s recent games have been a joy to watch because they are so nicely paced.

    • Gus says:

      Price only getting to one 3-ball count is even more incredible. His velocity was done a little bit and he said he didn’t feel quite as good as Tuesday, so bear watching. But if they are careful with him, his ceiling is the highest of any pitcher the Rays have.

      Cork: Zobrist was picked because he can play all the positions and the game means something to Leyland, who wants home field advantage.

  2. Chris says:

    MIght want to move a decimal point on Merrill Kelly. He’s good, but not that good. :)

  3. Ken says:

    Fausto and Archer really need to step up. Each of them will have 2 starts before the break. Both have to go at least 1-1 to keep the Rays in the hunt.

    • Andrew says:

      I really wish the Rays would score more runs when Fausto is pitching. Quite a few games he’s pitched in, where he has kept us in the game, at least he is eating the innings up to keep the relievers rested.

      • Dave L says:

        Precisely. We have scored a total of 3 runs in his last 3 starts and 3 runs in the game before that.

        I can guarantee with certitude that if we score 1.5 runs tonite we will lose.

        The amazing thing about this latest 8 out of 9 winning streak is that we have done so with Longo in hs worst slump of the year.

        The Rays have almost no experience against Deduno but as Righty RHB hit him at an OPS substantially higher than lefties (.751 to .521) so Loney may be the only lefty starting tonite.

  4. Mark says:

    Molina has started throwing runners out which is awesome…but look at his throwing mechanics…they are terrible and that doesn’t bode well for the future.

  5. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    Longo is statistically the 5th best 3rd baseman in the AL this season… he shouldn’t have been considered this year (and he wasn’t).

    • Scot says:

      Which metric are you using? By fWAR, he is second best 3rd baseman in the AL, but really among two others – Donaldson of the Athletics and Machado. If one discounts defensive metrics for which there is valid reason to, Donaldson is number 2 and Beltre and Longo are essentially equal at 3.

      • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

        Cabrera, Muchado, Donaldson, Beltre, Longo.

        Listen, I’m the biggest Longoria fan I know and if I had to choose which of the 5 I’d want on the Rays I’d say Longoria is the perfect fit, but looking at the total package (especially in regard to offensive numbers) through the first half of this year he’s number 4 or 5.

        WAR is subjective, as it varies from one source to another because several major statistical generators use different criteria to formulate WAR.

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