7-4-2013 6-44-10 PMThe GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

RAYS 7, Astros 5 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Yunel Escobar. Sometimes you watch Escobar hit and you wonder why he is not one of the best hitters in baseball. His RBI-double in the 11th inning was enormous. Not only did it give the Rays the lead, but it essentially saved the series for the Rays. A loss by the Rays after having a 3-run lead in the 8th inning would have been devastating. There is no way the Rays could afford a split of the 4-game series against the lowly Astros…Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsville’s 5-out performance was even bigger than Escobar’s hit. He stopped the bleeding when it looked like the Astros were going to rally for a win. But Farnsworth kept the Rays alive…Lobatron. Jose Lobaton has now been on base 8 times in the last 3 games. And Escobar’s double in the 11th doesn’t drive in a the go-ahead run unless Lobaton walks to lead off the inning.

THE BAD: Evan Longoria. Longoria is clearly still in a lot of pain. He wouldn’t run hard to first base. He was taken out of the game for a pinch-runner. At this point, it would be surprising to see Longo play third base before the all-star break. And at that point, the team is probably hoping the break will be the rest he needs to avoid the DL. But a stint on the DL may be needed.

THE TELLING: There is almost no chance Evan Longoria will be able to play in the All-Star game even if selected. The Rays will want him to rest his foot during those four days…Leslie Anderson is day-to-day for the Durham Bulls after being hit in the knee with a pitch. Also Ryan Roberts hasn’t played yet for Durham because his gear was lost by the airline…Rays are now 46-40, 6.5 games behind the Red Sox and in 4th place.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Who knows how long it will last, but it appears Desmond Jennings is back to being the lead-off hitter on most days. [TampaBay.com]
  • Still need to see if he can keep it up, but yes, Jose Lobaton is playing a lot better. [TBO.com]
  • Manny Ramirez has signed a minor league contract with the Rangers and MLB now considers his 100-game suspension as over. [DallasNews.com]
  • The Durham Bulls had a record crowd for their 4th of July game. [Vine]

DOWN ON THE FARM

DURHAM 6, Norfolk 2.

MONTGOMERY 8, Mobile 0.

CHARLOTTE 6, Palm Beach 3.

Dayton 6, BOWLING GREEN 5.

HUDSON VALLEY 9, Staten Island 1.

PRINCETON @ Burlington. postponed

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16 Comments

  1. Cork Gaines says:

    Hey “Matt,” I warned you about posting under different names. Now you have the distinction of becoming the first commenter ever banned at RI. Of course, looking through your comments, I can see there was very little in the way of contribution, so I doubt anybody will even notice you’re gone.

    So no more Matt. No more Joel Schwartzman, or Don, or Lori, or Larry G, or any other name you have used to post comments.

    Have a good day.

  2. gus says:

    Escobars game is interesting. If he stays back and doesn’t commit himself to the dead pull, he is ok and has real power to cf and rf. But the 6-3 ground out is still too common. But real progress. He still left a boatload of runners on earlier in the series, but maybe derreck shelton’s loney approach is at work here.

    Speaking of which, cork have you seen the derek shelton bat training aid commercial? I caught it on mlb network yesterday. Bj upton is not a paid endorser.

  3. Dave L says:

    Which off season veteran newcomer to the 2013 Rays has been the most impactful?

    Early on the obvious choice would have been Loney. But by the end of the season it may not be.

    Escobar has played the most demanding position in the field magnificently. After a horrible offensive start he is up to 10th in MLB OPS for SS.

    Kelly Johnson bat has cooled off but he has proved to be a plus defender wherever they play him, even positions where he has virtually no experience.

    And Roberto certainly isnt our best starter but at #2 in innings pitched for the season, without his durability we would be screwed right now with all the injuries to all the other pitchers. And his numbers are virtually identical to Helli’s , except W-L.

    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      That’s all very astute, but no one in the framework of baseball doubted Escobar’s ability to be a legitimate SS in the Bigs. The concern (if there was one) was in regard to his work-ethic/character, so to see him performing at a high level should not be a surprise.

      • Dave L says:

        Maybe amongst the baseball mandarins thats true but around these parts in April some commenters here wanted him gone. Not you of course, but some less patient Rays fans.

        • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

          Yeah, its a great exercise in how people perceive you when you have a certain personality, or as Joe says “chrome”. People tend to draw snap judgments when the person they are watching seems less than humble.

    • Ken says:

      When all is said and done Escobar is the hands down player with the most impact of all add-ons. The Rays have never had a SS with his arm, range and hitting ability. Loney comes in a close second but really….I find it curious that among Latin ballplayers he is highly regarded but not so much with the “white” press and fans. Most Cuban players come to MLB at a linguistic disadvantage as English is a forbidden language in their country. He had difficulty melding into the hotlanta culture then went to Canada. His years with Toronto were productive, and other than the eye black incident, was a solid force for the Jays.
      He plays the game with an enthusiasm of a rookie. I see his numbers and defense as ++ for a team that has never really had a SS of his caliper. With Hak’s injury it’s a blessing that we have an option with him.

      • Dave L says:

        Even offensive-wise while Loney’s OPS is .150 higher than Escobars relatively speaking its much closer due to the positions they play.

        While Escobar is 10th in MLB amongst SS, Loney is 8th of the 1st baseman. As 1st is often the most productive offensive position while SS is usually the least.

        At the end of the season I expect health to be the determining factor.

        I’m not taking anything away from Loney, But I really like Escobar.

        • Ken says:

          …and he makes JoMa’s job a lot easier. Slot him in whatever slot you want and take his “D” to the bank. Can’t remember a 9 hole player who has given us a season thus far like him.

      • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

        You bring up an interesting point… the Rays move to get Escobar seems to be working exactly according to plan and he’s under control until 2016, so does that leave Hak as trade bait?
        Could he be packaged with DP as part of a blockbuster with Texas? Will they really leave him down on the farm until Escobar leaves?
        Will they re-position him to second (but then what to do with Zo)?

        Lots of interesting possibilities if Escobar continues to perform.

        • Ken says:

          I think you have to figure on at least one full year at AAA for Hak, possibly two. The Rays have plenty of time to figure it out. Hopefully he picks up where he left off.
          We might not have seen the best of Escobar, he claims to be very happy, seems like a nice fit. Throw out his miserable start and he’s top shelf. At 30, there’s no reason to think he can’t perform at this level for another couple of years.

        • Dave L says:

          With Yunel at 32 and HJL at 26 I would say he is at the perfect age difference to be a successor. With a ballplayers prime age to be 29, the timing would be perfect. I would under no circumstances consider trading the Korean blade.

          We are just too thin at SS and injuries do happen when you least need them.

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