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

RAYS 4, Twins 3 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Matt Moore. If you recall, when Moore struggled for a few starts, the velocity on his fastball was down to 91-92. And then when things started to get better his last few starts his velocity averaged just a notch over 92. Yesterday his average velocity was 93.3. It is not much, but Moore consistently shown that he is much more successful when his fastball is in the 93-94 range. It seems like Moore has taken a little off his fastball this season to gain some command (his fastball has a ton of natural movement). But when he takes too much off he struggles. It seems as though he has now found that happy medium and yesterday was the best start of his season…Jake McGee. McGee has come a long ways in a couple of months and credit Joe Maddon for having more faith than most of us. On Thursday he picked up the first save of his career with a 1-2-3 9th inning that included 2 strikeouts. And he did it with 12 pitches, all fastballs. If there was one complaint it was that he might need to warm up a little longer. His first four pitches were 95 or 96. His next 7 pitches were all 97. And his last pitch was 98…Wil Myers. In 2 games since taking a day off to clear his head and tweak his swing, Myers is 5-9 and on Thursday he drove in a pair of runs with a pair of 2-out singles.

THE BAD: Schedule. As easy as the schedule has been for the Rays heading into the break, the schedule on the other side of the break is just as hard. The Rays will start the second half with a 10-game roadtrip against AL East foes Toronto, Boston, and New York. That is followed by a quick 5-game homestand against Arizona and San Francisco before a 6-game trip to the west coast to play Arizona and the Dodgers. That’s a brutal 20 game stretch.

THE TELLING: Matt Moore has been added to the AL All-Star roster, replacing Yu DarvishEvan Longoria’s stolen base on Wednesday was his first since the one that tore his hamstring a year ago…Former Rays bench coach Bill Evers will serve as interim manager of the Durham Bulls when Charlie Montoyo is at the All-Star weekend Futures Game. Evers was 2-0 as manager of the Devil Rays when Joe Maddon was away from the team in 2006…The Rays are 53-40, 3.5 games behind the Red Sox.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Alex Cobb threw his first bullpen session and said he felt good. [TampaBay.com]
  • Jon Heyman says the Rays are one team that has called the Mariners about trading for one of their hitters. Heyman specifically mentions Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez. [MLBTR]
  • Disco Joe Maddon? This is photoshopped, right? [Rays Baseball Tumblr]
  • This story on Tim Beckham is encouraging. It sounds like Beckham is starting to mature and understand what it will take to get to the big leagues. [NewsObserver.com]
  • Rafael Soriano has made a lot of money in his career. [BI Sports]
  • ESPN executives were probably fuming when their network kept inadvertently promoting a rival network. [BI Sports]
  • Cal Ripken always said one reason he never took a game off was because some fan might be there for the first time. So it is ironic that Rays prospect Richie Shaffer, who grew a huge Ripken fan, went to see Ripken play for the first time on the day Ripken’s streak ended. [TampaBay.com]
  • Bucco Bruce is coming back for one game in 2013. [JoeBucsFan]

Tim Beckham hit a long home run two nights ago…

DOWN ON THE FARM

DURHAM 6, Charlotte 5. Mike Montgomery gave up 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in 5.2 innings…Ryan Roberts hit his first home run since being demoted…Vince Benome had 2 more hits to raise his average to .341.

Pensacola 7, MONTGOMERY 2. Cameron Seitzer and Todd Glaesmann were both 2-4.

St. Lucie 7, CHARLOTTE 6. Richie Shaffer had a double and 2 walks…Drew Vettleson was 1-5 with a strikeout.

BOWLING GREEN 4, Quad Cities 3. Luke Maile was 3-6 with a double and a home run…Andrew Toles had 2 hits and his 44th stolen base.

Jamestown 5, HUDSON VALLEY 2.

Greeneville 4, PRINCETON 1.

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11 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    Just a month ago, the Rays were 28th in ERA. Now they are 12th, shaving almost a run off their team ERA. Big improvement. By the way, they are third in BAA.

  2. Gus says:

    What is the record since Myers got promoted? 16-8 or something like that? Some big boy teams on the schedule there too.

    His at bats have effectively come at the expense of S-Rod, Roberts and maybe a few Kelly Johnson at bats. He also has kept Crazy Joe’s lineup experiments limited (at least on the defensive side of things). And I think that stability has tangible benefits to the team.

    • Ken says:

      Leaving tonight’s game I’m thinking we may see a return to some of JoMa’s crazy lineups. Longo looks awful and has left a ton of men on base. Time to put him in the 7 hole and let him fight his way out of this slump with less risk to the team’s overall performance.

  3. Ken says:

    Rays are firing on all cylinders right now. I wish the press would stop harping on the easy schedule over the last few weeks. Fact is that all AL East teams have had the advantage of playing the same teams earlier in the year. When the Yanks swept 4 from the Twins about two weeks ago the press didn’t even bring it up. I hope the Twins turn it around this weekend and give the Yanks all they can handle.
    Roster wise I’d like to see the following tweaks if doable. As much as I admire Sammy Fuld, a RH bat with some power would be a blessing. K. Morales of Seattle has been mentioned in the national press and would be a nice rental if affordable. Also, Ramos is an expendable bullpen arm. Don’t know what he’s worth on the trade market but he could easily be replaced by Lueke or Gomes.
    All in all, I really like the make up of the team. Go Rays, sweep the Astro’s going into the break. Tough schedule looms.

  4. Beth says:

    Although I (and probably many of us) had expected Myers to provide more power, I’m impressed that he’s been effective with the timely singles. My worry about him, hearing some of his comments earlier, was that he was a guy who swung for the fences or struck out. While he certainly does get his share of strike outs, and indeed seems to have two strikes on him the minute he steps to the plate, he apparently can be a situational hitter who can line one just over the shortstop’s head when that’s what is called for. His baserunning hustle has been a big plus, too.

    • Dave L says:

      I missed the first 2 weeks of his call up as it coincided with my being out of the country with very little Wifi access so could even watch but ahandful of games on the slingbox. So I hesitate to comment on his effectivemess overall.

      His OPS is lower than Srod and higher than Roberts but comparable to both. Myers however has been an everyday player which is more demanding than only facing types of pitchers who you have a greater success against like the other two or a Joyce.

      What has impressed me most in the last 10 days I got to see was his at bats. they usually are very productive. He fans alot but not without seeing a fair amount of pitches. And his productivity has been at clucth moments it seems. He has put the ball all over the field in outs and hits alike. He has many swings depending on what is needed. I expected him to be in power mode but hes not. Beths observations are the same as mine sorry if I repeated some of them.

      In short even though his numbers are not great on paper I like the way he has started out. And his OPS is higher versus righties and that was supposed to be his achilles heel.

      IMO the Rays promoted him exactly at the right time where his experience and positive momentum exactly coincided with his service time to maximize our future control of his servicesl.

      Friedman deftly threaded the needle once again.

      • Gus says:

        Myers hits the ball hard farily consistenty. The ball is firing off of that bat. Over time that bodes well; I feel like he’s actually hit into some tough luck so far.

        In Durham, he led the league in RBIs and he seems to have been pretty good at driving in runs in TB too with timely hits and productive outs. Plus, as an emergency catcher, that means S-Rod and his golden sombreros are expendable. From my viewpoint, nothing not to like about the guy; I was expecting more of a flawed player since KC traded him; turns out KC may just be a bunch of knuckleheads.

        • Beth says:

          Or KC thought they were one good starting pitcher away from contending and decided to go for it this year.

          Or maybe they really liked Elliott Johnson.

          • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

            Yep. I agree. They really, really wanted Elliot Johnson, the Rays just threw-in Shields to sweeten the pot :)

        • Scot says:

          Problem is that he strikes out 25% of the time and has been walking only 5% of the time. And yes, he has been average – Roberts / SRod in quality so far. However, the evidence is given enough time, he will be excellent.

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