The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.
RAYS 3, Orioles 1 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Enny Romero. Make no mistake, Romero has a good, live fastball that can get into the upper-90s. But we also saw why he only had 112 strikeouts in 148.1 innings in the minors this season and walked 75 batters. The control is just not there right now. It took Romero 70 pitches to get through 4.2 innings, with 38 strikes and 32 balls. But he did pitch 4.2 shutout innings with just 1 hit, even if he walked 4 and struck out none. That’s not bad for a guy that spent most of the year at double-A making his big league debut in the pennant race…David DeJesus. You’ve got a rookie pitcher that was basically making the jump from double-A to the majors in the heart of the playoff race. You’ve got an offense that occasionally can’t get out of its own way. So it cannot be understated just how big DeJesus’ home run was to lead off the first inning. You could almost hear the team relax a little bit in the dugout with a collective “we’re gonna be OK”…Playoffs. At this point, the Indians don’t matter. The race is the Rays versus the Rangers and here is the best way to think about that chase: The Rays and Rangers have 14 games remaining combined. The Rays need just 5 of those 14 games to go their way (Rays win or Rangers loss). If they get at least 5, the worst the Rays can do is play a 1-game play-in game for the Wild Card. On the other hand, the Rangers need 9 of those 14 games to go their way (Rangers win or Rays loss). If they get less than 9, the Rays are in the playoffs. Of course, the Rangers don’t need that much to catch the Indians, but we don’t care about that, right?
THE BAD: Desmond Jennings. Flash was pulled from the game with a strained hamstring. He had an MRI after the game…Rotation. So far, the pitching match-ups look a little scary for the last week.
Bruce Chen starts today and I hate facing that guy. He has made an entire career out of pitching well against the Rays. (apparently my Monday morning brain thought it was 2006. BRUCE Chen pitches for the Royals these days, of course. The Rays actually face Wei-Yin Chen today as several people pointed out). We also know little about who will pitch in the Yankees series for either team, beyond Matt Moore and Hiroki Kuroda on Tuesday. But it appears that RA Dickey will start the first game of the Blue Jays series on Friday. It will be the 6th time the Rays have faced the knuckleballer this season. He has had some good starts against the Rays this season, including a 2-hit shutout back in June.
THE TELLING: Evan Longoria did not play because of “flu-like symptoms“…The Rays designated JD Martin for assignment after yesterday’s game. The assumption is that Jesse Crain will finally be activated today. He is on the 60-day DL, so he was not counting towards the 40-man limit and somebody needed to be cut…Today is the final home game of the season…The Rays’ magic number is now 6. The Rays are now 86-69, a half-game ahead of the Indians and 2 games ahead of the Rangers. According to CoolStandings.com, the Rays now have a 77.4% chance of making the playoffs. The Rangers are down to 28.6%. The Indians are at 87.6%.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Joe Maddon and Enny Romero discuss his big league debut. [TBO.com]
- Joe Maddon sings praises for Yunel Escobar noting that he doesn’t “think anyone could possibly be better at the routine play than [Escobar] has been this year.” [MLB.com]
- Another week, another loss for the Bucs. This thing is going to have be blown up at some point. First will be the quarterback. And if that doesn’t show any promise, the coach will be next. [JoeBucsFan]