The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.
RAYS 4, Red Sox 3 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Jeremy Hellickson. For the second straight start, Hellboy’s fastball velocity was up and the result was a strong performance. You always worry about Hellickson against the Red Sox. His career ERA against Boston is 4.21, the worst of the four AL East rivals. As a pitcher that lives just on the edge of the strikezone, the patience of the Red Sox can be troubling for Helly and he did walk 3 in less than 6 innings. But when the fastball velocity is up, Hellickson’s changeup is lethal. Last night, Helly threw 39 changeups. Of those 25 were strikes, including a whopping 13 swing-and-misses and 10 were called strikes. Red Sox hitters only put 2 changeup strikes into play…Wil Myers. Myers’ 2-out double in the 8th inning saved the Rays and ended the skid. It also made sure the game didn’t go into extra-innings, which would have been a death-move considering the Rays had a flight after the game. After picking up 2 more hits last night, Myers is now 11-28 (.393) in his last 7 starts with 5 extra-base hits. So tell me again why he was not in the lineup for two straight games in the middle of that stretch?
THE BAD: Kelly Johnson. If Johnson disappeared at this point, would anybody notice? Would Joe Maddon notice? $2.45 million was a lot of money for a guy that was basically keeping a spot warm for Wil Myers for a couple of months. Of the 11 players on the team with at least 200 plate appearances this season, Johnson’s .312 OBP is only better than Jose Molina (.303). And this is not a good offensive team.
THE TELLING: Jose Molina is expected to rejoin the team today after missing last night’s game to be with his ill mother…The Rays are now 79-66, 8.5 games behind the Red Sox and 1 game ahead of the Yankees in the Wild Card. The Indians are 1.5 games back and both the Orioles and Royals are 2.5 back (3 in the loss column). According to CoolStandings.com, the Rays have a 45.3% chance to make the playoffs. The next best chance is the Indians who have a 35.4% chance. The Yankees are at 23.0%, Royals are 12.9% and the Orioles are at 5.3%.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Joe Maddon seconcd-guessed himself on how he used the bullpen on Wednesday night. [TBO.com]
- Hey look, Red Sox fans are jumping back on the bandwagon for the first time since 2007. [Sports Chart of the Day]
- Jay Jaffe of SI.com takes a look at who is to blame for the Rays’ recent sucktitude. [SI.com]
- “12 Tiny Sports Uniform Details That Drive Fans Crazy.” The Rays make the list. [BI Sports]
- And Tropicana Field makes this list: “11 Common Sports Phenomena That Are About To Go Extinct.” [BI Sports]
- Here is a look at Riverwalk Stadium, the home of the Montgomery Biscuits. [StadiumJourney]
- The Bucs home opener will not be blacked out. [JoeBucsFan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
DURHAM. The Bulls are tied 1-1 in their best-of-five championship series. Game three is tonight.
MONTGOMERY. The Biscuits finished the season 71-69.
CHARLOTTE. The Stone Crabs finished the regular season 67-65. They lost their playoff series 3-0.
BOWLING GREEN. The Hot Rods finished the regular season 82-56. Bowling Green lost their first round playoff series 2-0.
HUDSON VALLEY. The Renegades finished the season 38-37.
PRINCETON. The Rays finished the season 25-43.