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

Rangers 8, RAYS 2 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Tim Beckham. Unfortunately for Beckham he will always be compared to Buster Posey, which is really not fair to him. But something to keep in mind: Posey was 22 when he got his first big league hit. Beckham is 23. Sure, it feels like it has been a long time coming, and in some respects it has been. But our expectations were always based on where he was drafted, something out of his control…Standings. The Red Sox helped the Rays out by beating the Orioles. If that had not happened, this next 4-game series was going to be very dangerous. As it is now, the Rays just need to split. If the Rays win three or four games, the Orioles are done. And yes, the Indians won so that’s not good. But beating one team is easier than beating two. And the Indians don’t have the luxury of being able to play the Rays (or the Rangers) head-to-head. Their schedule is easy, but head-to-head wins are twice as valuable as a win over a non-playoff team.

THE BAD: James Loney. The game was basically over when the Rangers scored two runs on a 2-out infield single because Loney fell asleep and was worried too much about the call at first base. It was the second straight night with a critical mental mistake and that is the sort of thing that will drive Joe Maddon nuts…Matt Moore. The velocity on Moore’s pitches looked fine. The movement was normal. So what happened? He gave up 3 home runs in the span of 4 batters. That’s it. Just one of those nights. If there is a complaint, it may be the pitch calling. Elvis Andrus took two straight curveballs which seemed to indicate that he was sitting on the fastball. Moore then threw a fastball and it Andrus crushed it. Obviously this is hindsight, but Moore may have been better off throwing a fastball off the plate there to see if Andrus would be to antsy and chase it. The Alex Rios home run also had a questionable pitch sequence. Rios had already fouled-off five of the six pitches he had seen, including a changeup. Moore then threw another changeup that Rios hit for a home run. Throwing the same batter more than one changeup is not the worst thing. But Rios fouling off the first one suggested that at the very least, he was not completely fooled by the pitch. And if a changeup is not fooling a batter, it is probably better to stay away from it. Again, this is hindsight and nitpicking, but just something he will probably keep in mind next time he faces those situations.

THE TELLING: If the Rays and Rangers finish the season tied for the top Wild Card spot, the Wild Card game would be in Texas…The Rays are now tied with the Rangers for the Wild Card lead at 83-69, one-half game ahead of the Indians (1 game in the loss column). According to CoolStandings.com, the Rays have a 48.8% chance of making the playoffs. The Rangers are at 61.9% and the Indians are at 65.4%. The Orioles are just 11.3%.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Things are getting crowded at the top of the Wild Card standings. [@watchingdbulls]
  • Here is a closer look at the 2014 schedule. [BRaysball Talk]

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10 Comments

  1. mp645 says:

    Give Loney a break. He probably is exhausted. He and Zoby have been in nearly every game this year. He has been a good hitter and is certainly an asset far above Carlos Pena.

    Moore threw pitches right over the middle of the plate. What did you think would happen?

  2. Rob says:

    AI don’t think that play was Loney’s fault exclusively. He should have never been in that position to begin with. The ground ball couldn’t have been more routine and Andrus should have been out, but Escobar took him time. He should have been charging the ball and fired a shot to 1st with the speedy Andrus running. That should have been an out all the way, but like Myers the night before, Escobar was loafing it.

    There is no sense of urgency in this team, and I think Maddon sets the tone. Just read an article on TBT that he is upset at the lackadaisical play in this series, but he models that relaxed attitude and the players are just following his lead. I think his approach is healthy over a long season, but when applied to a short series it just doesn’t work.

    • Rob says:

      Lots of typos – sorry.

    • OriginalTom says:

      It looked like a tough play on TV, Escobar did not appear to be loafing on the replay.

      On the prior play where Kinsler and Gentry did the double steal, did it appear Lobaton had a real good shot at Kinsler at second? I do not understand why he did not throw the ball.

      • KT says:

        Definitely not loafing, he had to wait for the chopped ball to come back down to him. Tough play and it didn’t go our way. The Rangers were overly aggressive (almost to a foolish extent) on the bases all series. It didn’t work in the first game (Kinsler), but it worked a whole lot of other times.

        • Sarah says:

          Yes, but the “loafing” meme, even if directed at a player who has been nearly flawless at his position until last night, is so much more emotionally satisfying than “sometimes things don’t go your way!”

          I still think, however, that the second run was on Loney. Not loafing, but also not focused on what was transpiring on the field.

          • Rob says:

            Hmm – loafing, brain fart, lack of situational awareness – call it what you will, but it comes down to being, as Maddon put it, a “mental faux paus.” I get no satisfaction or relief from describing it as loafing. It’s just what I saw (albeit from left field) – a play in which the shortstop wasn’t attacking the play as aggressively as he could. I didn’t make any judgements about his play over the season – I was only talking about that play and the Myers play the night before. And my point was that I think the mentality of staying cool comes from Maddon and the team needs to have a sense of urgency these last 10 games.

            Marc Topkin seems to agree (not implying at all that he is the final word) and called the play a “nearly routine grounder Escobar stayed back on.”

  3. Alex says:

    Better question is: Why is Wil Myers sitting for the 3rd game in less than a week? HE IS OUR BEST HITTER RIGHT NOW. Maddon is overthinking his line ups again. Matt Joyce does not need to be in the line up. He is a pop up/strike out machine. Maddon needs to stop coddling Myers. He can handle big league pitchers.

    Moore brought this upon himself. All of those hr’s were fastball right down the middle. Andrus has 4 hr’s this year. 2 of them were in this series. How does that happen with this pitching staff? Mitch Moreland has 3 hr’s off of lefties so naturally he gets one off of Matt Moore of all people.

  4. ed williams says:

    i was thinking today , who do you blame for that game, joe doesn’t hit, pitch , play the field, but he does set the tone , all year we hear how the players are trying to hard, no it seems they are not trying hard enough, and of course that is not all the players. Joe is a great manager but I think he is probably kicking himself for not being a little more harder on his players, i don’t know if that is the right way to phrase it, but , and i don’t understand why wil myers isn’t in everygame, you play your best players in everygame this time of year, granted his play in the outfield isn’t the greatest , but his bat is the best on the team now. Oh and i was wondering , the other night when molina almost got thrown out at first from right field on a base hit, does anybody think joe would have done anything , not sure molina seems to be one of the favorites. This team has got to wake up or it’s going to be another one and done , or not even make the playoffs, than who gets the blame, GO RAYS

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