9-2-2013 8-19-10 PMThe GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

Angels 11, RAYS 2 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Was there anything? Let me try to put a positive spin on this weekend’s games. As bad as the Rays are playing right now, they would still be in the playoffs if the season ended today. More importantly, no matter what happens tonight, that will still be true tomorrow. That’s the nice thing about having a cushion in the standings. When these skids happen — and they always happen to the Rays — the Rays are still in contention when the skip is finally righted…Wil Myers and Evan Longoria. In the last 8 games, Longoria and Myers are a combined 4-57 (.070) with 22 strikeouts and just 1 RBI. So why are they in the Good? Because they are good and they are too talented to keep this up. Once these two guys start hitting again — and they will — the Rays will start scoring runs again and any offense is all this pitching staff needs.

THE BAD: Offense. The Rays have lost 5 straight games. During that streak, they have gone 31-159 at the plate (.195) and scored a whopping 7 runs. Amazingly, the Rays have drawn 23 walks in those 5 games including 9 on Monday. Unfortunately, only 2 of those runners would eventually score a run with both of those coming during the first game of the A’s series when the Rays lost 4-3…Josh Lueke. I’m not going to lie. If Lueke is a great pitcher and the Rays need him to win games, then I have less of a problem with the Rays using Lueke. But if the only reason he is on the team is to serve as the slop-reliever when they Rays are down 11-2, then I am not a fan of having him on the team. There are other relievers that can come in and eat innings to give the real relievers a break. I don’t want to get into the same argument about what he did or did not do and what he was or wasn’t convicted of doing. I do believe in second chances and I do think he should be allowed to play baseball. But if there are others that can do what he can do, I’d prefer he did it elsewhere.

THE TELLING: Three of the top four minor league affiliates (Durham, Charlotte, Bowling Green) are in the playoffs…The Rays’ first wave of call-ups for September included Delmon Young, Chris Gimenez, and Josh Lueke. Also, Luke Scott was activated from the DL…Sam Fuld became the third position player in franchise history to pitch in a game. Of course, this isn’t the first time Fuld has warmed up. He actually took the mound during a 2011 game in order to give a reliever more time to warm-up in the bullpen…Matt Moore will start tonight and Jeremy Hellickson will start tomorrow…The Rays are now 75-61, 5.5 games behind the Red Sox and 2.0 games ahead of the Orioles in the Wild Card.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • It is amazing that the Rays have so many big league or big league-caliber starting pitchers and yet Joe Maddon started Jamey Wright this weekend. Here is why that happened. [TampaBay.com]
  • Jeremy Hellickson talks about his time away from the team. [TampaBay.com]
  • Here is video of Sam Fuld talking about his pitching performance. [TampaBay.com]
  • Will the Bucs be able to get to the quarterback this season? [JoeBucsFan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

DURHAM 1, Norfolk 0 (10). The Bulls begin their best-of-5 first-round playoff series tomorrow.

MONTGOMERY 9, Birmingham 2. The Biscuits finished the season 71-69.

CHARLOTTE. The Stone Crabs begin their best-of-3 first-round playoff series tonight.

BOWLING GREEN 10, Lake County 2. The Hot Rods begin their best-of-3 first-round playoff series tomorrow.

HUDSON VALLEY 4, Connecticut 0.

PRINCETON. The Rays finished the season 25-43

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13 Comments

  1. Ken says:

    We used to have a player called "Big Game". He was the heart and soul of this franchise, on and off the field. Who is our "Big Game" player now? Zorilla, maybe but he doesn't have the swagger. Anybody else? Rays fans are waiting...tick, tock, tick tock....

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    • KT says:

      You're very pessimistic as usual (and I can't really blame you), but I agree with you here. James brought a certain element of intangibles to this team that makes that trade a lot more difficult to break down. This team seems to lack that leader, and it seems a guy like Longo has a hard time being that guy when he himself is struggling so much.

      I was at the game on Sunday, right behind the Rays dugout, and you could sense it in the air that they feel deflated, and depleted. They need a confidence boost, some morale boosting, whatever it takes, to get their swagger back. Most of all, they need to remember that they are still a playoff team right now, and THEY control that destiny, not anyone else.

      C'mon Rays, LET'S GO!!!!

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      • Ken says:

        KT, I really try not to be such a pessimist. I'd prefer being described as "critical". Either way, this team is very frustrating to watch.
        For all the ups and downs of the first five months the one thing that hasn't been there all year is the "intensity" and killer instinct needed in a pennant race. Watching Trout bat last night, I kept thinking why don't we have a stud that scares the BeJesus out of any opponent.
        Maddon has done his best to keep this team loose, but he can only do so much. Yes we still control our own destiny so...let's get it done.
        Go Rays.

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  2. Gus says:

    I'd sit Longoria down. We know he is trying to play through the bad foot. But he's a mess; at least Myers has it the ball hard the last two games. Des is starting to show some signs of life (although his inability to cleanly catch a ball lately is frustrating); that was a starter begging to be crushed last night and they couldn't do it.

    Longoria is the franchise and he looks 100 years old out there; his running is Molina-esque; in Archer's big inning, old Longoria stops the line drive and turns it into a DP (like the Angels did in the top of the 4th). Current version of "Old man" Longoria waved at it; the big inning was on and they guy hooked one down the line.

    Hard to watch. Escobar needs a night off also. Somebody needs to hit a HR with people on base. Between the double play epidemic and the lack of power,it is brutal. They've been in most every game into the 6th inning. Just haven't held many leads.

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    • Ken says:

      Right now Longo's heralded "team friendly" new contract is looking more "player friendly" by the game. Time to step up Evan...

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  3. Sarah says:

    Baseball is one sport where pressing makes things worse, not better. I see some of the mistakes of the last few games -- uncharacteristic defensive lapses; Foley sending Myers home the other night when usually he's so conservative; maybe even Archer's poor performance last night -- as what happens when players feel stressed. I wish there were a way to give the players temporary amnesia - if they go into the game not knowing how awful they've been, they won't try so hard to overcorrect.

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    • Gus says:

      Penquins. More and more clubhouse animals. Maybe a rattlesnake? Midgets, illusionists, whatever it takes. They are close to Hollywood. Bring in something. The season is being lost.

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      • Beth says:

        Well, supposedly Maddon's light-hearted style was aimed at avoiding exactly this sort of extended, headache-inducing slump. Not sure what exactly has gone sour this time.

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  4. ed williams says:

    i was going to say something about joe , like maybe his style is starting to wear on the players or shelton isn't the greatest hitting coach, but i thought about it, it's the players, i think , no maybe it is maddon , see i am so confused about this team, it's like this every year it seems, but this year seems worse, i agree i think this team misses big game, they don't have any leadership , i know i have ranted about this before, but remember 08 we had leadership , it seems to me that whenever there is a player that shows it , the next year he is gone. Except of course shields, now this is just a question, not a slam on joe, but is there something that maybe he doesn't want players that are willing to stand up, we had hinske and cliff, and gomes, now gomes wasn't great but he was a great clubhouse guy, maybe that type of player doesn't mesh with joe's style, because why didn't andrew go out and get some leadership, delmon young is not going to provide it, dejesus isn't bad , but andrew didn't go out and get anybody, oh well that is my rant. hope everybody has a good day and go rays

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  5. Dave L says:

    Just give it another couple of weeks.

    The 2013 Rays arent as good as this Julys version had us hoping but we arent as bad as we seem to be right now either.

    We dont have a rash of injuries, just nagging ones so we are relatively healthy.

    Most players have been rested plenty throughout the season, so now is when that strategy should begin to pay off.

    I'd sure as hell rather be cold now than in 3 weeks. We still have alot of live arms.

    Things will get better.

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    • Beth says:

      Dave, I appreciate the optimism. But we don't have a couple of weeks. Season will be over. We can't afford to be out of a wild card position the last week of September and hope we have a lucky few days. Slump has to end now.

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      • KT says:

        I believe he meant a couple weeks to re-assess where we are in the standings. We DO have almost 4 weeks of games left, if they play like we all know they can, they'll be fine.

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      • Dave L says:

        Yes Beth I meant what KT inferred.

        Its bad to assess your team after an insane historically good month or a 5 game losing streak.

        Talk to me in 2 weeks about where we are.

        Im optimistic, but then I am the Polyanna of this place.

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