USATSI_7426955_154511044_lowresThe GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

Red Sox 2, RAYS 0 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: David Price. It’s a cliché, but Price deserved a better fate. If BJ Upton was playing center field, Price would probably have thrown 9 shutout innings. Of course, the Rays probably still wouldn’t have scored a run, but maybe they get lucky in extra innings. Price allowed just 2 runs in 8 innings with 9 Ks and no walks. Both runs came in the fifth inning which started with a double off of Desmond Jennings’ glove in center field. It wasn’t an easy catch but one a good center fielder makes. If you watch the replay from the side, you can see Jennings jump back into the wall instead of jumping straight up. That collision caused him to come up short and miss the ball. Jonny Gomes then followed with a groundball single. Jennings’ throw from shallow center field missed home plate by 20 feet. A bunt and a sac fly later, it was 2-0.

THE BAD: Joe Maddon. Maddon benched Wil Myers for the second straight game and for some reason has now turned his second best hitter into a platoon player. Maddon wanted Luke Scott in the lineup instead of Myers because Maddon liked the matchup against Clay Buchholz better.  Scott went 0-2 with 2 strikeouts before being pulled for a pinch-hitter. The Rays repeatedly said before Wil Myers was promoted that when he was called up, he would play everyday. But now Maddon is playing matchups with Myers and has him on the bench against the Red Sox during a huge September game. If Myers was struggling, maybe this makes sense. But Myers had 8 hits in the five games before being benched with 2 doubles and 2 home runs. Maddon makes a lot of questionable moves and a lot of times they work. But to bench Myers for two straight games because of matchups is one of the worst moves I have ever seen Maddon make. It makes zero sense. Myers is not a platoon player. If Maddon wants Scott in the lineup, find another way.

THE TELLING: David Price threw 127 pitches, the most by a Rays pitcher since Victor Zambrano in 2004 (128)…The Rays are now 78-65, 8.5 games back in the division and still 1.5 games ahead of the Indians and Orioles in the Wild Card.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Today is the 12th anniversary of 9/11. If by chance you are interested in reading about what it was like to be there that day, here is a post I wrote a few years ago. [RaysIndex]
  • Jesse Crain after throwing another successful bullpen session: “We’re getting close.” But can he hit? [TampaBay.com]
  • The Tampa Port Authority has reached an agreement to purchase the retail center at Channelside. Of course, this has led to more speculation that Jeff Vinik will try to bring the Rays to Channelside. [Shadow of the Stadium]
  • Joe Maddon doesn’t mind sign stealing: “Everybody should try to steal the other team’s signs. Absolutely.” [TBO.com]
  • The Durham Bulls 2013 season in charts. [WDBB]
  • 98.7 The Fan has launched a petition to save the Rays. [98.7 The Fan]
  • When was the last time The Trop was a home game for the Red Sox? [ESPN via @MatKelly_27]
  • The Bucs have added some help at fullback. [JoeBucsFan]

DOWN ON THE FARM

Pawtucket 2, DURHAM 1 (The Bulls trail their best-of-5 series 1-0). The Bulls took an early lead on a sac fly by Jesus Flores in the second inning. But a 2-run rally by the PawSox n the 8th inning has the Bulls down 1-0 in the best-of-5 series.

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.

 

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14 Comments

  1. Rick says:

    If anybody needs a day off, its longo. I'm really starting to realize how poorly maddon chooses his pinch hitters. He takes out dejesus and puts in myers. Then uses delmon to pinch hit for scott. Then when molina came up in the 8th, maddon decides to keep him in and let him hit. Any of the guys on the bench could have hit better than molina. Stupid lineup and dumb decisions.

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  2. Ken says:

    The Rays will finish fourth in the division this year. There is no urgency or pressure to win. Maddon can do whatever he wants because Stewie and his cronies will get their pieces of gold from the league no matter what. In another town, with different owners he would be fired for his mismanagement. But here, he won't. He'll moan about the "group" not focusing and the injuries during the season and blah, blah, blah... How do you bench Myers for the most important series opener of the year? He's supposed to be our future. We were promised he'd play everyday. Outside of one 30 game stretch, Maddon's match-up gimmickry hasn't worked.
    Attendance last night was below the per game average this year. Against the Red Sox!!! In September, barely holding on to a play-off spot!!!
    If you were there you had to smell the stink of defeat before the game even started. I know I did.
    Area fans are fickle. While they'll support a team that makes an effort, they won't support a team that chokes. I just gave away my remaining season tickets to a youth group.
    What happened to this team?

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  3. KT says:

    Dumb, dumb, DUMB. And this isn't one of those hindsight is 20/20 sort of things- I yelled at my TV as soon as I saw that Myers wasn't in the lineup. I also yelled out loud on Sunday when I saw that he wasn't in the lineup (I was at the game). WTF Maddon?! I've defended him many times, but now he's managing like he WANTS to give up on the postseason.

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  4. Gus says:

    This feels a lot like the 2011 Red Sox September. Through September 10th, Boston was 2-8. The Rays are 3-7 through September 10th.

    Clubhouse turmoil? No fried chicken and beer, but we have the best hitter needling the 2nd best hitter for not wearing team gear and printing Team Wil shirts. That sounds like some rookie "too big for his britches" attitude there. Something going on with Longoria, and it isn't good. Striking out 3 times in a critical game isn't good either.

    Mangerial panic moves? You bet -- benching Myers when he was 10-29 in September (and about the only guy besides Loney hitting) is a joke. (Benching his Sunday was a joke as well). Not pinch hitting Molina in the 8th is just giving up. Maddon is great, but not infalliable. Pitching Price's arm off last night with a well-rested bullpen was curious as well.

    Curious player collapses? Des is just inexplicable in the field. Longo at the plate is a career low. Price pitching great and then terrible and then great again last night. It is curious, to say the least.

    Still time to right the ship and the pitching has been much better of late, but they need to hit.

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    • Ken says:

      Maddon has lost control of this team. The penguins, pythons, plantains and punditry have all of a sudden lost their luster...Funny how Longo's swoon coincided with Myers arrival.

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      • Sarah says:

        Yes, I noticed that (Myers/Longo) too. Probably coincidence, but it almost seems as the though Longo has faded as the new guy makes his mark.

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        • Gus says:

          We can look forward to an off-season of Alpha Dog psycho-analysis of Longo-Myers Of Nuke Laloosh v. Crash Davis.

          But it may well be his bad foot that is more of a root cause than Myers presence -- what was curious was they were nursing him along that a china doll for weeks at DH and sitting him through mid-June, and then one day he was back in the lineup at 3B and hasn't missed a day in months. But in retrospect, that may have been a mistake. He is killing them on a consistent basis.

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      • Rob says:

        I think Myers' arrival is unrelated to Longoria's struggles. Longoria gets hot early after being rested, whether that's at the beginning of a season after the winter or at the end of a season after being on the DL for a long time. I think he naturally fades and may not have the stamina to perform at superstar level an entire season.

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        • OriginalTom says:

          According to Fangraphs, Longo's career OPS is .871 in the 1st half and .867 in the 2nd half so I do not think stamina is the problem. He actually had a pretty decent August.

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          • KT says:

            Thank you for using some actual facts to back up your claim, unlike many around here.

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          • Rob says:

            That doesn't tell the entire story though. He had a huge second half last year, but that was after being on the DL for 80+ games. My point is that he starts off hot and then fades. The start though is a variable due to his numerous injuries so you can't compare splits without doing a little more digging.

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  5. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    So July was amazing enough for everyone to suddenly see past Shelton's warts, but let's not forget that regardless of lineup the one consistent thing since Shelton has arrived is a general lack of timely hitting and an overabundance of 1st and 2nd pitch takes... Shelton is still the problem- not the entire problem, but the problematic foundation upon which all the offensive fissures on this team have originated.

    In addition, Maddon has definitely screwed up on more than a few occasions while trying to reinvent the wheel, so there's plenty of managerial blame to go around.

    Despite all of that, at the end of the day, it is up to the players to sink or swim and several players seem to be performing on a lower than expected level (i.e. Joyce, Jennings, Longo).

    All hope is not lost- imagine another July-like run starting right now and running through October... makes me smile just to consider it as a possibility.

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