The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.
RAYS 5, Rangers 2 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: David Price. King David Rose Again! What a performance. There was a case to be made for starting Alex Cobb. In theory, the Rays needed a win from both Cobb and Price to get to the real playoffs against the Red Sox on Friday. So, does it make a difference if Cobb starts against the Rangers or Cleveland? Maybe not and we all know Price has struggled against the Rangers. But we’ve seen Price be huge when the most is on the line. And if Joe Maddon started Cobb and the Rays had lost, the backlash would have been enormous. In the end, this game was all about King David. He just wasn’t going to lose. What a great, great performance…Evan Longoria. Many Statheads (of which I like to consider myself one even if I don’t bury this site in them) will tell you there is no such thing as clutch. I have long argued that it depends on what you mean by the term “clutch.” Do players get better when it matters most? No. But without a doubt, there are players that don’t get worse, and to me that is clutch. Just like in all aspects of life, there are people who get nervous and struggle when the pressure increases (do all people handle speaking to a large crowd the same way?) and there are people who are able to remain calm and do their job just as well as if nobody is watching. That’s Evan Longoria. Last night it was three more hits including a huge 2-run home run in the third inning. When it matters most, I never worry about whether or not Longo will show up…Sam Fuld. What a huge and gutsy play that was in the 9th inning. With the pitcher not paying attention, Fuld broke for third base forcing a bad throw from the mound. Fuld would easily score the 5th run for the Rays. This was big for Price as it gave him a longer leash when he came back out for the bottom of the ninth…Joe Maddon. Good on Maddon for having the confidence to stick with Price the whole way. Hindsight is 20-20, but I was genuinely nervous about bringing Fernando Rodney in and felt a little better when it was Price…Nelson Cruz. I loved that he was the final out. More than the suspension, it was a chance for Price to slay two demons in one at bat, the Rangers and Cruz.
THE BAD: Trade Talks Will Only Get Worse. No matter what happens this postseason, the off-season story line is going to be all about whether or not the Rays will trade David Price. And the one team that will be mentioned the most is the Texas Rangers. Maybe they will step up, and maybe they won’t. But with Price pitching as well as he did last night and eliminating the Rangers in front of 43,000 Rangers fans is just going to make the Rangers fans want Price even more. Who knows if the wishes of the fans will have any influence on what the Rangers front office will do, but they are going to yell loud for the team to make a deal and that will mean even more stories and speculation. So brace yourselves, it’s coming.
THE TELLING: Kevin Kiermaier made his major league debut in the 9th inning as a center field defensive replacement…Cleveland will start Danny Salazar against the Rays on Wednesday. Salazar started the season in double-A…Remember the “Chase for 92 Wins” posts? The Rays finished 92-71 and are the second Wild Card team. According to CoolStandings.com, the Rays now have a 100% chance of making the playoffs.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- There was no screencaps post this morning. You can find them in last night’s Live post. [Rays Index]
- And here are our favorite moments from the post-game celebration. [Rays Index]
- Here is the strikezone plot from last night. There were basically two bad calls by the home plate umpire. The red triangle in the first plot was the strikeout of AJ Pierzynski. In almost the same spot on the second plot, there is a red square, that was a called strike earlier in the game to Delmon Young. Otherwise, the umpire was pretty solid. [BrooksBaseball.net]
- Hey MLB, you need expanded replay NOW, not extra umpires on the field. [BI Sports]
- When David Price yelled “that’s what I am talking about!” he was looking at Evan Longoria. Price explained why to Scott Miller. [CBS Sports]
- Andrew Friedman on Kevin Kiermaier: “He is as good of a defender as there is in professional baseball in our opinion…he has a chance to be a real weapon for us late in the game.” [TBO.com]
- The Rays are no. 8 out of 10 teams in Jon Heyman’s postseason power rankings. The good news is that Cleveland is no. 10. [CBS Sports]
- The Best GIFs of Week 4 in the NFL. [BI Sports]
- Just blow up the Bucs and start over. This is an ugly mess and it’s getting uglier. [JoeBucsFan]