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

RAYS 5, Red Sox 4 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Jose Lobaton. How improbable was Lobatron’s home run? Well, he probably wouldn’t have even been in the game if not for Wil Myers developing leg cramps. Even more improbable, was that Koji Uehara had only allowed one earned run in his last 41.1 innings and no home runs since June. But that didn’t stop Lobaton from putting just the third home run ever into the Rays tank…Joe Maddon. Once again, JoeMa proves that sometimes he is indeed the smartest man in the room and at times the luckiest. When Wil Myers developed a leg cramp, Maddon had Sam Fuld, Kelly Johnson, and Delmon Young available on the bench. Instead, he moved Matt Joyce from DH in right field. That move cost the Rays their DH, but it also meant that Maddon still had all of his bench players for later in the game when he would need the flexibility. Of course, there is no way Maddon could have predicted that Lobaton would later enter Myers’ original spot in the lineup in a double-switch and win the game, but that is what happened…Evan Longoria. When Longo stepped to the plate with the Rays trailing 3-0, the Rays had just a 17.0% chance of winning the game. After he hit his 3-run home run, the win expectancy jumped to 51.3%.

THE BAD: Alex Cobb. Cobb settled down, but he put the Rays in a hole early as he was clearly nervous for the playoff start. And he was lucky the hole wasn’t bigger than 1-0 in the first. Thankfully he settled down and even turned in a couple of fine defensive plays himself to limit the damage…No Replay. Twice the Rays threw a runner out on the basepaths and twice the umpires ruled the runners safe. One of those runners would then score on a wild pitch. That play at third base was close and required super slo-mo to see that he was out. So it wasn’t necessarily a terrible call by the umpire. But instant replay would have seen it and MLB has dragged their feet and won’t expand it until next year… Boston Media. There are some good ones. But there are so many homerific hacks it is unbelievable, including Peter Gammons, who is quickly losing any and all credibility he has built up over a fine career.

THE TELLING: Jose Lobaton became the 46th player in MLB history to hit a walk-off home run in the postseason…The game was a sellout and the number of Rays fans greatly outnumbered the Red Sox fans…First pitch for game 4 is 8:37.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • “Rays fans the most fraudulent in baseball.” [Boston.com]
  • This was written prior to game 3, but it is making a case that the Rays are still very much alive. [SportsOnEarth]
  • What would it cost to trade for David Price? [ESPN Insider]
  • Peter King had some harsh words for David Price. Yes, Peter King. [MMQB]

Evan Longoria’s 3-run home run (Dave Wills’ call on WDAE comes at the 0:50 mark of this video)…

Jose Lobaton got his ice cream…

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15 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    I am not sure he has ever showed up in the bad column, but Ben Zobrist belongs there, as much as I hate to say it. His defense has been subpar and he is hitting .182 for the series.

  2. Dean says:

    Generally agree with your musings, Cork, but I’m not sure Cobb deserves to be in The Bad. I thought he battled and made two of the sweetest defensive plays you’ll ever see a pitcher make.

    Zo, probably my favorite player, did deserve to be in The Bad, as Rob pointed out.

    But it’s all good because we’re gearing up for Game 4. This incredible season continues. …

  3. JT says:

    I HATE Red Sox fans. More than any other teams fan base in any other sport Red Sox fans are by far the cockiest jerks in American sports.

  4. s says:

    joe maddon is a great manager over the course of the season. the players love the attitude and loose clubhouse. his lineups changes are hard to bitch at.

    with that being said, his in-game decision are at best questionable. down by 1 run in the first, leadoff man gets on, BUNT the damn ball. down by 1 run in the second, leadoff double. BUNT the god damn ball.

    pedroia at bat late in the game, 1 out, 2 on, 1st base open, big popi on the bench. WALK him, setting up a double play.

    giving up the DH, great outcome, but probably not the best decision either.

    we won that game despite 2 or 3 maddonisms.

    • OriginalTom says:

      Not sure giving up outs by sacrificing in the 1st and 2nd inning against an explosive offense like the Bosox is such a great strategy. Bunting Joyce in the 8th did not exactly work out for the Rays.
      As Cork pointed out giving up the DH allowed us to not burn a bench player and with double switches the pitcher never had to bat.

      • s says:

        we are NEVER going to be a true AL hitting team, we simply will never be able to afford power. there is no excuse in not advancing the runner in the second. that was a horrible managing decision. you push the runner over and have two outs to get him home to tie the game.

        the DH decision was a typical maddon decision and it worked.

    • Dave L says:

      S your talk of bunting led me to look up the stats, so I did.

      I have your answer. The next guy up was Zobrist. This year he has only a 25% success rate in sac bunting failing 3 of 4 times. He was the worst bunter on the team statistically speaking in 2013

  5. Dave L says:

    I am glad that the St Pete portion of this series was simply a formality to be hastily dispatched with on the Red Sox inevitable march into historical greatness for their arrogant fans and media. Do they really need to even play these games they ask mockingly?

    Impossible to beat the Sox 3 in a row right? Would take a miracle?

    Hardly.

    They aren’t the 72 Dolphins and this aint football.

    This is baseball and the mighty Sox lost 60 plus games this year as does everybody.

    Three in a row couldn’t happen right?

    Hardly.

    They lost 3 or more in a row 5 times this year as does virtually every team every year.

    We just need to win one at a time and its one down and one more tonite.

    Think Hellickson was BABIP’d into mediocrity this year and he isnt up to the task? Maybe.

    But he’s had three nice outings against the Sox this year giving up only 7 runs in 20 innings in the midst of this overall annus horribilis for the stoic young Iowan.

    He opposes Peavy who’s certainly vincable.

    With each win the pressure shifts to the Sox and the collective sphincters of New England will tighten as to not yield passage to a flax seed if we can but only force a game 5.

    Hopefully DP is not burnishing his hardware on his mantle and is going through his normal Day 3 off routine instead. And maybe a properly hydrated Myers will contribute tonite.

    As Maddon said Boston is nice this time of year.

  6. Mike says:

    Cobb was very good, as always. His defense let him down multiple times, otherwise he would have went deeper and not given up as many runs. He wouldn’t have given up anything in the 1st if the Rays were playing defense like they are supposed to. Not sure what game you were watching, but Cobb kept the Rays in the game almost by himself for the first 5 innings.

  7. Mike says:

    Also, Clay Bucholz deserves to be in the bad. I thought MLB was going to start getting on pitchers who take too long between pitches. Bucholz has got to be the slowest worker in baseball, and he was obscene last night. There was simply no reason for that game to last 4+ hours, and most of the blame for the slow pace falls squarely on Clay’s shoulders.

  8. AJNO says:

    Dirk hayhurst got more publicity from that one David Price tweet, and subsequent retweets, than he ahs gotten in his entire baseball life, much less his ill-fated attempt at commentating.

    Well played, Mr Hayhurst. Well played, indeed.

  9. Gus says:

    I love Maddon. He is the greatest manager going right now. But even superstars have bad nights, and his was borderline awful last night:

    1. Molina starting with Cobb and a running team. Passed ball run #2 was on him. It is a fastball 1 foot wide; thhat gets past no other catcher in MLB. Not to mention he is 0 for the postseason at the plate and an automatic out.

    2. Run #3 was on Jo Ma, pitching to Papi with an open base and a RH scuffling on deck.

    3. Run #4 was debatable, but playing IF back without setting up the DP (which they could have done by walking Pedrios to get to the vacated Papi spot) was wrong both ways. (Although I too fear Rodney walking the tying run in).

    4. Taking Torres out with a lefty coming up and the best Rays pitched inning in the 6th was curious even though it worked out.

    5.Bunting Joyce when he can’t bunt.

    A host of others, including burning the DH, but it all worked out, which maybe means the more important part of managing is the optimisim and not the Xs and Os

  10. Dave L says:

    There is the concept of situational bunting which can be called for often but in practice there is the actual execution of laying down a servicable bunt and its not as simple as it looks.

    This is 2013 not 1913 and as such most Major Leaguers don’t spend much time practicing it as most of us probably think or would prefer.

    Outside the man on 1st and 3rd 1 out or less safety squeeze the Rays like to employ in rare cases we arent much of a bunting team.

    Most of the national media dont understand the Rays and characatures us a small-ball sabermetrics team and assume all our guys know how to bunt, but we all know most of them can’t bunt very well.

    Sabermetrics actually dictates that bunting is usually a bad bet and is actually overused. I disagree with that personally but the fact remains that it is an art and less players than ever actually can do effectively well. i think its underused but the reason it is is that most MLB players arent good at it and managers know that.

    Outside of DJ, SRod, Fuld and possibly Dejesus, I wouldnt trust any other current Ray to lay down a good bunt in a critical playoff game.

    You are just as likely and possibly moreso to get a epic fail bunt ala Joyces than a Cobbian (Ty not Alex) bunt like DJ’s masterpiece.

    • s says:

      Dave,
      Gimme a break. Teaching someone to bunt isn’t hard at any level. It is “as simple as it looks”. Bunting for a hit is hard and requires speed, but bunting to advance is pretty damn simple to teach.

      These are major league players with a ton of skill and hand eye coordination, and yes most of them have been taught to hit first and foremost.

      I hear you on the sabermetrics, but not bunting the leadoff double over in the second with DJ at the plate was bad baseball.

      • Dave L says:

        If it were easy the failure rate would be very small.

        The Rays success rate in sac bunts in 2013 was 63%. 24 out of 38. Ok so you say we just suck at it right? Well league wide its only 66%

        In the NL they do it more often, thus have more practice at it and they have a success rate of 72%

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